Shopping Through the Ages: 1898

I’m back with another installment of “Shopping Through The Ages”.  This week, I perused the 1898 Sears, Roebuck, and Co. catalog (available on Ancestry).

There were quite a few differences between the 1897 and 1898 catalogs.  I’m sure some of them I simply didn’t notice in the previous one, but I know that other items were new.

Fashion seems to have changed quite a bit.  The poofy shoulders of the dresses in 1897 were smaller. Some of them were actually a bit pointed instead.

It also looks like there was more variety to the patterns offered.  And more skirts with shirt waists rather than dresses.  They look like you can move in them a little better than the previous years.

It looks like some of the clothing was moving a bit more towards the practical.

But they were still tied down in corsets.

I love these bicycle suits.  You’ll notice that the ladies’ skirts are shorter, presumably so that they didn’t get stuck in the spokes.  They would have been absolutely scandalized by the bicycle outfits people wear today!

Here is some more men’s clothing.  I noticed that the suits were very “busy” with patterns.  I thought I’d include some overalls since I have many ancestors who were farmers.

Aren’t these hats adorable?

Don’t these children look like they’re having a good time with their “Combination Belt and Supporter”?  I think I’d be dangling it in front of the cat too!!

And on to some exciting new technology!  I found a “moving picture”machine  instead of the simple picture viewer from the previous year.

The biggest difference I noticed between the catalogs, was that in the 1898 one, there are many new products being marketed towards the Klondike/Alaska.  The gold rush started in 1897, so this makes sense.  I love seeing how historical events influenced the items offered.

And here are a bunch of items that I thought were fun…

As much as I like pickles, I can’t imagine owning a dish specifically for them.  It was called a “pickle caster”.  Now that I think about it, this is probably a good idea.  My kids are always sticking their grubby little hands in the pickle jar, trying to fish one out.

This is the first time I noticed a milk shake machine and an ice shaver!  Yum!

Don’t these look like the perfect little cake tins for a card party?

We’ve all seen the folding “Murphy” beds.  What about a folding bath?  “Every village and farmer may have a complete bath service as well as city folks.”  They were made to look like a beautiful piece of furniture, so that you didn’t have to have a bathroom to put them in.  You could have your folding tub in your living room!

What about this nursery chair?  Is it just me, or does it appear to have a convenient hole in the seat??

I loved these fancy plush robes.  It’s essential to keep warm when you’re out for a sleigh ride!

Before the advent of Lysol spray…

Don’t these look comfortable?? “For nervous diseases, nervous exhaustion, rheumatism, sciatica, lame back, insomnia, melancholia, kidney disorder, dyspepsia, diseases of the liver, female weakness, complicated diseases, caused by overwork, long hours of study, dissipations and indiscretions in youth”.  Wow.

And lastly, after looking through page after page of different types of transportation, I decided to educate myself a bit on what the differences between these different conveyances are.

Here are the definitions I found, using Dictionary.com:

Surrey: a light, 4-wheeled horse-drawn carriage having two or four seats.

Buggy: a light, four-wheeled, horse-drawn carriage with a single seat and a transverse spring.

Phaeton: any of various light, four-wheeled carriages, with or without a top, having one or two seats facing forward, used in the 19th century.

Trap: a light two-wheeled carriage

Jump Seat Buggy: a buggy with a movable or folding seat, used as an extra seat.

Buckboard: a light, four-wheeled carriage in which a long elastic board or lattice frame is used in place of body and springs.

Stanhope: a light, open, one-seated, horse-drawn carriage with two or four wheels.

It was interesting.  They also had delivery wagons, milk wagons, and even “sewing machine” wagons (specifically for the delivery of sewing machines).

They also offered  buggy painting.  It was neat to come across this page, because it was one of the only ones that was in color.

That’s it for this week!  I hope you enjoyed this post.  Join me next week when I shop through 1899!!!

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  • MN Family Historian - May 7, 2011 - 3:47 pm

    Wow, those catalogs were a riot! The Alaska sweater picture looks more like mail armor from the Middle Ages.

    And I love how they proclaim self-heating, folding, bath tubs as “THE GREATEST INVENTION EVER APPLIED TO HOME COMFORT.” I’d never heard of them before. The whole concept sounds like an accident waiting to happen.ReplyCancel

    • Jen - May 7, 2011 - 10:01 pm

      It does look like armor, doesn’t it??ReplyCancel

  • Heather Roelker - May 7, 2011 - 5:44 pm

    The clothing from this time period look hotter than heck, but I bet I would look smashing in it! ;)ReplyCancel

    • Jen - May 7, 2011 - 10:01 pm

      It would be SO hot – especially with all of the necessary undergarments too!ReplyCancel

  • Debi Austen - May 9, 2011 - 1:44 pm

    I love the folding bathtubs! Especially important after wearing all of those clothes and undergarments in the hot weather – can’t imagine what people must have smelled like back them :-(ReplyCancel

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