Thread Number: 69397  /  Tag: Modern Automatic Washers
Sears Kenmore catalogs...
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Post# 922633   2/20/2017 at 15:24 (426 days old) by chetlaham (United States)        

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Does anyone have or know where I you can find the catalogs showing the entire Kenmore appliance line up from the early to mid 2000s? Preferably the washers and dryers over all else. Here is the design era I have in mind, which IMO was the second best of all time and perhaps the best model concept line up in the appliance industry:

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Post# 922659 , Reply# 1   2/20/2017 at 16:33 (426 days old) by brucelucenta ()        

The library?

Post# 922660 , Reply# 2   2/20/2017 at 16:39 (426 days old) by ken (Ulster Hgts, NY)        

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You could probably find one on ebay.

Post# 922661 , Reply# 3   2/20/2017 at 16:39 (426 days old) by wayupnorth (On a lake between Bangor and Bar Harbor)        

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Sears stopped catalogs in 1993, I have the last issue. Some library's do have all of them bound in the archives.

Post# 922835 , Reply# 4   2/21/2017 at 09:54 (425 days old) by chetlaham (United States)        
Catalogs post 93

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How did the sales people know which models were in the line up?

Post# 922908 , Reply# 5   2/21/2017 at 18:14 (425 days old) by wayupnorth (On a lake between Bangor and Bar Harbor)        

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Sears Corporate sent printed stuff with all of todays changes and tomorrow, better get this rearranged this with that. I had friends that had a Sears Hometown Store and they had to change everything constantly it seemed. They finally said they were out when the K-Mart fiasco happened and their Sears rep quit and commissions were stopped.

Post# 922928 , Reply# 6   2/21/2017 at 19:46 (425 days old) by Kenmoreguy64 (Charlotte, NC)        
Sales reps knowing the line up, & catalogs

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I spoke to some sales reps that didn't know as much as could be learned from the circulars and signs on the sales floor. They seemed to know the mid-line models best (the "bread and butter" models) and basically what was on sale that week, and the Lady K too because it paid a handsome commission. Certainly not all were that dense --- When I bought my '86s, the salesman was excellent --- he had a 20-year plus tenure with Sears and he knew his machines, even discontinued models from years earlier. He could have sold me an 80-series if he tried, but he said "Son, this is fine for you", or something like that, when I bought my entry level 70.

Sears usually had 20+ machines active, and some would come and go for various promotional periods etc. It wouldn't surprise me if few knew the whole lineup at one given time except for somebody in the Marketing Dept.

As to the catalogs, they did not contain the whole line, rather just an excerpt from the current total of models. Some models never made it into a catalog, others were there one issue and gone the next but were available for several years, etc.

Sears did some tricky things with their selling practices. They always had several 70-series machines current at the same time, so one could always be on sale, which is what the majority of buyers looked at, but the different model and stock numbers on sale week to week got them around laws that govern sale prices vs. everyday retail. In reality the only difference from one machine to the next would be four vs. five water levels, or this model had a softener dispenser and that one didn't etc. Similar things were done with the 60 and 80 series lines.

It would be fascinating to speak to someone who worked for Sears marketing in the busy years of the BD and DD washers.

Post# 923031 , Reply# 7   2/22/2017 at 06:13 (425 days old) by chetlaham (United States)        

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Would be an under statement lol. I've watched sears for years, and frequented their stores weekly keeping tabs on operations. They knew how to sell machines and they knew it well. As you say they would often have fliers that would drive you in, then the sales people would tale you into an MOL to upper MOL model. I remember the sales people did everything they could to discourage 1 speeders and BOL dryers. In fact the dryers were often such that it looked better to pair them with their companion machine rather then buying a good washer and basic dryer as most would- a deliberate design choice. In general the BOLs was such that something about them looked ugly/depressing and the higher up you went the better they looked- at least to me. And yahhh, they would change the sales floor often. A new model would trigger it, and they had many new models. A new model might have a soak feature where the previous was blanked off, or gain an extra cycle but loose the porcelain enamel lid. However over all they knew how to start basic and ramp the features up gradually across 15 models. For the cost, even compared to a TOL, Kenmore won hands down compared to the other brands. I think there only bad machine was the Calypso and Frigidaire splurge, but other then that they left the customer satisfied.

