Boxes of Cracker Jacks

The Invention of the Giveaway

The appeal of the free gift has always been, for the consumer, about the eternal dream of getting something for nothing.
refrigerator

The Complicated Politics of… Refrigerators

When American kitchens started getting high-tech in the 1950s, the refrigerator seemed to alienate and frustrate many men.
player piano

Player Pianos and the Commodification of Music

Half of all American homes had a piano or player piano a century ago, but very few do now. Whatever happened to the parlor piano?
Bigfoot signage

How Consumerism Created Bigfoot

People have long told stories about wildmen, creatures who straddled the line between human and animal. But Bigfoot himself first appeared in the 1950s.
Car junkyard

The Birth of Planned Obsolescence

Before WWII, American businesses began embracing “creative waste”—the idea that throwing things away and buying new ones could fuel a strong economy.
mens magazine

How Magazines Created a New Culture of Manhood

Middle-class American manhood changed in the mid-twentieth century. And the new ideal of masculine consumption was captured by men’s magazines.
credit card decals

A Brief History of the Credit Card

For now-ubiquitous consumer credit cards, bad early results had a hidden benefit.
Business woman

The Businesswomen of Early Twentieth Century America

Women's roles in the business world partly depended on their status as consumers in the early twentieth century.
New Age

Who Really Buys New Age Stuff?

Is the New Age Movement only for wealthy white women?

2015 Was A Record Year for Vehicle Recalls

Some surprising lessons on how car companies' responses to product recalls affect consumer and investor perceptions.