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Sears, Roebuck "Honor Bilt" Modern Homes
Sears, Roebuck and Co. offered plans and materials for complete homes as early as 1909. By the mid-twenties, the homes were offered with "ready cut" lumber. Every piece of lumber was numbered,and every number corresponded with the number shown on the plans furnished by Sears.
Sears claimed this system saved money for the do-it-yourself homebuilder, because all the cutting of lumber could be done more accurately and economically by big power-driven machines at a factory, than it could be cut by hand on the job. Sears claimed a savings of 40% on carpenters' labor costs. "You only need a hammer and nails to put up the framework of your house."
In addition to the precut lumber, these "kit houses" included materials such as plumbing fixtures, pre-built cabinets, paint and varnish, preconstructed windows complete with sash cords and sash weights, door hinges, door knobs, lighting fixtures, gutters and downspouts; the list goes on and on. (Cement, brick, and plaster was not included.)
Sears felt it was smart business to promote home ownership as the logical alternative to renting:
Our EASY Payment Plan makes it POSSIBLE.
"To get the full share of Good Health, Long Life and Happiness for yourself and kiddies, to get the most out of life as our Creator intended it should be, A HOME OF YOUR OWN is an absolute necessity. It promotes happiness and contentment, for it is the most pleasant and natural way to live. It has the correct environment made up of the natural instead of the artificial. Green grass, trees, shrubbery, flower and vegetable gardens all your own,provide a pleasant pastime, and an abundance of the things we all crave. It is the real life that leads to happiness, for you and those you love."
"Best of all, a home of your own does not cost you any more than your present mode of living. Instead of paying monthly rental, by our Easy Payment Plan you may have all these luxuries at a lower cost and, in the end, have a beautiful home instead of worthless rent receipts. Our plan is simple. It has already enabled thousands of people to get out of the renter's class. This plan will put you in your own home and give you your independence."