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Sears Motor Buggy

  [Oldsmobile]  [Model T]  [Sears]
[Buick]  [Detroit Electric]


Sears, Roebuck and Company - founded in 1897

The Man

Richard Warren Sears
  b. Dec. 7, 1863, Stewartville, Minn., U.S.
  d. Sept. 28, 1914, Waukesha, Wis.


After his father's death and at the age of 17, Sears went to work for the Minneapolis and St. Louis Railway as a station agent. When a jeweler refused a watch shipment, Sears sold the watches to other station agents making a $5,000 profit. With this money, he started a mail-order business watch business in Minneapolis in 1886, under the name of R. W. Sears Watch Company. Within a year, he hired Alvah C. Roebuck as a watch repairman and moved his business to Chicago. In 1887, Sears published a mail-order catalog offering watches, diamonds, and jewelry, all with a money-back guarantee. Sears eventually sold this business but in 1893 went into partnership with Roebuck and the mail-order business Sears, Roebuck and Company was formed.

The Car

It was late in the Fall of 1908 when Sears announced the upcoming Sears automobile. The big Fall 1909 Sears catalogue was the first to include the Sears Motor Buggy.

Despite Sears' solid financial base and unchallenged sales ability, the Sears Motor Buggy was doomed from the start. Buyers were looking for a faster, heavier, more comfortable transportation and the Sears with its tiller steering and 25-mph top speed was not what the they wanted. Added to that the limitations of mail order selling and no local dealers, it is not hard to see why Sears never made a dent in the car market. By 1912, the automobile division lost $80,000. There were approximately 3,500 Sears Motor Buggy's made from 1909 to 1912.

  [Oldsmobile]  [Model T]  [Sears]
[Buick]  [Detroit Electric]