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Pianos for the People: From Producer to Consumer in Britain, 1851–1914

  • Francesca Carnevali and Lucy Newton

Abstract

During the second half of the nineteenth century, British society experienced a rise in real incomes and a change in its composition, with the expansion of the middle classes. These two factors led to a consumer revolution, with a growing, but still segmented, demand for household goods that could express status and aspiration. At the same time technological changes and new ways of marketing and selling goods made these goods more affordable. This paper analyzes these themes and the process of mediation that took place between producers, retailers, and consumers, by looking at the most culturally symbolic of nineteenth century consumer goods, the piano.

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