AP Human Geography

Hershey High School

Credit Cards

November10
Isn’t it great not having to carry cash when on a shopping spree at a mall? Doesn’t it feel awesome to only have to worry about spending bills once ever so often instead of every single time something is purchased? The idea of the handy credit card came up as early as the late 1800s by consumers and merchants who started exchanging goods through the concept of credit using credit coins and charge plates as currency.  Ever since, the innovations of the credit card, shown by the credit card timeline, has been a part of popular and local culture and has assisted millions of people in every day life.
Although the original idea of the credit card was introduced by consumers and merchants, the commodity started becoming popular in the early 1900s as oil companies and department stores issued proprietary cards. At this point in time, these cards weren’t specifically developed to expand on material culture and make purchases easier, but it was designed to ensure customer loyalty and improving costumer service. In fact, they were so primitive that they were constructed of cardboard!
In the 1940s, Biggins Bank became the fist bank to commodify the credit card, which was then called a “Charg-it”. New York’s Franklin National Bank next took up credit cards only five years later for loan customers and account holders. Outside of banking, Frank McNamara assimilated the card to be used in New York’s Major’s Cabin Grill due to the fact that he had forgot his cash one night. At this time, the Diners Club Card was created and used mostly for travel and entertainment, but claims the title of the first credit card in widespread use.
This image represents what the first club card looked like

This image represents what the first club card looked like

Within the next year there were 20,000 Diners Club cardholders, showing extreme diffusion in a contiguous manner.
Other companies such as American Express (formed in 1850 for specialized deliveries) adopted the use of the credit card in 1958. In 1959, the card evolved into plastic thanks to American Express. Within the next five years, about 1 million cards were being used at about 85,000 establishments worldwide. In 1966, Bank of America established the BankAmerica Service Corporation that franchised the Visa to banks nationwide. More and more advancements in the card have taken place as cultural appropriation from different companies has become evident.

The advancements in the credit card have been remarkable, while helping society each step of the way

The advancements in the credit card have been remarkable, while helping society each step of the way

Credit cards have been one of the quickest growing materialistic objects due to their great convenience, ease to purchases and nothing preventing its rapid spread. It seems as if everyone now days has a credit card handy at all times. The use of the credit card has surely broadened both the banking, and business worlds over the past 60 years and its creation has led to online services such as PayPal and chips implanted in mobile devices. Consumers and merchants in the late 1800s have made peoples lives in the 21st century easier and more efficient thanks to their original idea of the credit card.

Magnetic Compass

November10

Imagine trying to find your way across a vast body of water, with your only sense of direction coming from the sun, the moon, and the stars. This sounds awfully difficult if you ask me. Believe it or not, though, that is how people traveled before the invention of the magnetic compass. Ever since its creation, the magnetic compass has been an essential device for travel for centuries. Without it, who knows how long it would have taken before America was even discovered. The compass started off as just a local material culture tool, but diffused to different societies, changing along the way.

The compass was invented by the Chinese during the Qin Dynasty (221-206 B.C.). There is no one person that was credited with this invention. It was originally not even used for finding direction. It is speculated that the Chinese used it as either some sort of a fortune telling device or to help order their environment following the ideas of feng shui. These first compasses were made using a piece of load stone in a bowl of water. When left free to move, the load stone would always align itself in a north-south direction. Eventually, sometime around 1100 A.D., the compass was used by the Chinese as a navigation device. It was not long, though, before this useful tool was spread beyond its hearth to new places.


By 1187, the compass had spread all the way across Eurasia, where the English and other Medieval European countries appropriated the device, and took it as their own. The diffusion route of the compass followed the path of the silk road from China to the Middle East, to Europe. Thus, it was a contiguous diffusion. Nothing seemed to slow down the diffusion of the compass as it was cheap, yet very functional. Almost anyone that was traveling, especially sailors, adopted the compass. There were, however, some modifications made to the compass along the way.
The Europeans needed a compass that would work well on a ship that is constantly rocking up and down and moving around. They created a dry compass that consisted of a magnetized needle enclosed in a glass case. They then mounted it on a gimbal to account for the swaying of the ship. There were still problems with this compass though. Rather than pointing to true north it pointed to magnetic north. In 1908, the gyroscopic compass was invented, which would always point to true north.
With the modern technology we have today such as GPS, the compass might seem like a simple device. It is in fact uncomplicated, but it was so valuable that it was a vital tool for any traveler for centuries. Its diffusion took it from China to Europe and everywhere in between. The compass was altered in many different ways as it spread. Without the diffusion of this invention, who knows where we would be today.

