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Reviews

"Blaszczyk has written a fascinating account of negotiations between producers and consumers in the glass and ceramics industries, illustrating a symbiotic process by which manufacturers attempted to discover and keep up with the shifting demands of ordinary people. This study will transform our understanding of the history of design, marketing, and consumer culture."

"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."

"An innovative study of an important dimension of the consumer revolution of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries... For its emphasis on small firms, on the importance of interactions between consumers and producers, and on the role that women shoppers played in shaping business practices, Imagining Consumers will be recognized as an important contribution to business and consumer history."

"A perceptive and dense history of china and glassware manufacturers and retailers... Blaszczyk makes a convincing case that those who study consumer culture can benefit from greater understanding of these links between manufacturers, consumers, and the many professionals who influence the place where those two meet: the product."

"A must read for all who seek to understand the evolution of modern consumer society."

"Blaszczyk's cultural and business history of the American crockery industry nicely describes how some firms imagined their consumers and how they reponded to those consumers' desires."

"Blaszczyk grounds her arguments on something not seen before: a cornucopia of archival research, painstakingly acquired from untapped company archives of key firms in the household furnishings business. Blaszczyk's conclusion is bold. 'Make no mistake,' she writes, 'supply did not create demand in home furnishings, but demand determined supply.' Imagining Consumers is a careful, fine-grained monograph whose claims are firmly tethered to its assembled evidence."

"A remarkable and exemplary history of the US ceramics and glass industries, spanning the mid-19th to the mid-20th centuries. Perhaps the main achievement of Imagining Consumers is its dogged investigation of how manufacturers engaged with consumers in order to produce more appealing goods."