Sears Catalog

Magazines & Periodicals

Richard Warren Sears was a railroad station agent in North Redwood, Minnesota, when he received from a Chicago jeweler an impressive shipment of watches which were unwanted by a local jeweler. Sears purchased them, then sold the watches for a considerable profit to other station agents, then ordered more for resale. Soon he started a business selling watches through mail order catalogs. The next year, he moved to Chicago, Illinois where he met Alvah C. Roebuck, who joined him in the business. Farmers did business in small rural towns. Before the Sears catalog, farmers typically bought supplies (often at high prices and on credit) from local general stores with narrow selections of goods. Prices were negotiated, and depended on the storekeeper's estimate of a customer's creditworthiness. Sears took advantage of this by publishing catalogs offering customers a wider selection of products at clearly stated prices. The business grew quickly. The first Sears catalog was published in 1888. In 1893, Richard Sears and Alvah Roebuck renamed their watch company Sears, Roebuck, & Company and began to diversify. By 1894, the Sears catalog had grown to 322 pages, featuring sewing machines, bicycles, sporting goods, automobiles (produced from 1905 to 1915 by Lincoln Motor Car Works of Chicago, no relation to the current Ford line), and a host of other new items. By 1895, the company was producing a 532-page catalog. Sales were greater than $400,000 in 1893 and more than $750,000 two years later. By 1896, dolls, stoves, and groceries had been added to the catalog.

It was also known as a 'Wish Book', due to the fact you 'wished' you could have all of the stuff in it. Especially true of children at CHRISTmas.

Richard Warren Sears was a railroad station agent in North Redwood, Minnesota, when he received from a Chicago jeweler an impressive shipment of watches which were unwanted by a local jeweler. Sears purchased them, then sold the watches for a considerable profit to other station agents, then ordered more for resale. Soon he started a business selling watches through mail order catalogs. The next year, he moved to Chicago, Illinois where he met Alvah C. Roebuck, who joined him in the business. Farmers did business in small rural towns. Before the Sears catalog, farmers typically bought supplies (often at high prices and on credit) from local general stores with narrow selections of goods. Prices were negotiated, and depended on the storekeeper's estimate of a customer's creditworthiness. Sears took advantage of this by publishing catalogs offering customers a wider selection of products at clearly stated prices. The business grew quickly. The first Sears catalog was published in 1888. In 1893, Richard Sears and Alvah Roebuck renamed their watch company Sears, Roebuck, & Company and began to diversify. By 1894, the Sears catalog had grown to 322 pages, featuring sewing machines, bicycles, sporting goods, automobiles (produced from 1905 to 1915 by Lincoln Motor Car Works of Chicago, no relation to the current Ford line), and a host of other new items. By 1895, the company was producing a 532-page catalog. Sales were greater than $400,000 in 1893 and more than $750,000 two years later. By 1896, dolls, stoves, and groceries had been added to the catalog.

It was also known as a 'Wish Book', due to the fact you 'wished' you could have all of the stuff in it. Especially true of children at CHRISTmas.

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