December 13, 2021


When I was a kid the Sears Wish Book was a big deal at this time of year. For those unfamiliar, the big department stores (Sears, JC Penney, and Montgomery Ward come to mind) would release these big catalogs of all their entire inventory to convince the consumer to buy their holidays gifts from the family from these catalogs. Think of it as Amazon of the mid 20th century.

I always enjoyed flipping through the Wish Book from Sears in particular, because out of these department stores we went to Sears the most and they had the niftiest cash registers at the time.

There’s a collection of these catalogs available online at WishbookWeb. I was flipping through the 1970 Sears Wish Book and noticed they were selling Micro-Waves (as they displayed in their ad). The technology was new for the consumer at the time; I believe my grandmother got her first Amana Radarange in 1971.

Apparently the Micro-Wave oven was so new that the Sears advertising department didn’t quite have all the mechanics down yet. In the page below, look how many places they display food wrapped or trayed in foil! To be fair, there’s tiny print that tells us to wrap the baked potato in foil after baking, but that TV dinner is going to create quite the light show if put in a microwave oven.