Automobile ownership was on the rise in the early 1900’s and travel became increasingly accessible. Americans from different economic positions were vacationing more and more. The need for affordable places to stay while traveling increased. A new kind of accommodation gained popularity-the house trailer. The definition of these mobile homes varied, but they were essentially a portable place to stay. With the formation of travel clubs, like the Tin Can Tourists, house trailers continued to be a fundamental part of traveling the United States by automobile.
The Osceola County Historical Society’s newest temporary exhibit on display at the Osceola County Welcome Center and History Museum features a small collection from the current Tin Can Tourists organization. The assortment of items includes two license plates from the 1950’s.
The yellow license plate is a standard tag from 1951. “Keep Florida Clean”, a phrase we still use today, can be seen across the top. The rusted orange tag is unique because it was only issued for a short amount of time in the early 1950’s and was specific to traveling homes. The tag has an “H” on top of the “T”, signifying “house trailers”. These trailers were not small, but ones that were lived in and pulled around the country either year-round or seasonally. Those who had trailers like this were what we might call “full-timers” today. Eventually, these “house trailers” would be referred to as “mobile homes”. That term was literal. The homes were mobile and often driven or pulled behind an automobile.
Mobile homes, travel trailers, and license plates have all evolved since the beginning of the house trailer movement. However, the desire to travel the country and experience new adventures has remained the same.
To see the license plates, and other items, visit the Osceola County Welcome Center and History Museum. The Tin Can Tourism exhibit will be on display through October 15, 2017 and is free to the public.
Source: Tim Heintz, Tin Cant Tourists S.E. Representative