House Work Made Easy with Sellers Kitcheneed

It started with the following mysterious message in the October 15, 1914 Skidmore New Era (Skidmore, Missouri) on page 1:

A little girl carries a sign that reads "Votes for Little Women."  The caption underneath the image reads, "She's on her way - Watch."

Skidmore New Era (Skidmore, Missouri), October 15, 1914, page 1.

The explanation came soon after. To promote sales of the Sellers Kitcheneed, a cabinet designed to provide storage and workspace in the kitchen, Manchester & Dodds sponsored a contest. By visiting the store to hear a sales pitch, collecting names, and collecting stamps, customers could enter to win a two-thirds size replica of the grown-up version. The features of both sizes were many, as we see in the October 29, 1914 Skidmore New Era, page 5:

Drawing shows a little girl playing with a doll in front of a child-sized piece of kitchen furniture.  The ad reads: This little kitchen cabinet will be given away to some little girl.  Ask for book of instructions.  Back to your "dolly days."  Come in and see the Sellers Junior Special Kitcheneed the little girls are working so hard for and you will understand just why it is that every little contestant is so anxious to own it.  You will find yourself wishing that there had been such possibilities for you during that time, not so very far back, when you were a little girl, and played at doing the things you now do as a woman.  For this Junior is an exact two-thirds size duplicate of the Sellers Kitcheneed Special and has two-thirds size all such features as these:  Cooling Cabinet - Frosted metal perfectly ventilated.  Extension Top - can be pulled out to give more space when working.  Can be had in either nickeloid or in hard maple wood.  Spacious compartment in lower section - equipped with sliding wire shelf.  Wire rack on back of door to this compartment for covers and flat tins.  Drawers in lower section for kitchen linen and kitchen utensils, cutlery, etc.  Sellers Automatic Flour Bin - has funnel-shaped sifter attachment.  This bin comes forward automatically to table level for filling purposes and easily swings back into position when filled.  Glass Panel indicates constantly amount of flour on hand. Glassware - Sugar receptacle with automatic outlet and graduated measuring cup. Seven spice jars, five with snap-on covers, two perforated for salt and pepper. Also glass tea and coffee canisters.  Snap-on covers - slight pressure of thumb upwards is all that is necessary to operate.  Sanitary Rolling Curtain - instantly disappears, rolls up and out of the way.  Keeps dust from provisions stored within cabinet.  Ant-proof casters.  Strong steel caster, heavily nickel plated.  Filling bowl above the caster wheel with water, oil or powdered borax renders it impossible for ants or other insects to enter cabinet.  Spacious compartments in upper section, one for china, the other for glassware - has white enameled or varnished interiors, frosted glass doors and coppered hinges.  Sellers Kitcheneed is made of best quality seasoned and kiln-dried oak, finished oil hand rubbed, with dull coppered hinges & catches.  Sellers dove-tail method of construction is responsible for the statement that Sellers Kitcheneeds will not warp or separate at the joints or be affected by ever changing kitchen temperatures.  Manchester & Dodds.

Skidmore New Era, October 29, 1914, page 5.

Like other contests of the time, those who hoped to win had to collect “votes” by writing to the merchant, stopping in to listen to a sales pitch, buying the life-sized product itself, or cutting out coupons from the newspaper.  The November 5, 1914 edition of the New Era helpfully explained the rules:

Ad reads:  Wanted -- 10 Little Girls.  We want ten or more girls from different parts of the country to work for this little kitchen cabinet.  This Junior "Kitcheneed" will be given away absolutely free to the girl having the greatest number of votes at the end of next month.  This gives you two full months to work for this cabinet, and the girl in the country has just as good, if not a better chance to win the cabinet than the girl in town, for there are more women living in the country who might buy one of the "kitcheneeds" than there are in town.  And these are the votes that count big.  Here are the rules of the contest.  For the name of every woman (in her own hand writing) who has no cabinet or who would like to have a new one some day, we will give you a stamp good for 10 votes.  for every one of these women who will come to our store and allow us to demonstrate to her one of these cabinets we will give you a stamp good for 50 votes.  If one of these women should buy one of these "Kitcheneeds" during the contest we will give you a stamp good for 100 votes.  Cut out the "Votes for Little Women" stamps you will find in the newspapers and ten of these will entitle you to a stamp good for ten votes.  Come to our store and get the instruction book and blank sheet on which to secure the signatures, and while you are here let us demonstrate the "Kitcheneed" to you so you can tell the woman what an extra good and convenient kitchen cabinet it is.  Remember every girl has exactly the same chance, so commence early and work hard and you may be the fortunate one.  Manchester & Dodds.

