Saturday, July 31, 2021

Shopping the 1908 Sears, Roebuck & Co. Catalog

In this day of online shopping, we can order anything we need and have it delivered to our homes in a matter of days, but that wasn't the case for those living in the early 20th century. Big cities had plenty of places for people to shop, from large department stores to small specialty shops, but in smaller towns, where stores were often located in tiny buildings with a small variety of merchandise, people would turn to catalogs to find the special things they needed. Today, I'm showing you a few items from the 1908 Sears, Roebuck & Co. catalog.

How would you like to wear one of these fancy concoctions? The description on the lower middle hat says: Beautiful shepherdess shape, which we guarantee to be becoming to any face. This hat is handmade on a wireframe of good quality materials. Overlying the upper brim and edge of the crown are rows of imported hair braid. A full drape of brown milliner's mull is laid around the crown and extends to nearly the edge of the brim. The mull is gathered in a large rosette effect directly on the left side front of the crown, and a large crushed rose in pink with buds and natural foilage give beauty and height to the trimming. --So that's only about half of the description. How would you like to buy something so frilly that you've only seen in black and white? It was quite a deal, though, for just $1.98.

If you needed a veil for your fancy hat, they had those too. This is just a small sampling of all the veils in the catalog. 

I'm guessing the smart thing would be to buy a hat and then make a dress to match it, since you wouldn't know the exact shade of the colors in the hat until you received it. Need some lace for your new gown?--the catalog has pages of it.

I thought these diaper drawers were interesting. Description: These diaper drawers designed to be worn over the diaper are very lightweight, are absolutely acid and waterproof and can be washed and ironed. They are odorless. Have loop in back to hang them up.

If you were in the market for a special birthday gift for your daughter, you might buy one of these cute dolls for less than 50 cents. What a deal!

If you wanted extra lighting for your parlor, you could purchase one of these lovely parlor lamps for just $3.59.
The lamp on the right is called a Romeo shape and bosts hand-painted painted lilacs with light green and dark green leaves. The burner is the highest grade central draft type that produces one hundred candle power. It is 27 1/2 inches tall with a ten-inch globe. It is adorned with heavy brass crown and base and is highly lacquered in gold. It weighs 30 pounds.  

How about some entertainment? The stereoscope was just the thing. It has a varnished cherry frame, engraved aluminum hood, and a patent lens lock. If you're not familiar with a stereoscope, it is an optical instrument with two eyepieces used to impart a three-dimensional effect to two photographs of the same scene taken at slightly different angles. You could buy "views" or slides to insert in the stereoscope that showed scenes from all over the world. 

And last but now least, you could order a kitchen sink from the catalog.

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into a 1908 catalog.


  1. As a child, my brother and I would lay on the floor and go page by page through the Christmas Sears Catalogue. Then we'd mark the pages that held out hearts' desires.

  2. I love this post! I always loved having the new issues of the Sears and Montgomery Ward catalogs to look through, even into my early adulthood! And the Christmas catalogs spurred dreams of the latest toys. I can't remember the year that we last had a catalog but I think my children, who were born in the late '70's were about 10 years old, because I remember getting some of the value packs for their school clothes. Thanks for the memories!

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