The Serial Number
Each home produced by the Lustron Corporation was provided with its own 5-digit serial number that corresponded to its order of production. Since the Corporation only produced approximately 2,500 units, each serial number begins with “0″ (for example – 01476 or 02115).
What Is It?
Your unique serial number, along with the model number of the house, is stamped on a blue, oval, metal, “Lustron Name Plate” bearing the Lustron logo. The plate contains the model number of the house (02 for a two-bedroom, 03 for a three-bedroom) and the serial number stamped in two rectangular fields at the bottom of the plate. Just in case you’re wondering, the numbering system doesn’t differentiate between model styles (Westchester, Meadowbrook and Newport) because when Lustrons were initially manufactured there was only one model type, the Westchester. Initially, the plate was a means for the Corporation and its dealers to track each unit it sold. Today it helps Lustron owners know more about their house and its place in the history of the manufacturing process. The serial numbers record the order in which the houses were manufactured-the higher your serial number, the later the date it was produced.
Where is it?
If your plaque still survives, it should be mounted by two screws on the rear or “furnace” wall of the utility room. If you stand with your back to the outside entrance door, the plaque should be on the wall directly in front of you. As a general rule, it should be on the left half of the wall, in the third row of panels from the floor.
Because the plates were attached only with screws, they are very simple to remove. Don’t be surprised if your search only reveals two screw holes, but no plate. Sometimes they were taken as souvenirs by previous owners, or they were removed and lost or misplaced or it may be hidden behind new equipment, such as furnaces, water heaters, washer/dryers, or cabinets that has been placed in front of the metal plate. You may need to move this equipment to see your plate.
Missing Your Lustron Name Plate?
If your plate is missing, you still might be able to track down the serial number. It may be recorded in another place. The Erection Manual that accompanied each Lustron to its site has a place on the cover for the serial number. If you still have your Manual, the original owner may have recorded the number there or it may be listed in other documentation related to your home. It is also possible that your home is already included in the Lustron Locator and you can track down your serial number that way.
Record That Number!
Documenting the serial numbers of surviving Lustrons helps us determine how many were originally produced and how many still remain. If you have a plate, please write down your model and serial number to check against the information in our Lustron Locator (link to Lustron Locator). If your Lustron isn’t listed in the Locator, please take a few moments to enter your Lustron into our national database.
Common Plaque Problems
My Plaque is Loose!
Perhaps you found your plaque but it is loose or dirty. When considering your options remember to use the gentlest means possible and as always, be sure to test a small area first. Read on for some helpful solutions.
Simply tighten the screws but take care not to over tighten and strip the metal.
- Tools Needed: Screwdriver
If the plaque has become dirty, try cleaning it with some glass cleaner and paper towel or soft cloth or perhaps a mild abrasive cleanser like Soft Scrub or similar and water/soft cloths. Do not aggressively clean it as it is prone to scratching further and perhaps damaging the surface.
- Supplies Needed: Glass Cleaner or Non-abrasive cleanser and soft cloth or paper towels.
My Plaque Has Been Painted Over!
If your plaque has been painted over with latex paint it should be easy to remove. First, unscrew it then remove the plaque (put the screws somewhere where they won’t be lost or misplaced). Soak the plaque in warm water for approximately half an hour to loosen the paint. Remove the plaque from the water and scrape it with a plastic scraper. If that doesn’t remove the paint or if it is likely an oil based paint and it is possible that a chemical stripper might work. There are hundreds of chemical strippers available. Chemical strippers can be very toxic and powerful and could potentially remove the finish from the plaque. Before purchasing a stripper, consult the labels carefully, make sure that it is safe for use on metal. Strippers come in liquid and gel forms and can take anywhere from a few minutes to hours to work, so plan your time accordingly. Follow the directions carefully. Before you apply the stripper, make sure to remove the plaque from the wall. Work in a well-ventilated area and cover your work area with drop cloths. Test a small area of the plaque prior to applying chemical stripper to the entire plaque.
- Tools and Supplies: Screwdriver, plastic scraper, bucket, drop cloth or newspapers, chemical stripper.