29 July 2009

Herter's of Waseca

Herter's Catalog
Where in the wide world of sports are you gonna find slaughterhouse knives?

I swear DeNiro was wearing those Lumberjacks (#2) in The Deer Hunter

And Walken was in (#4) The Buffalo Plaid Wool Shirt

Notice the Western Style Belt Loops on (#4) Dacron Poplin Pants

I gotta have a Gunstock Lamp

Anyone know The Buckskin Shop?

George Herter put out the best damned mail order catalog I have ever found. Herter's of Waseca (RR 1) sold guns, boats, mini bikes, stoves, beef jerkey and some bizarre "How To" books like, "How To Live With A Bitch," "How To Make The Finest Wines At Home," "How To Get Out Of The Rat Race And Live On $10 A Month" and "George The Housewife." Leon Gorman, former chairman of LL Bean and LL's grandson wrote about George in his book, "L.L. Bean - The Making of an American Icon,"

"George Herter was still publishing his perfect-bound, phone-book-sized catalog... It contained everything imaginable in fishing and hunting paraphernalia, camping equipment, and a wide variety of unrelated products, all endorsed by his mythical Hudson Bay Guide Association. Herter described his products in the most grandiose (and often humorous) copy I have ever read. I wish I had saved my copies."


It was a catalog I followed for years. Not that I ever bought anything. If I had the money, there was getting the money order followed by finding a stamp and I never could find an envelope. No, ordering something from a mail order catalog was far too much for my ADD. It wasn't until I was in the Army I could get my crap together enough to place a catalog order -- and even then -- it had to be something I really needed. Like a dozen pair of athletic socks. No, I never ordered from Herter's but George kept my name on the list and they managed to get forwarded somehow. Or, maybe it was Phred / Trad Dad, a MN native, who was doing the ordering...Maybe he'll tell us. Anyway, like Leon, I never saved a copy but instead snagged this one off eBay. Easy to do since I didn't have to screw around with a money order.

There's a couple pair of Herter's boots from the 50's on eBay. Not my size but then that's why I just told you about 'em. Don't get excited. You don't have that much of a head start. This piece ran last year in the NY Times and I understand George's books have soared in value. Still, the catalogs are a steal on eBay and will look at home in any man's bathroom.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tintin,
Is an intervention in order? I mean for the HOARDING. I know you live in NYC and apartments are small. Unless you are a wealthy eccentric (hoarder with a lot of money) and can afford a palatial apt. I am assuming the GF must have her own place because no woman could live with all the BB catalogs, hunting catalogs, belts, clothing, tortellini shoes, photos, magazines, expensive socks, Trad ephemera... Tell me, where do you keep all this crap or will I just have to wait and find out on the next episode of Intervention? D P.s. I'm not complaining, all this crap is great fodder for your blog.

tintin said...

D- I'm poor. It's spread out. And the Gulf Foxtrot will tell you it's an issue.

LPC said...

These are absolutely fabulous. You have read secret forts blog, right?

M.Lane said...

Your posts constantly amaze me. In the little town where I lived, in Northern Wisconsin, with MY Minnesota native father, the Herters catalog was THE mail piece of every year. Everyone, well every male anyway, eagerly read every page of it. Every year. We ordered numerous tackle boxes, reels, shirts, boots, you name it, [well, not socks] from Herters. Nothing came close.

I was looking for Herters a year or so ago and I think I read the brand had been purchased by Cabela's. Which is good. But not Herters. What great memories this post brings back...

ML
mlanesepic.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Tintin,
There is dance you and GF have to learn. It is called the garbage cha cha cha. My husband and I do it all the time. I put (insert name of piece of crap) in the garbage, cha cha cha. He digs it out and hides it, cha cha cha. I find it, wrap in something really disgusting, cha cha cha. The garbage man picks it up, turn, and cha cha cha. My husband yells "Where is my (insert name of piece of crap) cha cha cha?" I say "I have no idea, cha cha cha." It's a great dance. The GF will love doing it. You, not so much. D

Tin-tin's phred/dad said...

