“Beloved Gadgets,” the Clas Ohlson centennial book

The book Älskade Prylar (or “Beloved Gadgets” in loose translation) lets nostalgia-tripping readers reconnect with the best, the strangest and the most loved gadgets from the past 100 years. All examples are taken from the Clas Ohlson-catalogue, which the nationwide hardwar retailer has issued every year since 1918. The book is published by our Business History Publishing division, by consignment from Clas Ohlson AB.

The book Älskade Prylar (Business History Publishing, 2017) is divided into ten chapters, each devoted to a specific type of gadget, with introductions from, among others, Lasse Åberg, Maria Blom, Ernst Kirchsteiger and Marie-Louise Danielsson Tham. They write about their relatinship to gadgets, and to collecting and using them. We also highlight each decade during the 1900s, to put each gadget innvovation into context.

Retailer Clas Ohlson in Insjön has since sold gadgets – and every year they’ve sent out a catalog with the year’s selection. (In an American context, one could think of the Sears & Roebuck catalogue of before.)  All gadgets in the book are taken from the pages of the catalogus, which then not only reflect technical innovation but the development of society. The ten chapters of the book gives us an overview of how we’ve entertained ourselves, saved our stuff, taken care of our gardens, cooked our food and much more.

We want to help our customers solve their everyday problem. With the gadgets as a starting point, we can see how our customers expectations and daily concerns have changed over time, which in turn has driven innovation and idea generation. This book shows that historical development, says Sara Kraft Westrell, head of information at Clas Ohlson.

The book is avialable for purchase in the all Clas Ohlsons stores, or directly online at the Clas Ohlson webshop.

Project Team

The prooject team for the book at the Centre for Business History has been:

Art Director for the book was Johan Sandell, Monotude.

The gadgets which form the book title on its cover were photografphed by Andy Prhat at the Clas Ohlson Museum in Insjön.