The Railroad and the Catalogue

From the late 19th century till well into the 20th Montgomery Ward and Sears supplied Americans on the farm and in small towns with all the tools for self-reliance but nobody was fooling themselves with some idea that they didn’t need anybody else; the goods had to arrive by rail after all. Folks farmed to sell crops to enable them to purchase the tools and goods that would help them lead a more comfortable farming life. The local blacksmith might repair a plowshare but the iron stock he used to do it came from afar. [To be continued]