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Encyclopedia > Sears Catalog Home
Advertisement for Modern Home No. 115

Sears Catalog Homes (sold as Sears Modern Homes) were ready-to-assemble houses sold through mail order by Sears Roebuck and Company, an American retailer. Over 100,000 of these were sold in North America between 1908 and 1940. Shipped via railroad boxcars, these kits included all the materials needed to build an exceptionally sturdy and well-designed house. Many were assembled by the new homeowner and friends, relatives, and neighbors, in a fashion similar to the traditional barn-raisings of farming families. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (926x1004, 560 KB)Sears Catalog Homes, model 115, 1908-1914. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (926x1004, 560 KB)Sears Catalog Homes, model 115, 1908-1914. ... For other uses, see House (disambiguation). ... Mail order is a term which describes the buying of goods or services by mail delivery. ... Sears, Roebuck and Company is an American mid-range chain of international department stores, founded by Richard Sears and Alvah Roebuck in the late 19th century. ... Year 1908 (MCMVIII) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a leap year starting on Tuesday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... Year 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full 1940 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... This is the top-level page of WikiProject trains Rail tracks Rail transport refers to the land transport of passengers and goods along railways or railroads. ... For other uses, see Boxcar (disambiguation). ... Barn raising, DeKalb County, Indiana, USA, about 1900 A Barn raising is an event during which a community comes together to assemble a barn for one of its households, particularly in 18th- and 19th-century rural North America. ...


Sears helped popularize the latest technology available to home buyers in the early part of the twentieth century. Central heating, indoor plumbing, and electricity were all new developments in home design that "Modern Homes" incorporated, although not all of the homes were designed with these conveniences. For example, central heating not only improved the livability of homes with little insulation but also improved fire safety, which was a worry in an era where open flames threatened houses and even entire cities, as in the case of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. (19th century - 20th century - 21st century - more centuries) Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s The 20th century lasted from 1901 to 2000 in the Gregorian calendar (often from (1900 to 1999 in common usage). ... For the Grand Central Records albums, see Central Heating (Grand Central album) and Central Heating 2. ... A plumber wrench for working on pipes and fittings A complex arrangement of rigid steel piping, stop valves regulate flow to various parts of the building. ... Electricity (from New Latin Ä“lectricus, amberlike) is a general term for a variety of phenomena resulting from the presence and flow of electric charge. ... The well-being or quality of life of a population is an important concern in economics and political science. ... Thermal insulation on the Huygens probe The term thermal insulation can refer to materials used to reduce the rate of heat transfer, or the methods and processes used to reduce heat transfer. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Artists rendering of the fire, by John R Chapin, originally printed in Harpers Weekly The Great Chicago Fire was a conflagration that burned from Sunday October 8 to early Tuesday October 10, 1871, killing hundreds and destroying about four square miles in Chicago, Illinois. ... 1871 (MDCCCLXXI) was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ...


As demand decreased, Sears expanded the product line-up to feature homes which varied in expense to meet the budgets of various buyers. Sears began offering financing plans in the 1920s. However, the company experienced steadily rising payment defaults throughout the Great Depression. The company's catalog home program became increasingly constrained as a result. 447 different models were offered over the program's 32-year history; the mortgage portion of the program was discontinued in 1934, while the Modern Homes program ceased production altogether in 1940. For other uses, see The Great Depression (disambiguation). ...


Today, some communities across the United States feature clusters of the homes as unofficial historical sites, although the vast majorities are still in use as private residences. Popular with those engaged in restoring older homes, Sears homes are sought for having contemporarily better than average craftsmanship. An entire culture of Sears Modern Home seekers has emerged in recent years as individual buildings are located and identified.

Contents

History: Mail-order

In 1886, the United States contained only 38 states. Many people lived in rural areas and typically farmed. Richard Sears had been a railroad station agent in Minnesota. He moved to Chicago, Illinois, where he met Alvah C. Roebuck who joined him in the business. In 1893, the corporate name became Sears, Roebuck and Co.. Year 1886 (MDCCCLXXXVI) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Wednesday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... For the American tennis player, see Richard Sears (tennis player). ... This is the top-level page of WikiProject trains Rail tracks Rail transport refers to the land transport of passengers and goods along railways or railroads. ... Capital Saint Paul Largest city Minneapolis Area  Ranked 12th  - Total 87,014 sq mi (225,365 km²)  - Width 250 miles (400 km)  - Length 400 miles (645 km)  - % water 8. ... Flag Seal Nickname: The Windy City Motto: Urbs In Horto (Latin: City in a Garden), I Will Location Location in Chicagoland and northern Illinois Coordinates , Government Country State Counties United States Illinois Cook, DuPage Mayor Richard M. Daley (D) Geographical characteristics Area     City 606. ... Alvah Curtis Roebuck (1864-1948) born: 9 January 1864 in Lafayette, Indiana died: 18 June 1948 Alvah Roebuck began work as a watchmaker in a Hammond, Indiana jewelry store at age 22. ... Year 1893 (MDCCCXCIII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Tuesday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ...


