Sunday, June 21, 2020

A Look At The Great Depression Through The Sears Catalog

From Zero Hedge:
Takeaway: put aside the obvious cyclicality of categories like household durable goods, and the 1930s technological disruption of mass electrification is the other notable if hidden force behind these page category variations. During the decade of the 1930s the percent of American households with electricity went from barely half (58%) to a large majority (80%). That not only explains the 62% increase in home appliance page count, but also the first category, which includes fabric. Electric sewing machines dramatically decreased the time required to make one’s own garments. The Greatest Generation was famously parsimonious, but they still adopted new technologies just as we do today.
#3: As far as how prices changed from 1932 to 1938, let’s look at the apparel featured in each catalog:
Here are women’s day wear dresses, from the first page of each catalog’s selection. Note that every dress in 1938 has an elaborate story around it while 1932 offers more affordable options and less flowery descriptions: (Read more.)

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