Historic Preservation Resources: Trade / Manufacturer's Catalogs

Catalogs at Avery Library

Trade catalogs, also known as manufacturer's or commercial catalogs, are an important primary source of information on building materials, supplies, decorative elements and industry trends during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Avery Library has a large collection of these original catalogs, most of them in our rare book collection called "Classics."

To find our trade catalogs, search in CLIO. Do a simple keyword search of the type of building material or element and the word "catalogs." For example, type "cement" and "catalogs" OR "fireplaces" and "catalogs." Most of the records will indicate that the catalog is in "Avery Classics" above the call number.  A few are in the open stacks and will just say "Avery." When you have a particular company or manufacturer whose products you are interested in, do a keyword search with two or three distinctive words from the company name and "catalogs." For example "pittsburgh" and "paints" and "catalogs" OR "atlantic" and "terra" and "cotta" and "catalogs."

To see digitized trade catalogs, visit the Digital Library Collections Avery Library Trade Catalog Collection (through Internet Archive) here.


Other Sources

Building Technology Heritage Library
The Building Technology Heritage Library (BTHL) is primarily a collection of digitized American and Canadian, pre-1964 architectural trade catalogs, house plan books and technical building guides.

Crom, Theodore R. Trade catalogues, 1542 to 1842. A history of the commerical catalog in the United States and Great Britain.
Avery Classics AT199 A1 C88 F

Henry Franics du Pont Winterthur Museum. Trade catalogues at Winterthur: a guide to the literature of merchandising, 1750 to 1980.
Avery Reference AT199 A1 H396 and AT199 A1 H3963

Henry Franics du Pont Winterthur Museum. Trade catalogues at Winterthur [microform].
Microfiche of over 2,000 original trade catalogs.
Avery Offsite FX3 1883

Library of Congress. How to find trade catalogs in the Library of Congress.
Library of Congress's extensive website devoted to doing research with trade catalogs, including bibliographies and Web sources.

Romaine, Lawrence B. A guide to American trade catalogs, 1744-1900. A bibliography of trade catalogs.
Avery Reference AZ800 R66