American Commodities in an Age of Empire by Mona Domosh

By Mona Domosh

This can be a novel interpretation of the connection among consumerism, commercialism, and imperialism through the first empire development period of the USA within the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. not like different empires in historical past, that have been normally equipped on army strength, the 1st American empire was once essentially a advertisement one, devoted to pushing items out of the country and dominating international markets. whereas the yank executive was once vital, it used to be the nice capitalist enterprises of the US – Heinz, Singer, McCormick, Kodak, regular Oil – that drove the imperial approach, explicitly linking the acquisition of buyer items in a foreign country with 'civilization'. Their chronic message to America's people searching for products/services was once, 'buy American items and sign up for the march of progress'. Domosh additionally explores how the pictures of peoples out of the country conveyed via items increased America's feel of itself on this planet.

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Kodak, Singer reacted to increasing European nationalism, tariffs, and tax complications by establishing subsidiary companies in several countries (including Russia, England, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Belgium). 8 Global distribution of Singer Sewing Machine Company’s retail shops, 1906. (Directory of Shops for the Sale of Singer Sewing Machines throughout the World, 1906 [unpublished document]. 28 With the addition of its two factories in Canada and its largest plant in Kilbowie, Scotland, Singer had five large manufacturing concerns outside of the United States.

Because of this, the company had to change some of its sales practices and policies. The normal practice of employing both canvassers and collectors — that is, one group of personnel whose responsibilities were for sales and a separate group whose responsibilities were for collections — was not viable in Russia. The number of sales per area simply didn’t merit the pay for two employees to cover the same region. Instead, the company decided to place both responsibilities in the hands of canvasser/collectors and rewarded these people with commissions that were geared more to the collection of payments than to new sales.

Singer estimated that the value of one Singer machine in 1900 (Rs. 40) was more than the Russian average annual per capita income (Rs. 70). Because of this, the company had to change some of its sales practices and policies. The normal practice of employing both canvassers and collectors — that is, one group of personnel whose responsibilities were for sales and a separate group whose responsibilities were for collections — was not viable in Russia. The number of sales per area simply didn’t merit the pay for two employees to cover the same region.

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