By the same authors

From the same journal

The Machine in the City: Public Appropriation of the Tramway in Britain and Germany, 1870-1915

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Publication details

JournalJournal of Urban History
DateE-pub ahead of print - 9 Apr 2012
DatePublished (current) - Nov 2012
Issue number6
Number of pages34
Pages (from-to)1060-1093
Early online date9/04/12
Original languageEnglish


This article explores how tramways were publically appropriated, in what way people responded to the new modes of transport and how they integrated them into their lives and urban environments. The approach of public appropriation shifts the focus away from the technology and tramway companies to the users of the new modes and opens the field to the analysis of the interrelationship between transport technology and urban cultures in a comparative perspective. The study concludes that people were more critical of horse than of electric tramways. The often quoted “massive public opposition” to electrification turns out to be much weaker than hitherto assumed. Only by the mid 1910s the urban masses, upper classes and workers, had fully appropriated them as modes to serve their working and leisure habits, as fashionable and as a very positive and visual sign for the ability and prestige of the city and an urban community.

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