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Montgomery Ward and Company of Chicago, at one time the largest mail order firm in the US, for half a century distributed water pumping windmills. Today these windmills still may be seen scattered across rural America, a testimony to the success of the Wards commercial efforts at selling mills to farmers and ranchers.
trading by lists of goods from which only small samples were available was current on the famous fairs in the late Middle Ages (say 13th and 14th century) because the cities where the fairs took place charged way too much for storage.
The artist Hans Holbein the Younger was dispatched to paint portraits of Anne and a selection of other women Henry was considering for the role of his fourth wife. While it was usual for court painters to be flattering in their portrayal of important people, the only truly important person here was the king: Henry hired the artist to be as accurate as possible, not to flatter these sitters. Holbein was a superb portraiture artist and there's every reason to believe his attractive portrayal of Anne was true, since Holbein remained at court and continued to win royal commissions. The portrait is currently displayed in The Louvre in Paris.
Could one not consider the tradition of arranged marriages to be a form of catalogue shopping. Looking at Henry VIII's marriage to Anne of Cleves