Posts tagged "Catalogues"

The Hobby Hall mail order catalogue, 2007

Leafing trough old  mail order catalogues is a great way to learn about eras long gone. Today we examine a fascinating vintage Hobby Hall catalogue dating from 2007.

The first impression we get from the cover is that people seemed to have a lot more time on their hands than they do today. Hence it was not uncommon for couples to just sit around and play “video games” all day long wearing “blue jeans”. Men were typically blond and chirpy while women were dark and mysterious. Pillows were made out of silver.

Yes, these were primitive times. After playing “the Playstation” for a while the male and the female would then look at each other, utter the words “let’s get changed into something more comfortable” and then slip into a kind of animal print bathrobe made out of polyester. This would bring out the animal attraction in them.

They would then proceed to mate on a “virtual savannah” (this time made out of cotton to avoid static electricity) and then go and play some more “playstation”.

The people of 2007 would have their own furniture made out of tubular steel and chipboard for their chunky television sets which were attached to the “Playstation”. Sometime they would abbreviate the word “television” to “TV” to save time – which was of course highly unnecessary since they had all the time in the world.

Chipboard would also be used to build intricate structures which function remains a mystery to this day. “CD towers” would however be integrated into these structures which might seem funny to us today, but was an absolute necessity in it’s day.


The people of 2007 would also keep “cats” and dogs” as “pets”. Owning a cat meant you had to build complex structures out of twine and fluffy polyester in order to keep your “cats” happy – otherways they might claw your eyes while you were sleeping.

“Dogs” were not trusted at all, so they were kept in steel cages.

You and I might keep our clothes on a shelf or in a cupboard, but this was not the case in 2007. Back then clothes were vacuum packed in plastic bags and stowed away under furniture. This practise was discontinued as late as 2010.

Some extremely forward thinking individuals also kept their clothes in big Tupperware boxes, but this practise didn’t really catch on until much later.

Beer was not widely available in 2007, so people used to brew their own. They also used to cook their own food at home.

Talking about food; isn’t it mind blowing to look into an refrigerator of 2007? People used to eat the darnest things like “eggs” and “juice”. And for dessert they might have a “frozen pizza”. Imagine that happening today!

With nothing else on their minds than rest, eat and wearing animal print clothing the people of 2007 would of course soon get offspring. It’s interesting to note how gender conscious they were though; girls would wear “Nice girl” sweaters while boys would claim to be part of the “Working boys construction crew”.

(The letter T would for some reason also be swithced for the number 7 in written text, possibly out of superstition.)

Also, instead of having beds available in several unisex colours they would have two strictly dedicated colours for male and female children. Buying the wrong colour appearantly meant bad luck for 7 years. (Sometimes written “T” years.)


These beds would then have bed linens with pictures of prostitutes and reptiles on them. The former were aimed as role models for female children, and latter for male.

But then we have to remember children growing up during this time could only hope to become two things when grown up; either a princess or a pirate. Naturally this was mirrored in the kind of backpacks they would choose.

Yes, the year 2007 sure was a funny time. But then we guess things have changed quite a bit since.

The SOK catalogue, 1960

Today we review the SOK mail order catalogue dating from 1960. The cover is summery in an eternal way. We like that.

The summery feel continues inside. The summer of 1960 seems to have been all about colour and shaping the female body into an unnatural shape.

But only the female models. For male models the most important characteristic was the ability to smoke a pipe at all times. Doesn’t it add an air of sophistication?

“Yes, I’m wearing pajamas, and yes, I will smoke this pipe in bed. My motto has always ‘what would Hugh Hefner do?’”

Guy with nervous smile: “But guys! I forgot my pipe at home!” 
“Doesn’t matter, just grab your glasses! As long as you hold something you’ll be alright.” 

Sport nerd: “But guys, I need my glasses to see, I can’t be holding them!”
“That’s fine, then just hold your shoe. Just remember: as long as you hold something you’ll be fine.”

By the way, men and women never seem to meet in this catalogue. Here are some ladies hanging out by a brick wall.

And here’s some fellas out in nature, holding stuff in their hands like there’s no tomorrow.

