These giant hamster balls could have been the mobile homes of the future

Illustration for article titled These giant hamster balls could have been the mobile homes of the future

In modern society, we can make move across the country at the drop of a hat, packing up our stuff in suitcases and trucks and shipping containers, but if you want your house to come with you, you'd better live in a trailer or have your home chopped up and put on flatbeds. But if you lived in this spherical home, you could just roll your home down the street any time you wanted to move.


The hamster ball homes appeared in a 1934 issue of Everyday Science and Mechanics titled "When Home Owners Roll Their Own." The idea was that these homes could be constructed off-site, wrapped in a protective tire, and then rolled to its final resting place. Windows and fixtures would then be added once the home was in place. The shape would make them particularly easy to transport. Of course, if you felt particularly attached to your particular bubble, you could probably have the fixtures and windows removed (and the windows perhaps filled in), and then roll the house to your next destination.

It sounds like this bit of speculative architecture was inspired by patent 1,958,421, "Method of Making Spherical Containers," filed by one E.G. Daniels. After all, if we could design spherical containers to hold volatile liquids, why not use the same idea to construct the movable home of the future?

Tomorrow's Mobile Home [Paleofuture]


What's the benefit for mobility? You are still limited to about 3 lanes' width for transport, which is no different from moving a traditional box home on a wheel framework. Plus, with a ball house, you have to empty out your home, or secure everything in it, or let it all be jostled to bits in true rock-tumbler fashion. Not to mention, pictures don't hang well on non-flat walls; spherical doors and window panes are more expensive to manufacture than flat, too, unless you build an adapter to mount them in. This sounds like the classic "good idea that doesn't work."