The 2015 Orvis catalog covers from February (left) and August.
The 2015 Orvis catalog covers from February (left) and August. (Courtesy of Orvis)

Catalog

The 2015 Orvis catalog covers from February (left) and August.
The Editors

A magazine-like print presentation of a company’s or retailer’s products. Before the Internet, customers would fill out an order form from the catalog and mail it back to the company with a check or money order.

A brief history:

1861: Charles Orvis sends out America’s first gear-oriented catalog, advertising fishing tackle.

1912: Leon Leonwood Bean launches a four-page catalog featuring his flagship Maine hunting boot, the leather-topped rubber duck boot that’s still among L.L.Bean’s most popular products.

1948: REI’s first mail-order catalog goes out to about 3,000 people.

1972: The Early Winters catalog debuts and in 1976 offers the first Gore-Tex product: a tent called the Light Dimension.

1980: Patagonia launches its catalog. According to the 2010 anthology Unexpected: 30 Years of Patagonia Catalog Photography, founder Yvon Chouinard tells the catalog’s first editor, Rick Ridgeway, “Hey Rick, I think I’ve got it figured out. We’ll run photos of real people doing real things.” 

2015: Most catalogs have migrated online, but many companies still use them to drive sales. 

From Outside Magazine, August 2015 Lead Photo: Courtesy of Orvis
sms