While Merry Mushrooms is arguably Sears' largest and most successful line of kitchen coordinates from the 1970s and 1980s, there are certainly many other designs. The familiar Frog Family line, AKA Neil the Frog, rivaled Merry Mushrooms in size, popularity, and longevity.
But what is a kitchen coordinate product line? The 1971 Wish Book puts it pretty succinctly, touting that "Kitchen Coordinates... [are] one pattern for stove top and table." While tableware, storage, and cookware sets existed, it was the kitchen coordinates that put the same design onto everything and more.
By the mid-1970s, kitchen coordinate lines included almost everything to outfit your swinging kitchen: cookware, clocks, spice racks, paper towel holders, tablecloths, message center, kitchen organization, and letter holder. The same item was often made with different designs, like the 5-in-1 cabinet, utensil holder, and whistling teakettle.
The survey below of many of the patterns offered by Sears 1970 to 1987 traces the rise and fall of kitchen coordinates. It wasn't until the late 1970s that lines began to last more than a year or two, the same time Merry Mushrooms product offerings exploded.
Our favorite fungi may not have created the kitchen coordinate craze, but they certainly emboldened it. Most of the designs that were introduced in the late 1970s lasted until 1983-1984, the same time Merry Mushrooms were being fazed out.
Which is your favorite? Do you collect any of these designs? Click on the photos for larger images. Thanks again to christmas.musetechnical.com for making these catalogs available and searchable.
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