Methodic Methodists

February2

Methodism, a christian religion, originally began its revival in Epworth, North Lincolnshire, England in the

Methodist Cross

Methodist Cross & Flame

18th century.  It started with only a few Oxford students, including John and Charles

John (left) & Charles (right) Wesley

John (left) & Charles (right) Wesley

Wesley, who gathered every week for communion for mutual improvement.  This monotheistic church has now spread worldwide with an estimated 75 million members of the Methodist Church, although, it is unclear how long, in terms of years, it took to spread.  However we do know that it spread through the work of many missionaries trying to get the word of God out, making it an example of contagious diffusion as well as contiguous diffusion since it could only be spread by foot at the time.   Once it spread to Canada from the work of British Wesleyans, it had been slowed by the War of 1812, but soon re-gained its lost ground after the Treaty of Ghent was signed in 1815.

One way in which Methodism was changed/altered as it was diffused was the change

Methodist Communion

Methodist Communion

in Holy Communion, or Eucharist.  The Methodists believed that it was the duty of the Government to enforce restrictions on the use of alcohol, unlike the Catholics, who thought it should be learned through self-discipline and controlled through individual restraint.  So, the Methodists, began using grape juice instead of wine in their Holy Communion, which is still practiced today.

Methodism has been most accepted by Calvinists for religion as well as America and Britain geographically.  Also, Methodism tends to be accepted mainly by the youth.

Youth in Methodism

Youth in Methodism

The Methodist church has always been strongly oriented towards the religious lives of the young.  Methodism was one of the first churches to begin incorporating Sunday schools into the churches as a way to take ownership of the Christian education of children.  Methodists invested heavily in the cause of Christian education because of their emphasis on the child’s right to and ability to respond to divine influences from the beginning.

Here is an example of the cultural landscape of a Methodist Church

Mahayana Buddhism

February2

Mahayana Buddhism is a Universalizing religion which finds its hearth in southern India. It was developed in the first century C.E. and was diffused to inner asia as far north as Mongolia and east Asia as far as Japan. Within five centuries after its development, the religion had become mainstream and it continued to spread through the eleventh century.     Mahayana Buddhism spread through contagious diffusion throughout India and became the chief religion in India in the early centuries C.E.The spread of the two major types of Buddhism

portrait of the Buddha

portrait of the Buddha

Mahayana also spread through Heierarchical diffusion, Kings and emperors would first adopt the religion and spread it to the rest of their empire.  The Gupta dynasty of India supported the religion and helped it spread through southeast Asia, central Asia, and the Far East. The powerful emperor Ashokaconverted to become a Mahayana Buddhist and became a great supporter of the faith, funding it’s growth in many parts of India. Furthermore, he sent missionaries to areas outside India and spread Buddhism around the world. Many Mahayana inscriptions date back to the early centuries C.E. when Mahayana Buddhism was funded by emperors such as Ashoka. Early inscriptions and texts note that Mahayana Buddhism was developed for Buddhist monks who have reached the highest levels of enlightenment. Selective reading of some texts lead to many believing that it is actually a lay-inspired religion for commoners. By the fifth century C.E, when Mahayana had gained significant popularity in the Indian subcontinent, the religion had become what it had originally strongly objected to; a grounded, lay-oriented religion for commoners.     Several sub-types of Mahayana Buddhism were developed as it spread to central and east Asia. Cha’an or “Zen” Buddhism was developed in China, as was Pure Land Buddhism. These sub-types further diffused to Japan and Korea. . Although all forms of Mahayana Buddhism recognize the Mahayana Buddhist sutras, the process of distance decay caused these new types to take a  new form and follow different guidelines than the original Mahayana Buddhist doctrines. Today, there are sacred sites for all of the aforementioned types of Mahayana Buddhism across central and east Asia. These sites have helped shape the cultural landscape of the region.

