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Author Topic: Victorian Era Catalogs?  (Read 2557 times)
ArmySGT.
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« on: December 24, 2015, 04:42:52 am »

Greetings,

A friend has asked me for help in his efforts to produce a Steampunk Victorian Era supplement to a popular role playing game system. Now I have a 1898 Sears Catalog for the Americas.

What I really need is some true catalogs from London and Paris with all the items beyond frock coats and petticoats available for purchase.

Can anyone suggest even companies and department stores of the period that provided everything like Sears & Roebuck?

I have been relying on the Evanion catalogue so far. http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/evanion/Default.aspx
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RJBowman
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« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2015, 08:04:58 am »

Did catalog companies on that scale exist outside of America back then?
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #2 on: December 25, 2015, 12:37:52 am »

Did catalog companies on that scale exist outside of America back then?

Kays of Worcester (closed in 2004) dates back to 1890.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kays_Catalogues
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Cora Courcelle
Snr. Officer
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England England



« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2015, 12:06:28 am »

How about Harrods, also Army and Navy store (although that might be early 1900's rather than Victorian).
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You have to tread a fine line between avant-garde surrealism and getting yourself sectioned...
RJBowman
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« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2015, 12:48:47 am »

Victoria died in 1901, so the "early 20th century" made it under the wire. Besides, steampunk is full of science and technology advanced beyond that era, so the occasional odd fashion or hardware item a few years out of period wouldn't be a major violation. For me, steampunk can extend into the 1920's.
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ArmySGT.
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United States United States


« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2015, 12:07:22 am »

Did catalog companies on that scale exist outside of America back then?

Kays of Worcester (closed in 2004) dates back to 1890.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kays_Catalogues
Thanks. That was helpful........ I wish the whole catalogue had been scanned!
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Hurricane Annie
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« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2015, 07:17:27 am »



Check out the local library for books in their catalogue for fashions in the relevant decade .  There are some lovely modern books with copies of antique and vintage catalogue and advertisements
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2015, 11:04:21 am »

Did catalog companies on that scale exist outside of America back then?


Kays of Worcester (closed in 2004) dates back to 1890.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kays_Catalogues

Thanks. That was helpful........ I wish the whole catalogue had been scanned!



Just a thought.  It ocurred to me that this mail order activity could be older than the 1890s.  There were a number of stores distributed all throughout the Americas, dedicated to importing goods from Europe, at a time when Europe dominated all production of commodities such as clothing and other wares. There's a possibility that special orders at stores existed in early department stores like Whiteleys (London, 1863-67), Le Bon Marché (Paris, 1852) and in A T Stewart & Co. (New York, 1823) prior to the invention of the modern department store (attributed to the American expatriate Selfridge in London, 1909). A T Stewart & Co. did in fact have a mail order service.

For example, I was reading about a French merchant, Jean Baptiste Ebrard, who founded a store by the name of The Cloth Case in 1847 in Mexico City.  Most of its products were imports and came from the British port of Liverpool, so eventually the store changed its name to [The Port of] Liverpool, eventually becoming a chain of upscale department stores similar to Harrods (1834), and today Liverpool is a very large wealthy company.  I can see these early companies in the mid-late 19th C. having some sort of mail or special order catalogues for well heeled customers...  Just a thought....

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whiteleys

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_Bon_March%C3%A9
http://www.lebonmarche.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whiteleys

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harrods
http://www.harrods.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Turney_Stewart

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selfridges
http://www.selfridges.com

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liverpool_%28store%29
http://www.liverpool.com.mx/tienda/
« Last Edit: December 30, 2015, 11:09:42 am by J. Wilhelm » Logged
Mercury Wells
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« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2016, 08:17:08 pm »

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pryce_Pryce-Jones (It was Britain's first large scale mail order business).
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Mr. Greyhill
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« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2016, 02:07:40 pm »

Greetings,

Whither Canada?

I have a reproduction of the 1901 T. Eaton C. (Eaton's) catalogues. They were reprinted in the seventies, and you could probably find one online through Abebooks. The book, a combination of the Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter catalogues, is a very amusing read.

Also, the Canadian Museum of History has several pre-1900 cataloges online as part of an online exhibit about a world before e-commerce:

http://www.historymuseum.ca/cmc/exhibitions/cpm/catalog/cat0006e.shtml

There's also this online archive:

https://archive.org/details/eatons1899190000eatouoft


Eaton's was THE mail order store in Canada, during a time when 3/4 of the population lived in rural areas, and could have access to a great variety of goods this way. They sold everything from hockey sweaters to pre-fab houses. They did manufacture their own clothing (My great-grandfather worked in the tailoring department as a cutter). There would also have been a lot of imported British and other goods due to the high tariffs on US products during this period.
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creagmor
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South Africa South Africa



« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2016, 06:04:36 pm »

Although I don't know when they started, I do remember Sears, Roebuck, and Co., in the US, were famous for their catalogues, and I seem to remember that at one point in time there were reproductions available. Among other thing I think they even sold such items as automobiles and gravestones.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2016, 12:34:50 pm by creagmor » Logged

“Love is an emotional thing, and whatever is emotional is opposed to that cold true reason which I place above all things.” Sherlock Holmes, in The Sign of Four.
RJBowman
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« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2016, 04:32:14 am »

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=montgomery+ward+catalog

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=sears+catalog&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Asears+catalog

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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2016, 05:20:33 am »

I wonder in an alternate Steampunk time line, if people shopped over the Aetherweb, what would they call that type of catalogue / shopping?
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Cora Courcelle
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England England



« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2016, 10:50:04 pm »

I wonder in an alternate Steampunk time line, if people shopped over the Aetherweb, what would they call that type of catalogue / shopping?

And would it sometimes take an unfeasibly long time for things to arrive from the distant province of Cathay? (Sorry, but I am still waiting for one Christmas present to arrive - ordered at beginning of November ... it's 'in transit')

As for what it would be called, how about The Aether Emporium?
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RJBowman
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« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2016, 12:24:07 am »

I wonder in an alternate Steampunk time line, if people shopped over the Aetherweb, what would they call that type of catalogue / shopping?

I imagine something akin to Vannevar Bush's proposed "memex" machine. You would be able to get catalog images sent your Nipkow disk display, and make purchases remotely through a credit system, but you would need to know Morse code to use it.
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J. Wilhelm
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United States United States


Sentisne fortunatum punkus? Veni. Diem meum comple


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« Reply #15 on: January 19, 2016, 05:48:37 am »

I wonder in an alternate Steampunk time line, if people shopped over the Aetherweb, what would they call that type of catalogue / shopping?

And would it sometimes take an unfeasibly long time for things to arrive from the distant province of Cathay? (Sorry, but I am still waiting for one Christmas present to arrive - ordered at beginning of November ... it's 'in transit')

As for what it would be called, how about The Aether Emporium?

Dear Cora:

I've had much better luck trading with the Dun Huangwang Gate outposts in Shanghai, having waited about 5 days for a Qipao and my monthly supply of Laudanum  Roll Eyes
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Cora Courcelle
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England England



« Reply #16 on: January 20, 2016, 12:27:56 pm »

Dear Cora:

I've had much better luck trading with the Dun Huangwang Gate outposts in Shanghai, having waited about 5 days for a Qipao and my monthly supply of Laudanum  Roll Eyes

I usually try to avoid ordering too much from China anyway, but I don't know exactly who should be supplying this item as it is actually a present to me from my dearly beloved and he is being quite cagey about details! (He has bought me a beautiful corset to make up for the disappointment of not getting the other present on time).
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RJBowman
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« Reply #17 on: January 20, 2016, 08:40:08 pm »

http://www.amazon.com/Eatons-Fall-Winter-Catalogue-1899-1900-ebook/dp/B00B1UU4BS/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1453318739&sr=8-2-fkmr0&keywords=T.+Eaton+C.+catalog
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