Shopping Through The Ages: 1899

This week we’re looking at the 1899 Sears & Roebuck Catalog.  They are available on and I’ve been having a lot of fun paging through them.

One of the major events of 1898 was the Spanish-American War.  That was reflected by many items in this year’s catalog which pertained to that war.  Here is one of them:

Notice some of the toys available.  A “Remember the Maine” toy bank, and a “Rough Riders Chime Toy”.   I especially liked the artillery bank.  It really shoots the money into the bank!

There were still many items geared towards the Alaskan adventurer also:

Here is some of the fashionable clothing available to women in 1899.  Those bows on the bottom row are humongous!!!

And for the men:

This catalog even included a page full of sample fabrics for the men’s clothing.

I loved the variety of hats available too.  You could be a farmer, a cowboy, a banker, a soldier, or a golfer and they had you covered.

I didn’t forget the children!  Yes, that is a little boy in a “kilt suit” in the large picture.

I couldn’t help but laugh out loud when I read this ad for the “Waist Front Distender”.  It claims that “a full bust makes your waist look small.”  I’m sure it does, but I think the shape of these women looks a bit odd, don’t you?

And this product, the “Frost King and Queen” seems ridiculous. “No one ever need have a cold if they wear one of these vests”.  They are essentially wearing  “Sham Wows!”. 🙂  I could totally see this made into a late night infomercial.

Can you imagine taking a shower with a “shower bath yoke”?  Me neither.

How about a vapor bath?  These look kind of interesting.

Here is a peek at some of the different hair products that were available at this time period.

And some more miracle medicines.  These always make me smile.  I wonder how well some of them may have worked.  I especially liked the “Mexican headache Cure”.

Sears seriously had it all.  You name it and they offered it.  You could even buy gravestones.  Do you recognize any of your ancestors’ gravestones here?

Some of the most exciting new things offered were the moving pictures!!

Look at some of the exciting things you would watch!

Both the moving pictures and the graphophone (below) were marketed towards people who wanted to make a bunch of money by traveling around and offering shows or lectures.

The other big thing was the “Magic Lantern” which was a slide machine.  It also offered lectures on various subjects:

I wonder if any of my ancestors attended lectures or shows and what their first impression of them was. It must have been exciting!

And here is one of the big ticket items for this time period.  The sewing machine.  Notice that the ad for it is IN COLOR. Do any of you have antique sewing machines from your ancestors?  They sure made them beautifully, didn’t they?

And I’ll leave you with this neat invention – the Pianissimo Pedal.  New musicians could practice the piano “with no annoying results to others”.

Well, that’s it for 1899.  Join me next week when we going shopping in 1900.

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