The Stran-Steel House at Chicago’s Century of Progress Exposition was unique primarily due to its steel frame. The Stran-Steel Corporation used sheet steel rolled into studs, joists and plates instead of wood joists and 2x4s in their model home, but other than that, it was constructed much in the same way as a wooden house.
We can see this type of construction in practice via photographs generously provided by current homeowner Pete D’Acosta during the 1934-35 building of his house in Texas described in our previous post:
In fact, the makers repeatedly stressed in their brochure handed out at the fair that the Stran-Steel House was “not a radical invention which proposes to revolutionize home life.” According to the brochure, “Two features distinguish it from other types of metal structural members:
“First: It is designed so that carpenters, without any special training, lay it out and erect it on the job just as they build lumber.
“Second: Collateral building materials such as shiplap, Celotex, Sheetrock, and Haskelite-Phemaloid lumber are nailed directly to the steel frame just as to wood.”
Stran-Steel Corporation must have suspected that fairgoers would be amazed at modernistic houses like the House of Tomorrow, also on view in Chicago, but that many would not be willing to live in a house that was so unabashedly modern. With a Stran-Steel frame, though, homeowners could design a house in any architectural style.
Of course, they could also make it look exactly the same as the Century of Progress house! Here are more construction photos: