Gentle Beam Publications ... P.O. Box 1392 ... Alton, IL 62002 ...

Hello and welcome to Gentle Beam Publications! 

We're located in scenic Alton, Illinois, and we're the publishers of Rose Thornton's latest book, "The Houses That Sears Built: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Sears Catalog Homes."

You can find excerpts from Rose's book at The Old House Web. Here's the link

To buy a copy of the book, use the form below from The Old House Web's bookstore. We process book orders daily. Order now and we'll have your book in the mail in just a few hours!

The Houses That Sears Built:
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sears Catalog Homes

This is a brand new book, publication date April 2002. It is written by the country's leading authority on Sears homes, Rosemary Thornton. It is THE book on Sears homes, and includes "The Lost Sears Homes" --  catalog pictures of Sears homes that have not been published in more than 70 years!

Author: Rosemary Thornton
Publisher: Gentle Beam Publications
Format: 168-pages, 8.5 x 11 inches. Paperback
More than 40 diagrams and pictures.
ISBN: 0971558809
Buy it: Only $19.95 plus $4 shipping and handling! Click on the "buy now" button below!

Between 1908 and 1940, Sears customers ordered about 75,000 houses from Sears Roebuck and Company mail-order catalogs.

Today these houses have become a treasured piece of Americana. Yet while interest in Sears homes is soaring, research by an expert suggests that fewer than 5,000 Sears houses have been conclusively identified around the U.S.

"More than 70,000 Sears homes remain undiscovered and unknown," says that expert, Rosemary Thornton. "Because of this, our communities’ best architectural treasures – our grand collection of Sears homes – are being damaged by remuddling and worse, demolished."

Thornton, a regular contributor here at The Old House Web, hopes her latest book will help historians and homeowners alike discover some of the   many thousands of unidentified Sears houses scattered around the U.S.

The book also provides a fascinating portrait of the people and ideas behind the Sears mail-order housing business.

Her new book offers a detailed history of the Sears catalog-home business. And better yet, it is loaded with pages from those Sears catalogs of yesterday ... including many that have not seen the light of day in many decades.

In this book, you’ll learn how to identify Sears homes from the inside, from the outside and from visits to the archive vault at your local court house or registry of deeds.. You’ll learn details of how these houses were built. And you'll learn details about the largest single order ever placed for Sears houses: a cool $1 million.

From the Back Cover:

"Between 1908-1940, more than 75,000 Sears homes were built. Sears kit homes contained 30,000 pieces, including 750 pounds of nails, 27 gallons of paint and a 75-page instruction book. Sears estimated that the average carpenter would charge $450 to aseemble those 30,000 pieces of house. The painter's fee: $34.50. Sears estimated that other skilled labor would cosst $1 an hour. Prices for these built-it-yourself kit houses ranged from $600 to $6000."

Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1:
    What Is A Sears Catalog Home? (And Why Are They So Intriguing?)

  • Chapter 2
    “Hang Your Saw On a Nail All Day:”  Sears Homes and Their Unique Place in American Architecture.

  • Chapter 3
    What Were Sears Homes Made Of? Amazing Facts, Interesting Details and Curiosities About Sears Homes.

  • Chapter 4
    The Houses That Sears Repossessed ... Sears Modern Homes, Sears Mortgages And The Great Depression

  • Chapter 5
    $1 Million Worth of Sears Homes ... The Biggest Order In The History of The Sears Modern Homes Department.

  • Chapter 6: Is It Really a Sears Home? How To Identify Sears Homes From The Curb, The Kitchen or The Courthouse.

  • Chapter 7: A House for the Little Woman And The Kiddies ... A Fascinating Look Inside The Sears Modern Homes Catalogues.

  • Chapter 8: Fact vs. Fiction ... Myths, Mistakes And Misinformation About Sears Modern Homes.

  • Chapter 9: Frequently Asked Questions

  • Chapter 10: The Lost Sears Homes

  • Chapter 11: Conclusion ... What Did George Bailey and Sears, Roebuck Have in Common?

About the Author

Rosemary Thornton has been writing and lecturing about Sears homes for three years. She's also conducted surveys of Sears homes for several communities. As a result, Ms. Thornton found that she received frequent requests from people all over the country, asking for more information about these old catalog homes. Because of this, she decided it was time to combine her copious field notes with the tall stack of rare historical information she'd unearthed, and write a book: The Houses That Sears Built.

From the Author

"This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. I hope my love of these awesome old homes shines through the pages of this book. Above all, I hope "The Houses That Sears Built" will inspire you to go out into your community and find the Sears homes that are hidden there. 

"I hope this book will fuel your love of old homes, specifically Sears homes. And I hope that this book helps preserve and protect this country's dazzling collection of Sears Roebuck catalog homes."

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