Greetings from the Omnigraphic Blogopticon. On view are vile sticky things dragged from the attic, snarky commentary on the world at large, and all-encompassing ennui. All that and a weird rubbery smell. A horrible time will be had by all.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Fun With Sears & Roebuck

This is something I've been wanting to play with for a while. I've got a pile of old Sears & Roebuck catalogs and a few early reprints and I thought I would pick out one item from say, the 1983 catalog, and then follow it back to 1897, so long as Blogger isn't being all cranky-ass and eating my photos again.

Don't know what's up with that.

So to begin with I've picked out a stereo system, Sears high-end-ish. I could have easily done snowboots or pickle jars or mysterious products for your "lady days" but I went with stereos. You'll thank me later. Nobody wants to see endless images of snowboots unless you've got a fetish I don't want to know about and I'm saving the girly products for another time.


Our first example is from the 1983 Sears Wishbook. I know. You're saying $679.99 isn't much, but consider it's 1983 money, so it's kinda like a couple thousand bucks or something. You could shag carpet your rec room, get bubble windows for your van, and buy water beds for both your old ladies for $679.99 and still have some bread left for enough Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill to get them both drunk with.

Really.

"As the tone arm softly floats down to the record, prepare yourself for great stereo reproduction thanks to our magnetic cartridge. And when its done, don't get up, the tone arm will automatically return."
Ha. I have a ton of vinyl that has this closed loop at the end, probably manufactured as a cruel joke, which makes the thing turn around and around and around until you finally get up and change it by hand.

Sears Spring through Summer 1965. "Sound is instant--unlike tubes, transistors need no warm up, go to work at once." I wish they'd shown this one with the lid opened because they're sorta cool inside. My parents had one of these cabinet stereos (different model) for years and I remember playing the Talking Heads Remain In Light on it really loud in the early 80s. I'm sure it sounded like ass, but considering what the stereo my brother and I shared sounded like I didn't have anything much for comparison.

And $279.95 is like thousands in 2010 money. You could purchase a very nice vacation home on Mars for $279.95, and they'd throw in the jetpack for free.

Sears Spring and Summer 1949. Damn, $375.00 is like $10,000 today! I bet you could buy several WWII Army Air Corp surplus bombers for $375.00, back in the day.

"Help yourself to exciting fun! By magnetizing a durable stainless steel wire, you can record radio programs, disc records or from microphone." Recording on wire has got to be kinda like magic, at least until you want to play it back a couple years later and you realize everyone on the planet has switched to magnetic tape.


Sears, Roebuck & Co. 1902. Remember kids, $75.00 was almost $100,000 in those days. You could buy a couple of houses with $75 and have cash left over for some horsehair parlor furniture.

This particular model has "...one 42-inch monster amplifying brass horn, doubling or tripling the sound which can be obtained even from this wonderfully loud and brilliant machine..." So, what you're saying is the neighbors will be pounding on the walls and calling the police when you crank this puppy up? If they didn't already hate "Jeannie With the Light Brown Hair" they will now.

Sears, Roebuck and Co. 1897. $25.00 was like a million bucks.! In fact, $25.00 was the entire yearly budget of NASA in 1897.

This one is shown without its fancy horn, but it does come with a bottle of oil and a screwdriver, perhaps for when you invite the Tin Man over and he has a little too much Boone's Farm. And the less said about such available Graphophone hits as "Darky Shuffle" the better.

4 comments:

Scott said...

Tell me more about this "monster amplifying brass horn". At present there are monsters that I would like to amplify and I feel this brass horn would be most useful.

Severina said...

For starters I'd probably need to know exactly which end of the monster you'll be jamming the horn into.

Mouse said...

I'm pretty sure that the 1983 stereo system you showed is the same exact one that STILL sits in my parents living room right this very moment.

Viviana said...

"42-inch monster amplifying brass horn" - 42 inches isn't very big for a monster... still, it would be cool to have one of those horns.