Shopping From Home, Circa 1912

Shopping From Home, Circa 1912

Susie Nadler
Sep 22, 2009

Shopping from the comfort of your living room seems like a relatively modern convenience, doesn't it? These days, after all, with the abundance of online retailers, you could furnish your whole house without ever leaving it. Well the truth is, even a century ago it was possible to shop for a sofa while lounging upon the one you already owned...

Montgomery Ward and Sears, of course, were among the first to pioneer mail-order catalog shopping. By the time the John M. Smyth Company catalog, pictured above, was published, it was possible to buy almost anything through the mail. Not quite as convenient as purchasing with the click of a button, but not far off!

SFGate got its hands on the Smyth Company catalog at the Alemany Flea Market last weekend, and they've published the entire thing online. Flipping through the pages provides a fun peek at the trends of the time in home furnishings (not to mention transportation, sporting goods, and fashion). And the prices, of course, will amaze. A hand-crafted oak china closet is going for $9.75. Ironwork beds run in the $3-$5 range. And a three-piece oak bedroom set with elaborate hand-carved scrollwork? $21.35.

Click over to SFGate to view the complete catalog, a humbling little history lesson.

(Images: SFGate)

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