Today 18th August 2014 is National Mail Order Catalogue Day

I’ve decided to honour National Day’s Not Saints days or but all the odd, weird, funny National Days we hear about on the web.

So today is #NationalDay of the Mail Order Catalogue

Mail Order Catalogues
Mail Order Catalogues


Would you believe the first mail order catalogue was printed in 1498,  by publisher Aldus Manutius of Venice, who printed a catalogue of the books he was printing.  

n 1845, Tiffany’s Blue Book was the first mail-order catalogue in the United States.  

The British entrepreuner Pryce Pryce-Jones set up the first modern mail order in 1861, advertising the  Royal Welsh Warehouse, selling local Welsh flannel.

In 1872, Aaron Montgomery Ward of Chicago produced a mail-order catalogue for his Montgomery Ward mail order business. By buying goods & then reselling them directly to customers,  removing the middlemen at the general store, selling direct to the customer, which enabled him to lower the prices.

His first catalogue was a single sheet of paper with a price list, 8 x 12 inches, showing the merchandise for sale & ordering instructions. Montgomery Ward identified a market of merchant-wary farmers in the Midwest. Within 20 years, his single-page list of products grew into a 540-page illustrated book selling over 20,000 items. From about 1921 to 1931, Ward even sold prefabricated kit houses, called Wardway Homes, by mail order.

With the invention of the Internet, a company’s website became the more usual way to order merchandise for delivery by mail, although the term “mail order” is not always used to describe the ordering of goods over the Internet. It is more usual to refer to this as online shopping or  e-commerce. The only real difference between online shopping & traditional mail ordering is the means by which the order is placed (online vs phone or mailed order form).

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One Thought to “Today 18th August 2014 is National Mail Order Catalogue Day”

  1. Margaret Gallagher

    Gosh 1498 that’s unbelievable -wouldn’t have thought that !
    Didn’t know any of this history
    Thanks very informative

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