Explore making your next precut house.
In the days before home power tools, precut homes represented an enormous savings in labor and materials for the home builder. These well-designed and practical homes were made from lumber which was purchased in bulk. The structural elements were then cut to exact size at the mill and shipped to the customer by rail. Parts for a typical home filled two boxcars, and included approximately 10,000 numbered pieces of wood, kegs of nails, hardware, roofing tar, shingles, paint and varnish, and blueprints with instructions on how to assemble the house. Manufacturers claimed that a pre-cut system would save the builder up to 30% of the costs when compared with standard building methods. These houses were usually not distinctive architectural designs, but copies of the most popular styles of the era. House designs were standardized to reduce waste in materials, but customers were encouraged to personalize their order by moving windows or doors, adding porches, fireplaces, sunrooms, window boxes, trellises, or built-in cabinetry, and by selecting from different exterior finishes and colors. Heating, plumbing and electric systems were available at additional costs.
Catalog prices typically included only the building materials. Pre-cut housing thrived until after World War II, when tract housing construction methods and the increased popularity of prefabricated and mobile housing became more popular.
Copyright 2007 OffsiteBuilt