Monday, December 9, 2013

Built-Rite House No. 5 Redux

From October 2011 to June 2012 Toys and Stuff covered the Built-Rite series of cardboard houses made by the Warren Paper Products Co., of Lafayette, Indiana during the 1940s. At the time, a couple of the buildings in my set were incomplete one of those being House No. 5 presented here today. My House No. 5 had been missing its chimney but since then I've acquired a complete house (I'll need to concentrate on getting a complete Business Block next).

Just yesterday Toys and Stuff finished the Jaymar 39pc Village and Construction Set from the 1950s and I made mention in the first article about how Jaymar used the tab-&-slit construction method. Today you'll notice how Built-Rite utilized tab-&-slot construction, a far superior method of putting these buildings together. They still suffer separated walls and other indignities from time to time but I'll bet when they were brand new it was a cinch to put them together.

As I was preparing this post Bettina happened to mention what a nice looking house it was and it occurred to me that although the toy represented quite a small house, it actually reminded me of similar cottages I had seen in Milwaukee where I grew up. After World War II, returning G.I.'s needed housing and all across the country builder's made these quaint little 'starter' homes for them as they got their lives started and helped get them re-integrated in society, getting jobs, starting families, etc.. Although the houses look small, they would probably have had finished attics with bedrooms and, at least in the north, they would have had basements which could be turned into additional living space if needed (basements are required in northern climates so that the foundation of the building reaches below the frost line). Garages back then were not integral with the house but were separate structures often times located on the back of the lot behind the house with the garage door facing out into an alley which split the block into two halves - common in Milwaukee. In other cities the garage, while still placed towards the rear of the lot, faced the street and had a long driveway leading to it. The lots themselves tended to be small, perhaps only 40' x 80' or so in order to fit more houses on a standard city block. Enjoy!

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