The wooden swimming pool arrived on the scene in the late 1950s. Cascade Industries offered a 16-foot package pool with walls of pressure-treated wood, lumber bracing and wood coping. It came with fittings, pipes, gate valves, a filtration tank and layout kit. The floor was finished with sand before the vinyl liner went in. There was no track-and-beading system to secure the liner, so installers wrapped it around the pool top. Nor were there vacuum devices back then, so they counted on water pressure when the pool was filled to push the liner firmly against the walls.
These package pools were enormously popular, according to Ed Gorman, founder of Cascade. He was quoted in PSN as calling it “a blue-collar pool. That was the big appeal. Everybody could have one. … It only sold for $2,500 or $3,000 installed.” Cascade first sold its wooden package pools through Spiegel catalog for $995.
Even as different pool types were developed over the years, the wooden pool had a following. In fact, there was an article in a 1972 Pool News about an Oregon pool builder who had just received a patent for his wooden pool, which he marketed as a DIY kit or completely installed. Irving Danzker, president of Portland Pacific Contractors, established dealers in five Western states and partnered with a home builder. The contractor was working on a housing development and agreed to install a pool in every third home he built. Alas, I don’t know how it all worked out, but it was interesting to see Danzker’s plans for the pools, which he touted as “simple to install and within the financial reach of the average person – the lunch-bucket brigade.”
Nowadays, you can still find wooden pools being made and installed here and abroad. Whether aboveground or fully or partly inground, they come in various shapes and sizes. Apparently, they’re rather popular in English backyard and garden settings. I came across one by a Canadian manufacturer that is “now available with a white sandy beach” and, sure enough, the photo showed chairs set in sand beside a round, vinyl-lined wooden pool. Perhaps it was a joke, but it did look inviting.