E. P. Gilkison & Sons Company
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E. P. Gilkison & Sons manufactured camping trailers from 1925 until 1952 in Terre Heute, Indiana. The company was founded by a father, Edward Ray Gilkison,and his two sons Warren and Ray. Gilkie is one of the better known camping trailers from this time period. According to an article written by Marlee Hagan of the Terre Heute Tribune-Star (Historical Treasure: The Gilkie is back home), Edward's two sons, Warren and Ray, designed and built a pop-up camper in their father's machine shop in 1922 for their family camping trips. Gilkison was a well-known automobile body manufacturer at the time.
Edward Ray Gilkison filed for a patent for their trailer design on July 6, 1926. US Patent 1,696,113 was granted to Edward on December 18, 1928. The camper was of the typical tent-style of the time, although if featured a 28 inch wide door and full sized 54 inch wide beds. One could stand erect when inside. It came equipped with an electric light, all-steel kitchenette, and a refrigerator (assuming ice box). It boasted 82 square feet of living space when opened up with 46 inches between the two beds where a dinette table could be placed. It was a well-built quality trailer that used heavy duty Timken roller bearings allowing it to roll very easily.
According to the 1932 brochure two models were offered, the De Luxe and the Camp King. The De Luxe featured an insulated hard-top while the Camp King was the standard design described above. Both campers had the standard 54 inch heavy beds and both could form into couches if desired. As a side note those beds are better than the beds offered in today's typical pop-up camper. The De Luxe had a 75 lb refrigerator as well. The standard trailer sold for $350.00 in 1930, about $4,300.00 in 2007 dollars.
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