Mahayana Buddhist temple in Indonesia

Mahayana Buddhist temple in Indonesia

The common misconception that Mahayana Buddhism is a lay-inspired, grounded religion has been refuted by many Buddhist scholars. Early Mahayana texts show that it was originally inspired by and idealized an ascetic life of abstinence. Nonetheless, as the religion diffused to other parts of the world, it did take on a new form and scholars agree that the religion became what it originally specifically objected to. Today, many followers of Mahayana are lay people who are hoping to reach enlightenment but do not necessarily lead an ascetic life. Modern forms of Mahayana Buddhism appeal to a range of people, from monks leading an ascetic life, to people seeking spiritual well-being and enlightenment through meditation.

Here is an example of how Mahayana Buddhism has shaped the cultural landscape. Click Here

Russian Orthodox

February2
The painting by Caravaggio entitled Calling of the Apostles Peter and Andrew with Andrew on the left. Image taken from wikimedia.

The painting by Caravaggio entitled "Calling of the Apostles Peter and Andrew" with Andrew on the left. Image taken from wikimedia.

The Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) is a monotheistic religion branched off from Christianity. Traditionally it is said to have been founded by the Apostle Andrew (thought to have visited Scythia and Greek colonies located on the northern coast of the Black Sea). Legends say that Andrew reached the future location of Kiev (in Ukraine) and foretold the founding of a “great Christian city”. Today, the place he foretold and marked with a cross is where St. Andrew’s Cathedral, a sacred site and also the hearth of the ROC, now stands.

The religion went through contagious diffusion, by the first millennium, the eastern Slavic lands began to go under the influence of the Eastern Roman Empire’s culture. For the first time, around 863 to 869, Saints Cyril and Methodius translated parts of the Bible into Old Church Slavonic language. This supposedly paved the way for christianizing the Slavs. During the mid-10th century, a Christian community was already settled amidst the Kievan nobility led by Greek and Byzantine priests. However, paganism still remained the major religion. The first ruler of Kievan Rus to convert to Christianity was Princess Olga of Kiev, around 945. Vladimir the Great, her grandson, made Kievan Rus’ a Christian state in 988. As a result Prince Vladimir I of Kiev officially adopted Byzantine Rite Christianity, which was the religion of the Eastern Roman Empire. This date is often acknowledged as the official birthday of the Russian Orthodox Church. The Russian Orthodox Church is also known as the Moscow Patriarchate since 1943. Also, second only to the Roman Catholic churches, Russian Orthodox is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox religion.

Although similar, the ROC should not be confused with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (also known as the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, or ROCOR), headquartered in New York. The ROCOR was established in the 1920s by Russian communities outside the then-Communist Russia. They refused to recognize the authority of the Moscow Patriarchy, which resulted in the founding of the ROCOR. Just recently, May 17, 2007, the two Churches reconciled and the ROCOR is now a self-governing part of the Russian Orthodox Church.

An example of Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow with the ROC crosses shown clearly. Image found on google images.

An example of Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow with the ROC crosses shown clearly. Image found on google images.

The numbers have grown to about 135 million followers worldwide with more growth in the late 1980’s. 65% of ethnic Russians and significant numbers of Belarusians and Ukrainians identify themselves as “Orthodox”. Recent data (Dec. 12, 2008) have said that the Church had 157 dioceses including 29,263 parishes served by 203 bishops (with 14 in retirement), 27,216 priests and 3,454 deacons. There were 804 monasteries, which include 478 in the Russian Federation, with 25 within the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), 87 theological schools, which also include 5 theological academies and 38 seminaries. Along with these numbers there are around 130 Russian Orthodox eparchies worldwide, which are governed by bishops.  Some eparchies are organized into exarchates which are autonomous churches. As of late, these churches include the Orthodox Churches of the Belarusian exarchate; the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia; the Latvian, the Moldovan, and the Estonian Orthodox Church of Moscow Patriarchate. The Chinese and Japanese Orthodox Churches were granted full autonomy by the Moscow Patriarchate, however, this autonomy is not universally recognized.

