Monday, November 15, 2010

A relic

When I cracked the cover of this book, I made a noise that I normally reserve for sporting events. That is because I realized I was holding a relic of American retail history - a 1932 wholesale catalog from the Fort Dearborn Watch and Clock Company. This 900 page catalog features jewelry, furniture, linens, accordions, luggage, candy jars, and just about anything else you can think of. It was intended to be set out on the counter at department stores for customer's to flip through and select from. Sister copies of this catalog are in libraries - they are extremely, extremely rare.

This book has enough material to fill the blog for over a year. Every page is outstanding and reveals so much about the time period. I took it to a local consignment shop to show my favorite lady, Susie, who was born in 1933 - the year after the book was published. I joked that I would like to buy all the rings and purses at the 1932 prices and she reminded me (rather somberly) that, at that time, the average American worker made $3 a week. So, buying a $30 ring was a big deal. Anyway, Susy and I looked through the book together and when we were done she said, "Just add two zeros to these prices, and you have today's value." I think she is just about right.


Anonymous said...

What a great find! Where did you stumble upon the book? I have sold many a hoosier cabinet like the one above. I have yet to find one to keep in my own kitchen. Ha ha

Karen/Small Earth Vintage said...

So cool! I can't get over how...psychedelic?...those Whiting & Davis bags are! Every time I've seen one it's just plain mesh. Wild!

Kellie said...

Oh wow, this is such an amazing find!! You're so lucky! that illustration of all the rings is gorgeous!

alexkeller said...

i just had to go back and look at this - wonder what our 2010 catalog would look like? Gina of Huzzah! might have a few contributions!

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