Tuesday 5 January 2016

The Maharaja's of Eaton's

Maharaja:  a Hindu prince or king in India ranking above a raja. 

Timothy Eaton, eager to fill the pages of his catalogue, sent buyers overseas to purchase the highest quality goods:  fine china from England, tweed suits from Scotland, rugs from the Orient, crystal from Czechoslovakia, high fashion from France.  As early as 1893, Timothy opened a foreign buying office in London, England.  Five years later, he opened one in Paris, France.  Offices were added in Manchester and New York in 1911; in Zurich, Switzerland in 1912; in Belfast and Leicester in 1913; and in Yokohama (1918) and Kobe (1919).

While most of the trips were a success, disaster struck when some buyers purchased tickets to the Titanic; a buyer named Mr. Graham went down with the ship (http://alinefromlinda.blogspot.ca/2011/09/unused-ticket-to-titanic.html).  The First World War interrupted Eaton's buying sprees in Germany.  Three buyers drowned when the Lusitania was torpedoed in 1916.  An Eaton's buyer was killed in the Tokyo earthquake of 1923.  However, most buyers came home to Canada safely.  Their purchases helped make the Eaton's name synonymous with quality.

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