Shopping Through The Ages: 1901

Wow, it’s been too long since I went shopping in the old Sears & Roebuck catalogs! It’s definitely time for another edition of “Shopping Through the Ages”.

This week, I’m spotlighting the year 1901. Here are some interesting things that happened that year (according to www.brainyhistory.com):

  • The Commonwealth of Australia was founded
  • Oil is discovered in Texas
  • The first games are played in baseball’s American League
  • H Cecil Booth patented a dust removing suction cleaner
  • The Pan-American Exposition was in Buffalo, NY
  • William McKinley started his second term as president, he was also assassinated this year – at the Pan-American Expo in NY
  • Memorial Day is first observed in the U.S.
  • Theodore Roosevelt becomes president.  He renames the Executive Mansion, the “White House”.
  • Gilette patents the first disposable razor

Since the catalog was only printed a couple of times a year, the events of the times often didn’t make their way into the catalog until the following year.  I’m interested to see if any of the events influenced the products available.  Let’s see….

First a peek at fashion, because I like to see what people were wearing. It can be helpful in dating photographs and it’s just plain fun to see what uncomfortable things people were willing to wear for the sake of fashion.

Big hats, lots of furs (if you could afford them, right?) and the shirt sleeves are looking less “poofy”.

Can you imagine wearing this on your wedding night? Pretty risque, isn’t it?

And on to the men.  The suits look pretty plain, don’t they?  And the collars uncomfortable.


I especially like these striped sweaters.  Don’t these guys look like they belong at an Ivy League school or something?

And here are some examples from the children’s section.  The poor little boy on the right looks like Little Lord Fauntleroy.  And if I’m not mistaken, there is a boy in a dress in the bottom left hand corner.  Can you imagine how he’d be teased today?? (or am I wrong and is that a little girl with VERY short hair?)

Let’s move away from fashion and look at some of the other interesting products available in the catalog. There was such a wide variety!

Like this perfume.  The name speaks for itself.

I don’t think any of my ancestors needed this contraption or companion cream.  Can you even imagine??

I am very thankful for my copy/fax machine/printer…

And my computer to type up my blog posts.  Have you ever seen a typewriter like this one before?  I wonder how many words per minute I could type…

I love this calculator too!  Wow, we’ve come a long way.

How about a bath cabinet?  I wonder how you got yourself out of this contraption?  And where on earth would you keep it?

I’ve never had a boil, but judging by the expression on this man’s face, it must not be a very pleasant thing!

I’ll have to add some of these to my reading list.:)

I don’t have any words for this device.  None.

I love this fitness equipment – fun for the whole family!

Little boys, dreaming of flying…

I thought this wheelchair was interesting.  I wonder how many people could fit into this chair today.:)

You could actually buy a roulette wheel through the catalog!  A mini Vegas in your own home.

I thought that these hall trees were pretty.

And lastly, I’ll leave you with these hats.  I can’t imagine my young children walking around with graduation caps on.  I wonder where the appropriate place to wear this would be.  Elementary School?

Until next time!

If you missed my earlier posts in this series, here they are for your reading enjoyment…..

1896, 1897, 1898, 1899, 1900

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  • Dee - July 30, 2011 - 2:18 pm

    What a hoot! Don’t you love the way they pasted heads on those fashion models?ReplyCancel

    • Jen - July 30, 2011 - 10:17 pm

      I know! I wonder how they went about actually putting the catalog together. There must have been a lot of pasting involved. :) ReplyCancel

  • Joan - July 31, 2011 - 3:42 pm

    What fun! Look forward to reading more of your blog.ReplyCancel

  • Sheryl - July 31, 2011 - 9:40 pm

    Great post! The ads are hilarious–yet at the same time they provide a wonderful window into the issues and concerns that people had in 1901.ReplyCancel

  • Lisa - September 3, 2011 - 4:20 pm

    I just found your blog and this series. I have had the most fun looking at through these ads. So glad I live in modern times.ReplyCancel

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