Since its establishment, the Russian Orthodox church have gone under reform and persecution. In 1917, the Tsarist government were overthrown and the Bolsheviks, who declared the separation of church and state, took over. For the first time in history the ROC found itself without official state backing. When the new Communist party went under an anti-religious campaign and declared freedom of “religious and anti-religious propaganda”, the interfaith boundaries were broken and the Church saw a decline in its power and influence among the people. Also, during the Russian Civil War, the Russian Orthodox Church supported the White Army and further increased the Bolshevik’s dislike of the church. At the establishment of the Soviet Union at the end of the civil war, the church was viewed as counter-revolutionary, and the government discouraged  organized religion and tried to remove religious influence from society. Between 1959 and 1964, under the leadership of Nikita Khrushchev and Leonid Brezhnev, a second attack came upon the church in the form of repression.  Until 1988, the Russian Orthodox Church and the government remained on each other’s bad side. Many people remained religious even though it meant that they could not join the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which ultimately meant they could not hold any political office. Orthodox priests like Gleb Yakunin and Sergiy Zheludkov were imprisoned and exiled for defending freedom of worship. By 1987 the number of churches still in practice fell to 6,893 and monasteries to 18.

After 70 years of repression, the return of Orthodox Christianity returned to Russia when Patriarch Alexy II took the Patriarchal throne in 1990. By 2008, 15,000 churches had been built or re-opened. Not without difficulties, however, the Russian Orthodox Church faced the challenge of coming to terms with the Vatican. The Vatican believed that the small numbers of Catholics should have a fully developed church hierarchy with “presence and status” in Russia due to the fact that the ROC is present in other locations including Rome, close to the Vatican. Currently, the Patriarchal throne is occupied by Patriarch Kirill beginning in February of 2009.

Map of major religions, including Orthodox, in Eastern Europe

Map of major religions, including Orthodox, in Eastern Europe. Image taken from BBC News.

An example of a Russian Orthodox Church in the US could be seen here:

Russian Orthodox Church

Diffusion: Scientology

November24
a map showing which countries contain any popuplation that practices scientology(via wikipedia)
a map showing which countries contain any popuplation that practices scientology(via wikipedia)

SCIENTOLOGY

Scientology is a body of beliefs and practices created by L. Ron Hubbard in 1952. It is what many viewed as an outlandish and illegitimate religion, but that mindset was quickly abandoned by most after the religion spread quickly during a short time of fifty seven years and had exponentially grown in number of followers. Scientology states that people are spiritual, immortal beings that have lost their true nature. It is one of the newest religions, and it has diffused contiguously throughout the world at arguably the fastest pace of any known religion, spreading to six continents in under a century. Scientology started off solely appealing to celebrities and trend followers, but it has spread to many different people all across the globe.

Scientology was started by L. Ron Hubbard, a resident of California as a successor to his early self help system “Dianetics” which is a set of ideas and

L. Ron Hubbard, The creator of Scientology(via able.org)

L. Ron Hubbard, The creator of Scientology(via able.org)

practices regarding the metaphysical relationship between the mind and body. Scientology uses a type of spiritual therapy called auditing where practitioners aim to consciously re-experience harmful or traumatic events in the past in order to free themselves of any limits that the experience may have wrought.  It has spread from its original creator, L. Ron Hubbard in its hearth in California where the majority of its practitioners are located, to more than one hundred twenty nine countries worldwide in more than thirty languages in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia.

Scientology has spread by what can be described as a contiguous movement where scientology “students” must pay fees in order to have the church of scientology impart their knowledge to the patron. The total cost to becoming completely enlightened is estimated to be in the $365,000 to $380,000 range. The payments are to improve ones knowledge of scientology thus improving their OT (Operating Thetan or Soul) level.

The only thing that has somewhat deterred the spread of scientology has been the media making fun of and satirizing some of the outlandish beliefs in scientology such as the “Space Opera” which tells the story of how the Earth’s population came to be through an alien overlord Xenu dumping people around volcanoes and detonating them with hydrogen bombs that caused the soul or thetan to separate from the body where the soul became lost, and imprinted with the many flawed beliefs of the world that the scientologists coined as the “R6 implant”. The core beliefs of scientology have not been altered too much as it has not been around for any longer than 52 years, and it has not had the time to grow and form any different sects or sub-religions.

A picture of the cross of scientology(via Scientology.org)

A picture of the cross of scientology(via Scientology.org)

Scientology is a new religion that has spread at an extremely rapid pace throughout the world in less than a century. It is arguably one of the fastest diffusing religions even though it has been mocked and satirized by the public and the media. It has diffused quite quickly despite the seemingly outlandish beliefs, and does not show any sign of dying out any time soon.

