Saturday, September 24, 2016

1961 Metzendorf 'Downton Abbey'

1961 Metzendorf 'Downton Abbey'

orig. watercolor 11x14in approx. (matted to 16x20in archival matting)
for more info and purchase: click here
Today's camper is very British and sports the Union Jack and other Brit-themed decor and colours. The reason, of course is the beloved PBS series 'Downton Abbey' which aired it final season this year. My husband and I enjoyed watching it, too, so I do understand the motive for this camper decor.
What I love about this camper is that Metzendorf is a German name, so I had to look up with my friends at for info. Here is what they have- just a bit of info on its original owner and an obituary from the owner who bought the plant and built the campers for 18 after that!

Founder of Metzendorf Camper Trailers:

(Provided by great nephew Brin Metzendorf)
The campers were produced in the 50's and early 60's by Martin Metzendorf of West Farmington, Ohio, approximately 10 miles northwest of Warren, Ohio. Martin (my great-uncle) and his wife had the trailers built with Amish laborers, she picked out the interior patterns and colors. They delivered most of the trailers themselves until a delivery accident deprived my great-aunt of her arm. Martin sold the business in the early 60's and the trailer was produced for a few more years under the Metzendorf name, I believe they closed the doors in '63 but I'm not 100% on that. If their is a real interest out there I might be able to piece together some facts from my relatives, but admittedly they're all a touch fuzzy on events from forty years ago. 

Here's an excerpt from the Obituary of the German Karl H. Gerlt, who bought the plant from Metzendorf:

Karl H. Gerlt 1919-2007 Western Reserve #507 was born Aug. 22, 1919, in Bremerhaven, Germany, the son of Emil and Charlotte Gerlt.
He came to the United States, with his parents and two bothers Emil and Helmut. They settled in New Jersey, where he graduated from Bagota High School.
He enlisted in the Army at the start of World War II. He received the Commission of 2nd Lieutenant in the Signal Corps and was later promoted to Captain.
Karl was transferred to the Military Intelligence Corp., serving with Supreme Head Quarters Allied Expeditionary Forces. He also served in the occupation force of Berlin, Germany, commanding the office of Communications.
Upon discharge from the Army, he married Velma Coster. They settled in West Farmington. He worked as an electrician for Ohio Lamp of Warren for 16 years, before purchasing Metzendorf Trailer Plant, in West Farmington, where he built travel trailers for 18 years. He then worked for the Village of West Farmington Water Treatment Plant, until he retired at age 71.
I know this is lengthy, but I thought it worth sharing. So, here you have it, the behind the scenes of the Metzendorf Camper! More info is on the TinCan Tourist website
We'll see you tomorrow again with another campie!                        Simone

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