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Lustron Houses (page 1)

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Lustron Houses are not so much noteworthy for their building type as for their building materials: porcelain-enameled steel. Panels made from this material are durable and require little maintenance. They were commonly used for exteriors of fast food restaurants and gas stations.

Lustron homes carried the material a step further by using two-foot square porcelain enamel tiles on the interior as well. There were 2,498 of these all-steel houses made between 1949 and 1950. They were built in the Northeast, Southeast and Midwest. There were actually orders for 20,000 homes but Lustron went bankrupt in the early 1950s. The concept was the invention of Carl Strandlund in response to the post-World War II housing shortage and surplus steel supply.

The homes arrived by flatbed truck in 3,000 piece "kits". They were assembled for around $7,000-$10,000. These steel tiles kept the houses cool in summer and made them fireproof and termite/rodent-proof as well. These houses came in either a two-bedroom or three-bedroom floorplan. About 90% were of the two-bedroom type. Buyers had their choice of eight pastel colors (pink, surf blue, dove grey, desert tan, maize yellow, blue-green, green and white). Buyers could choose different interior colors for each room. The pocket doors, built-in kitchen cabinets, bedroom vanities, dining room buffet, and bookcases were all made of steel. Lustron owners commonly use magnets to hang things on the walls. Others simply push up the ceiling panels next to the walls and use S-hooks and wire to support artwork. Interior alteration is difficult since the houses were built to be indestructible. Lustrons are heated by radiant-heat ceiling panels.

For more about Lustrons, see these websites: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.

Doit W. McClellan Lustron House
Jackson, AL
J.P. McKee Lustron House
Jackson, AL
The Doit W. McClellan Lustron House and the J.P. McKee Lustron House are both listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The roofs have been replaced on both buildings. [McClellan map]; [McKee map]

Lustron House
Florence, AL
There are about 14 Lustrons in Alabama. This Lustron in Florence is known as the E.H. Darby House, aka the Price Irons House. [map]

There are three Lustrons in Florence that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The other two are shown below. They were all built in 1950.

Lustron House
Florence, AL
This Lustron House is known as the William Bowen House. [map]

Lustron House
Florence, AL
This Lustron House is known as the Clyde Williamson House. [map]

More Alabama Lustron Houses:
Sheffield

Lustron House
Tampa, FL
I beleive this Lustron House is one of only three survivors in Florida. [map]

Lustron House
Sarasota, FL
This Lustron House was built in 1949. It was vacant when these photos were taken in 2020. The interior appears to be original. For more, see this website. [map]

Lustron House
Fort Lauderdale, FL
This Lustron House was built in 1950. It is known as the Alfred and Olive Thorpe Lustron House. They were the original owners. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. [map]

Lustrons (page 2) Lustrons (page 3) Lustrons (page 4) Lustrons (page 5) Mid-Century Modern Buildings
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