Nowadays it seems normal to be able to buy anything online and have it shipped to your home in a couple of days. But there is still one thing you cannot buy on Amazon, and that is your home. But in the 1900s, when mail-order catalogs were the new thing well you could actually buy your whole house and have it mailed to you.
Sears which was one of the largest American retailers before filing for bankruptcy was actually able to do one thing that no other retailer ever has: sell your home via a catalog. The first catalogs in 1888 sold watches or jewelry which was popular, so over time other products were tested and this included houses.
In 1908, the Sears Modern Home catalog published its first edition: it offered you all the materials required and blueprints to build a house. All the pieces that arrived in the mail would fit together, kind of like a giant lego, so you then put it together yourself or simply used a contractor.
You picked out the whole house and design in the catalog, choosing your light fixtures and even if you wanted a garage or not. And once ordered, Sears would start to ship it to you piece by piece. By the time this catalog stopped in the 1940s, Sears believes to have sold between 70,000 to 75,000 homes!
And mail order house lovers estimate that over 70 percent of Sears houses still stand proudly up against the time today. Buying home kits kind of became a mini sort of cult that has its own following, though now it has evolved into recycling used materials into homes such as shipping containers.
Sears homeowners are happy with their purchases, being proud to own a part of American history. Many home kit Sears owners are quite saddened and troubled by the companies financial troubles of today. As this ultimately means there will never again be a Sears home catalog published ever again.