a searing legacy

Sears Roebuck typical camera pages 100+ years ago

Toronto. Well, Christmas and boxing day are over for most of us. Hope you managed to give/receive great gifts and find bargains in spite of the @#$#%^ pandemic we are all struggling with (well, most of us up here anyway).

Prior to the end of WW2, Canada was heavily oriented towards the UK and UK goods. The big deal each holiday season used to be Eaton’s catalogue. In the early years of the last century, Eaton’s also sold a wide variety of cameras and supplies. Bob Wilson generously allowed the use of his c1910 catalogue as an original for copies sent to all members along with our journal during the society’s 25th anniversary in 1999. Today, we have a pdf version of the same catalogue here under PRESS.

Eaton’s never operated in the States. Instead, in America, Sear Roebuck served the same purpose. Catalogues and mail order flourished over a century ago when most of North America was rural and not everyone could go shopping in the city. Like Eaton’s, the old Sears Roebuck catalog served its country’s population including professional and amateur photographers alike, but out of Chicago, instead of Toronto.

A typical Sears Roebuck catalog and its cameras and supplies can be seen on Archive.org in its Internet Archive section as shown with a typical spread. A thanks is due to friend and fellow PHSC member, George Dunbar for sharing this find.


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