Damark – The “Great Deal” Catalog

Damark catalog cover
Damark catalog cover
Damark catalog cover

On the lines of Fingerhut catalogs that are still being sent to millions of houses today, well known as a recognizable source for borderline useful tchotchkes for the home, the Damark catalog generally provided similar product offerings in the form of electronic devices.

Apparently, Damark (up until the year 2000) ran a number of shopper’s clubs, sort of like BJs and Costco. But in my Northeast area of the country, those stores were as unknown as Fry’s electronics. Instead, we received mail order catalogs. Inside these catalogs was an eclectic selection of merchandise which consisted of about 90% electronic items and 10% household goods. Think Brookstone stores, but with a higher percentage of electronic goods. Recently, I came across a September 1990 Damark catalog in a collection of magazines I had stored away. It’s the only copy I have, but I felt the need to share it, so I scanned it to PDF and posted it on this website. You can download it here: Damark September 1990 Catalog

One thing about these catalogs is that they are a snapshot in time when it comes to consumer electronics. Perusing through it, there appears to be no class of electronic item that would be excluded. I suppose that if they got a good deal on any closeout electronics (or even beadspreads), it’ll end up in the catalog.

Some of the items look familiar to me, but have a different manufacturer name (or it is listed as “Famous Maker”). On the front cover of the September 1990 catalog, there is a Cordata brand 386 IBM-compatible computer that looks very similar to an Amstrad computer that we had on display in the Electronics Boutique store I worked at around the same time. The same goes for the cell phone also on the front cover. I had one that looked the same. I forget the brand, but I bought mine at a Silo store.

You’ll also find average quality brand names such as Goldstar, Emerson, Sharp, and Craig. In fact, I don’t ever remember Emerson creating computer modems, but right there on page 14 of the catalog, is an Emerson 2400 Baud external modem for the “Damark Price” of $99.99 (data cable not included, I’m sure). It reminds me of the old Supra brand modems. Perhaps they were, but rebranded by Emerson.

Since this is a 1990 catalog, there won’t be a shortage of VCRs purporting to have the best quality video output your money can buy.

I noticed one item on page 36 that I bought a long time ago. It is called the “Sound Sender.” It takes the output of your portable cassette or CD player and rebroadcasts the audio to your FM radio in the car. Mine looks just like the one in the catalog, but I believe I got mine at K-Mart and not Damark. Back then, I did not have access to a credit card, and I didn’t want to risk sending a check, so I never bought anything from the Damark catalog. I just enjoyed looking at the product line.

There are far too many items to talk about in this catalog, so I encourage you to look at the catalog yourself. Maybe you will recognize something you once had, even if it from a different manufacturer. If you find something like that, let others know in the comment section below this article.

34 Comments on “Damark – The “Great Deal” Catalog”

  1. That was a nice walk down Damark lane. I remember how excited I would be to get the new Damark catalog in the 80s and 90s! I got my first computer, a Packard Bell with 640K of RAM, DOS, and a 10MB hard drive!

    1. One of the earlier IBM clones, I’m guessing. That 10MB hard drive was probably an MFM style drive. They don’t seem very high in capacity these days, but I bet it took a little while to fill it up.

  2. So you dont have a catalog and you dont sell anything anymore? I have the best laminator I purchased from you many many years ago…so what is your website where I can by things?

    1. I am not affiliated with Damark. I just had a copy of their catalog in some boxes I’ve stored away for many years. I saw no other copies of the catalog online, so I decided to scan mine and share it publicly for archival purposes.

  3. I remember DAMARK. My dad and I each bought Packard Bell 286 Computers- $1500- a deal back then. We were excited because they included 14 inch monitors. Mine had a 40MB hard drive while my dad only got 30MB for the same price. Now, I send bigger files over the internet.

  4. I was barely a teenager during the early 90s, and remember the Damark and Fingerhut catalogs. We got our first computer from there (Packard Bell). I remember how excited it was to finally be able to play PC games. My dad used to order stuff from there every now and then. He once bought me a police scanner radio for my birthday from there (I wanted one). Although it’s long gone now, I still keep one on hand because it’s extremely useful to have during emergencies/natural disasters.

