This Sears Consumers Guide showed up in Robert’s Easter basket this morning, and we’ve been having fun with it all day. The purpose of the catalog was to “tell you just what your storekeeper at home pays for everything he buys” and to “prevent him from overcharging you on anything you buy from him.” For example, if you wanted one of the twelve different banjo options, you could just check this catalog for the lowest price. The cheapest banjo in 1900 was $1.75, by the way, and the most expensive was $25.00. They were known as “Our $1.75 Banjo” and “The Imperial,” respectively.
My favorite product is Brown’s Vegetable Cure for Female Weakness. You can’t make out the minuscule text in the picture, so I’ve retyped the copy from the ad for your enjoyment.
Brown’s Vegetable Cure for Female Weakness
For Female Weakness, Failing of Womb, Leucorrhea, Irregular and Painful Menstruation, Inflammation and Ulceration of the Womb, Flooding, and ALL FEMALE DISORDERS.
It is the Wonder of the Age.
This Remedy is Immediate in Effect. It is a blessing to women in pregnancy; saves you a world of suffering. For all kidney troubles and diseases it has no equal. For all weaknesses of the generative organs of either sex, it is a wonderful remedy. WOMEN DO NOT SUFFER SO! Brown’s Vegetable Cure will cure you. In all female disorders it is the greatest remedy of the age. If you have any of the following symptoms take this remedy at once and be cured: Nausea and bad taste in the mouth, sore feeling in lower part of the bowels, an unusual discharge, impaired general health, feeling of languor, sharp pain in the region of kidney, backache, dull pain in small of back, pain in passing water, bearing down feeling, a desire to urinate frequently, a dragging sensation in the groin, courses irregular, timid, nervous and restless feeling, a dread of some impending evil, temper wayward and irritable, a feeling of fullness, sparks before the eyes, gait unsteady, pain in womb, swelling in front, pain in breastbone, pain when courses occur, hysterics, temples and ears throb, sleep short and distorted, whites, impaired digestion, headache, trouble with sight or hearing, dizziness, morbid feeling and the blues, palpitation of the heart, nerves weak and sensitive, appetite poor, a craving for unnatural food, spirits depressed, nervous dyspeptic symptoms, a heavy feeling and pain in back upon exertion, fainting spells, difficulty in passing water, habitual constipation, cold extremities. If you have any of the symptoms send to us for Brown’s Vegetable Cure and be cured at once. Doctors may not help you, other remedies may have failed, but BROWN’S CURE will cure quickly, pleasantly and permanently. Thousands have been cured who have considered their case incurable. Invalids have been made well and strong. DO NOT DELAY, one bottle will help and convince you. 6 BOTTLES WILL CURE ANY CASE OF FEMALE WEAKNESS, no matter how severe or longstanding.
One bottle was 60 cents and six bottles were three dollars, which seems a small price for a pleasant and permanent cure to that dread of some impending evil I can’t seem to shake. Now females (or males), which of these maladies do you suffer from?