During the late sixties and early seventies, a series of small fiberglass trailers stormed the RV market. The first of these in Canada, and one which has enduring popularity among lovers of ultralight and vintage trailers, was Ray Olecko’s Boler, the “egg on wheels”, created in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1967.
Boler Begins, Ray Olecko’s Septic Tank
Winnipeg inventor and Boler creator Ray Olecko got his start in the fiberglass industry by manufacturing his own patented light-weight septic tank. Only a year or so later, he applied what he had learned to design and prototype the Boler. Any similarity between the shape of the two projects is strictly a matter of efficient design: the rounded cylinder represents a good combination of strength and interior volume.
The Boler Time-Line, A History of the Boler Trailer
The Fiberglass RV Forum has worked to collect a detailed time-line of the Boler ultralight fiberglass travel trailer from its humble beginnings, along with its many look-alike cousins such as the Scamp, Burro, Eco, Casita and El Macho. A brief digest of that work is provided here. This is a condensation of months of posts, and the author apologizes to the forum members for any errors that may have been introduced.
Dates in this time-line connected with the Boler trademark have all been confirmed at the Canadian Intellectual Property Office site. The Boler trademark is currently active and owned by Jim Pattison Industries. See Registration Number TMA170511.
- 1967 – Boler inventor Ray Olecko drafts the Boler design
- 1968 – 1st Boler produced at factory on Higgins Ave, Winnipeg
- 1969 – Factory moved to 177 Dufferin Street, Winnipeg
- 1969 – 19 July 1969, Boler name is trademarked
- 1970 – 14 August 1970, Boler trademark is registered
- 1970 – Boler Manufacturing Ltd. building 13′ model in Winnipeg, Manitoba
- 1971 – American rights sold to Elenor International of Wichita, KS
- 1971–1973 – Bolers (original 13′ model only) are in production by Glass-Fab Industries Ltd. in Peace River, Alberta.
- 1971–Present, Scamp trailer derived from Boler design produced in Backus, MN
- 1972 – Boler American produced by Elenor International in Wichita KS
- 1972 to 1975 – “Boler Manufacturing” was building “Honey” brand trailers in Winnipeg, Manitoba, under the Neonex name
- 1972 to 1979 – Earlton Manufacturing was building Bolers (13′ only) in Earlton, Ontario.
- 1975 – Winnipeg plant builds Boler-branded (not Honey) trailers as Neonex Industries.
- 1977 – 10 Jun 1977, Trademark ownership changed to Boler Manufacturing Western Ltd.
- 1977 – 31 Oct 1977, Trademark ownership changed to Neonex Canada Ltd.
- 1977–1980 – 17′ Boler model built (B1700)
- 1977–1978 – Bolers were “Built with Pride by Neonex” in Calgary, Alberta by “Neonex Shelter Ltd., Boler Division”
- 1979 – Vanguard Trailers built Bolers in Winfield, British Columbia in 1979.
- 1980 – Boler 1650 built by Earlton, in addition to 1300 and renamed 17′ (now 1750)
- 1984 – production at Midhurst by the relocated “Earlton” operation under the name Advanced Fiberglass
- 1987 – 13′ model in production in Midhurst
- 1988? – Last Boler rolls off the production line, and an era ends.
Boler Look-Alikes and Boler Renovations, The Boler Lives On
Apparently, original Boler molds were used to build the Scamp, and many of the “lookalikes” from the early 1970s on were virtually identical to the Boler.
A couple of derivatives, Casita and Scamp, are still in production as modernized Bolers in various lengths and configurations, at prices up to ten times the $1400 cost of the 1968 Boler.
There seem to be a considerable number of Bolers around, and they are a popular item for collectors, vintage car owners, and do-it-yourself renovators.
And so in both new versions and rebuilt oldies, the “egg” rolls on.
A History of the Boler Trailer
Canada’s Ultralight RV Trailers