Of the many kit home manufacturers during the first half the 20th century, Pacific Ready Cut was the third largest after Aladdin and Sears. Located in Los Angeles, Pacific Ready Cut Homes, Inc. was originally incorporated in 1909 as Pacific Portable Construction Company by William Butte and Francis Barker.
In 1908, Barker purchased a small factory and the equipment to manufacture small, portable houses in Los Angeles. A native New Englander, he was experienced in lumber manufacturing and milling and was probably well aware of companies like E. F. Hodgson, which began building and selling portable houses in the 1890s in Dover, Massachusetts, as well as Sears Roebuck & Co. with its entrance into the home building market by selling plans and materials.
Barker's enterprise attracted the attention of Butte, then employed as a supervisor at a large roofing company. The opportunity was ripe for someone to address the rapidly expanding population growth and the pressing need for affordable housing. With its long distance from the Midwest, it was understandable that Butte and Barker saw kit houses as a logical solution to the Southern California housing dilemma.
When the company first started, they were able to produce one house a week, essentially prebuilt and ready to assemble. Their advertising claimed that their portable houses could be ready in two days. By 1925, Pacific Ready Cut Homes, had "24 acres of manufacturing facilities, 1000 skilled employees, and a staff of expert architects" and claimed to have sold almost 25,000 structures throughout the West. Their 1925 catalog boasts, "The great Pacific plant is virtually an indisutrial city within itself — a behive of activity, capable of producing all the materials for a complete home every 20 minutes during the working day."
The house styles are typical of their period. In the 1925 catalog, they represent the range of small Craftsman-style bungalows, eclectic Colonial and English-style cottages, and more than an average number of Spanish Eclectic style homes. In addition, they illustrate courtyards — that is, clusters of tiny houses — and small duplex cottages.
By 1940, the company had closed out its house manufacturing business and transitioned to producing surfboards, for which it became fairly well-known.
--. Pacific's Book of Homes: Deluxe Edition. Pacific Ready Cut
Homes, Inc. Los Angeles, CA. 1925.
Flynn, Carolyn Patricia. Pacific Ready Cut Homes: Mass-Produced Bungalows in Los Angeles, 1908–1942. (UCLA Master's Thesis. 1986)
Hodgson Houses. Online history of E.F. Hodgson Co.
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