Basketball

November24

In December 1891, a Canadian physician, James Naismith, was invited to the Young Men’s Christian Association Training School (now Springfield College) in Massachusetts.  While there, he saw the need for an indoor athletic game for the students of the school to play during Massachusetts harsh winters.  He came up

Picture of James Naismith (sautronbasket.com)

Picture of James Naismith (sautronbasket.com)

with the first variation of basketball.  In his original game, he attached two peach baskets to an elevated track.  The first team of nine players to but the ball in the basket won.  He based his game off of a variation of American sports and also the Aztec game of Tlachtli.

By 1898, the game of basketball was reformed and began to spread throughout the United States and Canada.  The game now consisted of hoops and added time duration.  The teams were also cut down to five man teams.  With the newly refurbished rules, basketball became more popular throughout United States colleges.  Basketball was diffused though the United States and Canada by hierarchical diffusion.  Therefore the big colleges and cities learned the sport before it was passed down to the rest of the nation. As colleges became more interested by the game, a push for an intercollegiate league was started.

With the help of the United States Army during World War II, the game of basketball was spread to Europe and the rest of the world.  U.S servicemen would play basketball during there downtimes and European citizens saw the sport as an informal outdoor game.  The fascinated Europeans spread the sport by contagious diffusion throughout Europe.  The sport spread form one person to the next by watching people play or by hearing about the game from a friend.  This made for a massive basketball proliferation in Europe very quick.

While basketball made roots in European countries, United State colleges adopted the sport and the first

Picture of Basketball (mathtrain.com)

Picture of Basketball (mathtrain.com)

collegiate basketball games were played in New York in 1934.  These early college games put basketball in

the public eye.  As the public interest grew so did the interest for a professional basketball league.  In 1949 the formation of the National Basketball Association (NBA) was complete.  Throughout the early years, basketball began to grow around the world.  More and more organized leagues were being formed in Europe.  basketball grew to a huge financial enterprise with a massive fan base now follows the sport all around the world, from Kentucky to Japan.  Basketball has grown so substantially that today you can look at it as a bit of local culture.  Teams from a town or city form large fan bases and sculpt the area into their “hometown.”  Besides individual team followers, above average players have now become popular culture.  Players such as Mike Jordan, LeBron James, or Kobe Bryant, have become world wide icons in their sport and advertising media.

Countries that are Participating in FIBA championship (wikimedia.org)

Countries that are Participating in FIBA championship (wikimedia.org)

Now that basketball reaches all ends of the globe, many different population segments accept the sport.  You can see basketball being played from the streets of New York, to the streets of Germany.  Basketball has been passed down from place to place through both contiguous and hierarchical diffusion.  Either way basketball was diffused around the world and is almost a common language between followers.  Not even James Naismith would have imagined the magnitude with which his game would be embraced around the world.

Paper

November24

Paper is used by nearly every single country in the world today.  Most people come in contact with it every single day by means of paper money or other documents.  It was once an extremely rare product, but once it was able to be produced efficiently it became the cheapest way to print books and many other printed resources.

The oldest paper found to date

The oldest "paper" found to date

This makes paper one of the most useful products for its price within the material culture spectrum.  Because of its many practical uses, paper was in high demand ever since it was invented thus it was able to spread quickly and is still used in the world today.

The idea of paper originated in Ancient Egypt with papyrus, but this was nothing like the paper we now have today.  The paper we now have, originated in Ancient China around the second century under the rule of T’sai Lun.  At first it was a long process to make paper in that individual plant fibers were mixed and thrown into a large vat with water, then a screen was put into the vat and lifted back out so that the fibers caught the screen.  When dried, the fibers would intertwine and produce paper.  In some places this way of papermaking is considered an art form and is still practiced.

Seeing as paper was sacred to the Chinese, it took many years for it to spread to other parts of the world.  It started spreading slowly to Tibet, Vietnam and Korea through contiguous movement, but five hundred years after being invented, while the Chinese were at war with the Islamic world, a Chinese caravan possessing papermakers was captured by Islamic warriors and thus papermaking was spread westward.

Tsai Lun - credited as the inventor of paper

T'sai Lun - credited as the inventor of paper

However, the biggest push in the spread of paper occured in the fifteenth century when Johann Gutenburg created his printing press and mass produced Bibles which spread the modern paper and printing industry worldwide.

