Goodbye J.C. Higgins
People of the later generations may not remember or even know who JC Higgins was. Mr. Higgins was part of an unfortunately dying breed of durable goods makers. As a kid growing up in the Midwest, the JC Higgins brand was quite prevalent in our home because the products were sold exclusively by Sears, Roebuck and Co. My mother told me later in her life that their lives revolved around Sears because they had a credit card.
Everything from bicycles to camping equipment was sold by the giant department store Sears. There were many a Christmas where JC Higgins was an intricate part of the festivities. There were times when a bicycle was there or some other item from Sears gift wrapped from Santa or the parents.
From camping in the summer to electric frying pans, the JC Higgins brand was synonymous with Sears. JC Higgins was just as familiar as the smell of caramel corn in the store and the bells dinging to get a salesperson's attention. There items were so durable that you can still find them over fifty years later. From the bicycles to the camping stoves, they are still available widely on the Internet.
Even though the brick and mortar stores are dying out to the online retailers, It's hard to imagine that there once was a time when durable goods stood the test of time. Now, those durable goods are sought after by pickers and collectors and some demand a high price. Some are even used for movie props as you can see by the picture at the start of this post. If you remember, one bike like that was used in the movie Pee Wee's Big Adventure and was Pee Wee Herman's prized possession.
It makes me wonder what kind of durable goods will be sought after from our current "throw away" society. Back when televisions and radios were articles of furniture, it seems almost impossible to think that an IPad will end up being sought after by future generations. If you go beyond the durable goods that were talked about here and think about houses, cars and larger items, I think a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air would still be more sought after than a 1982 Chevrolet Citation.
Those thrilling days of days gone by have left behind quite a few artifacts from our parents generation and a few things from our generation but our children's generation would probably yield nothing to be collectable. Who knows, I could be wrong but I don't forsee the Pickers going crazy over something like a Walkman like they would for a JC Higgins bicycle, gun or camping equipment