I am not familiar with fiberglass trailers but I did look at this trailer today. Does anyone know the history of Fiber Stream trailer?
Anyone have one of these trailers?
Mine is a 2ND Generation. This one for sale
is 3RD Generation.
was a tiny "Mom & Pop" company. Just one man built the trailers, with possibly a hired hand. His wife designed the layout and was the office manager; sometimes she would deliver trailers. They were molded all in ONE PIECE, no belly band, no vertical seam. They are the only 16' molded fiberglass trailer with double axles. The Plexiglas "Bubble" rock guard was distinctive and unique; aiding airflow around the nearly flat front.
From my observations, there were at least 3 distinct "generations" in the design with subtle differences between each, even though the basic floor plan remained the same during the 10 years the company was in business. The most commonly available trailers today are 2ND Generation, but 3RD Generation trailers are a close second. 1ST Generation trailers are extremely rare.
[b]1. First Generation: 1975 thru 1977:
The sales pamphlet states that the company started building Trailers in [b]San Diego, California in 1975.
These early units can be identified on the outside from the rear, as they have a very small Bathroom Window offset farther to the street side than later years, and Round "Wedding Cake" style Tail Lights
. Their roofs were molded flat, with 4 aluminum ribs attached outside on top from side to side. They may not have been equipped with electric brakes
from the factory. (The 2 examples I am aware of did not have brakes at first
The significance of the smaller bathroom window is evident upon entering the trailer; as the early bathrooms were tiny wet baths, no larger than the corner shower pan. The toilet is installed on top of the shower pan facing forward. The floor of the Bathroom is at the same level as the floor in the rest of the trailer, and the drain plumbing hangs below floor level.
Because the bathroom is so small, there are Two Closets across the rear. In the Curbside rear corner, opposite from the bathroom, is a 2-foot deep closet with a hanging rod and 1 upper shelf. In the center of the back wall, between the "hanging" Closet and the Bathroom, is a 1-foot deep (front-to-back) 2-foot wide pantry/linen Closet, behind a hinged door, all shelves.
The kitchen has a double-bowl sink on the left and a 3-burner range/oven on the right below a large slider window with an overhead cabinet above. (The range/oven is a new replacement unit in Art Lindsay’s 1977 trailer
). The 4 cubic foot Magnavox Instamatic 2-way gas/electric refrigerator
is in a cabinet opposite the range, and there is a small vertical bin covering the part of the wheel well that sticks out between the refrigerator
cabinet and the entry door. The divider wall beside the range is solid. The single plain roof vent (no fan) is centered in the trailer and is approximately between the range and the refrigerator
, but slightly forward into the front compartment. The one example of a first generation trailer I have seen has very dark paneling on the divider walls, and the upper kitchen cabinets have surface mounted hinged doors that open up toward the ceiling. The walls of the hull are un-insulated, and just painted on the inside.
The front compartment has 2 bench seats that can be used as twin beds. Four numbered boards (which fit best if placed in order) allow the back cushions to fill in the space between to make a king size bed. There are 3 equal size slider windows
around the space, and a shallow overhead cabinet across the front above the window that matches the look of the upper kitchen cabinet. The water system is under the street side bunk, and the battery
is under the front of the curbside bunk, accessible to the outside in front. The rest of the under-bunk area is storage.
