August 7, 2014

Airstream and the Sea

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Airstream and the Sea

“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain Over the years, Airstream has always used nautical names in their product lines. A few names are Clipper, Land Yacht, Liner, Caravel, Trade Wind, and Flying Cloud. Even the interior structure walls are bulkheads. As a young man, Wally Byam was drawn to the seas. In joining the Seaman’s Union, he sailed the South

Wally Byam and The Caravanner

During his Stanford University days, Wally Byam worked on the Stanford Daily newspaper as the advertising manager. He continued with advertising with the Los Angeles Times and Cornelius Vanderbilt Jr.’s “penny” newspapers. Before Airstream, he went into the publishing business. In 1954 Wally Byam launched the Airstream newspaper, The Caravanner. He knew the power of the printed word – and having access to a subscribers list. Wally wanted to discuss Airstream and the Caravan life that began in 1951. The mailing list included Airstream owners, Caravanners, prospective customers, and stacks for dealer showrooms. At one time, there were 500,000 names on the

Wally and Jean-Pierre

A face-to-face meeting with tribal leaders, their rich culture, their customs, their unique dances, and beating drums were the highlights of the 1959 Airstream Wally Byam African Caravan. One of the places that had the largest impact on us was the Belgian Congo. Our guide, Jean-Pierre Hallet, took us to places the average tourist didn’t, shouldn’t, and even couldn’t go. Jean-Pierre, who was already familiar with the Airstream Caravan, attempted to have a Congoland USA developed in Kern County, California. The area would be a refuge for the pygmy peoples of this part of Africa, who were endangered by constantly warring factions

Airstream and the Sidewalk Cafe

It’s 1956. You’re with the Airstream Wally Byam Caravan in Europe – Paris, France, to be precise. Picture this: you stroll down the Champs Elysées in Paris. You stop at a small bistro, pull out a chair, sit down, and order an aperitif. As a nouveau Parisian, you sip your beverage and eye the public strolling by. This is your introduction to the casual enjoyment, which you take back to the campsite. So the other Airstreamers make the Sidewalk Café one of their daily must-do’s. This may not be true of every good thing in life, but the daily routine still occurs

Duralumin and the Origins of Rivets

Technology thrives during wars when scientists, inventors, and mad rulers come up with ideas to guard against destruction (or enhance their capacity for destruction). Here is some background information about Anthony Fokker and Hugo Junkers, who not only contributed to the aircraft industry, but also indirectly to the future of Airstream. Their creation, the Junker J2, was constructed with steel sheeting. But it was too heavy – the dense steel weighed the aircraft down. So the company then experimented with duralumin, a new high-strength aluminum alloy. They intended to use it for the next model of aircraft, the J3, but it

Wally Shares His Birthday

The signers of the Declaration were dedicated in their fevered goals and are summed up in the ending statement, “we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.” Many of the signers lost their lives, and others lost their fortunes. As a collective body, they sent the world’s political institutions a message. Today we not only give thanks to our forefathers for giving us our freedoms from an oppressive overseas monarchy, but we pay tribute to and celebrate the birth of an individual that and shaped an industry. Wallace Merle Byam was born on July

Wally and The Third Man

On any journey you can always expect the unexpected. You might be traveling down old Route 66 in Arizona, the fishing shores in Nova Scotia, or a Caravan highlighting a series of cultural, historical or breathtaking natural landscapes. The 1956 Airstream Wally Byam European Caravan covered encyclopedic experiences from A to Z and beyond. Your eyes widen as you walk under the Eiffel Tower, strolling through the Vatican, enjoying a beer at the Hofbräuhaus in München, swimming on the French Riviera, or going to the opera in Vienna. Then you have an unexpected luncheon with a very famous and special person. The owner of a

Wally and Stella Prepare for Their Journey

The day had finally arrived. Wally and Stella Byam were preparing to leave for New York, where they’d head off to Africa for the Airstream Caravan. Arthur Ruiz, Caravan mechanic, also had his rig ready. As they readied their trip, Wally and Stella addressed the Jackson Center, Ohio Airstream employees. They explained the adventure ahead, and what their efforts in manufacturing means to Airstream owners – both on the African Caravan and those enjoying the byways in the States. With their Airstream rig in New York, Wally and Stella have just one final stop before they leave for Africa. They travel

Airstream and Advertising

Have you ever discovered a paradise in the wilderness? A spot where you felt like you could stay forever? A hidden stream, a quiet canyon, a windswept shore? If such a scene permeates your dreams, prepare now to visit it – in an Airstream. There is no wilderness too remote for an Airstream…shipshape as a trim yacht, maneuverable as a sports car, Airstream is the answer to the question, “how shall we be free?” Start living. Get out of your rut and on the road to travel adventure.

Airstream at the Greatest Spectacle(s) in Racing

The 140th Kentucky Derby has just concluded, with California Chrome winning. My thoughts go back to my Airstream memories of 1957. Airstream Trailers, Inc. offered their first domestic Wally Byam Caravan, the Kentucky Derby/Indianapolis 500 Caravan, taking in the some very beautiful and historic areas, and adding two premier sporting events. For Wally Byam, it was the introduction for “Stella’s Gold Airstream” designed by Stella in Europe as her dream Airstream. Wally displayed “her Airstream” to the world as an entry in the Kentucky Derby parade. The real grandstand for the Gold Airstream occurs on the Airstream Wally Byam African Caravan.