November 5, 1914 Skidmore New Era, page 5.

Gathering votes takes time, of course, but Manchester & Dodds kept up their advertising, lest anyone lose sight of the goal.  “Remember,” said the ad in the November 5, 1914 edition of the New Era, “every girl has exactly the same chance, so commence early and work hard and you may be the fortunate one.”

Drawing of a little girl playing with a doll in front of a child-sized kitchen cabinet stand.  The text reads: Have you given that little girl your name for the voting contest?  If you do she stands just ten votes better chance of securing the Sellers Kitcheneed Junior Special Kitchen Cabinet.  And you certainly want that little daughter or little friend to have such a thoroughly delightful thing for a child to possess.  If you give her your name and she has received her 10 vote stamp for her book, recommend to some of your friends who are looking longingly toward the ownership of a Kitchen Cabinet that they give their names to your little protege.  If you will come to the store and allow us to demonstrate this Kitcheneed, the little girl for whom you are working will be entitled to 50 votes.  Then, if you or your friends buy a Sellers Kitcheneed Kitchen Cabinet during the sale, each such purchase will mean 100 more votes for the youngster.  Now, if you have any intention whatever of owning a Kitchen Cabinet, right now offers ever motive and incentive for doing so during this contest.  You know probably that a Sellers Kitcheneed more nearly meets all the requirements of a Kitchen Cabinet than any other on the market.  The Junior Special is identically the same as the Kitcheneed Special in smaller sizes of everything.  Manchester & Dodds.

Skidmore New Era, November 19, 1914, page 5.

Who could resist such a time-saving housekeeping aid? Storing 50 pounds of flour, 15 pounds of sugar, and countless kitchen utensils would surely free up time for Madam Housekeeper’s embroidery. From the December 10, 1914 New Era, page 7:

Ad features a drawing of a smiling woman sitting comfortably as she sews using an embroidery hoop.  The ad also shows a drawing of the Sellers Kitcheneed.  The ad reads:  House-work Made Easy.  Madam Housekeeper -- Put a "Sellers" in your kitchen and you won't mind doing your work.  It saves you steps, it saves your health, it saves your temper.  Just look over some of the splendid features of the "Sellers" Kitcheneed and you will decide upon one for your kitchen.  Convenient tilting, 50 pound, all metal flour bin with its securely fitting sifter.  The glass sugar receptacle with its 15 pound capacity.  The sanitary glass canisters in different sizes for coffee, tea and spices.  The metal lined cooling cabinet.  Separate drawers for cooking utensils and commodious compartments for kitchen linen, towels, etc.  Sanitary wire racks for tin pans, cooking dishes, pots and kettles.  The materials in a "Sellers" Kitcheneed are carefully selected, well seasoned, and kiln-dried.  Parts are joined together so that there is no danger of warping or loosening at the corners.  Durability and service in a really beautifully finished cabinet are the silent ideas which permeate its construction.  It is really worth your time to come and see the "Kitcheneed."  Manchester & Dodds, Skidmore, Missouri.

Skidmore New Era, December 10, 1914, page 7.

And finally, the champion, as reported in the January 7, 1915 Skidmore New Era, page 4:

Miss Iona Devers, ten years of age, secured the kitchen cabinet that has been on exhibition at Manchester & Dodds for some time. Words could hardly describe her pleasure in her new possession. She wishes to thank all who helped her in any way.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *