It was massive beyond all comprehension, it was incredibly cheap, it had everything in stock—it was Sears, Roebuck & Co. at the turn of the twentieth century. Oh, and it had a few kinks to work out. As one customer reportedly complained: “For heaven's sake, quit sending me sewing machines. Every time I go to the station I find another one there. You have shipped me five already.” But the company would gain a handle on its rapid growth and develop a reputation for efficiency and customer satisfaction. The catalog selection exploded to include all sorts of categories, from watches and jewelry to sporting goods, firearms, furniture, shoes, clothes, toiletries, toys, and almost anything else imaginable—including, of course, Dr. Hammonds Nerve and Brain Tablets, billed as the “Great Remedy for Weak Men,” for all those neurological disturbances men may have sought to cure in conjunction with ordering a sewing machine throughout the ages. With merchandise ranging from ordinary to fantastical (all priced at the pennies-on-the-dollar rate of yore), browsing through this vintage collection is sure to be an enjoyable experience. Now if only it came with a time machine . . .
Sears, Roebuck & Co. was founded in 1886 in Chicago, Illinois. It published a general merchandise mail order catalog and consumer guide from 1888 until 1993. It is the author of the 1897 Sears Roebuck & Co. Catalogue and the 1908 Sears, Roebuck & Co. Catalogue.