Ordering a home from a catalog was at one time as normal as ordering a book on Amazon. Take for example the home in the video above, built in 1928 from a design sold by Sears. Known as "The Martha Washington," the model (pictured below) could be had for $3,727 -- with some assembly required.
Here's how it worked: After choosing from among the many home styles (eventually numbering 447) that Sears featured in its Modern Home department, the home would be shipped in precut, numbered pieces by train or truck to the address where it was be constructed. The kits could fill as many as two railroad boxcars and included blueprints, instructions and all the necessary materials -- lumber, drywall, plumbing, shingles -- right down to the nails. They were also designed in such a way that they could be easily customized, and be erected by only one person.
Sears estimates that it sold as many as 75,000 of the homes through mail order from 1909 to 1940, and it's believed that similar "kit" homes from its competitors brought the number constructed to about half a million in the U.S. And not only did Sears' kit houses make homes more affordable by reducing the cost of construction, financing could also be part of the package.
Though Sears' Modern Homes haven't been available for nearly 75 years, the concept persists and ready-to-build kit homes can still be purchased. See more about classic kit homes in the slideshow below.
THE APPEAL OF KIT HOMES:
More about easily assembled homes:
SEE: Hamptons Eco-Home Built From Shipping Containers
Why Your Next Home Should Be Prefab
Tiny Prefab Living
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