Sunday, 17 January 2016

Recycling the Eaton's Catalogue

While the Eaton's Catalogue was used by thousands of Canadians as a mail order service, they found alternative uses for it past its "due date".  Here are a few purposes that the "Homesteader's Bible" served:

1.  Gordie Howe talked about how he used to strap a catalogue to each of his shins and use it as goalie pads during hockey games with his young friends.

2.  New Canadian immigrants pored over the Eaton's Catalogue to learn English.  The words, accompanied by drawings, and later photographs, helped them to learn the language.

3.  Young girls cut out silhouettes and used them as dolls; they cut out clothing to dress their dolls.

4.  Children used the catalogue drawings or photographs for school projects or scrapbooks.

5.  Pages could be torn from the catalogue, bunched up and put between the walls as insulation.  Newspapers served the same purpose, something my husband discovered in my in-law's cottage walls.

6.  One room schoolhouses used the catalogues as reading material.  Teachers cut out the letters to make alphabet books.

7.  Homesteaders pasted the pages on their walls as decorations.

8.  Rural residents used the catalogue as a cultural link to the outside world.

9.  Teenage boys used the swimsuit section as an early Sports Illustrated.

10.  The catalogue served as reading material while sitting on the toilet in the outhouse.

11.  Pages served as toilet paper as well.

12.  Homemakers made patterns and sewed articles of clothing from the fashions in the catalogue.




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