American Entrepreneur: The Fascinating Stories of the People Who Defined Business in the United States

By Larry Schweikart; Lynne Pierson Doti | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 8
The Emergence of a
Consumer Market: 1880–1920

As the twentieth century dawned, fundamental changes occurred in the production and marketing of food, soap, clothing, and other consumer goods. By the 1920s, transportation had changed from dependence on animals to autos, while food was now packaged and sold in supermarkets. Whereas housewives once almost exclusively made dresses and clothing articles for children, now they purchased them through catalogs or at one of the new department stores. The home garden was enhanced by the exotic seeds of Burpee; home-brewed beverages gave way to Coca-Cola; homemade soap was replaced by Lux. The neighborhood barber gave way to Gillette's razor, and the carriage was replaced by Henry Ford's car.

Given the extent of this change, it is unlikely that the career of any individual entrepreneur captured the full range of the transition affecting business as a whole in the first decades of the 1900s. After all, individuals in history rarely span the entire spectrum of change in any area of human endeavor. Still, on occasion an individual's career crosses through momentous transitions and reflects them. Such was the case with Henry Leland.

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