The fact that such an old invention is still being used today is an extremely rare occurence.  Probably the most widely used form of paper would be in book form.  Schools use books in order to educate their students and the information that needs to be presented to them is typed up on paper and binded together.  This form of paper obviously is not the same as when it was first invented, but being more smooth and durable than its previous stages originating in China.  Because paper wasnt made practical for everyday use until around the fifteenth century, paper went through a sort of hierarchical diffusion in that only educated people really needed it for writing or doing art on before it became more abundunt.

Modern day notebook paper

Modern day notebook paper

Paper was one of the greatest inventions of all time.  Seeing as it was created over two thousand years ago, it is almost unbelievable that it is still widely used today.  The idea of paper first originated in Egypt as papyrus, but the paper we know today originated in China in the second century.  It started to spread through war between Islam and the Chinese, but got its biggest surge from the Gutenburg Press.  T’sai Lun’s dream of using paper as a practical object to write on is still used today even alongside all of the new technology present.

IKEA

November24

With innovative yet simple designs, it is no wonder why IKEA is one of the world’s most popular furniture distributors. The company’s ready-to-assemble, flat-packed products at customer-friendly prices have made a lasting impact on the world of interior decorating and will remain classic due to the simplistic designs. The spread of IKEA from the tiny town of Älmhult, Sweden to the rest of the world is visible over a span of approximately six decades.

The founder of IKEA, Ingvar Kamprad, started the company at the age of 17.

The founder of IKEA, Ingvar Kamprad, started the company at the age of 17. He is now 81 years old.

The hearth of the super-company, IKEA is a small, southern Swedish town called Älmhult. However, it could also be argued that the company can trace its roots to Agunnaryd, Sweden where the founder of IKEA was born. The company began with the hopes of fufilling needs presented by material culture. The founder, Ingvar Kamprad established IKEA as a 17 year old boy in 1943. The name came from the founder’s initials (I.K.), the first letters of the name of his family’s farm (Elmtaryd) and his hometown (Agunnayrd). However, this IKEA was not famous for selling classic pieces of furniture. Kamprad began selling simple things such as pens, wallets, table runners, and other household items. These products were sold to people at realistically cheaper rates. In 1945, Kamprad began to do mail-order business, shipping things via train. It wasn’t until 1948 that IKEA had a furniture line and in 1953, the first showroom opened in Älmhult, Sweden. IKEA’s famous self-assembly designs were first introduced in 1956 and the first store opened in 1958 not far from Kamprad’s hometown.

The company began to broaden their market using contiguous diffusion, spreading the company to nearby areas before expanding internationally. Oslo, Norway was the first place outside of Sweden to have an IKEA store in 1963. By 1979, IKEA had stores in Denmark, Switzerland, Germany, Australia, Canada, Austria, and the Netherlands.  Relatively speaking, it took about six decades for IKEA to get to where it is today. The company spread rather rapidly because of Kamprad’s vision and strong entrepreneuring background. Currently, there are 301 IKEA stores in 37 different countries worldwide. The only things slowing the expansion of IKEA to the rest of the world are money and the need for an IKEA store in new places. The continent of Africa does not have one IKEA store. Nor does South America, Latin America, or the Middle East. However, some of these places are not necessarily demanding a store either.

This map shows the number of IKEA stores in the major metropolitan areas of the United States. The map also shows populations of large cities and those which do not have IKEA stores.

The first map shows the number of residents per IKEA store in major metropolitan areas of the United States. The second map shows the top ten metropolitan areas with the least people per IKEA store. And the third map shows the top ten highest populations which do not have any IKEA stores.

At each store and in each product, one can see the high Scandanavian authenticity which IKEA strives to produce. The company’s logo colors are the same as those of the Swedish flag, showing IKEA’s strong connection to Swedish heritage and the country’s folk culture. Most product names are Swedish in origin. Each grouping of furniture (i.e. bathroom items, bedroom items, kitchen appliances, etc.) is assigned a list of possible names. For example, all of IKEA’s bedroom articles have names derived from Scandanavian bodies of water, and product names for garden furniture come from the names of Swedish islands. Information from IKEA’s website can also help one learn more about the Swedish authenticity of the company. A good example of how IKEA represents Swedish folk culture, the website also gives credit to 19th century artists Carl and Karin Larsson who “combined classical influences with warmer Swedish folk styles… The IKEA product range - modern but not trendy, functional yet attractive, people-focused and child-friendly - carries on these Swedish home furnishing traditions.”

