Dakota Datebook

Sears

Friday, November 21, 2008

Looking for a Craftsman wrench or Kenmore washing machine?  Since its formation in 1893, Sears, Roebuck & Co. has carried a number of popular brands ranging from Coldspot to Diehard. It all began with the Economy Cream Separator; their first major brand-name product promotion developed by Richard Sears, co-founder of the company, who died on this day in 1914.  While hunting in North Dakota in 1902, Richard Sears encountered a farmer using a cream separator purchased from another company. The North Dakota farmer praised the gadget for the amount of time and money it saved. But the price tag of $100 shocked Sears. Surely he could offer a similar one for a third of that price. Rushing back to Chicago, Sears, Roebuck & Co. soon introduced a line of “Economy Cream Separators” for under $40. They quickly became one of the company’s best-selling products.

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Dakota Datebook is a project of Prairie Public, in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, with funding from the North Dakota Humanities Council.

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