Remember Herter's fondly. Bought from them as a teener with USPS money orders. Pain in the ass, but the only way available then. Great equipment. Bought from them while in Army since Herter's had better underclothes and boots, etc.
Correct that Cabela's has assumed the role, but not nearly as well. Cabella's employees (like Wal Mart and others) don't know shit from shoe polish. Have to be repeatedly quizzed
via 800#. Bought an extraordinarily expensive camp cot from Cabella's recently. Couldn't figure out how to open it and set it up because had no instructions. While waiting for them to send instructions, figured it out instinctively. Found instructions INSIDE the folded cot! Absurd! Typical though nowadays.

Anonymous said...

Dang! I loved that catalog! Along with the Whole Earth catalog and Johnson and Smith. I haven't thought about Herter's in YEARS! I'd pour over it for hours dreaming of a life in the great outdoors away from the hot-as-hell tourist-packed beaches I lived near. The grass is always greener...

My Wisconsin uncle and grandfather wore casual stout clothing like Herter's: sort of a gentleman-on-a-fair weather-hike kind of look. My mom liked that Herter's was from her neck of the woods...so to speak.

Graphic designers today go out of their way to design brochures and catalogs that bad! Dig those page colors.

-DB

ZZ said...

Used to love reading Herter's catalog, partly for the stuff worth wanting, partly for the oddball stuff I couldn't imagine anyone wanting, and partly for his often outrageous opinions on pretty much everything. Only thing I have left from Herter's are four giant muskie lures, circa 1968, which I still haven't yet gotten around to using. Those and my ancient LL Bean fly fishing vest and Bob Dope Fly Fishing Tournament hat are cherished possessions.

July26Twins said...

All I can say is WOW! July26Twins

tintin said...

Man, I hate getting behind on comments-


LPC- Never heard of secret forts but checked it out. Very impressive. I'm a fan. Thanks.

M Lane- I was wondering if you knew it. That catalog brings back so many memories. When I was a kid I thught WI was in Canada.

D -I've tried that and lost as well. I should buy a self storage franchise and live in one.

Dad- That would explain the catalogs we had. I do remember getting my crap together for a $5 money order (international no less) for pictures of a MG-TC for sale in the U.K. when I was 15.

DB- That crest is begging to be stolen. I can see the boys at Chez Lauren coming out with a line of "North Woods" stuff and the tags with a hybrid of this crest. If it hasn't been done already.

ZZ- I did see some lures on Ebay. As well as traps and bullet molds. I would love to hang a trap on the wall but doubt that'll fly with the Gulf Foxtrot.

7/26 Twins- Great to see you. Your sites made me home sick for Chicago.

k said...

I grew up going to the store all of the time. Many awesome memories.
I was heartbroken when they closed

Steve said...

I just got my 1970 mint condition Herter's catalog out and started looking through it again. Really brings back the memories. What a great collection of everything the outdoorsman could want. Cabelas is now the exclusive seller of all things Herter.

tintin said...

k- You have great Herter's memories which is a lot more than I can say.

Steve- Those catalogs - - in the catlog world -- rule. Cabelas couldn't piss out of a boot with a direction arrow on the heel.

Bill Hovey said...

I found a 1948 Herter's catalogue. (Wholesale Catalog No. 56) Gotta love the prices.Herter's Model 12R Revolving Vise, $5.25, or 12 for $50.00. How about Herter's Famous English Model Hackle Pliers, Std. size $.55 or 12 for $5.50. Thought you might find this interesting.

Bill Hovey

tintin said...

Thanks, Bill. Just don't order nuthin'.

Zippers, Buttons, Selvage & Snaps said...

Yesterday i picked up a pair of herters boots in amazing cond they are size 11 would be willing to trade fro something_Dave

Anonymous said...

Love these comments. I'm female used to spend hours looking through the catalog with each new issue, and my family had items from all throughout different catagories. I was interested in researching crossbows and was extremely saddened to find it wasn't there any more. No, Cabela doesn't cut it.