Sears Roebuck & Company: The Mother Of All Catalogs

Discussion in 'Other Reminiscences' started by Joe Riley, Nov 16, 2018.

  1. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    The Mother of all catalogs!
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    "A former railroad employee, R.W. Sears got into the retail business almost by accident, when he purchased a shipment of watches from a disgruntled wholesaler who had received an incorrect order. Advertising his watches by flyers and mail-order catalogs, Sears quickly turned a profit on his investment and within a year had founded his own company, initially selling only watches."

    "He soon was joined in the venture by Alvah Roebuck, and in 1893 Sears, Roebuck, and Co. was born. Targeting rural customers with little access to goods produced primarily in the east, and offering stable, straightforward pricing, Sears, Roebuck quickly expanded its business—and the number of pages in the annual catalog they sent to customers."

    "It was on the back of the mail-order business that Sears built his empire—in fact, he didn’t get around to opening an actual store until more than 30 years later. The company had a number of competitors, including Montgomery Ward, Hammacher Schlemmer and others, but it was the Sears catalog that became an American icon."
     
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  2. Beatrice Taylor

    Beatrice Taylor Very Well-Known Member
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    I came along later but I remember turning down the corner of pages in the Sears Christmas Wish Book.

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  3. Bobby Cole

    Bobby Cole Veteran Member
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    Yes sir, as I recall, the Sears and Roebuck catalog was not only a fine catalog, but it one the the first eco friendly and educational catalogs to boot.
    There wasn’t an outhouse that didn’t have one. A person could read it and mark their order or tear a page out for uh.....obvious reasons.

    Education? If grandma hadn’t already torn them out, the pages upon pages of lady’s lingerie complete with sketched models was indeed a much needed bit of education for a young lad with an urge for higher knowledge.
     
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  4. Nancy Hart

    Nancy Hart Very Well-Known Member
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    When I was growing up we always kept 2 big catalogs---one from Sears, and one from Montgomery Ward. Wards started in 1872. I don't know if they had catalogs when they first started. I used to spend hours looking at clothes in both of them as a teenager.

    This one is from 1960 and has 1193 pages.

    wards1960.jpg
     
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  5. Mary Robi

    Mary Robi Well-Known Member
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    The Sears and Monkey Wards catalogs were positively worn out by Christmas day. Oh, the toys!
     
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  6. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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