Inside Mid 20th Century Department Stores

Created on Oct 03, 2016 by Kathy Pinna
In the 19th century, general stores were the place to shop for everything. These morphed into the department store of the 20th century. In the 21st century, internet shopping is gaining popularity. But remember the mid 20th century department store where there was an elevator operator announcing the floors (second floor, shoes, hats, jewelry, lingerie; third floor mezzanine and cafe; 4th floor . . . )? Where you could buy everything from tobacco products to notions to high fashion? These photos will remind many of you of when shopping was a destination and a pastime.

Test your knowledge: These photos are from different decades. Guess which by what is in the photo. If you want to know the answer, click on the photo.

Inside Mid 20th Century Department Stores

Remember these tv's?


Robes, right next to lingerie


Buy a hat - then your tobacco



R. H. Macy and Company

When was the last time you saw anything in a department store for a $1.97?

Adult toys department

Macy's, Adult toys

Adult toys weren't X-rated - they were games that adults would enjoy.

Children's shoes staircase

Macy's New York

Anyone remember these in the shoe department? Why?

Wallpaper department

Macy's, Wallpaper

Wallpaper is making a comeback!


Moth goods department

Macy's, New York

A whole section dedicated to "moth goods" - materials were different then and moths loved them!

Back to Top