Shopping In the Old Weird America

Some of our favorite items from the 1902 Sears, Roebuck Catalogue

By John Lomax January 30, 2014

About 10 years ago I lived in a now-demolished four-plex across the street from Poe Elementary, and one of my neighbors was an ancient, sweet widow with fuzzy brown hair and coke-bottle glasses. After she started hearing things—she'd ask me if I could hear the brass band playing "Grand Old Flag" and such—her daughters, also elderly, came around and got her and took her to a home. A bunch of her stuff ended up in the dumpster, and that was where I found her copy of the 1902 Sears, Roebuck Catalogue. 

Back in those days, this was the end-all, be-all in shopping—the of the age. You could order everything from a new furnace, to a wagon, to medicine, to books, to guns. There are lots and lots of shotguns, pistols and rifles to choose from, including our favorites below. 

I mean, wouldn't you love to peruse the mailbag containing the many inquiries for this item? "I reckon I need a bayonet on my pistol 'cause I need to stick a scamp after I plug him...". (Local wag Ray Redding suggest the item be renamed the "Cut N' Shoot," but that would likely only resonate in East Texas.)

And there's this, a must for the Militant Critical Masser on your Xmas list...

Now that'll guarantee you your three feet of safe passage, won't it?

Moving on, in those pre-Alcoholics Anonymous days, people turned to ze Germans for sobriety cures...

And all those dope-addled hoopleheads on Deadwood really existed...

People had sex back then! And they loved to read many chapters devoted to sexual immorality!

And if a gal wanted to rock a lustrous cascade of a My Little Pony-style mane, there's a tonic for that.

Dolls were creepy back then. And they had human hair.

People were great believers in the power of that newfangled electricity.

And while obesity was already a problem back then, copywriters didn't pussyfoot around with all that PC nonsense.


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