Who was Malcom McLean?
Most people involved in the sustainable, simple living, and tiny house communities have never heard of Malcom McLean.
In 1956, McLean developed the modern metal shipping container.
The invention soon replaced the break bulk shipping method, in which goods had to be loaded individually (think individual barrels, boxes, crates, or drums).
The metal shipping container revolutionized the transport of goods and cargo worldwide. It also gave tiny house lovers more build ideas.
The containers are convenient to transport, efficient to heat and cool (when insulated), and structurally sound. It didn’t take long before designers and architects turned them into tiny homes.
Although nobody knows for sure who came up with the idea of using a metal shipping container for a tiny home layout, one man in particular stands out.
In 1987, Philip C. Clark filed for a US patent for his “method for converting one or more steel shipping containers into a habitable building.”
With many people wishing to downsize and simplify their living environment, shipping container homes have increased in popularity.
Many tiny home companies specialize in building wooden structures on a utility trailer foundation. It’s these designs that come to mind when you think of a modern ‘tiny home’.
Montainer, a builder based out of Missoula, Montana, aims to add more diversity to the tiny house movement by fabricating houses out of old shipping containers.
Co-founder Patrick Collins started Montainer in 2013 to bring shipping container homes to the mainstream.
In September, 2014 Montainer debuted the Nomad 192, so named because a typical shipping container has a 192 square foot layout.
Their target market: buyers in Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco.
We produce them here in Montana, but where the most need for them is in places where housing is expensive. They can actually be a really good value for people in those cities.
Montainer shipping container homes start at $65,000. This price includes full install of standard household systems like plumbing and electric.
And as with other alternative housing structures, you’ll have to work with the local government for approval to build and move in.
Some shots of the Nomad 192:
Montainer made a series of videos about transforming old shipping containers into new homes and buildings.