History of Modular Homes

The humble beginnings of modular homes are over a hundred years ago. The first sets of prefab homes are built during the 20th century.

Industrial Revolution, World War I

Alladin Readi- Cut Houses was the first company to offer prefabricated houses. They first introduced this type of housing in 1906. However, Sears, Roebuck and Co. was the company that gained more popularity because of the homes lack iconography. This means that the prefab houses they produce have their own style and does not solely speak ‘factory made’ even if the designs follow the standard American house. Also, the company provides all aesthetics and accessories to their modular home.

At the onset of World War 1, modular home construction made use of reinforced concrete structure with slender beams. This idea or concept was started by modernist Le Corbusier’s Dom-ino House.

World War 2

Prefabrication was greatly utilized during war to erect military camps or barracks. The military used prefab buildings as it is cheaper, easier and faster to build while providing quality dwelling. And truth be told, demand for the construction of modular homes increased after the war. Returning soldiers wanted a house for their selves and families instantly that they asked for local builders for modular homes. The government was also supportive of the modular home construction that they allowed soldiers or veterans to mortgage loans or construction loans.

1950s to 1960s

People lost interest for modular home construction because of the aesthetics of ‘trailers’. In some areas or regions in America, laws or memorandums in housing type leads to the decline of demand.

1960s- 1990s

Modular housing was gaining trust again. This was because of the efforts of Mosche Safdie’s Habitat that proposes the ‘large apartment building consisted of individual “modules” made from precast concrete and fitted together like a puzzle’. A number of manufacturers and home builders introduced new designs of modular homes afterwards. The designs were presented and sold for a lesser price.


Current trends on the construction of modular homes are focus on energy efficiency and environmental impact. Builders and contractors, like the Legendary Homes Inc. of Michigan, are introducing use of efficient HVAC system, solar panels and use of insulated precast foundation systems.