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Lustron and Sears’ homes featured in Marshalltimes

February 10, 2014 - Mike Donahey

They were called pre-fab or “kit” homes, among other names, and they helped address critical housing shortage needs at various periods in our nation's history.

Or, they simply offered consumers a more affordable alternative to typical new home construction.

The Lustron Co. of Columbus, Ohio was founded to meet the post World War II housing shortage, and a number of Marshalltown buyers found them affordable and functional.

From top to bottom, inside and out, the Lustron was an all steel home with 3,300 parts.

The company had a one million square foot factory (about the size of 22 football fields) which contained about 8 miles of automated conveyors, 163 presses, 11 furnaces and the largest porcelain enameling set-up in the world, according to company archives. House parts were manufactured on an assembly line. Homes were delivered to building sites by truck or rail.

Thanks to Mike Vogt, former director of the Historical Society of Marshall County, there are photographs of seven Lustron homes which were built in Marshalltown and in use today. More research led to revelations of other “kit” homes in Marshall County.

Read more about these unique homes and more in this Sunday’s Marshalltimes.



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