The ideas that Kamprad originally had for the company are still respected today; they have not been extravagantly altered by any means. On the “Facts and Figures” portion of IKEA’s website, the company says, “Even today the humble origins of Ingvar Kamprad, his respect for money, the will to renew and courage to shoulder responsibility form the basis for the values of the vibrant IKEA corporate culture.” As the company sticks to its Swedish roots, the rest of the world is adopting a little bit of Swedish culture and incorporating it into home furnishings. IKEA products are aimed to impress everyone. There is not necessarily one specific demographic which the company is hoping to reach. According to IKEA, 82% of its business comes from Europe, and the country of Germany alone accounts for 15% of IKEA’s revenue, with the U.S. coming in at a close second with 10%.

IKEA stores are known to be extremely massive. Pictured above is the IKEA store in Rome, Italy. The largest IKEA store is located outside of Stockholm, Sweden and encompasses about 594,000 square feet.

IKEA stores are known to be extremely massive. Pictured above is the IKEA store in Rome, Italy. The largest IKEA store is located outside of Stockholm, Sweden and encompasses about 594,000 square feet.

Overall, the company which Ingvar Kamprad started in 1943 has evolved into a super-company with retail stores almost worldwide. IKEA employs approximately 127,800 people and sells approximately 9,500 things with which to furnish one’s home. In 2008, more than 200 million copies of the IKEA catalogue were printed in 27 different languages. Kamprad’s success should be recognized worldwide and he should be regarded as the man who changed the way people decorate their homes.

The Beginning of Blue Jeans

November24
The invention of blue jeans is one that started in a small town with two men, a tailor and a goods store owner, and ended up becoming a national and global

Jacob Davis

Jacob Davis

product. Jacob Davis first came up with the idea of blue jeans in Reno, Nevada, the hearth and point of origin of blue jeans, after meeting a woman who brought in her husband’s cheap pants, which pockets kept falling off. With this pair, he came up with the idea of using metal rivets at the points of the strain-pocket corners and the base of the fly. He wanted to patent this idea, but with a lack of money he turned to Levi Strauss who owned the good store from which Davis bought his material. Davis sent a letter to Strauss, containing a little money, explaining his predicament and asked him to pay for the paperwork of the patent, that way they could patent the idea together. Strauss agreed and on that day, blue jeans were born.

Levi Strauss

Levi Strauss

 

 

The first pair of blue jeans was successfully made on May 20, 1873. The product started out only beingsuccessful in the local area, and at first only grew popular with the local miners. Throughout the next few decades, blue jeans grew more and more popular in the work force, especially in mining and factory jobs. Then in 1935, the first pair of Levi’s blue jeans for women was featured in a Vogue Magazine. After the magazine was published, jeans were not only high in demand for men, but also for women too. Throughout the following years, blue jeans had developed into other types and styles than the original fashion, especially one style referred to as designer jeans. In the mid-1970s, Calvin Klein jeans, another brand of blue jeans, were collecting $12.5 million per week because these designer jeans had become so popular. Due to the popularity of blue jeans, they became part of the popular culture in America, and even more so, they became part of the material culture as well. At that time the only blue jeans saw, were worn in the United States, but due to American European trade, Europe soon discovered the fashion of blue jeans. During the years of the Cold War, blue jeans were in such high demand that in Eastern Bloc countries they became an underground standard of currency. During this time, United States jean manufacturers claimed that they regularly received begging letters from ‘behind the Iron Curtain’ and as far as Pitcairn Island for blue jeans. Throughout the end years of the Cold War and after it ended, the fashion of blue jeans also traveled to parts of Asia and other areas of the world. Throughout over 130 years since the product’s invention, blue jeans have become a global product, reaching almost all parts of the world.

