From the Print Shop to Detroit

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The very idea of mass production requires some form of design to specify how an object is to be produced, by what materials, and under what conditions of cultural desires, tastes, and economic capacity. It would be difficult to underestimate the impact of the Industrial Revolution on contemporary life and on the contemporary practices of design as we know them. Yet the print shop’s preindustrial mode of production also helped set in motion a model that would be radically expanded by the factories to come in places such as Manchester and, later, Detroit. Already near the very beginning of that process of industrialization, new explanations were being hatched to explain how mass-produced goods were to be produced, sold, and priced and how these dynamics affected not only individuals but also the economies and politics of whole nations.
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