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Flipping Through a Holiday Catalog from 1898

The holiday shopping season is just around the corner.  Have you ever wondered what toys or other items people bought as gifts in the past?  This catalog gives us a glimpse of what shoppers over a hundred years ago might have been buying.

Holiday Catalogue of H. S. Prutzman & Co. is from the holiday season of 1898.  This particular catalog seems to focus on large items.  It also has a mix of items for outdoor play, such as sleds, and items for indoor play, such as rocking horses and toy sweepers.

Pictured below is one of several pages showing different types of sleighs and sleds.  Shown on the right side of the page below is a sleigh with two plumes.  This particular sleigh included upholstered seats and was available in natural wood or painted white.  It was also available without the plumes.

H. S. Prutzman & Co., Altoona, PA.  Holiday Catalogue of H. S. Prutzman & Co., 1898, page 6, sleds.

Other items shown in the catalog include rocking horses, wagons, toy wheelbarrows, toy sweepers, tricycles, and velocipedes.  Even though the catalog does not include a lot of description to go along with the images, it still gives us an idea of what might have been on holiday shopping lists in the late nineteenth century.

Holiday Catalogue of H. S. Prutzman & Co. is located in the Trade Literature Collection at the National Museum of American History Library.  Take a look at Galaxy of Images to see more pages from this catalog.

-Alexia MacClain

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