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Who Was The First Person To Create A Shipping Container Home?

Over the past few years, one of the biggest news stories in the world of logistics involved the price of shipping containers.

With so many goods being shipped around the world, the demand for containers has increased exponentially, but alongside people looking for a shipping container for sale for its designed purpose, there is also a tremendous rise in the popularity of shipping container conversions.

The standardisation, stackability and modular nature of shipping containers make them ideal for use as a building material, and there are countless innovative examples of shipping containers being used to make pop-up stores, restaurants, viewing platforms and homes.

However, whilst the first huge shipping container projects arguably began with the launch of Container City I in 2000, the idea of using containers for buildings had been percolating for a few decades beforehand.

In the United States, one of the biggest early uses for ISO standard shipping containers was during the Vietnam War from 1955 to 1975.

During this protected and lengthy military campaign, shipping containers were frequently used to airdrop supplies to troops, and soon after the conflict ended in 1977, the US military considered alternative uses for the containers they had, arguing that they had potential as a structural base.

Others began to work on this idea, and by 1987 the inventor Phillip C Clark had patented a method of converting shipping containers into a habitable living environment.

This idea of prefabrication was nothing new; kit homes made from parts that could fit into a railway carriage had been popular since the late 19th century, but this allowed the storage container itself to be a major part of the construction materials.

This patent expired in 2007 and it is unknown if any designers that did develop container homes used any of his novel methods. However, it does highlight the long history of innovation that has led to the container conversions of today.

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