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In the last century RVs have gone from modified Model T to luxurious home on wheels with master bedroom and Jacuzzi.
It all began with Ford and its Model T, the first mass-produced cars, when at the start of the First World War, North Americans who could afford long vacations decided to stay on the continent. Campers added tents, beds, other inventive mechanisms for cooking and storing and sometimes even flush toilets and wash basins with hot and cold running water to the family car.
The 1920s saw an improvement of roads, allowing easier journey and providing more supportive facilities for travelers. The enthusiasm for camping grew among middle class.
At the same time auto-campers started to stream across the country, the first motor homes were built. They were simple wooden structures added on Model T chassis, recreating home environment on the road. The first RVs were born.
One of the earliest reported motor home was in Montreal in 1910: Ucal-Henri Dandurand brought a 3-ton truck from Detroit and had a carriage builder built the coach that allowed 22 persons sitting and 11 sleeping. The vehicle was used until 1924.
RV camping clubs started with the Tin Can Tourists in the 1920s and 1930s, who drove their family cars across the territory before transcontinental roads were paved.
The first commercial RVs came into the market in the 1930s, using aircraft-style construction
and offered the convenience of beds, dinettes, electricity and water.
During the Second World War, some companies carried out vehicle conversions, repairs and alterations for the war department, early beginnings of the experience and technical knowledge of the first live-in trailers manufacturers.
After the war the popularity of RV grew considerably. The industry flourished and the trailer manufacturers began to be attracted by the house-on-wheels image. The first models available were moderately affordable, but already included all the comfort amenities that make a trailer a home.
From kits to adapt basic trailers to 30-foot driveable models, RVing came into its own in the 1950s. The first motor homes appeared and later in the decade, truck campers grew in popularity. Many of contemporary manufacturers started their activities in the 1950s and 1960s.
The term Recreational Vehicle came up in the early 1960s. The same decade, the RV family split up, between what is known today as RVs, made for travelling, on one hand and Park Models, which had limited mobility, on the other hand.
By the mid 1960s, RVing became trendy. As demands for modern features increased, RVs became larger and more comfortable. As well, the popularity of RVs grew and the concept of the vehicle everyone could afford inspired manufacturers to create innovative products. Advances in aerodynamics and interior comforts were also part of this evolution.
By the 1980s, the RVing trend picked up and sales never stopped since. The freedom and lure of the open road kept attracting adventurers. RV became a source of inexpensive holidays for the family and the outdoor enthusiasts.
Personal income increases allowed more and more travellers to enjoy those new vehicles. Today’s newest luxury RVs rival luxury apartments.