Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Buy direct . . .

Today is the birthday of Aaron Montgomery Ward (February 17, 1844 - December 7, 1913), an American businessman credited with the invention of mail order.

Aaron Montgomery Ward founded the world's first mail-order business, Montgomery Ward Co., in 1872.

He was a traveling salesman who noticed that rural residents desired goods not available in their hometowns. So he created a mail-order business in Chicago and sent out his first single-sheet price list in August 1872. It was a slow start, until 1875 when he coined the slogan, “satisfaction guaranteed or your money back”. By 1883 the “Wish Book,” as it came to be known, had grown to 240 pages with more than 10,000 items.

Countless other catalog-based companies have followed in his footsteps, including information-age retailers like Amazon.com

"Cut out the middleman." - A. M. Ward

In 1946, the Grolier Club, a society of bibliophiles in New York, exhibited the Montgomery Ward catalog alongside Webster's dictionary as one of the hundred books with the most influence on life and culture of the American people.

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