Tralette, also known as a Peninsular, circa 1935. Very unique antique travel trailer. Built between 1932 to 1936. Designed to expand truck space and as a sleeper. It has vent swing outs front and rear, a spare tire well inside the rear door, cast iron radial member frame with single cast iron wheel well in the center. Optionally, they had a tent that draped over the opened rear door and a wood floor extension to facilitate two sleepers. All body panels were stamped. It trailers very well. It was a competitor to the Mullins clamshell trailer at twice the price.
Several years ago, I came across a brochure for Tralette trailers. It piqued my interest, and in the fall of 2007 I pitched the idea of researching and writing a column about some of the interesting old pieces of advertising I’ve discovered for The Antique Motorcycle magazine. This glossy publication is essentially the newsletter of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America, and the column became Pulp Non-Fiction, and I’ve penned more than 50 of them.
However, the research team at American Pickers came across my work regarding the Tralette, as Mike and Frank discovered a single-wheel Tralette trailer. Happily, I was able to provide scans of the brochure — some of which were recently seen on an episode of American Pickers.
Here’s the original text of my first column for The Antique Motorcycle, plus the brochure scans for anyone else interested in Tralette.
Tralette Cycle Car
With the increasing interest in motorcycles at the turn of the last century, many ingenious solutions were arrived at to help make a two-wheeler more utilitarian. Sidecars, for example, allowed owners of these less expensive modes of transportation the ability to move either family or gear.
Trailers, too, help increase the carrying capacity of a motorcycle, and the unit offered by the Tralette Division of the Penninsular Metal Products Co. of Detroit, Michigan, is an interesting example.
Found this on E-bay:You are viewing a very rare one wheel 1936 PeninsularTralette camp trailer that sleeps two. It is one of only two known. It weighs approximately 275 lbs. but carries 750-+. It is currently in a museum so the exact length is not immediately available. It does have a pull out bed that makes it over 7’+-. The back opens up wide to allow the extension pull out. It has brass vent doors, water proof and dust proof, stands alone, tows excellent, leans the way of the towing vehicle. Backing up is a breeze – it goes the way of the car. The MOTORIST AMAZED AT NEW ONE WHEEL ad I believe you can enlarge and read, but as it states, it has beautiful lines and finish and harmonizes with finest streamlined cars. Attractively styled, has smoth running balance ‘unknown in ordinary tailers’. Locks, stands alone, 61 cubic feet inside space. Carries luggage, duffle, merchandise – This is ideal for any antique, classic, Hot, Street, Rat Rod owner to go on those longer tours and have lots of fun. It’s a wonderful addition to any collection of fine automobiles! The Peninsular is small enough that it can be carried in the back of a pick up. The trim you see in the picture is stamped in the metal and highlighted with black paint. The ad in the picture is from the May, 1936 issue of Colliers Magazine. The trailer was built in 1936 by the Peninsular Metal Products Corporation of Detroit, Michigan.
Found this on E-bay: Antique 1 wheel trailer very rare. Antique 1 wheel trailer very rare. This is a one wheeled trailer built in Detroit in the mid 1930’s. This has a stamped steel body with a cast frame. The one wheel is on a swing arm with semi elliptic springs. I have heard of one other in a museum but have not but have not been able to verify. I bought this in 1985 in Topinabee and was told it belonged to Brace Beamer of Lone Ranger fame. It came from the Silver Beach Resort that he owned. The literature proves it’s authenticity. The fountain is on Bell Isle. I used it behind a street rod in the 90’s. If anyone contacts me with verified knowledge of another one I will share the info. Reproducing this may be a good business idea. Because of the uniqueness I will not give a buy it now price.