Paperback / softback
April 11, 2007
1.7 Pounds (US)
$25.95 USD
v2.1 Reference

Goods for Sale

Products and Advertising in the Massachusetts Industrial Age

During the nineteenth century, Massachusetts was transformed from a fishing and farming economy into a highly urbanized industrial state. This book presents an appealing portrait of the diverse manufacturing enterprises that flourished from 1865 through the 1920s and the colorful trade cards they used to market their goods.

More than thirty years after the Revolutionary War, the United States remained dependent on Europe for most manufactured goods. The War of 1812 persuaded a number of Boston merchants to invest in industries at home. Using waterpower, cotton from the South, and locally built machinery, they established textile mills at Waltham and later at Lowell and Lawrence. Following the decline of whaling, Fall River and New Bedford also became textile towns. With the help of protective tariffs, Massachusetts mills could compete against textile imports.

Mass-production methods of manufacture were soon applied to shoes, organs and pianos, parlor stoves and kitchen ranges, and sewing machines, among many other products. As steam power replaced water power, factories were built close to railroad tracks and near town centers. Lynn, Brockton, and Haverhill developed as shoe-towns. Boston grew rapidly as the financial and cultural hub and became a world-class center for the raw wool, cotton, and leather markets, as well as the port of export for manufactured goods. Springfield and Worcester built the machinery for the factories and became centers for precision tool making.

With fierce competition, new methods were needed to sell the goods. Massachusetts-made products were extensively displayed at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia and at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, as well as at shows in Europe. Attractive trade cards were widely distributed to introduce these goods to customers across the United States and abroad.

During the Gilded Age of Massachusetts industry, most everything people needed was locally made and sold in locally owned stores. Patent medicines, bicycles, motorcycles, and even automobiles were added to the list of products made in Massachusetts. Over time, the old red-brick industry has been replaced by a service economy based on higher education, financial services, biomedical research, and healthcare. Goods for Sale pays tribute to the state's manufacturing enterprises during their period of greatest prominence.

About the Author

Chaim M. Rosenberg is associate professor of psychiatry at Boston University and author of The Great Workshop: Boston's Victorian Age.


"Rosenberg simply - and enthusiastically - does what he set out to do: provide a portrait of the people and products that made Massachusetts a center of manufacturing during the nineteenth century. Anyone who has gazed on the state's aged mills, seen the shadows of signs painted on the sides of old buildings, or looked throguh colorful trade cards for pianos or patent medicines will find this book filled with delightful detail on Massachusetts's golden age of manufacturing."—Technology and Culture

"There is delight in recalling the old products and their names. Together they form a yardstick by which we can measure our own nanotech, biotech, corporate Massachusetts. The inventors that Dr. Rosenberg so ably chronicles enhanced the needs and processes of ordinary life. They made things locally, and most of what they made could be understood and repaired by their users. It was a machine age that blossomed with tools for living."—Sam Bass Warner, Jr., From the Foreword

"Rosenberg devotes considerable attention to the men and women whose decisions and leadership created industrial development in Massachusetts. His thoroughly researched efforts serves as an excellent introduction to one part of US industrialization and the captains of the industry that shaped it. . . Rosenberg deserves much credit for a broad survey aimed at a more general readership interested in the stories and persons connected with the greatness of industrial Massachusetts."—Choice

"Rosenberg's survey is strongest in its portrait of the 'Medicine Men' of Boston such as Eben Norton Horsford, who promoted the healthy benefits of acid phosphate, and Lynn's Lydia Pinkham, an early feminist in the temperance movement whose company combined maternal nursing and a little alcohol into the highly profitable Vegetable Compound for Women."—The History Teacher

"This nicely illustrated book . . . [has] many interesting sections on key industries and entrepreneurs that readers will find appealing."—Oxford Journals, Enterprise and Society

9781558495807 : goods-for-sale-rosenberg
Paperback / softback
256 Pages
$25.95 USD

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