The History Of Retail In 100 Objects – The Rialto Bridge


History Of Retail Rialto Bridge

It’s Tuesday so it’s The History Of Retail In 100 Objects post – This weeks object is The Rialto Bridge

Recognised worldwide as an architectural icon , the Rialto Bridge in Venice is the oldest of four structures spanning the ancient city’s Grand Canal. Construction of the bridge was necessitated by the popularity of the Rialto Market on the canal’s eastern bank. Venice flourished as a centre of trade throughout the 13th and 14th centuries and its dominance of the maritime industry and trade made it one of Europe’s most prosperous cities.

The Rialto Bridge was at the centre of it all and for centuries served as the only dry land connection across the Grand Canal. As such, the bridge helped facilitate commerce in one of the world’s most vibrant trading hubs. An early version of the bridge established in 1181 was made of floating pontoons. However, the establishment of the Rialto Market and its growing popularity prompted construction of a higher capacity wooden structure. The original wooden bridge was built with inclined ramps on either side and a centre section which could move to accommodate the passage of larger vessels on the canal. Although an improvement from earlier versions, the wood structure required frequent maintenance, occasionally caught fire and collapsed on several occasions. To remedy the situation, a stone structure was considered and in 1551 proposals were requested from architects. A design for a stone structure similar to the wooden bridge to be replace was accepted from Antonio da Ponte. The design was regarded as bold, if not foolhardy, and sceptics feared the centre span would collapse due to the weight of the stone. Construction proceeded and the bridge was completed in 1591. The concerns of sceptics proved unfounded as the Rialto Bridge has withstood the test of time and more than four centuries after its completion remains serviceable.

 Contribution to Retail History

The Rialto Bridge in all its various forms contributed to the success of the Rialto Market and the establishment of Venice as a hub of global commerce. The bridge highlighted the important role infrastructure plays in facilitating commerce and provided crucial ingress and egress to the city’s vibrant market. The establishment of new sea routes diminished Venice’s role on the world stage, but the enduring image of the Rialto Bridge serves as a reminder of the city’s bygone greatness.

The History Of Retail In 100 Objects Is Available As A Free Podcast

History of Retail Podcast

David Roth In Retail Conversation With…

DR Retail Con_Sept2014

I am going to do another in the popular series “In Retail Conversation…” This time the subject is Tesco’s and I will be in conversation with Bryan Roberts, the insightful –  Insights Director at Kantar Retail with a wicked sense of humor.  We will be sending out invitations to attend on Monday but as a special offer to my blog readers you are going to get advance priority and you can sign up for this online event now,  for free. Places are limited and it will be a sell out. So register right away before it is full. All you need is a web connection, sound and a reasonably fast connection. It takes pace on Thursday 11 September at 3pm GMT London time and lasts 60 minutes. You can register here.  Bryan and I are looking forward to it…Hope you can join us.



BrandZ Top 50 Most Valuable Indian Brands

The BrandZ Top 50 Most Valuable Indian Brands was launched in Mumbai a couple of weeks ago and has featured prominently in the press and on TV.  The growing opportunity of India and the changing Indian consumer challenges all brands to remain relevant and different. Every brand has its story. So I have created and presented short individual videos about each of the BrandZ Top 50 Most Valuable Indian Brands stories. The films also contain some unique footage and content about India. So over the next few weeks I will be featuring some of these videos in my blog. I hope that you enjoy them. Tuhin produced, shot and edited all the videos so a massive thanks to a very talented film maker.

Here is the first one.

It is the 50th brand in the rankings.

Liptons. Yes the tea brand. How appropriate.

Information Is Beautiful

Here is an Infographic with  the key insights from the BrandZ Top 50 Most Valuable Indian Brands done by the very talented Kay. Thank you Kay….

Infographic BrandZ India

The History Of Retail In 100 Objects – Foire Saint-Germain

Foire St Germain

It’s Tuesday so it’s The History Of Retail In 100 Objects post – This weeks object is Foire Saint-Germain.