I also wonder if Sears did contract sales, because in the early 2000s I remember a several large subdivision ended up with all Kenmore appliances.

Post# 923041 , Reply# 8   2/22/2017 at 07:53 (424 days old) by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
I've also seen

Kenmore in hotel suites.

Post# 923060 , Reply# 9   2/22/2017 at 09:07 (424 days old) by appnut (TX)        
I also wonder if Sears did contract sales

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Yes.  At one point, their web site even had a section for contractor/builder sales/models. 

Post# 923073 , Reply# 10   2/22/2017 at 10:09 (424 days old) by brucelucenta ()        

Hell, I never even knew they stopped making catalogs in 1993!

Post# 923085 , Reply# 11   2/22/2017 at 11:09 (424 days old) by ken (Ulster Hgts, NY)        

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I had no idea 1993 was the last year either or I obviously wouldn't have suggested looking on ebay!

Post# 923552 , Reply# 12   2/24/2017 at 09:27 (422 days old) by mark_wpduet (Lexington KY)        
I remember growing up

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getting the Sears catalog out and going through it seeing all these neat things that I could never EVER have. I would remember thinking "who would buy this?" I remember the catalogs stopping in 1993 or around that time frame. I even remember watching a segment on it on the national news I think. I once ordered a milkshake maker from the catalog and in 1991 I ordered a small portable kenmore clothes washer that rolls up to the kitchen faucet...and when I moved a couple of yrs later, that machine sold so FAST.

It's crazy now to think how we have the internet now and how it's changed everything.

Post# 923557 , Reply# 13   2/24/2017 at 09:44 (422 days old) by alr2903 (TN)        

OP, asked about 2000 and beyond.  NTGOT,  I still remember the Christmas wish book that was mailed to your home if you were a catalogue store shopper  The Christmas book cover was heavily laminated almost like a IHOP menu.  The entire back cover often was full page with a Christmas Value W/D  exactly as described in reply #6. Maybe an extra cycle or water level, porcelain top upgrade, etc.  They were really nice photo layouts with Christmas ribbons and the obligatory Sear's towels nicely folded on an open hamper dryer door.  Was enough to make a washer kid swoon.  Sorry/Thanks!

Post# 923658 , Reply# 14   2/24/2017 at 21:04 (422 days old) by fan-of-fans (Florida)        

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I remember the Christmas Wish Books and looking at the toys in them. I don't remember large appliances in them, just small ones and they were decorated with bows, etc. I still have a lot of the catalogs but I wore them out. LOL I have a 1992 Wish Book and a few 1991, 92 and 93 catalogs. I didn't look at the large appliances in them much, other than the ranges. Mostly I looked at the vacuum cleaners and fans. I do remember still getting a "Wish Book" around 1997 but it wasn't mail order, I think it was just a magazine-circular with items on sale in it.

As for the BOL machines being unattractive, I can remember around the late 90s the BOL machines were Galaxy and had brown plastic consoles with black knobs. Very different looking than the machines a step or two higher. They did advertise those BOL machines though, I have a sale paper somewhere that showed the Galaxy models next to the white console Kenmores.

I could tell you that console style you have in the pictures would have come around 1996 or 97, the swoosh logo started coming out in late 1995 and probably debuted on the washers and dryers when the console changed over to that style. My parents bought a dryer in 2004 and it still had that console, which matched their 1999 or 2000 year washer, shortly after that Sears changed them to a more angular console, probably in 2005 or so. The washer looks like the fourth one.

Post# 924333 , Reply# 15   3/1/2017 at 08:30 (417 days old) by ponchoguy (NYC Suburbs)        
Back in 1975....

