“Home Comfort Caravans” -- John Martin's-- South Australia.
I post this photo for further research. It was taken at the “Royal Show” Wayville S.A. In 1938.
The two plywood caravans look as though they could be locally built but the 'van in the centre looks to be the 1937 British version of the “Nomad” Covered Wagon (door on the off side) which were imported into the UK from the USA to be fitted out with "the finest British Cabinet craft".... and then exported to good old OZ... at least this could be one example of that occurring.
Does anybody have any ideas on 'vans similar to the plywood jobs... the angled cutaway at the rear looks familiar to me but I can't place it
Post by Don Ricardo on Jun 29, 2013 20:16:37 GMT 10
That brochure is tantalising isn't it? It all hinges on what is meant by "Home Comfort caravans are the Australian counterpart of Covered Wagons". Does that mean that Home Comfort vans were the Australian equivalent of Covered Wagons, meaning built on the same principles and using similar styling? Or does it mean that Home Comfort vans were built by Covered Wagons, ie were badge engineered Covered Wagons?
At this point I'm inclined to the view that it means the former - similar design and styling, and then talking about the US Covered Wagons to get a bit of marketing leverage.
My reason for saying this is that I've now had a look at as many Covered Wagons as I can find on the net, and can't find any that look precisely like the Home Comfort vans (mind you the Home Comfort brochure does seem to show three or four different models). I have noted that Covered Wagons all seem to have had:
The roof at the front coming down to a "widow's peak" at the front with trapezoid windows, while the roof of the Home Comforts followed a straight horizontal line around front with rectangular windows.
A rounded wheel arch or visible chassis, while the Home Comfort vans had neither.
A polished wood interior, while the Home Comfort vans appear to have a painted interior (as best as I can tell).
A different coupling compared to the Home Comforts (which almost appear Don like).
Have a look at the following links for 1935 and 1937 Covered Wagons and tell me what you think. (In some cases you will need to scroll down a bit until you find the Covered Wagon photos, and there are links to a couple of Flickr libraries where there are a few photos if you click on the arrows.)
The van in the first link is a ripper, and I'm particularly partial to the tow car - think you'll work out why!!
As always, I am open to persuasion. Maybe Home Comfort built Covered Wagons under some sort of licence and modified them a bit on the way through? Perhaps more likely they saw how well Covered Wagons were selling in the US and decided to jump on the (covered) band wagon...
Further to the ad you posted, the US company called Covered Wagons made a trailer with a convertible canvas roof which was held up with spines - it could be used as a trailer or as a "covered wagon" for holidays. The company began in 1929 and went out of business in WWII. A picture of the Covered Wagon from the late 1920s can be found here.
A later production of the Covered Wagon brand typical of other shapes of the period can be found here. Maybe the "Home Comforts" reference is from the US advertising material? The link to the US advertising material mentions home comforts and a deluxe model.
Last Edit: Jul 1, 2013 16:08:09 GMT 10 by seeshell
The Blue Flyer - 1951 Homemade Bondwood
Chryssi - 1966 VC Valiant Safari
The Seeshell - 1969 Olympic Riviera (deceased)
Post by Don Ricardo on Jul 2, 2013 23:22:58 GMT 10
Hi Cobber and Seeshell,
The more we discover about Home Comfort caravans, the more intriguing the story becomes! Particularly when adverts turn up which seem to refer to Home Comfort's camper trailer as a 'covered wagon'.
Seeshell, yes, the US Covered Wagon firm you mention is the one Cobber and I have been referring to, and the pic of the coach style trailer you provided the link for is similar/the same as the ones I found on the net. The design and style of the Covered Wagon seems to be very similar to the Home Comfort van in the brochure Cobber posted. However, it seems to me that there are also some fairly significant differences between the Covered Wagons and the Home Comforts, as I listed in my previous post.
Covered Wagon did try (and failed) to break into the UK market via an established UK manufacturer with a caravan that was substantially the same as their US models, and it is possible that they tried to break into the Australian market via an established manufacturer (if Home Comfort could be regarded as such) as well. But given that the Australian market would have been quite small, I think it is probably unlikely that they would have supplied specially modified versions of their vans for our market.
Coach style caravans, as this type of caravan seems to have been described, were popular in the US market in the 30's, and also produced by several UK manufacturers. This being the case, I think it is more likely, as I think Seeshell was implying, that Home Comfort's manufacturer saw that coach style vans were selling well overseas and decided to try and build a similar van in Australia. That's my theory anyway.
One of our forum members has a coach style van under wraps (quite literally ), and I'm wondering if it was built by Home Comfort? It is clad in canvas over a framework of ribs, so might possibly be described as being covered in leatherette? Hopefully he can tell us more at some point.
Just by the bye, I did a quick bit of Trove-ing last night, but didn't have time to copy the material I found. What I did see though, showed that Mr Behrens, who is listed as the manufacturer of Home Comfort vans in the brochure, seems to have been quite a big wheel (sorry ) in the South Australian caravan industry in the 1930's and was involved in forming the first SA caravan club, built caravans for the government and rural workers, and took groups of caravanners on outback tours to quite remote places. A bit of a pioneer then.
I also looked at the newspaper page from which Cobber got the John Martin advert above. It looks as if John Martin was a retailer of quite diverse products including camping equipment. Perhaps he acted as the sales agent for Mr Behrens and Home Comfort?
I look forward to your further thoughts.
Postscript: Subsequent research has revealed that a number of caravan manufacturers built coach-style caravans in the 1930's. For further information click here. Don Ricardo