There’s been an annual fair at Foire Saint -Germain in Paris since 1176, and with fairs come trade and produce.In 1482, Louis XI established the fairground for the benefit of the Abbey of Saint -Germain-des-Pres, located nearby. It was destroyed by fire in March 1762, but rose again from the ashes. The fair traditionally lasted from three to five weeks and was staged around Easter. During the 1700s it opened on February 3rd and closed on Palm Sunday. All kinds of exotic acts performed: tightrope walkers, animal trainers, marionette manipulators and more. It was also a great place for trading, bartering and ‘raffling’ of retail merchandise to the highest bidder, as recorded by Philip Skippon, a visitor to the Foire in the 1660s: “the place the fair is kept in, is a large square house with six or seven rows of shops, where customers play at dice when they come to buy things; the commodity is first bought, and then they play who shall pay for it. After candle-lighting is the greatest gaming, sometimes the king comes and dices…” This account of raffling as a social pastime (although we would recognise it today more as a form of auctioning) is corroborated by another Englishman abroad, Martin Lister, who wrote in 1697: “The great rendezvous is at night, after the play and opera are done; and raffling for all things vendible is the great diversion; no shop wanting two or three raffling boards. Monsieur, the Dauphin, and other princes of the blood come, at least once in the fair-time…” Today the Saint-Germain market is covered and is still on part of the old fairground site, hosting antique fairs, pottery days, and festivals.

Contribution to Retail History

Markets and fairs the world over were the precursors to modern retailing and Foire Saint-Germain is one such example. While it may not be feasible to draw a direct line between the raffles held at Foire Saint-Germain in the mid- 17th century and specific developments in retail, it is fair to reflect that the popularity of ‘raffling’ has, in the 21st century seen a surge in popularity with the advent of eBay.

The History Of Retail In 100 Objects Is Available As A Free Podcast

History of Retail Podcast

The History Of Retail In 100 Objects – The Mirror


It’s Tuesday so it’s The History Of Retail In 100 Objects post – This weeks object is The Mirror

Reflections of our own image had a magical significance in ancient cultures. In early times glass polished stones or metal were used. The Ro mans coated flat glass with silver or gold foil. Justus von Liebig discovered the chemical process of coating a glass surface with metallic silver in 1835. Today, mirrors are still made by coating a thin layer of molten aluminium or silver onto the back of a plate glass in a vacuum. How ever, mirrors and their capabilities are still evolving. During the Renaissance, Nuremberg and Venice became centres of excellence for mirror production but by the middle of the 17th century mirror making was practised extensively in London and Paris. The Royal Palace of Versailles had incredible mirrors in the staterooms, which created a sensation at the time. Craftsmen such as Grinling Gibbons in the late 17th and early 18th centuries produced elaborately carved mirror frames, and English brothers Robert and James Adam created ceiling-high fireplace units that used mirrors to create a special ambiance. As the 19th century progressed, mirror making became cheaper and mirrors were put into wardrobes, sideboards, and clothing retailers began installing them in and around store interiors and in changing and fitting rooms. Three-way mirrors were also introduced to help customers see themselves from different angles when trying on clothes. Today, mirrors are taking on new dimensions as digital technology begins to extend their capabilities for retail use. For example, interactive mirrors in stores incorporate a camera which captures the customer’s body dimensions and stance. Using hand gestures, the customer ‘swipes’ different outfits from a display menu and the mirror shows their reflection with the selected garment superimposed over their on-screen image. The digital delay mirror records the customer’s reflection and outputs it on a two second delay, enabling them to see what they look like from the back.
Contribution to Retail History
Mirrors are key to encouraging purchase of garments as the ability to see how they look on the wearer plays a major role in the decision-making process. The fitting room is a key part of the shopper experience. Mirrors give consumers the ultimate reassurance of the validity of their purchase decision and as such help generate millions in retail sale.

The History Of Retail In 100 Objects Is Available As A Free Podcast

History of Retail Podcast

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