Between 1908 and 1940, Sears Roebuck sold over 70,000 houses in 447 different designs. They were not strictly prefabricated, but were precut packages that included the lumber, siding, windows and even the nails. While the look was traditional, in fact they were very modern, bringing the latest residential technologies to everyone.
I recently visited one at the the Sanibel Museum on Sanibel Island in Florida.
Not the First, But the Biggest According to Sears
: "Central heating, indoor plumbing, and electricity were all new developments in home design.... Central heating not only improved the livability of homes with little insulation but it also improved fire safety, always a worry in an era where open flames threatened houses and whole cities, in the case of the Chicago Fire.
"Indoor plumbing and homes wired for electricity were the first steps to modern kitchens and bathrooms. Sears Modern Homes program stayed abreast of any technology that could ease the lives of its homebuyers and gave them the option to design their homes with modern convenience in mind."
Image credit: Sears