Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Sears Catalogue from 1909...Part I

While straightening up my overloaded bookshelves, I ran across a catalogue reprint my husband bought a few years ago. The Sears Roebuck And Co. Fall 1909 edition.

Talk about a headline that's short and to the point: 
Cheapest Supply House ON EARTH

When my husband bought the catalogue, I couldn't imagine why. 
...Just takes up space,
can't order anything anyway, 
great way to gather dust… 

But in leafing through it, I realize it's a snapshot of life in America over 100 years ago.

Although the prices were surely normal back then, they sound like a dream now:

  • A buggy for $38.50
  • A violin for $3.85
  • A ruby and pearl gold ring for $3.80
  • A pocket watch for $0.65
  • A solid oak rocking chair for $3.95
  • A 100-piece china dinner set made in Austria for $13.95

When was the last time you bought one of these?
  • A Miss Greene Hearing Horn for $0.90
  • A solid silver matchbox for $1.20
  • A solid gold collar button for $0.85
  • A chalk bottle for $0.23
An improvement over other tin trumpets

Some of my favorite items are health and beauty products.
  • Celery Malt Compound: A Nerve Builder, Brain Tonic and Stimulant (a bargain at $0.52 for 20 oz.)
  • Dr. Rose's Arsenous Complexion Tabules: $0.36 for 50 treatments
  • Vin Vitae – The Wine of Life ("The wine element counteracts the disagreeable")
Just what the doctor ordered

So, here's my question today. Which of our current products do you think people will look at 100 years from now and wonder at?

1 comment:

  1. So, I got a tweet from Mayken voting for a Stylus as being the product someone would wonder at 100 years from today.

    My vote is for diet pills. Or maybe meat? Will we have so many inhabitants in the world that we can't provide meat for most? Or cars with gas tanks?