Lustron Colors-A Brief History
After the harsh black and white aesthetic of the International Style and the deprivations of the Depression and World War II, American consumers were ready for a fresh new look for everything from automobiles to homes. Although not explicitly stated in Lustron Corporation literature, it appears that the houses were marketed heavily to women, who were being encouraged by society to give up their wartime jobs to start families in suburbia. Lustron’s pastel color palette had a distinctly feminine feel.
The Lustron Corporation explained its color selection in a 1950 fact sheet:
A choice of several colors in carefully blended combinations is available for the exterior. Interiors are finished in rich neutral tones which blend with any furniture or decorating scheme and which never need painting. Lustron colors have been carefully designed with the help of Howard Ketchum, Inc., one of the nation’s foremost color experts .
Were other color combinations available?
Although there was some variation in the demonstration models, and in printed promotional materials once the factory began producing Lustrons in earnest, roof and trim colors were standardized for all the models. One dove gray Westchester, with eggshell trim and a green roof looked just like every other dove gray Westchester, with eggshell trim and a green roof.
A Color Scheme?
Just as automobile manufactures offered would-be owners an opportunity to customize their cars with colors, trim levels and accessories. The Lustron Corporation modeled much of their business model on the automobile industry. Accordingly, they offered new Lustron owners with opportunities to customize their Lustron by choosing a color, model and size. As production increased they hoped that existing owners could trade up for a larger house or a newer style, or presumably even a new color. Unfortunately, the Lustron Corporation went bankrupt before fully implementing its plans to roll out existing models much less, new models on at the levels they had anticipated. Had they succeeded perhaps, the Lustron aficionado could have been able to tell a ‘50 model from a ‘55 model by its color. Were there plans in the works so that owners could have customized their homes—with a band of another color or a bi-color exterior panel scheme?