Friday, January 5, 2018

Remembering the T. Eaton Company and the Eaton's Catalogue

1946
Original ad for Page's Block location of Eaton's Store 1880's.  From Survivors/Les Survivants.  The Archives of Ontario.  Toronto:  Ministry of Culture and Communications, 1988.

Eaton's 1906.  From Survivors/Les Survivants.  The Archives of Ontario.
Toronto:  Ministry of Culture and Communications, 1988.

Richard S. Lambert.  The Twentieth Century Canada Britain USA.  Toronto:  The House of Grant (Canada) Ltd., 1960.  Lambert was Oxford educated, "Supervisor of School Broadcasts, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation"

Pierre Berton.  Remember Yesterday.  A Century of Photographs.
The Canadian Centennial Publishing Co. Ltd. ( McClelland & Stewart Ltd.), 1965.

Timothy Eaton, an Irishman, started his department store in Toronto in 1869, with three revolutionary concepts.  Instead of barter or long-term credit, everyting had a fixed and visible price, cash only, guaranteed satisfaction or your money back.  

According to Canada's Wonderful "Wishing Book" (from the Reader's Digest 1971 book, In Search of Canada), the catalogue started earlier, in 1864, as a mail-order department in a corner of his store at Yonge and Queen Streets.  The first catalogue was only 32 pages of pink paper. Over the years, some of Canada's best illustrators contributed their efforts, including Wyly Grier and Charles Comfort, FCA, William Winters and Duncan Macpherson.  

At its height, Eaton's published 8 catalogue editions per year, each with more than 2,000,000 copies, plus several sales supplements. Overall, it had a bigger readership than other Canadian book, magazine or newspaper.  The catalogue consumed 1300 tons of paper, 100 tones of ink, and 7 tons of glue at a 1970 cost of $2 per copy.  There were three main distribution centres across Canada. Toronto, the largest, takes up as much space as 56 hockey rinks, uses small trains to haul merchandise, has seven miles of conveyor belts, mechanized traveling clothes racks, and computerized order sorting and billing.  Take that, Amazon!

Eaton's First Catalogue.  From Reader's Digest Association (Canada) Ltd.,
 In Search of Canada.  Montreal, 1971.

Eaton's Catalogue Fall/Winter 1890.  From Reader's Digest Association (Canada) Ltd..
In Search of Canada.  Montreal, 1971.

1948





Hugh W. Peart & John Schaffter.  The Winds of Change.  A History of Canada and Canadians in the Twentieth Century.
  
 Toronto:  The Ryerson Press, 1961.

Robert Collins.  Canada's Wonderful "Wishing Book."  In the Reader's Digest Association (Canada) Ltd., In Search of Canada.  Montreal, 1971.





Today, those adjectives belong to U.S. President Trump.  Maybe he grew reading the Eaton's catalogue as well?

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