Shopping Through The Ages: 1900

It’s time for another edition of “Shopping Through The Ages”!  This week, we’ll take a look at what our ancestors could have bought in the 1900 Sears, Roebuck, & Co. Catalog.  If you’re new to the series, check out 1896, 1897, 1898 and 1899.

To start out, I thought that I’d first lists some of the major events of 1899 – because many of them influenced the things available in the catalog.

  • Cuba was liberated from Spain by the U.S.
  • Many record low temperatures around the U.S. in February
  • Aspirin was  patented by Felix Hoffman.
  • Spain ceded Puerto Rico to the U.S.

And now on to some shopping.  Will we find any bargains??

Let’s start with fashions available for women in 1900.

The hats are still big.  Furs are definitely in.   Notice that the poofy sleeves are all but gone on the dresses and shirts.

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And on to some fashion for the men…,


Let’s see what the kids were wearing.  Is it just me, or do some of these kids look like their heads don’t quite belong on their bodies?  I wonder how they went about putting the pictures for the catalog together.

And moving on to other things….

Have you ever thought of keeping a squirrel or a chipmunk as a pet?  Definitely not my first choice of furry creatures, although I’m sure my kids would love it.

Addictions?  They’ve got a cure for everything it seems.

Look at this beautiful china.  Do any of you have pieces with these patterns on them?  I always find it interesting to see which few items of the catalog were in color.  In 1900, it was dishes.

I thought that this wall pocket was interesting.  I assume it’s for hiding important things.  A cheap wall safe?  I wonder how much you could fit into the pocket.  Have any of you come across one of these in an antique shop before?  I had never heard of them.

This next item “does not have to be emptied until filled,  no matter how long it stands”  It holds nine quarts. Thank God for indoor plumbing. Enough said.

It looks like the meaning of a G0-Cart has changed quite a bit in the last 111 years.  What do you think – are these early strollers, to move your kids into after they’ve outgrown a pram?  Or are these wheelchairs for invalids?

Sports were becoming even more and more popular, as evidenced by all of the equipment available.

Baseball.

Football.

Golf.

And even athletic and swimming suits.  I wonder how comfortable these could have been.  I especially like the “velvet puff trunks” for “theatrical or athletic exhibitions”.

Would you like a primitive Hide-A-Bed?

Or a beautiful, ornate couch?  I could imagine myself lounging on one of these, with a cocktail in hand….

Have you ever mangled your clothes??  I’m sure quite a few people mangled their fingers!

This toy looks like it’s a precursor to the Nerf dart guns (which my son loves!)  It only comes with one vacuum tipped arrow though.  We’d definitely have bought extras. :)

Aren’t these toilet sets gorgeous?

Anyone up for a game? I’m sure that many boys excitedly played “War in Cuba”, wishing that they were part of the action.:)

I wonder if any of my ancestors attended a stereopticon lecture.  It would have been exciting to see pictures from around the world.

And lastly, here are some California spurs.  I added these for my cousin, Wendy’s sake.  She has a family full of cowboys.  I wonder if any of them ever ordered their spurs from the Sears catalog…

Thanks for reading! Join me next time, when we shop our way through 1901.

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  • Dee Blakley - June 12, 2011 - 8:24 am

    I love these old ads…what a hoot.

    And yeah, agreed on the indoor plumbing. How did you carry a nine quart um…bucket…without tripping over the hem of your dress?ReplyCancel

  • Jennie - June 17, 2011 - 5:30 pm

    I have a replica of that same catalog. So fun to got through it for costume ideas and just general entertainment. Thanks for posting this. I loved your commentaryReplyCancel

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