You are here

Lustron Houses

-A A +A
c. 1948, Morris H. Beckman. 4 and 6 Edglawn Ave., 127½ and 142 Edgwood Street (intersection of Edgwood St. and Edglawn Ave.)
  • (Photograph by Rhonda L. Reymond)
  • (Photograph by Rhonda L. Reymond)
  • (Photograph by Rhonda L. Reymond)
  • (Photograph by Rhonda L. Reymond)
  • (Photograph by Rhonda L. Reymond)

This street intersection provides a bonanza for Lustron lovers. Three houses—one beige, one blue, one yellow—hug the corner, and a fourth is nearby. Only one story tall, they appear somewhat intrusive in a neighborhood generally characterized by two-story houses of an earlier era. The group is West Virginia's finest collection of houses built by a short-lived enterprise that attempted to alleviate the nation's post–World War II housing shortage. Carl Gunnard Strandlund, an official of the Chicago Vitreous Enamel Products Company, founded the Lustron Corporation in 1946, and architect Morris H. Beckman of Wilmette, Illinois, designed the prototype house.

During the four years it operated before declaring bankruptcy in 1950, the company produced and shipped some 2,500 houses throughout the country from its Columbus, Ohio, plant. Simple in basic design and resembling a small suburban ranch house, a typical Lustron had only slightly more than 1,000 square feet of space, but built-ins and an abundance of closets made the most of the small size. Several models and several pastel colors were available, but all were made of steel frames covered with modular panels of porcelain enamel on steel. Roof shingles were of the same material, but were designed to appear like traditional wooden shingles. Garages were also available, as the house at 142 Edgwood Street demonstrates. Lustrons were assembled by local labor from instruction manuals that the company shipped with the prefabricated parts. The houses never needed to be painted and could be cleaned with a garden hose. Because the interior walls were also steel, the company even provided owners with magnets for hanging pictures. (It is virtually impossible to drive nails into the walls of a Lustron.)

Writing Credits

S. Allen Chambers Jr.



  • 1947


What's Nearby


S. Allen Chambers Jr., "Lustron Houses", [Wheeling, West Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.