Mike Jackson, in a post on BUILDER's sister site ARCHITECT, takes you through a timeline of tiny house design and construction over the past Century.
Today's tiny house movement focuses on principles of minimalism, environmental friendliness, and financial freedom. But, Jackson claims that the tiny homes of the past were a result of the middle class finding ways to enter into home ownership or buy less expensive vacation properties, not a statement about minimalist culture.
Presenting catalogs from the Building Technology Heritage Library (BTHL), Jackson discusses the construction of trends for vacation cabins, cottages, or other small houses. Houses dubbed with names like "cottage" or "bungalow" were often seen as economic options, and were between 600 and 800 square feet, only a little bit larger than today's tiny houses.
"Regardless of what you call them, these scaled-down houses reflect Americans’ growing desire for home ownership, no matter the size."
Check out the past designs of tiny homes throughout the 20th Century at ARCHITECT.