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Steam-Powered KnowledgeWilliam Chambers and the Business of Publishing, 1820-1860$
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Aileen Fyfe

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780226276519

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226276540.001.0001

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The Coming of the Railways

The Coming of the Railways

(p.101) 8 The Coming of the Railways
Steam-Powered Knowledge
University of Chicago Press

This chapter analyzes how W. & R. Chambers negotiated the opportunities and challenges of the railways. Businesses that did not specifically need railway speed might well prefer to save money by ordering raw materials by canal or dispatching their goods by steamer. For passenger travel, the railways won the competition wherever they opened. In an article, the Chambers's Journal complained about the high fares on railways. The journal expressed surprise that the directors of railway companies had not yet realized a basic fact, “so obvious to private comprehension”: That markets expand as price gets lower. It accused railway directors of thinking like the eminent publishers, and relying on a small number of customers to pay high prices, rather than embracing the mass market. But both railway companies and publishers had changed their attitude due to lesser fares, and cheap publications were far more widely available.

Keywords:   railways, Chambers, passenger travel, Chambers's Journal, fares, cheap publications

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