VLR is pleased to offer this wonderful piece of architectural history, Aladdin Homes - Built in a Day, home
plans catalogs. This listing is for a DVD republication of the 1908 to 1975 aladdin homes catalogs. A wonderful library of almost every catalog from 1908 to 1960 (missing 1911, 1960 and NON-published war years), PLUS a selection of catalogs from 1961 to 1975 PLUS the 1915 Aladdin Home Furnishings catalog AND collection also includes the 1918- 1920 - 1921 Canadian Aladdin Home Kit catalogs. (A total of 54 complete
catalogs on one DVD!).
Attractive, homey, healthful communities of Aladdin Houses that were erected as if by magic.... The Aladdin
catalog tempted would-be homeowners with dream homes they could build themselves. These were affordable homes for the
average American, but they carried upscale names such as the Jasmine, the Brentwood, and the Pasadena.
Aladdin began when William T. Sovereign, a lawyer by training, took note of a friend's success in selling
"knocked down" boats by mail. Sovereign reasoned that if the parts of a boat could be machined ready-to-ship and nailed
together by an amateur, houses could be sold the same way. Sovereign enlisted the help of his brother, Otto, who worked
in advertising. Although they weren't designers, the Sovereigns were comfortable as entrepreneurs: Their father made
his money in Michigan's booming lumber business.
Taking over their mother's kitchen as a design studio, the brothers sketched out a simple wooden building that
could be put to a variety of uses. They contracted with a local sawmill to produce this precut building, printed a two
-page catalog, and were in business. As with any small business, money was tight. Boles tells the story of how Otto
realized that if he got an advertisement to a newspaper right on its deadline, the paper had no time to do a credit
check and, rather than lose the business, would run the ad anyway. The Sovereigns took advantage of that insight to
place a small, one-time ad in the Saturday Evening Post. A week later they heard from their first customer -- a man
from Detroit who needed to build three houses and three barns for his family on their new land in Idaho. The Sovereign
brothers had both order and payment by the end of the day, and the Aladdin home was on its way.
Aladdin quickly expanded to become one of, if not the, largest mail-order house companies. By 1915 sales surpassed one
million dollars. The 2,800 homes Aladdin sold in 1918 constituted 2.37 percent of the housing starts in the nation. In
1926, production reached a peak of 3,650 units. The company's greatest success came from sales to industries which
constructed company towns around new plants, mines and mills. The town of Hopewell, Virginia was largely developed by
the DuPont Company using Aladdin homes. Aladdin also shipped 252 houses to Birmingham, England for the Austin Motor
Aladdin's output fell below 1000 homes in 1928 on the eve of the Great Depression, and never recovered. The company
continued to produce catalogues, and maintained sales of a few hundred homes per year through the 1960s. During the
1970s sales fell further and by 1982 the company ceased manufacturing. The company ceased all operations in 1987.
The Aladdin company, along with other catalogue-home businesses played a key role in providing affordable housing to
Americans in the period between the turn of the twentieth century and World War II. They also made key advancements in
the prefabrication of housing which would enable the post-war housing boom. Finally, they helped to propagate
nationwide preferences for common architectural styles such as the Craftsman, Bungalow, Four-Square and Cape Cod homes.