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Alvah Curtis Roebuck

Alvah Curtis Roebuck
Born (1864-01-09)January 9, 1864
Lafayette, Indiana
Died June 18, 1948(1948-06-18) (aged 84)
Chicago, Illinois
Nationality American
Citizenship USA
Occupation Watch Repairman/Businessman
Known for Co-Founding Sears, Roebuck & Co.

Alvah Curtis Roebuck (January 9, 1864 – June 18, 1948) was a manager, businessman, and the founder of Sears, Roebuck and Company with his partner Richard Warren Sears.


Lafayette, Indiana-born Alvah Roebuck began work as a watchmaker in a Hammond, Indiana, jewelry store at age 12. On April 1, 1887, he answered an advertisement for a watchmaker in the Chicago Daily News, and two days later he received a reply from Richard Warren Sears, who wanted to hire him. Thus began the association of two men who would soon form one of the world's best-known business partnerships. The firm was incorporated as Sears, Roebuck and Company in 1893.

In 1895, Roebuck asked Sears to buy him out for about $20,000. Later when asked about his ex-partner's great wealth, and his own modest wealth he replied: "He's dead. Me, I never felt better."[1]

At Richard Sears' request, he took charge of a division that handled watches, jewelry, optical goods, and, later, phonographs, magic lanterns and motion picture machines. His business interests did not end with Sears. He later organized and financed two companies: a manufacturer and a distributor of motion picture machines and accessories. Roebuck also served as president (1909–1924) of Emerson Typewriter Company, where he invented an improved typewriter, called the "Woodstock."

After several years in semi-retirement in Florida, the financial losses he suffered in the stock market crash of 1929 forced Roebuck to return to Chicago. By 1933, Roebuck had rejoined Sears, Roebuck and Co., where he largely devoted his time to compiling a history of the company he helped found.

In September 1934, a Sears store manager asked Roebuck to make a public appearance at his store. After an enthusiastic public turnout, Mr. Roebuck went on tour, appearing at retail stores across the country for the next several years.

He died on June 18, 1948, aged 84.[1][2]


  1. ^ a b "Died". Time (magazine). June 28, 1948. Retrieved 2008-06-14. Alvah Curtis Roebuck, 84, co-founder of Sears, Roebuck & Co. in Chicago. Roebuck organized the mail-order business with Richard W. Sears in 1887, sold out for about $20,000 in 1895, spent 45 years in & out of the firm. His stock answer to people who compared his poverty with his ex-partner's wealth: "He's dead. Me, I never felt better." 
  2. ^ "A. C. Roebuck Dies. Store Cofounder. Partner of Sears in Starting Business in 1891. Sold His Share Early in Century.". New York Times. June 20, 1948. Retrieved 2008-06-14. 

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