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 in the course of the first empire development period of the USA within the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. in contrast to different empires in heritage, which have been quite often outfitted on army strength, the 1st American empire was once basically a advertisement one, devoted to pushing items in another country and dominating overseas markets. whereas the yankee govt used to be vital, it was once the good capitalist agencies of the US – Heinz, Singer, McCormick, Kodak, commonplace Oil – that drove the imperial procedure, explicitly linking the acquisition of patron items abroad with 'civilization'. Their continual message to America's prospective buyers was once, 'buy American items and subscribe to the march of progress'. Domosh additionally explores how the photographs of peoples in a foreign country conveyed via items increased America's feel of itself on the earth.

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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.

Mattison, Managing Director of Kodak Unlimited in London, to R. Speth, July 19, 1921. ) much of Europe, either through the establishment of subsidiary companies or by establishing branch offices. 19 It also established manufacturing plants in England, France, Canada, and Australia. Although comparative statistics are not available, Kodak’s foreign commerce clearly accounted for a significant percentage of its business by the first decade of the 20th century. Sales of Kodak Limited, the subsidiary company that controlled much of Kodak’s foreign business, totaled $7 million for the year ending June 30, 1911.

31 Here’s how the system was hierarchically arranged: machines were sold by a cadre of salesmen, or “canvassers” as they were called, who were assigned areas within a district to ply their goods on a door-to-door basis. A separate group of men, called “collectors,” visited each household or business weekly to collect the installment payments. This field staff worked out of district offices located in villages or towns. Most of these district offices served as retail stores and also employed an instructor who offered sewing lessons on the machines and mechanics to inspect new machines and fix old ones.

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