Honor Bilt, Econo Built, Standard Built and Angry Moosies

Sears offered three grades in all their lines: Good, better and best. In the 1922 Sears Modern Homes catalog, the housing lines were known as Honor-Bilt, Econo Built (later known as “Standard Built) and Lighter Built.

Honor-Bilt homes (their best grade and most popular line) utilized traditional construction standards, such as double headers over the doors and windows, double floors (primary floors over subfloors), exterior sheathing under clapboard or cedar shingles and wall studs on 16-inch centers.

“Standard Built” houses had wall studs on 24-inch centers, single headers, no subfloor and no underlying exterior sheathing. They were pretty modest housing.

Lighter Built was what we’d (today) describe as a hunting shack, best suited for areas with warm weather, calm winds and serene wildlife. One angry moose could do a lot of damage to your  “Lighter Built” shack/house. In later years, Econo Built was renamed to “Standard Built.” The cheapest grade of Sears homes (known as “Lighter Built” in 1922) was eventually dropped.

There was also another line of houses known as Simplex Sectional Houses. See this link for more information on these tiny cottages.

The Hudson

The Hudson was a "Standard Built" house. The phrase - Standard Built - appears immediately underneath the home's name in this 1921 catalog.

Hudson in Alton

Live and in color, here's a Sears "Standard Built" Hudson in Alton. The porch has been enclosed in an effort to add a few square feet to this tiny structure. The bedrooms are only 9' by 9'. Today, we call that a small closet.


Also from the 1921 Sears Modern Homes catalog, this shows some detail about the quality of construction to be found in a Standard Built Sears Home.

home is far superior. “]Honor

Another contrast and comparison of Honor Bilt and Standard Built.

To learn more about Sears Homes, click here.

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1 Comment

  1. beth khalifa

    Hi! I live in Raleigh NC and I have read your posts about Raleigh Sears kit homes – YAY!!

    I am living in a home that was very heavily renovated and added onto by a relatively locally famous architect.

    I have done a lot of research on the house, and managed to find and talk to the 96 year old person who originally built the beginning house that the architect built.

    Fundamentally, the structure is still a part of our house, but not really recognizable – but I found out from the original owner that he bought it and built it as a kit house after coming back from WWII!

    I know it is not a Sears house due to the time it was built, but I do have a photo of it in it’s original state and was hoping you might recognize the distinctive shutters and maybe give me an idea of where to look for the type of kit house it is.

    The shutters are 3 vertical boards held together with horizontal boards at the back. There is space between each board and the top of each board is a 45-degree angle. I have perused various sites, and looked decently in-depth at a few different brands including Aladdin which is the closest I’ve gotten to the pic.

    I can send you a picture if you tell me how.

    Also, we have 2 houses in our neighborhood that I am pretty sure ARE Sears houses, based on both the look and what one of the homeowners was told. Both supposedly built in 1925.

    They are single story bungalows with hipped gable roof and hipped gable front porch. I have found inside plans that align but haven’t found the exact exterior look. I can send you pics of those too 🙂

    I appreciate any help you can provide. – And on a side note, I am TOTALLY gonna go drive by that Sears Magnolia home – awesome!!!