In order for blue jeans to become part of the popular culture and reach almost all parts of the world, blue jeans were featured everywhere. They were shown in magazines like Vogue magazines and other high fashion magazines. Besides magazines, they were also seen and popularized through newspapers’ cartoons, and television shows. In newspapers, there were cartoons both about how strong and dependable jeans were, especially in the work force, and others to show their popularity. As for television shows, such as the Family Matters and Full House, a lot of shows illustrated the average family in the 1970’s and 1980’s with the family all wearing jeans while at home, work, and school. Besides the family shows, one of the more popular shows and movies were the ones which contained Betty Boop, which, in most of them she also featured blue jeans. Although these methods could be seen in a lot of places across the country and sometimes internationally, blue jeans suffered some time-space compression. Some places responded very quickly to the new fashion and its changes due to the amount of communication and links between the places, but as a result of lacks of links and communication, other places took a while to accept the fashion. Most of the time distance did come into play, like how it took Europe a while to exhibit the fashion, but in other examples such as in United States, it just took a while for some parts to allow the blue jeans to become part of their life. Although the diffusion of blue jeans was pretty constant and continually spreading, there were some things that slowed their movement. For example, in the early 1990s during the worldwide recession, the empire of jeans stopped expanding. Also, in World War II, when there was a need for materials, like fabric and metal, the production of jeans slowed down. However, besides war and economic problems, the movement and diffusion of jeans has remained almost completely unstopped. From their invention to today the movement of jeans has been hierarchical, contiguous, non-contiguous, and contagious. In the beginning, when blue jeans were first invented, there movement was contiguous and contagious, only spreading to the people around the area where they were invented, the local miners mainly. Then when people in other places started to pick up on the fashion and it was publicized more, the diffusion changed to non contiguous and hierarchical diffusion, going to cities with major mines and factories, for the blue jeans were first thought of as more of a work pants. These cities had very little actual human contact between them, and because of that, the movement became non-contiguous. Then, from the factories, the movement turned into contiguous and contagious diffusion again when most factory workers and other people within the areas of those cities started to wear blue jeans too. The movement continued to be contiguous, contagious, and hierarchical until it spread across the entire country. All in all, the spread of the fashion of blue jeans was contagious, contiguous, hierarchical, and non-contiguous because it jumped from city to city and diffused within those cities, particularly based on its means and methods of being spread.

 

 

 

Blue Jeans

Blue Jeans

Throughout blue jeans spread across the United States and parts of the world their style and concept were altered a little. When the blue jeans were first invented, they were created as more of work pants, but as they got more and more popular and spread across the country, they became less associated with work and more with leisure. After that, in 1902, the basic style of the blue jeans was altered, so that there were two back pockets, instead of just the two in the front. Then during World War II, when there was a lack of denim, fewer pairs of blue jeans were made and sold. They also had to conserve metal and therefore the crotch rivet and back cinch were removed to save fabric and metal. Then after the end of the war, in 1947, Wrangler introduced and created the first body fit jeans as apposed to the regular, loose fitting jeans that were so popular before. With the change in style from loose to tight, there also came other renditions of blue jeans, including embroidery, paint, sequins, and other ‘psychedelic’ looks originating in the idea of an outing on the city streets. All in all, from their invention to today, the idea and look of blue jeans has changed from work to leisure and basic to personal. With all these alterations in look and concept, more and more segments of the general population accepted the fashion of blue jeans. First, when blue jeans only pertained to the work field, the only part of the society that wore them was working males in both mines and factories, especially in the south. Then with women coming into the working fields during the wars when men were deployed and women were needed to work, women then too accepted blue jeans. In the North, when designer jeans became popular, the blue jean craze took the style firmly up-market, and people soon wore them everywhere, even in public and at home. Then with little time, popularity, the tighter styles, and personal additions to blue jeans more and more of the younger segments of society accepted the jeans. In 1958, about 90 percent of American youths were wearing jeans everywhere except in bed and in church. These segment patterns were mostly in the United States, but other continents like Europe followed a similar pattern.

Worlds Spread of Blue Jeans

World's Spread of Blue Jeans

In summary, the blue jeans were invented in Reno, Nevada, their hearth and point of origin. Throughout the past 130 years, the fashion of blue jeans has spread all over the earth, starting in the United States and becoming part of the popular culture and material culture. At first they were only worn by working men, then worn by working women, then at home, and finally worn by the whole family at work, school, and at home. They were popularized and spread through magazines, televisions shows, and newspaper cartoons. Their movement was contagious, contiguous, hierarchical, and non-contiguous, and was basically very continual, except for during the 1990 world-wide recession when money was tight and World War II when both the fabric and metal were need for other purposes. The style and idea of what blue jeans were for both changed from the day they were invented till today, they transformed from work pants to leisure pants, loose to tight, and went from plain to having two back pockets and additional styles like sequins, paint, and embroidery. 

 

« Older Entries