I went with my grandparents to buy the 1975 Kenmore washer dryer pair that they owned for their then "new" house (was 20 years old by that time). I was four in '75 and I remember going, seeing our "uncle" (family friend in Italian-American households, an actual neighbor of my real blood uncle) who knew which one was on sale and which would be the best for my grandparents. He worked for Sears for many years. One of my cars (originally my uncle's) still has the Sears Auto Lifetime alignment warranty contract in effect. It was probably $35 in 1984 for that plan!

Both machines lasted until 2012-2013 when we sold the property (I bought part of that property). I sold the gas dryer on Craigslist for $125 (worked like new) and had to part out the washer (as the tenants broke it and we evicted them) because it was beyond repair. I repaired the dryer once in 2003 with a new igniter kit for $35 in parts and the washer once in 2010 with an NOS Midwest timer for $23 in parts. Both worked great and were very reliable machines.

I remember it because back then, Sears had the pretzel counter and you got 3 or 4 for $1! :)

Post# 924371 , Reply# 16   3/1/2017 at 14:25 (417 days old) by gansky1 (Omaha, The Home of the TV Dinner!)        

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1993 was the end of the "Big Book" catalogs but they continued to print smaller, specialized catalogs and of course, brochures long after that. Hardware, some appliance, yard care, etc. We just saw a stack of these catalogs of this era in an antique store in Des Moines over the weekend. Nothing as new as the OP requested.

Post# 924410 , Reply# 17   3/1/2017 at 18:57 (417 days old) by jmm63 (Denville, NJ)        

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Here's a link to a Wishbook website that I recently found, spent ALOT of time at the holidays reliving so much


Post# 924421 , Reply# 18   3/1/2017 at 20:16 (417 days old) by wayupnorth (On a lake between Bangor and Bar Harbor)        

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I have that last Wishbook. MANY years ago I drooled over what was available on every single page that I wanted, not how you paid for it, oh well, I was a kid and wanted it all, whats new today, except it costs alot more now.

Post# 924433 , Reply# 19   3/1/2017 at 23:25 (417 days old) by alr2903 (TN)        

JMM,  Thank You for posting the link.  I will look at the wish books  closer another day.  The expensive price of television sets in the 1980's is shocking compared with today.  It is no wonder the folks got hysterical when we rough housed in the living room.

Post# 924478 , Reply# 20   3/2/2017 at 09:47 (416 days old) by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
I can't put my finger on it

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And yes, I know that Kenmore labeled appliances got extra QC time on the line, but somehow it just seems as if the Kenmore appliances built by Whirlpool were just plain better - in design and durability.

I don't like Whirlpool, but there's no question they did some great looking design back in the day. Today, of course, if I had to buy from them, I'd buy the Roper or Estate brand - same stuff, just much less expensive. You're really just paying for the name on KitchenAid and Maytag, now.


As to discouraging BOL sales, boy oh boy did they ever. I had a whale of a time many decades back getting them to sell me a Galaxy for a friend who had to buy new (insurance claim) but had very little to spend. Succeeded, but only after getting the store manager involved and applying what scant charm I possess. 

Post# 924998 , Reply# 21   3/5/2017 at 01:43 (414 days old) by chetlaham (United States)        
Thank you! :)

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For posting those catalogs, they made my day! Actually more like my year! :D Its very neat to see all those vintage electronics, and I must admit styling in small appliances has improved greatly. Those auto coffee makers look tacky lol. The radios and record players bring back memories, my relatives had those exact ones.

Post# 924999 , Reply# 22   3/5/2017 at 01:45 (414 days old) by chetlaham (United States)        
Thank you! :)

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For posting those catalogs, they made my day! Actually more like my year! :D Its very neat to see all those vintage electronics, and I must admit styling in small appliances has improved greatly. Those auto coffee makers look tacky lol. The radios and record players bring back memories, my relatives had those exact ones.

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