Popular Science July 1937
Every amateur trailer builder incorporates into his home on wheels various inexpensive conveniences to make it more livable and comfortable. Many ideas for ﬁttings and accessories were submitted in our recent trailer contest, and here are seven suggestions that won prizes:
Stove Canopy. The canopy illustrated, according to its designer, Harold P. Rykken, will get rid of most of the cooking odors and gas fumes from the trailer stove, and when the weather is chilly, it can easily be converted into a heater. The material is 26-gauge galvanized or black iron.
To use as a heater, the front shutter is slipped into the side channels and then up into the upper channel. The 9-in. tube near the top of the campy is for additional heating surface and can be used for warming small dishes when the “oven” doors are closed. If this feature is omitted, some expense may be saved and the canopy will gain slightly in efﬁciency, but more than 5 sq. ft. of heating surface is lost. The vent should run straight tip, and the collar may have to be placed off center in order to avoid a ceiling joist. Install a 6-in. damper in the collar and a ventilator on the roof. In most cases the canopy will have to be made in a sheet-metal shop.
Water System and Sink. Water tanks built in trailers are often hard to clean, so Charles A. Prescott devised the sanitary and inexpensive gravity water system and sink shown. Obtain an older type oil-stove reservoir that will fit into the corner. Use it as a pattern, and attach a ½ by ½-in. round piece of wood on the bottom; then have a bronze casting made. Drill and tap the bottom piece for a ¼-in. pipe, but be careful not to drill through into the reservoir. Screw the ﬂange at the other end to the table as shown so that the pipe supports the 3-gal. bottle. Locate center of reservoir; then drill and tap for ﬁll-in. ﬁttings for copper tubing to supply water to the sink faucet.
There is usually a hole on the back of the reservoir. Make a small bracket with a stud to ﬁt the hole and fasten to the corner of the trailer with screws. Place a metal strap around the bottle and fasten to the trailer.
The sink consists of an enamel oblong dishpan about 5 by 11½; by 16 in. Drill the bottom for a 2-in. sink strainer, which usually comes complete with washer, flanges, and nut. Attach a brass tube from the strainer through the trailer floor. Chromium plating of all metal parts adds to the attractiveness of the installation.
Door Pocket. Made with a strap-iron frame covered with imitation leather to match the finish of the interior, the roomy pocket shown has been used satisfactorily as a laundry container on the doors of several trailers, according to Kenneth Murray. Solder hinges to the bottom of the frame, attaching them to the lower part of the inside of the trailer door as shown on preceding page.
Bedding Arrangement. When the trailer is small and space is limited, it may be possible to work out a table and bed arrangement such as that used by John Wells and shown in the drawings above. The box spring or mattress is attached on the bottom to plywood, or whatever type of panel board was used on the inside of the trailer, and fastened to each breakfast-seat box with hinges so it can be let down to lie ﬂat on the seat cushions. Bedding is fastened to the mattress with large safety pins. When the bed is swung into the storage Space, the table can be brought down into position.
Socket Adopter. A. P. Fletcher won a prize with a homemade socket adapter that enables both 6- and 110-volt bulbs to be used in the 100-volt electric sockets so that the trailer needs only one set of wining for city electric current and storage battery current from the car.
The base of a burned-out bulb, a battery bulb socket, two short pieces of 13-gauge bare copper wire, sealing wax, and solder are the materials needed. Break away all the glass from the base except the lower part C, which is held by sealing wax. Drill a 3/32-in. diameter hole B through the contact disk, off center about ⅛ in. so that the curled ﬂanges which hold the disk in place are not cut away. Secure the center wire D in place by the set screw of the 6-volt bulb socket, and solder the wire A to the outer shell. Place the socket into the screw base as nearly central as possible, and solder the wires at B and E. Warm the entire assembly and pour sealing was into the space between the 6-volt socket and the screw base.
Trailer Jack. With materials costing less than a dollar, D. C. Marshall built a rolling adjustable jack—a necessary accessory for almost every trailer. The materials needed are a pipe tee, two pipe plugs, a long nipple, a pipe cap, two iron wheels such as are used on hand trucks and a screw. A bench screw or one from an old organ stool will serve.
If a bench screw is used, take off the tee on the end and, if necessary, cut off the other end to get the proper length. Take the threaded bushing and ﬁt a ﬂat piece of bar steel to it with rivets through the screw holes on the bushing. It should be about 8 in. long so it will make an easily turned handle. Fit a piece of wood on the top side of this steel to give it enough thickness for a handle. Drill a hole through the center of the steel plate so the screw will pass through freely.
A hole of the same size is bored through the center of the pipe cap, and then the pipe ﬁttings are assembled as shown in the drawing. The pipe should be at least 1¼; in. or larger for heavy trailers. To prevent the screw from wobbling about in the nipple, make a lining, which can be a smaller piece of pipe or a piece of wood turned to ﬁt inside the pipe and with a hole bored lengthwise through the center.
The square ends of the pipe plugs are sawed off after they are in place, and holes drilled through each for the axle. The latter consists of a piece of steel shafting with a hole in each end for a cotter key. A washer on each side of the wheel will allow it to turn more easily.
A socket is attached to the trailer frame near the front to ﬁt the top end of the jack screw. The handle for pulling the trailer up to the car when ready to hitch has two prongs, which must be strong enough not to bend. They are riveted or welded to the handle or tongue. The tongue is attached by hooking these prongs over the ends of the tee so that the center part of the tongue rests against the upright branch of the tee.
Combination Screen and Window. If the trailer has a rounded roof and auto-type windows are installed, it is possible in some trailers to attach the screen to the top of the window as shown. Fred W. Vogel points out that there are many advantages to such a combination.