By: Nancy Smith
Since Sears has filed for bankruptcy and closed its doors, the chairman of Sears Holdings Corp. Edward Lampert bid $5.3 billion dollars to remain in control of the retailer. Now that many stores will be reopening, it’s important to look back on its accomplishments and like all great American companies, Sears has a number of them. It’s also had a number of interesting stories around the items they’ve sold that you may or may not have heard of.
1. The flag on the moon was purchased from Sears.
While NASA has stated that it is unclear where the flag was manufactured at, Dick Lattimer, author of “All We Did Was Fly To The Moon,” gave true accounts of the Apollo 11 mission.
He wrote that the flag was made by Annin & Co. – a flag making company out of New Jersey. The company contacted NASA after the moon landing, as they had supplied them with flags before, and were told that three secretaries were sent to purchase flags and all of them went to Sears – where Annin was the official flag supplier at the time.
So maybe our coveted moon-landing flag is just a local Sears flag afterall.
2. Selling towels kept the company in business.
The Great Depression was a hard time for most businesses in America. Instead of selling fashion items like other retailers, Sears sold dependable items at affordable prices that every family needed like towels and socks.
So instead of losing business during the Great Depression, Sears’ numbers soared.
3. You could buy your new home here AND fill it with chickens.
The Sears catalog was the place to buy any and everything from 1988 to 1993. Of course you could buy clothes, electronics or even order your brand new car from it. You could also buy a do-it-yourself kit to build your very own home. It seems that many of them are still around today.
The retailer also offered livestock to purchase through their catalog. So if you weren’t satisfied with luxury Sears car and home, you could throw in some chickens as well.
4. Encyclopedia Britannica was exclusively sold here.
The company owned Encyclopedia Britannica (the oldest encyclopedia in the English language) from 1920 to 1943.
For those 23 years, the encyclopedia was only available through the now infamous catalog.
5. Last but certainly not least - our very own Forsyth Park fountain was ordered from the Sears catalog!
Just kidding – kind of.
While the tour guides and locals may spread this rumor along, the origin of the fountain in Forsyth Park is still unclear. However, the fountain was ordered from a catalog.
According to Go South! Savannah, It was ordered from Janes, Beebe & Co’s Illustrated Catalogue of Ornamental Iron Work at the small price of, what today would be, $65,000.
While it’s unsure if our local Sears at the Oglethorpe Mall will be one of the 400 stores that plans to reopen, there’s still a chance to be a part of its historical purchase!