Shopping Through the Ages: 1905

It’s time again to shop through the historic Sears, Roebuck, & Co. catalogs  This time, we’ll be looking at what was available for purchase in 1905.

First of all, here are some of the events of 1904 (which influenced some of the products available):

Russian-Japanese War, Theodore Roosevelt appointed a 7 man committee to explore the Panama Canal, ice cream cone made its debut, 1st Olympics in US were held in St. Louis (the 3rd modern Olympic Games), Trans-Siberian Railway completed, Wilbur Wright made his first airplane flight,  1st New York Subway opened, the first New Year’s Celebration was held in what will be known as Times Square.

Here is a book about the recent Russian-Japanese war. I think I may need to read it, because I don’t remember ever learning about this.

Let the shopping begin!  Let’s start with women’s fashion.  It still looked incredibly uncomfortable to me.  Corsets, corset covers, underskirts, dress shields, high collars.  So many layers! It must have been quite hard to get dressed every morning.:)


These collars are beautiful

As if all of the above clothing weren’t uncomfortable enough, let’s wear a shoulder brace too.

And some dress shields, so that all of the sweat from the 50 layer of clothes doesn’t ruin your dress…

Can you imagine swimming in something like this??  I think I’d sink to the bottom of the ocean.

Here are a variety of hats – from Napoleon to Roosevelt styles.

And a few from the men’s clothing department, although they aren’t nearly as exciting as the women’s clothes…

And some from the kids’ department…

This baby looks lost in this outfit. You can tell that this is before the advent of car seats and baby bouncers.  Can you imagine trying to strap the baby into a car seat with that on??

Now we’re going to move away from the clothing departments and on to the rest of the catalog.

The variety of the good available never ceases to amaze me.  I just love that you can find all of these very different things in one magical book.

From a Mohawk Indian Wigwam….

To a silver toothbrush…

Or a peanut roaster…

Anyone in need of a wrinkle eradicator?  This claims to remove wrinkles – not from clothes, but from around your eyes!

How about a Kalamazoo Swimming Frog?

Or a tree trunk gravestone?  Do any of you have an ancestor with a gravestone like this?

A folding bathtub…very interesting.

Or a foolish dictionary – “just a collection of foolish definitions about everything under the sun”.

Look at this liquid pistol.  It was actually in the bicycle section and was recommended as good protection for cyclists, against vicious dogs and tramps.

A hair growing fountain comb.

What every girl needs – a toilet mask. Can you imagine your husband coming home and finding you in this??  I think it belongs in a horror movie.:)

I have been in a couple of Bunco groups and always have a great time.  We play with dice though and this game appears to be played with cards.  The ad states that the game is “scientific as cribbage and as interesting as bridge whist embodying all the features of playing card games.”  Have any of you played Bunco with cards before?

The newest and most popular lawn game of the season – the boomerang.  It can be thrown completely around a house.:)

Favorite Obesity Belt.  Turn of the century Spanx.:)

How about a grass suit??  I tell you, they have it all!

Washed Hair for Plastering.  Ew.  At least it’s washed, I guess.  I don’t completely understand how this is used in plastering.  Any ideas?

Blondine. Love the name.:)

Miner’s Gold Pans.

The Excelsior Shower Bath.  Weird.  This child is wondering what on earth is happening to his mother.  Scarred for life.Bust Cream or Food.  Bust Food??  It “forms just the right food required for the starved skin and wasted tissues.”  Notice that it is “applied as a massage”.  I wonder how many husbands ordered this for their wives…..

How about an extension shoe for short legs??

Or a laughing camera.  “Furnishes more amusement than you would get in a circus.  Your friends grotesquely photographed.  Stout people look thin and thin people look stout.”  Hey, maybe I need one of these!!

I wonder how many couples read up on the “mysteries of kissing”.  “The present practice of kissing commenced with our first parents and has gained many devotees from year to year.”

How would you like to use a formaldehyde inhaler?  Doesn’t sound too pleasant to me.

Or an Egg Preserver – the “best and most effective means for preserving eggs for an indefinite period of time”.  Would you want to preserve eggs for an indefinite period of time?  That kind of scares me.

Did any of your ancestors play the Hohnephone?

The Imperial Automatic Morris Chair.  The first recliner?

The entire catalog was in black and white, except for this page of very bright carpet samples.

The Gypsy Witch Dream Book.  Besides telling you the meaning of your dreams, it also “contains full information about lucky days, and gypsy omens.”

A soapstone foot warmer would have been nice to have!  I guess next time I get in my car in the winter and I’m upset because my heater takes a minute to kick in, I’ll try to remember this.

And lastly – who could do without a pair of Lone Star Buck Gauntlet Gloves??

I hope you enjoyed this edition of Shopping Through the Ages!  Join me next month, when we shop through 1906.

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  • Judy G. Russell, CG - July 8, 2012 - 7:30 am

    What a great post! Love some of these items — and am so glad I don’t have to contemplate using or wearing them!ReplyCancel

  • Debi Austen - July 8, 2012 - 2:54 pm

    Yay, Shopping Through the Ages is back!!! Turn of the century spanx – you’re killing me here! :-)ReplyCancel

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