No. 4219

Frequently Asked Questions - FAQS

 

Table of Contents

  1. How do I find more information about E.F. Hodgson Co.?
  2. Who is Hodgsonhouses.com?
  3. Were Hodgson Houses durable and well made?
  4. What Style Homes did Hodgson develop?
  5. How were they made?
  6. How were they painted?
  7. What are the advantages of a portable as compared with a regularly built house?
  8. Would Hodgson Houses withstand heavy rain, snow and wind storms?
  9. What was used for the foundation?
  10. How about plumbing and heating?
  11. Do you have pictures of wedge keybolts which held the house together?
  12. How do you identify a Hodgson House?
  13. Are the House plans from Frederickk T. Hodgson the same as the E.F. Hodgson Co.?
  14. Where are there locations of high concentration of Hodgson Houses today?

How do I find more information about E.F. Hodgson Co. ?

[All of the E. F. Hodgson Co. records were lost in a flood where the company was located in Dover, MA.  Listed below is where you can find out more information related to the company:

1. Book: You can purchase the book "Portable and Prefabricated Houses of the Thirties: The E. F. Hodgson Company 1935 and 1939 Catalogs Unabridged Reprint" click here to purchase.  

2. Museum located in Dover, MA: There is an incomplete collection of Hodgson House Catalogs in the Dover Historical Society Collection from ca. 1892 - 1944.  

3. Museum located in Washington D.C.: The N.W. Ayers Advertising Archives at the National Museum of American History contains the E. F. Hodgson Campaign, 1909-1945, which is the subject of Jacquelyn Grey's "Hodgson Portable Houses, 1909-1945: Advertising the Instant American Dream" written for AMST252: Material Culture and 20th Century Consumer Culture, Smithsonian, 8 December 2004.

4. Book: The most current materials are: Colin Davies, The Prefabricated Home (2005), Evie T. Joselow, "The Ideal Catalogue House: Mail-Order Architecture and Consumer Culture, 1914-1930" (Ph.D. diss., 2 vols, The City University of New York, 1998).

5. Book: Robert Schweitzer and Michael W. R. Davis, America's Favorite Homes: Mail-Order Catalogues as a Guide to Popular Early 20th-Century Houses (1990).  ]

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Who is Hodgsonhouses.com ?

[Hodgsonhouses.com is operated by James Tedesco and Paul Tedesco both avid lovers of history and the desire to bring forgotten history back to the present day so others will be able to appreciate the past.  There are two main goals of hodgsonhouses.com: 1. Create awareness globally for the E.F. Hodgson Co. which was "America's First Prefabricator of Portable Homes" between 1892 - 1944.  Hodgson was in the business of selling mail-order homes before the big players like Sears and Montgomery Ward.  It is important to remember this company and its impact on the prefabrication building market.  2. Create awareness and appreciation within the current day prefabrication market of homes and buildings especially the manufacturers, that E.F. Hodgson Co. had an incredible impact on today's business.  Hodgson was an innovator of creative marketing and advertising, invented products and manufacturing processes which has influenced today's prefabricated buildings.  Its important we continue to remember the past because it will influence the future.]

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Were Hodgson Houses durable and well made ?

[Yes, they were and quite a few still exist today and you can locate them by going to  Find a Hodgson House.  Hodgson received additional orders for additions from their original customers eight, ten, fifteen years after their original order.  Hodgson were built with high quality material and labor.  Rather than use a heavy cheap lumber that was expensive to ship and erect, unsightly, not durable, and put together in a way that leaves much for the purchaser to do and requires a continual expense to keep in repair, they used for a frame a sturdy Oregon pine and red cedar; walls and roof of red cedar rabbeted boarding backed with a heavy fibre lining, making a strong durable, absolutely waterproof building, requiring no repairs for years, a roof quaranteed to stay tight for years, inexpensive to ship and easily erected by unskilled labor.  The floors were made of hard pine.  The exterior of the building received stain or paint, and all details are attended at the factory, leaving nothing for the purchaser to except to keybolt the sections together.  Not even doors or windows needed to be attached by the purchaser; they came all fitted in place, and were in the very best grade in quality and workmanship, with the best-grade mortised locks and hardware. ]

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What Style Homes did Hodgson develop ?

