Building a Market: The Rise of the Home Improvement Industry, 1914-1960

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2012-08-27
  • Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr
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Each year, North Americans spend as much money fixing up their homes as they do buying new ones. This obsession with improving our dwellings has given rise to a multibillion-dollar industry that includes countless books, consumer magazines, a cable television network, and thousands of home improvement stores. Building a Marketcharts the rise of the home improvement industry in the United States and Canada from the end of World War I into the late 1950s. Drawing on the insights of business, social, and urban historians, and making use of a wide range of documentary sources, Richard Harris shows how the middle-class preference for home ownership first emerged in the 1920s-and how manufacturers, retailers, and the federal government combined to establish the massive home improvement market and a pervasive culture of Do-It-Yourself. Deeply insightful, Building a Marketis the carefully crafted history of the emergence and evolution of a home improvement revolution that changed not just American culture but the American landscape as well.

Table of Contents

List of abbreviationsp. vii
Prefacep. ix
Introductionp. 1
The Foundation of Home Ownershipp. 23
An Industry Unready to Improvep. 54
The Realm of the Retailerp. 75
The Birth of the Home Improvement Storep. 98
Crisis, 1927-1945
A Perfect Storm for the Building Industryp. 127
Manufacturers Save the Retailerp. 161
The State Makes Creditp. 190
Resolution, 1945-1960
Mr. and Mrs. Builderp. 229
Help for the Amateurp. 264
The Improvement Business Coalescesp. 301
A Zelig of the American Cultural Economyp. 335
Notesp. 347
Indexp. 419
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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