Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Missing Models

1936 Sears Modern Homes Catalog
Image courtesy of Archive.org
Now that the national database of Sears houses has passed the 6,000 house mark, I decided to go through the list of models that have been found and see what's yet to be discovered. Depending on what source you use and how you count them, there are between 370 and 450 different models that Sears offered through the Modern Homes catalog. The database currently contains examples of over 300 different models. Which models are we still trying to find? Let's take a look!

The number of models offered by Sears depends on who you ask. The Sears Archive stated that there were 447 different models offered by Sears. "Houses by Mail", the field guide used by Sears house researchers, shared a similar number, stating that there were "approximately 450 ready to assemble designs". In contrast, kit house researcher Rose Thornton stated that there's actually only about 370 designs as Houses by Mail counts as different models houses that have the same design and only differ in name (Maplewood v. Ridgeland) or exterior finish. Also, do you include "Standard Built" homes in the count? How about cottages? 

I haven't gone through the work to count up all the models and review the various floor plans to decide if model X is the same as Model Y - are the Hampton and Crafton really "twins" or "cousins? I say "twins" but some fellow researchers think otherwise. But I think it's safe to say that the number of models lies somewhere between the two totals so we're looking for somewhere between 370 and 450 different models. 

With that in mind, I reviewed the national database and compared it against all the "named" models in "Houses by Mail" (HBM) plus the "Cinderella", the 1926 version of the "Elmwood" and the "Parkridge", which don't appear in HBM. Sears started naming their models in 1918. Prior to that, houses were identified by numbers or a combination of letters and numbers. For example, the "Sherburne" was first offered as the #187. Even though we have quite a few of the "numbered" models on the list, I omitted them for the sake of my sanity. At some point, I may revisit the earlier models to see what's missing. But this list represents all of the "missing" named models from the time period of 1918 - 1940, the last year the Modern Homes catalog was offered. 

Most of the houses in this list fall into one of two distinct categories. First, there's the homes that were offered in the early 1920s for just a year or two. Many of these are smaller homes which means it will be a challenge to find them as they approach 100 years in age. Two, there's the much larger homes that were offered during the 1930s. This was a period when the sales of Sears homes were at their lowest. These houses were also large, costly designs which means that there may only be a few examples of them still around, if they were even ever built.

Rose Thornton and Rebecca Hunter have speculated that some models were offered in the catalog, never ordered by customers and never built. On the other hand, with approximately 70,000 houses sold by Sears, there may be many examples of some of these models but identifying and authenticating them as Sears houses has obviously proven to be a challenge! Keep in mind that this list is based on the houses on the national database of Sears houses. Not every researcher participates in adding houses to the list so there may be models that have been discovered that are not on the list. 

A
Adams
Albany
Alberta
Albion
Almo
Amherst
Arcadia
Arrow

B
Bayside
Beaumont
Belfast
Berkley
Berkshire
Branford
Bryant

C
Cambria
Canton
Carlton
Carrington
Chatham
Chester
Chicora
Cinderella
Corning

D
Dartmouth
Dayton
Dexter
Durham

Sears Durham
Image courtesy of Archive.org
E
Edgemere
Elmwood (1926)
Estes

F
Fairfield
Fulton

G
Gainsboro
Gordon

H
Hampshire
Harmony
Haverhill
Homeville
Hopeland

Sears Haverhill
Image courtesy of Antique Home
I
Ionia

J
Jamestown

K
Katonah
Kenfield
Kimball

L
Lakeland
Lenox
Lorne
Lynn

M
Millerton
Morley
Mount Vernon

Sears Millerton
Image courtesy of Archive.org
N
Natoma
New Haven

P
Pelham
Pineola
Portsmouth

S
Saranac
Seagrove
Sheffield
Spaulding
Springfield
Sunnydell

Sears Sunnydell
Image courtesy of Archive.org
T
Trenton

V
Valley
Verndale
Vinita

W
Wareham
Warren
Wayside
Weymouth

Have you seen any of these missing models? Let us know in the comments!

Update (12/28/2016): An authenticated Sears Sheffield has been located in Hawthorne, New York.
Update (1/15/2017): An authenticated Sears Albion has been located in Floral Park, New York.
Update (2/24/2017): A Sears Cinderella has been located in Warren, Ohio.
Update (7/24/2017): An authenticated Sears Lynn has been located in Highland, Indiana.
Update (9/22/2017): An Almo has been located in Akron, Ohio. 

2 comments:

  1. Hey, we've got an Albion, now :)
    Judith
    Sears-House-Seeker.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Another on the list and off this list!

    ReplyDelete