Richard Sears knew that farmers often brought their crops to town where they could be sold and shipped, and then bought supplies, often at very high prices, from local general stores. He and Roebuck offered a solution via mail-order catalogs. Thanks to volume buying, railroads, post offices, and later rural free delivery and parcel post, they offered a welcome alternative to the high-priced rural stores. Smiths Gully General Store in Smiths Gully, Australia. ... Rural Free Delivery was and still is the means by which the United States Postal Service delivers mail directly to residents in areas defined as rural at no cost to them (The money is supplied by the USPS). ...


By 1894, the Sears catalog had grown to 322 pages, featuring sewing machines, bicycles, sporting goods and a host of other new items. By the following year, dolls, icebox refrigerators, cook-stoves and groceries had been added to the catalog. Sears, Roebuck and Co. soon developed a reputation for both quality products and customer satisfaction. Its wide range of products was very popular, especially in areas far flung from big cities and large department stores. People had learned to trust Sears for other products bought through mail-order, and thus, sight unseen. This laid important groundwork for supplying a house, possibly the largest single investment a typical family would ever make. Sewing machines can make a great variety of plain or patterned stitches. ... For other uses, see Bicycle (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Doll (disambiguation). ... Fridge redirects here. ... A stove is a heat-producing device. ... Supermarket produce section A supermarket is a store that sells a wide variety of goods including food and alcohol, medicine, clothes, and other household products that are consumed regularly. ... For other uses, see House (disambiguation). ...


Modern Homes 1908-1940

In 1906, Frank W. Kushel, a Sears manager, was given responsibility for the catalog company's unwieldy, non-profitable building materials department. Sales were down, and there was too much inventory sitting in expensive warehouses. He is credited with suggesting to Richard Sears that the company assemble kits of all the parts needed and sell entire houses through mail-order. 1906 (MCMVI) was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ...


Beginning in 1908, Sears issued its first specialty catalog for houses, Book of Modern Homes and Building Plans, featuring 22 styles ranging in price from US$650–$2,500 ($12,200-$47,100 in 2003 dollars). Sears bought a lumber mill and arranged for production of kits from which homes could be assembled to be made in Southern Illinois. The first mail-order was filled in 1909. Year 1908 (MCMVIII) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a leap year starting on Tuesday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... USD redirects here. ... This article or section should include material from Saw mill A sawmill is a facility where logs are cut into boards. ... Little Egypt can mean: Little Egypt, a belly dancer. ... Year 1909 (MCMIX) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Thursday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ...


Shipped by railroad boxcar, and then usually trucked locally to a home site, the average Sears Modern Home kit had 25 tons of materials, with over 30,000 parts, and came with such utilities as electric and gaslight fixtures in early models. Plumbing and electrical fixtures and heating systems were not included in the kit but could be purchased separately. Local building requirements sometimes dictated that those items be done professionally and varied to meet individual requirements of each area of the country. For example, the depth of foundations required varied by climate and terrain. This is the top-level page of WikiProject trains Rail tracks Rail transport refers to the land transport of passengers and goods along railways or railroads. ... For other uses, see Boxcar (disambiguation). ...


Aladdin Homes (of Bay City) was the first to offer kit homes (in 1906), and Sears joined the fray in 1908. However, Sears mail-order catalogs were already in millions of homes, enabling large numbers of potential homeowners simply to open a catalog, select and visualize their new home, dream, save, and then purchase it. Sears offered financing, assembly instructions, and guarantees. Early mortgage loans were typically for 5–15 years at 6%- 7% interest. This article is about the legal mechanism used to secure property in favor of a creditor. ...


The ability to mass-produce the materials used in Sears homes lessened manufacturing costs, which lowered purchase costs for customers. Precut and fitted materials shrank construction time by up to 40%. Other features also eased construction for home buyers.


