By the end of the Depression in 1940, few of the many kit home companies remained. Aladdin, in Bay City, Michigan published its first catalog in 1908. It stuck with its manufacturing program by not trying to be all things to all people.
Unlike other companies, it offered high quality homes using the best materials available and didn't stray from its core mission. It wasn't unheard of for even lumber dealers to order Aladdin kits.
Other companies, including Sears, tried to do custom projects. Aladdin seems to have largely avoided that temptation.
As a result they were in a position during WWII to aid in the war effort as Sears was closing its doors on its kit home business. From 1942 to 1946, Aladdin retooled and shipped troop housing.
Like most post-War housing, pre-War plans were reprinted immediately following the War. However, with the GI Bill and the formation of millions of young families, housing styles began to modernize. Developers began offering ranch and minimal traditional style tract housing in the suburbs which raised the ante for Aladdin.
The company was family owned through its entire history and continued in business until it closed in 1981. According to the Clarke Historical Library in Michigan, Aladdin sold more than 75,000 homes.
If you think you have an Aladdin kit home, do your home work, check beams in attic and basement for markings, and review all the Aladdin plans for your time period. Measure your home and compare with the plans. Unlike other kit home companies, the complete sales records for homes sold still exist. Once you confirm a high probability that you have an Aladdin kit, contact the Library for more information about your home.
© 2011 — Mid Century Home Style