Sunday, 9 December 2012

The Interstate's Impact on the Clipper

      The booming popularity of the Airstream Clipper following WWII can easily be attributed to the creation of the Interstate Highway System in the United States. The Airstream Clipper had been popular since its conception in 1936, but it wasn’t until 1948 that the demand for the trailer shot up tremendously. The Airstream Company was forced to relocate their facilities to a larger factory in Jackson Center, Ohio in order to meet their customers’ needs.

      With a total length of 75 932 km, the Interstate is truly an impressive work of engineering that spans across and connects all of the United States. Before this expansive network existed, the most preferred method of travelling across the country was the transcontinental railway. Not only did the introduction of the Interstate shift the American population from the railway to the road, but it also revolutionized the idea of travelling. Now that the entire country was connected by this network of roads, traveling destinations were no longer limited to the urban areas around train stations. You could essentially travel wherever you wanted (provided it was accessible by the 75 932 km highway system), and you could do all of this within the comfort of your own (second and temporary) home.

      Airstreams were very much designed to travel on the highway. They were never intended to remain stationary in any one place. Rather, just as Wally had intended when he designed the trailer in 1936, the Airstream was meant to be a traveling home for the adventurous highway driver.

After all:

“Why the name ‘Airstream’? Because it rode along the highway, ‘like a stream of air’”
                                                                                                                                       - Bryan Burkhart and David Hunt (Airstream, p. 34)

Burkhart, Bryan, and David Hunt. Airstream: The History of the Land Yacht. San Francisco: Chronicle, 2000. Print.
"The Economic Impact of the Interstate Highway System." Interstate 50 Years. Ed. Andrew C. Lemer. N.P., 2006. Web.
      9 Dec. 2012
"History." Airstream, Inc. Airstream, Inc., n.d. Web. 14 Nov 2012. <>

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