Sunday, September 15, 2013

Gerstenslager's 1953 Trail Blazer Bookmobile

In 1949 the Bookmobile Committee of the Library Extension Division of the American Library Association held seven regional conferences throughout the country to discuss standards for bookmobiles with librarians and manufacturers of bookmobiles. The result was a 1951 report on Bookmobile Standardization. The report provided recommended specifications and equipment for bookmobiles. One of the first bookmobiles to follow these specifications was the Trail Blazer model of the Gerstenslager Company of Wooster, Ohio. I just obtained a 1953 brochure (see above) that was published by the Gerstenslager Company to introduce and promote their Trail Blazer bookmobile. It was touted as the bookmobile conceived by America's librarians and built and distributed by Gerstenslager. One of the major advantages of the Trail Blazer was that it was designed to be adaptable to chassis that were being produced by all major truck manufacturers. This allowed libraries to request bids from multiple manufacturers.  The chassis from the winning bidder was then sent to Wooster, Ohio where the custom body was attached to it by Gerstenslager. A history of the Gerstenslager Company can be found Here.

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