[b]2. Second Generation: 1978 thru 1980:
Apparently the manufacturing of the Fiber Stream moved to [b]Mira Loma, California approximately at the same time as a redesign. The mold was recast to mold the 4 roof ribs as incorporated into the fiberglass structure, as a corrugation, and the undersides of these ridges were glassed over so the ceilings would be flat. This strengthening of the roof along with a 110-volt outlet in the top of the refrigerator cabinet allowed for an optional roof mounted air conditioner to be mounted on the central roof vent. The previously tiny bathrooms were enlarged, moving the toilet out of the shower into the central area along the back wall, where the pantry/linen closet was eliminated. The toilet now faces to the street side, with a curtain to separate it from the shower. The shower floor was raised to move the p-trap for the shower above the main floor, inside the trailer, and the toilet area floor was raised even higher, creating a considerable step up to enter the bathroom, with a corresponding reduction in headroom. The larger bathroom space allowed for a larger window on the rear of the trailer, and the round taillights were replaced with rectangular ones, with square corners. Electric Brakes
were added to the front axle
The earlier hinged doors in the upper kitchen cabinets were replaced with recessed sliders in an oval opening with finger holes instead of knobs or handles. The 3-burner range/oven is a “Trav’ler Duette” which also serves as a forced air furnace
where heat is ducted into the interior via a grate below the oven by a 12 volt blower motor (behind the grate). Combustion air/Exhaust gases are vented outside, behind the oven and below the kitchen window. The water pump switch moved to the right of the oven, up near the countertop, from the edge of the street side bunk near the floor. The vertical bin between the refrigerator and entry door gets a little larger, and is labeled as a “Magazine rack” in the sales brochure. An optional taller “chest of drawers” is available with 3 narrow deep drawers that face the kitchen (not the closet).
The upper cabinet over the front window in the front compartment gets slider doors to match the kitchen. My trailer is the only example of the optional upper child’s bunk I have seen, a 27” by 78” shelf with a 2” thick mattress upholstered to match the 4” thick mattresses on the main bunk benches. This replaces the upper front cabinet, but vertical space and weight
capacity up there is very limited.
Sometime in 1979 an arched pass-thru opening was designed into the divider wall beside the range, and a flip-up counter extension shelf was added below it over the street side bunk. Another mid-generation change is the experimentation of adding a wall covering to the fiberglass walls that may have some insulation value. Earlier trailers merely painted the inside of the fiberglass shell.
[b]3. Third Generation: 1981 thru 1986:
A third move to [b]Fontana, California probably prompted another tweak in the design. By 1981 the “Trav’ler Duette” ranges and Magnavox refrigerators are no longer available. Magic Chef 3-burner ranges with gas ovens (but no space heating capabilities), and a different brand of 4 cubic foot gas/electric refrigerator are installed. To compensate for the Range’s loss of space heating ability, the location of the water pump is rearranged so a separate RV forced air furnace
can be installed next to the water heater below the street side bunk.
A U-shaped upper storage cabinet around 3 sides of the front compartment replaces the smaller cabinet that ran only across the front in the older trailers, increasing storage. All upper cabinets return to using hinged doors, here and in the kitchen. With the curve between the “wall” and the “roof” covered by cabinetry, thin foam insulation and thin paneling (that can easily be curved around the vertical corner wall curves) is applied to the remaining wall surface to match the partition wall paneling. Insulation and white material are applied to the ceiling.
Most third generation trailers have a roof air conditioner installed in the central roof vent, while many second-generation trailers do not, even though they have the capacity for one. Some have added a roof vent in the front compartment, near the upper front cabinet, to compensate for the vent lost to the air conditioner installation. Third generation trailers moved the battery
box opening from the front to the side under the front corner of the curbside bunk. The entry door has a cleaner look, made with a single aluminum skin and a flush-mount handle, as apposed to the four-piece aluminum skin around the door’s window and the house-type doorknob on earlier trailer doors. All side windows
and the entry door sport aluminum drip edge above them, where only the entry door had it on earlier trailers. I speculate that this is because the fasteners for the drip edges are now hidden inside cabinetry where they would be exposed to the inside on the earlier trailers.
I met a woman (a member on this website) who bought her Fiber Stream
new from the factory and has owned it continuously to this day. She has documentation including a Trailer Life
magazine page that compared the features and price of the Fiber Stream 16
with the Burro 17
and the Scamp 16
for 1985, the year she bought hers. She told me that the company closed because the man who built the trailers needed to retire, and couldn't find a buyer for the company.