Order now! (100 years ago or so)

As Amaz*n gets overloaded, and Instac*rt can’t find the diet soda, we journey back 100 years or so to see what we could have ordered then, delivered to our homes. It turns out, quite a lot. Montgomery Ward could deliver pretty much anything: pianos, washing machines, tools, ready-made clothing. The Sears Catalog boasted pages and pages of everything from canning jars to do-it-yourself houses.

During the pandemic of 1918-19, Sears also produced their seed catalog. It began with an disclaimer about how the events of the past few years have made people realize we need to grow more food, but they can’t be held responsible for the many factors (weather, soil) that could make your seeds not grow. They knew that many people were starting gardens for the first time, so they gave advice:

I was pleased to find that the Montgomery Ward catalog of 1920 had their priorities in order: chocolate at the top, washing soda at the bottom:

(I could use a Bluing Paddle, actually. I am one of the few remaining people who use bluing.)

I counted seven pages just of chairs (not counting loveseat-style). To give an idea of selection, here’s just a tiny clip of the index from that catalog:

Need to get me some of that canoe glue, and find my paddle. Oh wait — I can order one.

2 comments to Order now! (100 years ago or so)

  • Online sales of seeds and plants are booming here in the UK, but so too is bird seed. Bird seed has always sold well in the UK, but now it seems, everyone wants to attract birds to their gardens. The birds do seem to be singing louder than ever this year, but perhaps that’s just because we can hear them better.

    • Lisa M Lane

      The birds are back here in So Cal too, but I’ve already seen two species I’ve never seen before. Good thing there’s nothing to global warming!