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Books and references
Building supplies are sold through Sears, Roebuck and Company general catalog 1906

Sears considered closing its unprofitable building supplies department

Frank W. Kushel (formerly manager of the china department) took over the building supplies department and realizes supplies can be shipped directly from the factory, thus saving storage costs

First specialty catalog issued for houses, Book of Modern Homes and Building Plans, featuring 22 styles ranging in price from $650–2,500

Mansfield, LA, lumber mill purchased

First bill of materials sold for complete Modern Home

Home designers added gas and electric light fixtures

Cairo, IL, lumber mill opens

First mortgage loan issued (typically 5–15 years at 6% interest)

Norwood, OH, millwork plant purchased

Mortgages transferred to credit committee

Mortgages later discontinued

Mortgages revived

Ready-made production began

The popular “Winona” introduced; featured in catalogs through 1940

First applied roofing office opened in Dayton, OH

No-money-down financing offered

Standard Oil Company purchased 192 houses for its mineworkers in Carlinville, IL (approximately $1 million)

First Modern Homes sales office opened in Akron, OH

Modern Homes catalog featured the Standard Oil housing community

Philadelphia plant became the East Coast base

Sears averaged nearly 125 units shipped per month

Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Dayton sales offices opened

Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington sales offices opened

Honor Bilt homes feature deluxe kitchens, with white-tile sink and drain boards and white, enameled cupboards

Columbus, OH, sales office opened

Detroit sales office opened; Philadelphia became East branch of Modern Homes

Newark, NJ, lumber mill began

Cairo, IL, plant ships 324 units in one month (May)

Honor Bilt homes featuring “Air-Sealed-Wall construction,” which enclosed every room with a “sealed air space” to increase insulation

Sears began supervising the construction of homes

Sears shipping an average of 250 units per month just from Cairo, IL

Nearly 49,000 units sold to this point

Program’s high point of sales reached ($12,050,000); nearly half, however, are tied up in mortgage loans as the stock market crashes

Sears had 350 different sales people working in 48 sales offices

Home specialty catalog proclaims Sears the “World’s Largest Home Builders”

Mortgage financing discontinued

Construction supervision abandoned, except in greater New York City

Modern Homes catalog featured models of Mount Vernon and New York City’s Federal Hall.

Annual Report announced the Modern Homes department was discontinued

All mortgage accounts were liquidated ($11 million)

Steel-framed, air-conditioned Modern Home exhibit featured at the Century of Progress World’s Fair

Sears reopened the house department

Offered only houses, no financing or construction.

Houses were prefabricated by General Houses, Incorporated (Chicago)

Sales reached $2 million

Sales reached $3.5 million

Last appearance of department in the general catalog.

Sales reached $2.75 million

Cairo, IL, millwork plant sold to the employees who used their profit-sharing money to make the purchase

Last catalog issued (Book of Modern Homes). Sears ends Modern Homes program, having sold more than 100,000 units, not including cabins, cottages, garages, outhouses, and farm buildings

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