Sears and Sawbucks.

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Sears and Sawbucks.

Post by Wasp » May 26th 2016, 10:32am

Uncorroborated but it would be delightful trivia if it were to be indeed true.

A little bit of interesting info.....................
Buying a watch in 1880 - history you probably didn't know!
If you were in the market for a watch in 1880, would you know where to get one? You would go to a store, right?
Well, of course you could do that, but if you wanted one that was cheaper and a bit better than most of the store
watches, you went to the train station!
Sound a bit funny?
Well, for about 500 towns across the northern United States, that's where the best watches were found.
Why were the best watches found at the train station? The railroad company wasn't selling the watches,
not at all. The telegraph operator was. Most of the time the telegraph operator was located in the railroad
station because the telegraph lines followed the railroad tracks from town to town.
It was usually the shortest distance and the right-of-ways had already been secured for the rail line.
Most of the station agents were also skilled telegraph operators and that was the primary way that they
communicated with the railroad. They would know when trains left the previous station and when they were
due at their next station. And it was the telegraph operator who had the watches. As a matter of fact, they sold
more of them than almost all the stores combined for a period of about 9 years. This was all arranged by
"Richard", who was a telegraph operator himself. He was on duty in the North Redwood, Minnesota train station
one day when a load of watches arrived from the East.

It was a huge crate of pocket watches. No one ever came to claim them. So Richard sent a telegram to the
manufacturer and asked them what they wanted to do with the watches. The manufacturer didn't want to pay
the freight back, so they wired Richard to see if he could sell them. So Richard did. He sent a wire to every
agent in the system asking them if they wanted a cheap, but good, pocket watch. He sold the entire case in
less than two days and at a handsome profit.
That started it all.
He ordered more watches from the watch company and encouraged the telegraph operators to set up a
display case in the station offering high quality watches for a cheap price to all the travelers.
It worked!
It didn't take long for the word to spread and, before long, people other than travelers came to the
train station to buy watches. Richard became so busy that he had to hire a professional watch maker
to help him with the orders. That was Alvah. And the rest is history as they say.
The business took off and soon expanded to many other lines of dry goods. Richard and Alvah left the
train station and moved their company to Chicago -- and it's still there.

Yes it's a little known fact that for a while in the 1880's, the biggest watch retailer in the country
was at the train station. It all started with a telegraph operator:
Richard Sears and his partner Alvah Roebuck!

Found floating around the etherweb.

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Re: Sears and Sawbucks.

Post by Hawk » May 26th 2016, 10:45am

Not too far off.

The two partners did get their start selling watches the first of which were an errant shipment.

But as to them being cheaper, better or what their market share was - that stuff is conjecture. At least according to Sears archives.
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Re: Sears and Sawbucks.

Post by Tzimisces » May 26th 2016, 12:19pm

Thunder1 wrote:Reads a bit like a Paul Harvey bit..good story..

And now you know...the rest of the story.
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Re: Sears and Sawbucks.

Post by TemerityB » May 26th 2016, 8:13pm

Cripes, you guys beat me to all the Harvey-isms. He used to have a syndicated bit that they showed on local newscasts on TV as well.
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Re: Sears and Sawbucks.

Post by conjurer » May 28th 2016, 6:57pm

Interestingly, Paul Harvey:


As well as being a newscaster/storyteller/iconic jamoke that he was, as well as living probably twenty years longer than he should have, was also a leading proponent and supporter of the Symbionese Liberation Army.

Known for their underground terrorism in the early 1970s, the SLA gained notoriety with the kidnapping of media heiress Patty Hearst in 1974 in California. The group's leader, Donald DeFreeze, aka General Field Marshal Cinque:


was good friends with Mr. Harvey, and they played golf almost weekly. Mr. DeFreeze, who was something of a protege of Mr. Harvey, decided to join the radical underground when the Alamar Country Club refused him membership, as Mr. DeFreeze was African American and the club was restricted. Interestingly, Mr. Harvey, who was a big wheel in GOP politics and extremely conservative, felt so slighted by The Man that he himself identified with the Black Struggle, changing his name to Rear Admiral Cetewayo and wearing dashikis. After Mr. DeFreeze went underground in Los Angeles, it was Mr. Harvey who delivered many weapons and money to the group.

In Mr. Harvey's autobiography, My Life In Broadcasting and Sticking It To Honky, his is the only published description of life in the SLA--apart from Ms. Hearst's book, which couldn't be considered anything but self-serving. Here he writes of meeting the "kidnap" victim:

On Monday that week I stopped by to rap with the General Field Marshal and saw that he had a hostage from the imperialist lackey running dog media. "Hey, brother, what do you think of Patty?" said Cinque. I said, "Goddamn dog, that bitch is hot!" Cinque said, "You want some, I'm OK with sharing with another member of the fight, brother." So I laid some pipe, and it was pretty good. And now you know...the rest of the story.

It was said that Mr. Harvey was so involved with the SLA that he had the seven-headed cobra logo of the group tattooed on his chest. Later, after the back robbery where Ms. Hearst appeared in public after nearly seven weeks:


Mr. Harvey was contacted by the FBI; he decided, along with his publicist, that him acting as the frontman for a terrorist organization probably wasn't the best thing he could do for his career. Again, from his autobiography:

So I had to forsake Donald and the whole SLA army. It galled me, but United Features Syndicate was on my back, and I needed to make more dead presidents. You know, for the good of the movement. So I went on the radio the next day and cut all ties with Donald and his valiant soldiers. It was not a...Good day!
I find tv watches to be like the guys who raise their truck you need a fricken ladder to get in. It’s a attempt to look cool... that’s all.

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