Interesting Trivia

Discussion in 'The Lighter Side' started by Mrs Glockrunner, Feb 14, 2013.

  1. If you were in the market for a watch in 1880, would
    you know where to get one? You would go to a store,
    right? Well, of course you could do that, but if you
    wanted one that was cheaper and a bit better than
    most of the store watches, you went to the train
    station! Sound a bit funny? Well, for about 500 towns
    across the northern United States , that's where the
    best watches were found.

    Why were the best watches found at the train station?
    The railroad company wasn't selling the watches, not
    at all The telegraph operator was. Most of the time the
    telegraph operator was located in the railroad station
    because the telegraph lines followed the railroad
    tracks from town to town. It was usually the shortest
    distance and the right-of-ways had already been
    secured for the rail line.

    Most of the station agents were also skilled telegraph
    operators and that was the primary way that they
    communicated with the railroad. They would know
    when trains left the previous station and when they
    were due at their next station. And it was the telegraph
    operator who had the watches. As a matter of fact they
    sold more of them than almost all the stores combined
    for a period of about 9 years.

    This was all arranged by "Richard", who was a telegraph
    operator himself. He was on duty in the North Redwood,
    Minnesota train station one day when a load of watches
    arrived from the East. It was a huge crate of pocket
    watches. No one ever came to claim them.

    So Richard sent a telegram to the manufacturer and
    asked them what they wanted to do with the watches.
    The manufacturer didn't want to pay the freight back, so
    they wired Richard to see if he could sell them. So
    Richard did. He sent a wire to every agent in the system
    asking them if they wanted a cheap, but good, pocket
    watch. He sold the entire case in less than two days
    and at a handsome profit.

    That started it all. He ordered more watches from the
    watch company and encouraged the telegraph operators
    to set up a display case in the station offering high quality
    watches for a cheap price to all the travelers. It worked! It
    didn't take long for the word to spread and, before long,
    people other than travelers came to the train station to
    buy watches.

    Richard became so busy that he had to hire a professional
    watch maker to help him with the orders. That was Alvah.
    And the rest is history as they say.

    The business took off and soon expanded to many other
    lines of dry goods.

    Richard and Alvah left the train station and moved their
    company to Chicago -- and it's still there.

    Yes, it’s a little known fact that for a while in the 1880's,
    the biggest watch retailer in the country was at the train
    station. It all started with a telegraph operator: Richard
    Sears and his partner Alvah Roebuck.
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  3. "And now you know the rest of the story." - Paul Harvey

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