The greatest textile manufacturing centre in America used to be, not Lowell, Massachusetts, but Philadelphia, where in 1880 over eight hundred textile firms employed over fifty thousand workers producing fabrics, carpets, yarns, and knit-goods of every description. Proprietary Capitalism presents a careful reconstruction of the rise of textile capitalism in the Quaker City, whose distinguishing features were immigrant family firms, flexible strategies for production, and an emphasis on skill, quality, and market responsiveness. The small and middle-sized firms in Philadelphia, far from being displaced by corporate competitors, proved durable, functioning through networks of linked specializations, with spinning, weaving, dyeing, and finishing often performed in separate establishments. Proprietary Capitalism documents the development of a fully realized alternative to the corporate style of mass production that brought fame to New England's mill cities. This book presents a strong challenge for a rethinking of the role of 'small business' in the saga of American industrial development.
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(229mm x 152mm x 25mm)
Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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