The Steel House
The Steel House: A Sensationally Good Idea
By Stefan-Leih (Kuhns) Geary,
When The Second World War had come to a close, America was facing changing trends in residential housing needs and philosophy, coupled with an ongoing housing crisis. Soldiers returning home from the war to the family, friends, and lives they had left only a few years before found a very different and unprepared nation not ready to meet the needs of the returning veterans. With a rising marriage rate and an even faster growing birth rate, the need for housing became even greater. In 1945, the national housing shortage totaled more than four million dwellings and the demand only increased with the GI Bill of Rights providing guaranteed home loans and mortgages to any veteran that had served at least 90 days in the service. World War II provided the United States the final measure needed to emerge from over a decade of unemployment, poverty, and eroded self-esteem, but it had not solved the nation’s housing shortage. Prepared to meet this need, Carl Strandlund, vice-president of the Chicago Vitreous Enamel Products Company, turned to the American domestic setting of the first part of the 20th century to play a significant role in the design and development of his product, the prefabricated porcelain enameled steel house.