One of the longest lived and most successful kit home companies was the Aladdin Company, based in Bay City, Michigan.
Started by brothers William and Otto Sovereign in 1906, the company remained solvent and family-owned until it shut its doors for the last time in 1981.
Over its more than seventy years in business, Aladdin sold more than 75,000 homes. Customers included individuals and corporate clients in both domestic and international markets. Whole neighborhoods and even a town — Hopewell, Virginia — were developed for company employees. In a fold-out flyer sent with the 1925 catalog, the company listed by name and city more than 1000 builders of Aladdin homes as well as government and corporate customers including the State of Michigan, the president of Liberia, Dow Chemical Co., Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co. and Standard Oil.
Advertised as "Readi-cut" and "Built in a Day," Aladdin and other kit home manufacturers revolutionized home buying and building for the middle class. From tiny workingman's cottages to the thrifty investor, Aladdin homes provided a solid value and easy construction.
Unlike many of the other kit home companies, including Montgomery Ward, the history of Aladdin is readily available through its catalogs and corporate records at Clarke Historical Library in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.
So far we've published plans from the 1920 and 1931 catalogs to provide an overview of what this particular company produced. The 1920 catalog, No. 32, was published twice that we are aware of: first in 1920 and again in late 1920 or 1921. The second printing was sent with a supplement called New Colonial Bungalows and New Aladdinette Homes, which were tiny efficiency homes designed to appeal to home buyers during the recession of the early 20s. The (For more Aladdin plans from the 1940s and 1950s, we've published plans from 1940 and 1951 at Mid Century Home Style.)
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