The rise in popularity of such domestic appliances as “white goods” is a characteristic element of consumption patterns during the golden age of the Western economy. Data gleaned from heretofore untapped sources reveal the causes of white-goods' different rates of diffusion in Italy during that period. Besides the usual strictly economic circumstances, social, cultural, and technological factors conspired to slow the progress of white-goods consumption in certain geographical areas and among the different social classes, often when affordability was not the decisive issue. The study of how white goods spread brings new information to the understanding of how Italy completed the transition from an agricultural country to an industrial power.

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