Sears, Roebuck and Company

As a child Christmas had three important elements for me: Christ Jesus, Santa Claus, and the Sears, Roebuck catalog. While I held the birth of Jesus in all reverence, Santa’s coming held great expectation, and it was the Christmas edition of the Sears, Roebuck catalog that brought wonder to the season.

We would receive this special edition approximately two months before Christmas. I always went directly to the toy section studying possibilities from Santa. I’d mark certain items in the hope Mother and Daddy would get the message.

On Christmas morning I usually received many of the items that were in the family’s budget and most of my dreaming came true. This was a glorious time. There seemed to be a special glow in the room from the tree lights, silver tinsel, and glossy balls and enhanced by Mother’s and Daddy’s satisfied smiles.

Throughout the year it was the big Sears, Roebuck catalog that was of greater importance. Since there were no large department stores near by, the mail order catalog became the mode of shopping. This was a huge book about two inches thick and was organized in departments covering everything from shoes to the Bible. I remember Sears, Roebuck’s Allstate Automotive Insurance and its popular Diehard automotive battery. Prices always seemed fair. We would check the catalog for its price before purchasing an item from any other business.

When the new catalog came each year, we could spend hours just “look” shopping. The old catalog was found to be useful out back.

I did a little research on how Sears, Roebuck started and what I found might be interesting to you:

Richard W. Sears was a railroad agent in North Redwood, Minneapolis. A Chicago jewelry company shipped an order of gold filled watches to a Minneapolis jewelry store.  When the jewelry store refused delivery, Mr. Sears decided to purchase the shipment and try to sell the watches himself. This proved to be successful, and he began a company known as R.W. Sears Watch Company. A year later he placed an advertisement in the newspaper for a watchmaker. The ad received a response from a man named Alvah C. Roebuck.  Sears hired Roebuck and 7 years later the corporate name of the firm became Sears, Roebuck and Company.
Business turned out to be very profitable for the company and in the 1890's the mail order industry for Sears, Roebuck and Co. began. Sears, Roebuck introduced a mail order catalog that offered shoes, women's garments, wagons, fishing tackle, stoves, furniture, saddles, bicycles, and more that helped customers in rural areas purchase merchandise they might not have been able to purchase otherwise.