Recreational vehicle information
The earliest caravans were used for practical purposes
rather than recreation, such as providing shelter and accommodation for people traveling in search of an audience for their art, or to offer their services to distant employers, or to reach a new place of abode.
In Europe, wagons built to live in, rather than just to carry persons or goods, were developed in France around 1810. They were used in England by showmen and circus performers from the 1820s, but Gypsies only began living in caravans from about 1850.
The covered wagon that played a significant part in opening up of the interior of the North American continent to white settlement from about 1745 was a type of caravan.
A well set up wagon provided living quarters
as well as a means of transportation for themselves plus their supplies and equipment. In Canada, the earliest motor homes were built on car or truck bodies from about 1910. By the 1920s the RV was well established in the US, with RV camping clubs established across the country, despite the unpaved roads and limited camping facilities. Between the late 1920s and the early 1960s some South Australian railway maintenance gangs working in country areas, where they were required to live on site, were accommodated in caravans built by the department instead of the tents they had previously used.
These caravans were built like short railway carriages, about 6.1 meters (20 feet) long, but had wooden wheels with solid rubber tires and ball bearings. In the U.S., the modern RV industry had its beginnings in the late 1920s and 1930s.These started out as mom and pop operations, building their units in garages or back yards. One of the first, Airstream, is still in business today.
Though tied to the mobile home industry in the early years, when few units were longer than 30 feet long, and thus easily transportable, the 1950s saw a separation of the two, as mobile homes became larger and more immobile, and thus largely became an entirely separate industry.
A minimal RV typically contains beds, a table, food preparation and storage areas. Larger models add full bathrooms, refrigerators, living areas, master bedrooms, etc. Some RVs are very elaborate, with satellite TV and Internet access, slide-out sections, and awnings, and either storing a small car inside it or providing the option of towing it behind the RV. RVs can cost (new) from less than US$10,000 to $1,500,000 or more. Very high-end Class A motorhomes, for example, can cost between US$100,000 to $650,000 new. Some people craft their own RVs out of cars, vans, and school buses.