Connecting Swiss Cotton Printer and Global Consumer: Merchants and Sales Agents in Atlantic Port Cities

Schopf, Gabi Julia (31 March 2016). Connecting Swiss Cotton Printer and Global Consumer: Merchants and Sales Agents in Atlantic Port Cities (Unpublished). In: European Social Science and History Conference. Valencia. 30.03 -02.04.2016.

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Laué & Co was one of several flourishing cotton merchants and producers in eighteenth-century Switzerland. Their high quality printed cottons were sought after by consumers throughout Europe and beyond. Despite not maintaining direct transatlantic contacts or trading directly with American or African merchants, the business strategies of Laué & Co were deeply influenced by the growing opportunities of Atlantic export markets and the dependence on global raw materials for his production. Using Laué & Co as a case study, the paper will argue that contacts to Atlantic port cities were pivotal catalysts for the integration of eighteenth-century Swiss textile printers into global trading networks. In this global web of trade, consumption, and production, the paper investigates the central actors, specifically the local merchants and representatives of Laué & Co, travelling to port cities like Amsterdam or Marseille. It will illustrate how they acted as brokers between Laué & Co and consumers outside Europe by buying and exporting the company’s products. Further, the paper probes their orders and complaints to show how they conveyed information about consumer preferences. But corresponding via letter often was not enough. The paper will investigate not only the company’s employees but also the owner Christian Friedrich Laué himself who regularly visited Atlantic port cities. By meeting clients face to face and showing designs travellers marketed Laué’s products. That way they established and maintained contacts to local merchants. Alternatively, they provided producers with information about consumer preferences and the general economic situation in the Atlantic world. Through their interactions, mobile sales agents connected Swiss production centres to global networks of cotton trade and consumption.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Division/Institute:

06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of History and Archaeology > Institute of History
06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of History and Archaeology > Institute of History > Recent History

UniBE Contributor:

Schopf, Gabi Julia

Subjects:

900 History
900 History > 940 History of Europe

Submitter:

Claudia Ravazzolo

Date Deposited:

29 May 2017 13:25

Last Modified:

29 May 2017 13:25

Related URLs:

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/98557

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