Sears Roebuck, Fall 1923
What's wrong with this page? When you sell as many things as Sears used to, everything's got to go somewhere in the catalog. You end up with pages like this: Vibrators, Medical Batteries, and Butcher Supplies – three things that don't really belong together:
1) Scary-looking Vibrators, A vibrator “gives a rubbing motion”, the copy helpfully notes, in case you weren't sure what it would do. These come with attachments including scalp, facial, spinal, button, ball, and …oil can. Oil can what?
2) Even scarier Medical Batteries, from a time when zapping your body with electricity (much like putting a 9 volt battery on your tongue) was thought to be maybe, just possibly healthful. (I suppose it is, if your heart stops and you need to be jolted back to life, but this is 1923 and not the same thing.)
3) Finally, there are the butcher supplies, starting with “kitchen hacksaws” with handy pictures of cattle in case you don't quite grasp what they're used on, and ending with Hog Hooks and Self-Spreading Gambrels.
Overall, not a page for the squeamish, but worth clicking to see at full size. It's also completely at odds with the softly pastoral lithograph on the front cover. I have, however, learned a new word: “gambrel”, which is a frame used by butchers for hanging carcasses. So educational, these old catalogs! I'm going to see if I can work “gambrel” into a conversation tomorrow.