[All Hodgson Houses were one story high and all there were four types, designated by the letters I, T, L, and H, to indicate their general floor plans.]

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How were they made ?

[They were made in sections, each section with windows and doors all fitted in place and painted three coats, or stained.   There was nothing left for the purchaser to do but set up these sections and drive in wedge keybolts with a hammer--no nuts to rust, quickly done, no skill required, and when put together as rigid as a permanent building. 

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How were they painted ?

[They used paints and stains from Cabot and Sherwin Williams.   In terms of colors used from Cabot, E. F. Hodgson used Cabot's moss green and brown.  Hodgson painted the walls a French gray, ivory white for the sash and leaf green trimmings and slate color roof or Cabot's Stains.  Typically, if no custom color was chosen, they used Cabot Stains for the roof, moss green, and sides, brown.

]

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What were the advantages of a portable as compared with a regularly built house?

[The saving in time, trouble and money was very substantial; a portable house is ready in days instead of weeks or months, and there is no worries about plans, construction, materials, labor and supervision not to mention "extras".  The real money saving to busy people was greater than the cost figures would show.  Moreover, the house was more salable because of move ability and could be moved by the owners to another location.  It could be erected on leased land.   ]

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Would Hodgson Houses withstand heavy rain, snow and wind storms ?

[Hodgson houses have stood on bleak islands in the most exposed parts of he New England Coast, as well as being buried in northern Maine and Labrador.  Hodgson House still exists on North Haven near Burnt Island Maine.]

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What was used for the foundation?

[Generally of cedar, chestnut or locust posts.  Strap irons were sent to secure the floors to the posts so that the heaviest gales would not move the building.  Of course, a stone, brick or cement foundation was also used.  A good post foundation would last fifteen to twenty years.  Cellars were often used under the buildings.]

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How about plumbing and heating?

[Hodgson houses were fitted with plumbing and heating systems like any other house.  A bathroom could be partitioned off and local plumber could install the fixtures.  Heating systems could be installed or stoves from Franklin Stoves  or fireplaces.  Hodgson furnished metal chimneys or a local mason could build a chimney.]

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Do you have pictures of wedge keybolts which held the house together?

[Yes, click on the pictures below to see a larger view of the wedge keybolts.  All three pictures are the same except the pin is inserted in the different size bolts to illustrate how the bolt was held in place and could be easily removed to disassemble the building.

      

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How do you identify a Hodgson House?

[A lot of the portable houses had a double H window under the peak of the roof. The panes were in the formation of an H.  Below is view of the window from inside.  Click on the picture to enlarge.

]

 

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Are the house plans from Frederick T. Hodgson the same as the E.F. Hodgson Co.?

[No, they are not the same or related.  Frederick T. Hodgson published a fair number of books on carpentry plus he wrote a book called "Hodgson's Low Cost American Homes" which includes plans that are representative of the majority of houses built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  Here is a link to his 1905 House Book Plans www.antiquehome.org/House-Plans/1905-Hodgson/ ]

 

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Where are there locations of high concentration of Hodgson Houses today?

[There are five places with high concentrations of Hodgson Houses: 1. Dover, Massachusetts with at least 20 houses (Dover Map of Homes) and 2: Arthurdale, West Virginia with 48 of the original 50 homes (Arthurdale Map) 3: Brewster Park in Brewster, MA which is on Cape Cod.  Brewster Park has quite a few Hodgson garages and the largest collection of double H windows.  The double H window underneath the peak of the roof is an identifier of a Hodgson portable building.  Do not have a map of Brewster Park but this is on our wish list to get and post on this site. 4: Camp Sloane YMCA in Lakeville, Connecticut has 6 of the original 20 portable buildings.  The camp started in 1928 with 20 portable Hodgson buildings and they cost $20,000. 5. Aqua Vista Cabins in Hero, Vermont which include 6 Hodgson Cabins for rent. Aqua Vista has gorgeous views of Lake Champlain.  If you are planning a trip to Lake Champlain, here are some websites which can assist you with your trip:  www.champlainislands.com or www.islandsandfarms.com., or www.historiclakes.org. ]

 

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Revised: 12/24/08

 

Click Here to Purchase NEW Hodgson Book