Instant House

A blog tribute to the manufactured, mass-produced, modular and kit homes that grace the American landscape.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Bennett Homes: "Better-Built", "Ready-Cut!"

Front Cover:  ISBN 0-486-27809-3
The Ray H. Bennett Lumber Company was a large lumber company based out of North Tonawanda, NY (not far from Buffalo, NY).  The company offered kit homes for sale via catalogue during most of first half of the 20th century.  Though the company is most famous for its homes from the 1910s and 1920s, the company was continuing to sell kit homes well into the 1950s.

The catalogue I have which first alerted me to Bennett (and to kit homes in general) is pictured at right and is available as a Dover reprint.  This 1920 catalogue is reprinted in full, and includes price lists of all the homes and the specifications for all the materials that ship in the kit.  There are sections at the back of the catalogue for detached garages and "summer cottages"--smaller homes with no plumbing.

The most expensive home in the catalogue is "The Colonial", at $4243.05, though if you paid in cash there was a 5% discount.  According to the US Inflation Calculator, in today's dollars that would be $47,887.49.  The least expensive home (considerably smaller) is the "Kenmore A", at 804.91.  It should be noted, however, that these prices do not include delivery.  The prices also do not include bath fixtures or extra kitchen cabinets, though they are available to purchase.  The homes were pre-cut, and were even "notched for easy assembly".  Below is a picture and plan of "The Colonial", and some other goodies from the catalogue.  Enjoy.
"The Colonial" - Bennett's most expensive home

Ready-Cut Makes it easy!
Accessorize your home with these "modern" conveniences, like....HEAT!

This is my favorite plan/design from the book.  Simple, yet striking.

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