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Inadequate supply and increasing demand for textiles and clothing: second-hand trade at auctions as an alternative source of consumer goods in Sweden, 1830–1900
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economic History.
Stockholms universitet.
2019 (English)In: Economic history review, ISSN 0013-0117, E-ISSN 1468-0289, no 46184711219, p. 1-28Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Drawing on a study of historical national accounts and statistics, this article shows that a growing supply of mass-consumption textiles and clothing in Sweden during industrialization did not fully meet increasing demand. As a result, high demand for second-hand items remained even at the turn of the twentieth century. Records from a local auction house from 1830 to 1900 show that, even in the 1880s, more affluent urban consumers were still active on the second-hand market. Thereafter, they turned to the market for new goods, while potential demand from labourers and servants continued to be provided for by the second-hand market. Mechanization meant that more items entered this market. It changed the range and quality of objects available, consequently affecting the attractiveness of second-hand textiles and clothing. After the 1870s, falling and converging prices can be discerned, while more durable fabrics largely retained their value. We conclude that the consumer revolution (in a broader sense) had by this stage gained a foothold among ordinary Swedish urban households. The auction trade was part of a democratization of consumption. The general lesson is that understanding mass consumption requires research not only into second-hand consumption, but also into different regional settings. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2019. no 46184711219, p. 1-28
National Category
Other Social Sciences
Research subject
Economic History
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-384179DOI: DOI:10.1111/ehr.12879OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-384179DiVA, id: diva2:1319195
Projects
Savings in the wardrobe—changes in the value and life cycle of clothes, 1790–1910
Funder
The Jan Wallander and Tom Hedelius Foundation, P2014-0034Available from: 2019-05-30 Created: 2019-05-30 Last updated: 2019-06-03

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