Shopping Through the Ages: 1897

Here is my second installment of “Shopping Through the Ages”. To read last week’s post, click here.

This week, I found some great buys in the 1897 Sears, Roebuck, & Co. catalog.  Come shopping with me!

Let’s start with men’s fashion. These guys look very dignified.  I wonder if my ancestors dressed this stylish.  Even farmers had to dress up and go to church, right? Can’t you picture these men strolling through Central Park?  I’m sure many of our hardworking ancestors were wearing the clothing to the right.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The catalog includes pages and pages of different styles and fabrics.  It is a daunting task to choose the perfect outfit. If you can’t make up your mind, why not have it all?  The Reversible Revolving Bosom is the answer to your problem.  “You can amuse your friends by changing the color and pattern of your shirt at a moment’s notice”.  Wow.  I’m sure this was a big seller.:)This was probably my favorite find from 1897 – just for the pure absurdity of it.  Isn’t it hilarious?

Let’s move on to some fashion for women. Aren’t these tea gowns lovely?  1897 is definitely still in the poofy shoulders era.  I suppose the big arms make your waist appear even smaller.  I thought the “collarettes” were quite interesting too – sort of in between a cape and a scarf.


Maybe you were too skinny though and needed a bit more padding in the spots that count.  No fear!  Sears had you covered. Literally.

I thought these “fascinators” were well,  fascinating.  They look very exotic.  I’m not sure where you would wear one of these.

And how about these poor little boys?  I don’t think I’ve ever seen such frilly blouses as the ones to the left – even on a girl.  I think they would have been laughed off the playground wearing these to school, don’t you?  The second outfit isn’t quite as girly, but reminds me a lot of Little Lord Fauntleroy. And look at the poor saggy baby diaper.  I used cloth on my own for a number of years, so I can understand!

One of my favorite departments is medicine.I always find the medicinal ads so fun to read. “Nerve and Brain Pills”, “Pink Pills for Pale People”, “Female Pills”, “Arsenic Complexion Wafers” “Obesity Powders”, “Pasteur’s Microbe Killer”.  I am very thankful for modern medicine!undefinedundefined
It’s fun to see what new contraptions they had in the kitchen too.  What about this gasoline stove?  Apparently “any child can operate it”.  Would you want your child operating a gasoline stove?


Have you ever heard of a polyopticon?  I hadn’t. It appears to be kind of like a slide projector, except not slides.  If I understood right, you use pictures.

Anyone up for a game? This sounds….interesting.

There were some very odd flavors of chewing gum.  Not sure if my kids would go for these…

Anyone up for some light reading? I wonder why this didn’t become a classic.

Need some exercise?  How about a trapeze bar?

Or a football?

Or maybe a new baseball uniform?

On a more serious and somber note, have you ever seen one of these grave guards before?  I wonder how sturdy they were and if they lasted through the years.

I posted this a few months back, but I had to include it here also.  Dog Power. Am I the only one that finds this funny?  Dogs churning butter.

I lived for three years in Alaska without one of those automatic ice makers (it was there but for some reason it wasn’t hooked up).  I was annoyed that I had to use ice cube trays.  I should be thankful that I didn’t have to “shred” my own ice.:)

Have you ever heard of a lamp chimney stove?  It was a small “stove” that fit onto the top of a lamp.  You could then boil water on your lamp.  This looks really dangerous to me.  Boiling water, balancing on the top of a lamp.  I can’t decide which one of my kids would be the first to knock it over, but I know that I definitely would have passed on this one.

Maybe you’re thinking of repainting your dining room.  How about some lead paint?

And lastly, I’ll leave you with this “Wood Butcher’s Set”.  My husband is quite the carpenter, so I don’t think this small set would be adequate for him.  I however am mechanically challenged and I would definitely “butcher” the wood.  Have you ever heard this term before?

I’ll see you next week, when we go shopping through the 1898 catalog.:)

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