There are a lot of stories of a caravan origin. It is said that even Taras Bulba ordered to install a tent under an ox-drawn cart.
It is known that Napoleon had a staff carriage, where he was holding military meetings and where all the maps were unfolded. When in field conditions it was needed to move quickly, this carriage was used as a bedroom for Napoleon. Unfortunately, during the fire of 1955 in one of the British Museums this carriage was lost.
The first stories about the caravan date back to the year of 1837. James Sanger, an artist, the head of a circus, ordered to make a carriage, in which he could have slept with his family and where different materials could have been storied. The length and width of the carriage were 2.25 m and 2.19 m respectively from the ground to the roof.
In 1840 Charles Dickens described the caravan of Ms Djarley: she was driving a transportable horsed house with wax pictures. At that time and in the following years, various houses on wheels were built for those, who had to move because of their work – dealers and artists.
Caravans as recreation
The first caravan, which was destined for recreation, became the caravan used by P.B. Gordon Stables, English retired doctor and writer of children books, in 1884. Construction costs amounted to ₤ 300. Four-wheel vehicle was pulled by two horses, and in addition to accommodation it contained a kitchen. The total weight of the construction without horses and housewares was 1400 kg. There was a special place for a coachman to sleep; the servant was sleeping on a mattress on the floor in the kitchen. During a trip, the servant was riding a three-wheel bicycle in front of the caravan in order to see, if it is possible to pass on this surface yacht under the name “Traveller” (Land Yacht The Wanderer).
In 1897 in Paris the company “Zhanstad” built the first machine-drawn caravan ordered by Prince Oldenburg, who intended to reach the Caucasus by this machine with steam drive of 30 HP. The history is silent on this matter.
After Gordon Stables, there appeared more and more rich people on the roads of the country travelling in such a way. They called themselves “sirs Gypsies”. As a result the club “Caravan Club of Great Britain and Ireland” was created, and Gordon Stables became its first representative.
Eccles was one of the first producers of caravans in 1912. The first uniaxial caravan was built by Frederick Alkok in 1914. After “Eccles”, there appeared such companies as “Chelteham”, “Vinchester”, “Karkruiser” and a lot more. They made the caravan a comfortable vehicle for travelling. In thirties, the shapes of the caravan became more streamline; wind resistance should have been taken into account. Before the Second World War, construction volumes of the caravans on the European continent were insignificant.
After the War, the producers of caravans began to slowly develop, until reached the market largest sector in the 1960s.
During the oil crisis of 1973-1974, many producers of caravans went bankrupt, while the remaining passed on to production of more light and compact (on construction) caravans, which are used now.