  5. Still have and use a Cypress Garden water ski I purchased thirty years ago from Damark.
    It was a great company. Nothing better than the 5 inch TV that had a VHS vcr next to it. Hung it in the mini van for the kids.

  6. Yes our 1992 Toshiba CRT TV and many other Damark purchases are still running in our house today.
    They were Circuit Cities mail order price beaters.
    Old model railroad VHS tapes need a vintage HW.


  7. Thank you so much for sharing this catalog. Back in the day, I bought many things from Damark catalogs, and was always excited when a new one came in the mail. It was fun to read through the pages again. Would it be OK to post some pictures from your scan on my Facebook page? (Giving credit to your website, of course.)

    – Margaret

  8. I was cleaning out my basement closet and came across my Damark Winter 93-94 catalog. It was not in good condition, so I thought I’d look online to see if they were still around and came across your site. Thanks for the share. I was always an electronics geek. I ordered so many items from Damark. My favorite been a dual deck VHS vcr and multi-recording device in which allowed me to record two different channels at the same time on vcr. It was amazing for the time. I still have both items, but do not use them anymore.

  9. I bought from them a few times.
    I still have a couple of 10-foot carpet runners that will last another 20 years! Quality stuff.
    I really was hoping to buy from them again years ago but alas they’re gone.
    Good times.

  10. I Bought the best keyboard ever from Damark for $30! It split down the middle, and the angle was adjustable on both sides. It also had wrist supports that adjusted to both height and L/R.
    It was originally a $400 keyboard, which I’m guessing was why it ended up being a close out.

  11. i use to work there, there returns dept. in Brooklyn park mn, they even had a store with in the building employees could buy returned stuff really cheap. was a fun place to work.

    1. I didn’t even realize they had actual stores. It may have stated so in the fine print in the catalog, but I always thought it was catalog order only. I was too busy looking at the cool merchandise on the pages to even consider reading any store details. 🙂

  12. I have a August16-14,1999 copy. I brought my first computer from them. Really wish they were still in business. I am having some financial issues and could really use a new computer. Think I will keep my copy of the magazine though.

  13. I was the 13th employee at Damark – a company that was started by 2 guys that used to work under the Fingerhut umbrella – Dave, and Mark – hence the name. I worked there from 1987 until it’s demise in 2000. We were too late getting on board with e-commerce and the internet. I owe my first 13 working years to Damark and furnished my home with almost everything from there – and no, not Johnny Cash-style. I still have my leather living room furniture 30 years later. We sold real leather Natuzzi sofas, loveseats chairs and ottomans in addition to thousands of other products. Being the 13th employee – I was fortunate enough to work almost every position in warehouse, operations and eventually logistics, which is where my career brought me to today. I worked in the employee store were we sold one-of-a-kinds, sales samples and customer returns. It was not open to the public – so we were strictly catalog retail sales to the world unless you were an employee. Not only for the many material things including many electronics that I purchased over the years, I am most thankful for personally knowing the executive staff, and having the opportunity to work with 30-40 different management styles, personalities, locations, and all of the experience and growth from being the 13th employee to a company with 3,500 at it’s peak. I have kept in contact with a few folks and some have become life long friends. Damark (Dave & Mark)’s company truly is a mark in my life and I am grateful and thankful to be a part of this community and all of the memories.

    1. Thanks for the memories of your career with Damark. I had always read through every Damark catalog that crossed my path to see what was new in each one. They were certainly a prominent memory of the past. I’m glad I had at least the one catalog to remember it by, and through scanning, help others remember the company. And yes, e-commerce, or the acceptance if it, literally made or broken businesses by the end of the 20th century. It turned out to be an “embrace or die” phenomenon.

    2. I was a sales associate for DaMark back in the day. I was always amazed at the variety of stuff they sold. If they would’ve embraced e-commerce they could’ve been an amazon level of company.

      I worked 3rd shift. Servers went down for maintenance between like 2 and 4 am every night. I’d just play cribbage and when a call would come in we just told them to call back when everything was up and running again. No one took manual orders.

  14. Bought some gutter guards from damark a long while back in the 80s. Just got around to using them on my own home this week, need a couple more, wondering if I can find the same make today.

    Pretty sure I bought one of the first Casio keyboards from them too, the VL-tone-1 in early 80s.

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