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.


  1. This is really both interesting and vital information! Wellsville NY has many kit houses - Bungalows from the early 20th century.
    Given her location, close to Buffalo, many of these may be Bennetts' rather than ordered from Sears - something to try and find out! Thank you so much!

  2. Very nice article. Bennett came very late to the game, entering the arena in 1919 (first catalog published 1920) and lasted longer than most -- until about 1975. I checked my list of about 650 Bennett homes I have found and I only found one Bennett home in Wellsville. A Montrose that has lost it;s Dutch Colonial detailing

  3. I live in Athens, OH, and purchased a Bennett home. We have the original floor plans, and it is the Albemarle. I'm super interested in learning more about original details/colors, etc. if that information is available anywhere. My home is listed as being built in 1920.