How Your Hobby Started

| July/August 1971

3904-47th Avenue, S., Seattle, Washington 98118

Mail order houses were competing for the surburban and rural business in various parts of this country in the early part of this century. They offered every possible commodity from babies long white dresses to farm machinery and even building materials.

If you want real startling proof of the inflation as it exists today, look at one of the mail order catalogs about 1910 to 1920 and if it makes you a little squirmish in your stomach, it will help you realize some of the prices on gasoline engines being sold by these companies in that era. Sears and Montgomery Ward had another formidable competitor in the northwestern part of the country.

From the 852 page, 1916 Catalog No. 29 of the M. W. Savage Factories, Inc., of 3rd and 2nd Ave., in Minneapolis, a company who admitted that their catalog may not be as large as some of the eastern houses, they advertised that it represents the most complete catalog ever gotten out for the section of the great northwest. They paid all transportation on all items of men's and women's apparel and items such as drugs and jewelry. Transportation costs were very inexpensive as compared with those of today. Their catalog lists parcel post rates and it was possible to ship ten pounds from Minneapolis to Seattle for $1.08. Today the cost would be three times that amount.

Just a few interesting items were priced at unbelievable amounts such as fine quality, all wool velour cashmere three piece men's suits for $10.75. Women's fine wool cloth coats at $6.98. 3 piece living room solid oak furniture with hide-away bed upholstered in genuine leather for $36.60 -- or a round oak dining room table set with six chairs for $21.95. Cabinet type sewing machines for $12.95. Buggies with top and shafts as low as $35.00. Superior malleable iron kitchen ranges for $51.25 and hard coal base burner heaters at $41.45. This brings us to their farm implements.

Their Leader Dan Patch special moulboard plow 12' size at $13.05. A riding Dan Patch sulky plow 12' on all steel frame for $36.15, or a disc harrow for $21.95 and a Dan Patch 6 foot cut steel hay mower at $34.50. New Savage Reliant 6 toot steel windmill at $18.20 and a 30 foot 4 post steel tower for $34.50. Pump jacks from $3.65 to $5.25. Wood tub power washing machine to be operated by an engine at $17.65.


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