Sears's use of "balloon style" framing systems did not require a team of skilled carpenters, as did previous methods. Balloon frames were built faster and generally only required one carpenter. This system used precut timber of mostly standard sizes (2"x4" and 2"x8") for framing. Precut timber, fitted pieces, and the convenience of having everything, including the nails, shipped by railroad directly to the customer added greatly to the popularity of this framing style. Balloon framing is method of wood construction used primarily in Scandinavia and the United States. ... Carpenter at work in Tennessee, June 1942. ... Timber in storage for later processing at a sawmill Timber is a term used to describe wood, either standing or that has been processed for use—from the time trees are felled, to its end product as a material suitable for industrial use—as structural material for construction or wood... An inch (plural: inches; symbol or abbreviation: in or, sometimes, ″ - a double prime) is the name of a unit of length in a number of different systems, including English units, Imperial units, and United States customary units. ...


Another feature was the use of drywall instead of plaster and lath wall-building techniques which required skilled carpenters. Drywall offered the advantages of low price, ease of installation, and added fire-safety protection. It was also a good fit for the square design of Sears homes. For the musical group Drywall, see Drywall (musical project) Example of drywall with joint compound, the common interior building material. ... This article is about the building material. ... This article is about building materials. ...


During the Modern Homes program, large quantities of asphalt shingles became available. The alternative roofing materials available included tin and wood. Tin was noisy during storms, looked unattractive, and required a skilled roofer, while wood was highly flammable. Asphalt shingles, however, were cheap to manufacture and ship, and easy and inexpensive to install. The term asphalt is often used as an abbreviation for asphalt concrete. ... Look up shingle in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... This article is about the metallic chemical element. ... For other uses, see Wood (disambiguation). ...


Sears laid little claim to inventing the innovations featured in the Modern Homes. Rather, as a retailer, the company was much more focused on offering what the customers would want and purchase. The Sears Modern Homes program stayed abreast of any technology that could ease the lives of its home buyers and gave them the option to design their homes with modern convenience in mind. The Modern Homes features of central heating, indoor plumbing, and electrical wiring were the first steps for many families to modern HVAC systems, kitchens, and bathrooms. HVAC may also stand for High-voltage alternating current HVAC systems use ventilation air ducts installed throughout a building that supply conditioned air to a room through rectangular or round outlet vents, called diffusers; and ducts that remove air from return-air grilles Fire-resistance rated mechanical shaft with HVAC...


As sales grew, Sears expanded production, shipping and sales offices to regional sites all across the United States, hitting its all-time peak in 1929, just before the Great Depression. By then, the least expensive model was still under US$1,000; the highest priced was under US$4,400 ($10,300 and $45,300 in 2003 dollars respectively). Year 1929 (MCMXXIX) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see The Great Depression (disambiguation). ...


Sears Modern Home sales stalled during the Depression years; however, sales of their most modest homes were still strong. Nonetheless, changes in housing codes, as well as the ever-increasingly complexities of modern construction and HVAC systems made buying a kit home less and less desirable.


Heritage

Sears Catalog Homes proved to be both affordable and of substantial construction. One of Sears's, and indeed the nation's, biggest selling models was the common bungalow. This compact, affordable house began as a vacation-style home in the 1880s but grew into a major housing type in cities and suburbs in the years before World War I. Sears homes have become increasingly popular among history enthusiasts because of their sturdy structure, unusual building and architectural design concepts. A row of bungalows in Virginia A bungalow (Gujarati: , Hindi: ) is a type of single-story house. ... “The Great War ” redirects here. ...


While their locations today are not known due to variations in designs both during initial construction and subsequent renovations or modifications, most of those sold by Sears, Roebuck have probably survived. Clusters can be found all across the United States and are proudly featured by communities such as Arlington, Virginia, and the surrounding area with 100, Hopewell, Virginia, with 42 in the Crescent Hills neighborhood, and Downers Grove, Illinois, with 27. Aurora, Illinois has 136 documented Sears catalog homes giving it one of the largest concentrations in the country. Arlington County is a county located in the U.S. state of Virginia (which calls itself a commonwealth), directly across the Potomac River from Washington, DC. By an act of Congress July 9, 1846, the area south of the Potomac was returned to Virginia effective in 1847 As of 2000... Waterfront at City Point, Virginia (now Hopewell) in 1865 Hopewell is an independent city in the state of Virginia. ... Incorporated Village in 1873. ... The Paramount Theatre under renovation, downtown Aurora. ...


Sears Homes in more significant numbers can also be found in Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and a few have been found as far south as Florida and as far west as California.


