General Question

Ltryptophan's avatar

What were the top 20 mail order catalogs of the early 20th century?

Asked by Ltryptophan (12091points) June 11th, 2021 from iPhone

Before things went all suburban shopping mall, there were many popular mail order catalogs.

Sears in particular produced a comprehensive catalog that even had house kits. (Many Sears houses are still in use.)

It wasn’t just Sears. There were many others.

Can you help me think of at least 19 more?

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13 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

Otto, Quelle, and Conrad.

janbb's avatar

Montgomery Ward

filmfann's avatar

Lord and Tailor


Try googling “wishbooks”.

Caravanfan's avatar

Orion Telescope

flutherother's avatar

LL Bean
Eddie Bauer
Miles Kimball
Vermont Country Store
Walter Drake
Lillian Vernon
Lands’ End

cookieman's avatar

I used to love getting catalogs in the mail, as a kid — particularly the Sears and Roebuck holiday one.

Locally, we had Child World Toy Store catalogs too. Great stuff.

As an aside, if there was ever a company poised to transition to online shopping, it was Sears — arguable the mail-order kings. They could have been Amazon. Shame they missed the boat and are gone now.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Most of the names listed above were not available in the early 1900s.

I googled JC Penney and their first catalog was in the 1950s.

I know L.L. Bean was an early 20th century catalog because my mom remembers my granddad in Colorado wore their boots in the 1930s-1940s.

Land’s End began as a 1960s boating supply shop. I used to visit the clothing outlet which was on the site of their Chicago sail shop. And by sail I mean they sold sails for sailboats. The familiar clothing catalog came along in the 1970s.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar



I get a Sears catalog at that link. I was trusting Wikipedia – “In 1963, J. C. Penney issued its first catalog.” I don’t mind being proven wrong.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

There was a Christmas catalog I think in the late 1930s.

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