The story of the rise of the so-called mail-order business is an interesting chapter in our commercial history. The spread of the craze – for it must be classed as such – resembles that of an ordinary epidemic against which no precaution is taken. The disease has until very recently been allowed to spread without even quarantine regulations. But from present indications its decline will be as rapid as was its rise.

The idea of selecting goods from a catalogue containing pictures of articles and then ordering the articles thus selected by mail was the direct result of the failure of the business end of the Grange movement – the Grange store.

50 years ago, 1958

• Lewiston police broke up a potential gang war between three large groups of teenagers last night and confiscated a couple of razor-sharp belt buckles with which two of the boys were armed. Capt. Murphy said three mobs apparently were involved, one from the Lincoln Street area, one from the Main-Middle streets neighborhood and a group from Auburn.

AUGUSTA – The head of Maine’s election division would like to see voting machines tried in Maine on a “pilot” basis with a view to their eventual use in all but the smaller towns. Use of the machines probably would save the state $7,500 for printing and distributing ballots in every statewide election.

25 years ago, 1983

• Best-selling records of the week: 1. “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me,” Culture Club; 2. “Billie Jean,” Michael Jackson; 3. “Stray Cat Strut,” Stray Cats; 4. “Down Under,” Men at Work; 5. “Shame on the Moon,” Bob Seger; 6. “You Are,” Lionel Richie; 7. “Hungry Like the Wolf,” Duran Duran; 8. “Baby, Come to Me,” Patti Austin; 9. “All Right,” Christopher Cross; 10. “Back on the Chain Gang,” Pretenders.

• Final plans were laid Thursday by a committee, formed just two weeks ago, to organize a St. Patrick’s Day parade to be held this Saturday. Seventeen groups have committed themselves to either marching or setting up displays for the festivities, to be held in downtown Lewiston beginning at 11:30 a.m.

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