Not all buyers were individuals or small volume developers. In 1918, Standard Oil Company purchased a large group of the Sears houses for its mineworkers in Carlinville, Illinois, at a cost of approximately US$1 million. Today 152 of the original 156 homes still exist, and this is one of the largest known contiguous collections of Sears Catalog Homes in the United States. There are nine styles of houses in a nine block area which represents Standard Addition in Carlinville, IL. Styles are an Unknown Model, Langston Model, Madelia Model, Warrenton Model, Whitehall Model, Roseberry Model, Lebanon Model, Gladstone Model and the Carlin Model which was named after Carlinville, by Sears, Roebuck & Co. for supposedly having the largest order on record for the houses. There are more Sears homes dotted throughout Carlinville. It took nine months to complete the building of Standard Addition which was completed in 1919. 1918 (MCMXVIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar (see link for calendar) or a common year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar. ... Standard Oil was an oil refining organization founded by John D. Rockefeller (1839-1937) and partners beginning in 1863. ... Carlinville is a city located in Macoupin County, Illinois. ...


And, not all of them became private residences. At Greenlawn Cemetery, near the Hampton Roads waterfront in the Newport News, Virginia area, the cemetery office building is a 1936 Sears Catalog Home. This view from space in July 1996 shows portions of each of the Seven Cities of Hampton Roads which generally surround the harbor area of Hampton Roads, which framed by the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel visible to the east (right), the Virginia Peninsula subregion to the north (top), and the... Location in the State of Virginia Coordinates: , Country United States State Virginia County Independent city Incorporated 1896 Government  - Mayor Joe Frank Area  - City  119. ... Castle Ashby Graveyard Northamptonshire A cemetery is a place in which dead bodies and cremated remains are buried. ...


See also

A type of house popular during the early part of the 20th century typified by a square, four room floor plan. ... Waterfront at City Point, Virginia (now Hopewell) in 1865 Hopewell is an independent city in the state of Virginia. ... Incorporated Village in 1873. ... Arlington County is a county located in the U.S. state of Virginia (which calls itself a commonwealth), directly across the Potomac River from Washington, DC. By an act of Congress July 9, 1846, the area south of the Potomac was returned to Virginia effective in 1847 As of 2000... Greenville is a city located in Bond County, Illinois. ...

References

  • Stevenson, Katherin Cole, and Jandl, H. Ward, (1995) Houses By Mail: A Guide to Houses from Sears, Roebuck and Company John Wiley & Sons; Hoboken, New Jersey
  • Thornton, Rosemary (2002) The Houses That Sears Built: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Sears Catalog Homes Gentle Beam Publications; Alton, Illinois
  • Thornton, Rosemary (2004) Finding The Houses That Sears Built: A Guide to Their 60 Most Popular Designs Gentle Beam Publications; Alton, Illinois
  • Davis, Michael W.R. and Schweitzer, Robert (1990) America’s Favorite Homes. Wayne State University Press; Detroit, Michigan
  • Flori, Laurie A. (2005) "Additionally Speaking - The Saga Behind The Largest Collective of Sears Homes in the World" Brown Paper Package Publications; Carlinville, Illinois
  • Building Aurora: Sears Houses in Aurora, Illinois. City of Aurora, IL. Retrieved on 2007-09-18.

Map of New Jersey highlighting Hoboken Image of Hoboken taken by NASA (red line shows where Hoboken is). ... Historic Alton Home Alton is a city in Madison County, Illinois, United States, about 15 miles north of St. ... Historic Alton Home Alton is a city in Madison County, Illinois, United States, about 15 miles north of St. ... Detroit redirects here. ... Carlinville is a city located in Macoupin County, Illinois. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 261st day of the year (262nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
What is a Sears Modern Home? (850 words)
Sears was instead a very able follower of popular home designs but with the added advantage of modifying houses and hardware according to buyer tastes.
Sears homes took advantage of the new homebuilding material of drywall by shipping large quantities of this inexpensively manufactured product with the rest of the housing materials.
Sears Modern Homes program stayed abreast of any technology that could ease the lives of its homebuyers and gave them the option to design their homes with modern convenience in mind.
Sears Homes (910 words)
I'm thinking this article should be moved, unless "Sears Catalog Homes" was the actual name of the division, in which case that should be clarified in the lead section.
Searing is a technique used in grilling, roasting, braising, sauteeing, etc. that cooks the surface of the food (usually meat, poultry or fish) at high temperature so that a caramelized crust forms.
In braising, the seared surface acts to flavor, color and otherwise enrich the liquid in which the food is being cooked.
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