In 1915, there were no credit cards. People could write a check if they wanted to purchase a machine, but I don’t see how that would work back then unless the banks were connected via interstate commerce. In the archives, I have a whole stack of canceled checks but they are all written by people who belonged to the Bank of Clearfield, which is the same bank that the Gearhart Knitting Machine Company had an account with. So, it would have been a pretty simple transfer of funds within the same bank. People could also send cash, but I don’t think anyone would really do that. The third option would be to give the Gearhart Knitting Machine Company access to the purchaser’s bank account, and let the Gearhart Knitting Machine Company send a telegram to the bank arranging for the transfer of money. I’m not sure how the bank would send the money – probably by rail as some sort of certified mail? I’d probably have to do some research on this…

The most common way to buy a machine back then was by C.O.D. (cash on delivery) or (collect on delivery). Payment was due on delivery by the recipient. In this case, since a Gearhart Knitting Machine was shipped by rail, the railroad freight agent collected payment when the machine was delivered, and forwarded the payment on to the Gearhart Knitting Machine Company.

I think C.O.D. is extinct. I’m in my 50’s and I can only remember once, back in the 1960’s that I paid C.O.D. for something.

I ran across a C.O.D. order in the archives. Mrs. Moroni Lazenby of Loa, Utah, purchased a 1914 Gearhart Knitting Machine outfit for $6.93. She also used a $3 Order Coupon from the company. The retail price of the machine was $10.00, so she got a pretty good discount. I notice from her correspondence that she is using a company envelope. This envelope usually came with a machine. My guess is that someone else, maybe a friend, bought a machine and she used the envelope from her friend’s machine to make a purchase for herself.

So, where is Loa, Utah? Wow!! It way out here in the middle of nowhere! The 2000 census shows a population of 525. In 1915, it must have been even smaller. There is no railroad going through Loa so it must have been a place for farms and ranches, and not much else. I did a google search on Mrs. Lazenby and found that the Lazenby family is quite settled in that area, so I bet there are some people out there who remember her. It looks like there is a lot of clean air and stars in the sky out there. I bet you can live a long life out there.

Anyone feeling adventurous? There is enough information below to track down this machine…

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