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Imagining Consumers

Design and Innovation from Wedgwood to Corning

Regina Lee Blaszczyk

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Winner of the Hagley Prize in Business History from The Hagley Museum and Library and the Business History Conference

Selected by Choice Magazine as an Outstanding Academic Title

Originally published in 1999. Imagining Consumers tells for the first time the story of American consumer society from the perspective of mass-market manufacturers and retailers. It relates the trials and tribulations of china and glassware producers in their contest for the hearts of the working- and middle-class women who made up more than eighty percent of those buying mass-manufactured goods by the 1920s.

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Winner of the Hagley Prize in Business History from The Hagley Museum and Library and the Business History Conference

Selected by Choice Magazine as an Outstanding Academic Title

Originally published in 1999. Imagining Consumers tells for the first time the story of American consumer society from the perspective of mass-market manufacturers and retailers. It relates the trials and tribulations of china and glassware producers in their contest for the hearts of the working- and middle-class women who made up more than eighty percent of those buying mass-manufactured goods by the 1920s.

Based on extensive research in untapped corporate archives, Imagining Consumers supplies a fresh appraisal of the history of American business, culture, and consumerism. Case studies illuminate decision making in key firms—including the Homer Laughlin China Company, the Kohler Company, and Corning Glass Works—and consider the design and development of ubiquitous lines such as Fiesta tableware and Pyrex Ovenware.

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Imagining Consumers

Regina Lee Blaszczyk

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Reviews

A truly fine work that takes business history into the broader field of cultural history... Imagining Consumers changes the narrative of consumer society in the United States. New studies will have to incorporate its conclusions.

Imagining Consumers is an engagingly written, solidly researched, and copiously illustrated monograph on the marketing of home furnishings in the United States... It cogently makes the case for those who hail consumerism as a defining feature of the modern democratic creed.

Deeply researched, informed by theory, and engagingly written.

Imagining Consumersoffers a well-argued look at signal trials and successes of the consumer-goods segment of the American ceramics and glass industries between 1860 and 1940, as the men who created and ran its workshops and factories not only negotiated changing business conditions and new technologies, but also struggled to imagine the people who would choose their crockery, sanitary fixtures, and glassware... A fine piece of work.

A fascinating account of the sales strategies of a group of American manufacturers of applied art products, in particular the Homer Laughlin China Company, the Kohler Company, and Corning Incorporated, in the years from 1880 through to 1960. Blaszczyk's study in informed by an intense body of material acquired from primary sources; it makes a significant, and very welcome, contribution to scholarship in this area.

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
408
ISBN
9781421437248
Illustration Description
59 halftones
Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Introduction
Chapter 1. Cinderella Stories
Chapter 2. China Mania
Chapter 3. Beauty for a Dime
Chapter 4. Fiesta!
Chapter 5. Better Products for Better Homes
Chapter 6. Pyrex Pioneers
Chapter

Acknowledgements
Introduction
Chapter 1. Cinderella Stories
Chapter 2. China Mania
Chapter 3. Beauty for a Dime
Chapter 4. Fiesta!
Chapter 5. Better Products for Better Homes
Chapter 6. Pyrex Pioneers
Chapter 7. Easier Living?
Conclusion
List of Abbreviations
Notes
Essay on Sources
Index

Author Bio
Regina Lee Blaszczyk
Featured Contributor

Regina Lee Blaszczyk, Ph.D.

Regina Lee Blaszczyk, Ph.D., is Director of the Beckman Center for the History of Chemistry at the Chemical Heritage Foundation in Phildelphia.
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