“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Michigan City in Porter County, Indiana — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

The Armco-Ferro House: Mass Produced And Affordable

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore


— National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior —

The Armco-Ferro House Marker image. Click for full size.
By TeamOHE, June 14, 2019
1. The Armco-Ferro House Marker
The Armco-Ferro House, designed by Robert Smith, Jr., of Cleveland, Ohio, was an ode to the virtues of porcelain enamel and steel-expressed in the form of a prefabricated home.

It is the only remaining Century of Progress home that met the Exposition Design Committee's criteria, in that it "could be mass-produced and was affordable for an American family of modest means."

Manufactured for $4,500 by Insulated Steel, Inc., for the American Rolling Mill Company (Armco) and the Ferro Enamel Corporation, this was the first house produced using frameless steel construction and an exterior sheathing of vitreous enamel. Bob Weaver, Ferro's president, came up with the idea of using porcelain and enamel for residential construction. It only took five days for the 2,400 square-foot structure to be erected from prefabricated panels.

Touted as having a revolutionary construction system, the frameless house was comprised of "no-thicker-than-a-dime” corrugated steel panels connected by steel clips. The innovative system of construction provided the inspiration for post-World War II prefabricated housing for returning
The Armco-Ferro House Marker image. Click for full size.
By TeamOHE, June 14, 2019
2. The Armco-Ferro House Marker
GI's developed by the Lustron Corporation. Looking similar to a cardboard box finished with a shiny porcelain-coated metal exterior, the Armco-Ferro House was probably an astonishing sight for Fair visitors, most of whom resided in traditional bungalows and wood frame houses from the Victorian era.

Once they stepped inside it, visitors found a comfortable house finished with plasterboard, modern furniture, and rooms laid out in a familiar waw. The Armco-Fero House looked much like the four-square houses popular at the time, with four bedrooms and two bathrooms upstairs and a living room, kitchen, den, and dining room downstairs.

This contrast of the modern exterior and traditional interior set the Armco-Ferro House apart from some of the other Century of Progress homes, which pushed the design and finishes on both the interior and exterior.

Your automobile has a strong, compact metal chassis, which supports the body…Your FRAMELESS STEEL HOUSE will also have a metal chassis replaces the conventional studding, sheathing and joist structures,…FRAMELESS STEEL HOUSE

Erected by National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Architecture
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Location. 41° 41.05′ N, 87° 0.05′ W. Marker is in Michigan City, Indiana, in Porter County. Marker is on West Lake Front Drive 0.2 miles from Dunbar Avenue, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 231 W Lake Front Dr, Michigan City IN 46360, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Century of Progress Homes (a few steps from this marker); Century Of Progress Homes: Historic District (within shouting distance of this marker); House Of Tomorrow: 'America's First Glass House' (within shouting distance of this marker); A Showcase For Cypress (within shouting distance of this marker); The Florida House: Home, Cruise Ship, and More (within shouting distance of this marker); Made In Lafayette: An Experiment in Home Building (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Recipe for a Sand Dune (approx. 0.3 miles away); Whose Home Is It? (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Michigan City.
Credits. This page was last revised on December 1, 2020. It was originally submitted on December 1, 2020, by TeamOHE of Wauseon, Ohio. This page has been viewed 48 times since then and 12 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on December 1, 2020, by TeamOHE of Wauseon, Ohio. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.
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Mar. 5, 2021