When it’s the summer of 1915 and you live in rural West Virginia, where to shop boiled down to two choices, Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Ward. These two mail-order behemoths were the country’s repository of all things — a consumer’s wonderland in catalog form. Whatever the need, from simple sewing notions to formidable build-it-yourself house kits, shoppers knew where to find whatever they required.
Mr. H.D. Rinehart of Harding, West Virginia had substantial requirements —he needed to furnish his entire house, from kitchen cabinets to a commode for his chamber pot. His choices of woods (quartered oak and birds-eye maple) for his furniture, which would sit upon Cashmere rugs and Axminster carpets, reveal Mr. Rinehart exceptional and expensive taste. As always, good taste is timeless. Mr. Rinehart’s choices would match well with many of today’s designers and homemakers. Well, maybe except the fourteen-pound bale of “Mixed duck and goose feathers.”
The following pages show an itemized list of the goods he ordered and above is Montgomery Ward’s reply to his request for a discount (in today’s dollars he spent $7,145 and was granted a $240 discount).