Sometimes the guys will also wear leather and hold their hand in their pocket. Nice trousers, dude in the middle,  what are those, padded knees?

The summer of ‘60 was also the summer of the hat. Cool photoshopping on the gentleman in the middle, definetely adds an air of mystery.

Work wear was also already around in the 1960’s. These gentlemen’s professions from left to right: IT specialist, key account manager, stock broker, artesan, unemployed and scientist. Didn’t realize they was an uniform for uneployment in the 60’s.

(Russian accent) “Are you the Sparrow from Minsk?”
“Minsk? No, I’m just into beige coloured trench coats and smoking cigarettes”
“Oh. Never mind then. Er, here’s a light and if you could ignore that sparrow business, that would be great.”

But let’s not forget the children. The kid on the right looks like he could easily put out a fire in a nuclear reactor. And he’d be up for it as well. 

But of course you could order so much more than clothes. Like a bag. Don’t get it though why you would want to buy a bag that says “Finnair”? Isn’t that something you should get for free when flying?

Retro cameras also seemed to be in fashion. People were really in to that “Hipstamatic” vibe back in the day.

Or why not get some coffee? Of course you buy your coffee via mail order, how else?

These toys are great, but why do the three on the bottow row look absolutely terrified?

The intellectual pipe smoking home also needs a bookshelf for your five to six books. And if you need to name a bookshelf, why not call it Jorma?

We never got the idea of that hanging Boyesen monkey though.

This kitchen is just great. And painting just one drawer black is even more fascinating. What’s in the black drawer? Something sinister?

But hey, if you feel like ordering something out of this catalogue, you should know it expired in September 1960.


Review: The Anttila mail order catalogue, 1972

Our printed matter pick of the week is the Anttila catalogue from April 1972. The cover is going with a nautical theme, which seems to have been in fashion since the beginning of the history of mail order catalogues.

However, inside it’s a lot more than just stripy shirts. The catalogue is in fact heavily into retro fashion and it’s actually impossible to find anything made after 1972 in it. In other words, just the way we like it.

Hey look, it’s Uma Thurman as a child, dressing up as her character in Kill Bill. Which of course was based on the tracksuit Bruce Lee wore in his 1972 film Game of Death… see what we’re getting at: he obviously must have bought it through Finnish mail order? What a scoop!

But hey, what’s this? I’m sorry, but fake Legos has always been – and always will be – unacceptable. Do you hear that, catalogue? Unacceptable. Come on Anttila, you can do better than this.

Well, yes! That’s what we’re talking about! The Bonanza Super De Luxe. What a great name for a great bike. Clearly bicycles were much cooler back in the day. Okay, so maybe not that practical, but we could see us cruising around with a fleet of these around the office. 

But check this out – it’s your parents about to go make babies in their new tent! Although your dad seems to be hesitating though. Maybe he’s gay?

Nope – on the next page they are married and had to get a bigger tent. And you might think it’s funny that your dad’s just sitting there while your mum is serving him drinks, but such was the law back in 1972. In fact, it was actually illegal in Finland for men to get their own beer at the time.

If you’d say this looks like a really cheap Soviet-made camera, you’d be right. But would you be suprised if we told you the Lomographic society is now selling these pieces of junk to fashinable retro camera enthusiasts all over the world? We thought so.

By the way, how come car manufacturers don’t do individually coloured seat covers no more? That would really add some zing to that rusty old Mazda of yours, don’t you think?

Also, a tried method that seems to have been forgotten: if your car is really rusty, why not slap on one of these fun stickers? That way noone will know, and you’ll come across as a flower loving friend of the earth. Win!

Look, it’s your mum again. Now she’s dusting off the floor mats. It’s funny how many mats she and your dad actually needed, considering they’re living in a tent.

The piece de resistance though of the 1972 Anttila catalogue got to be this practical wig. Made out of highly practical artificial fibre, it’s indispensible after “swimming, bath or sauna”. And probably not itchy at all.

In conclusion the Anttila catalogue was very coherent aesthatically, and the graphics were great with a retro twist.

Kasper Stromman Design Blog rating: 8,5

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