Advert for the Tower Furnishing & Finance Company, reverse side
Medium: Print on paper
The system of hire-purchase was first used in the 19th century. Goods were selected by customers who would pay money in instalments to financial companies until the full amount had been paid off.
Social status was often determined by a display of belongings and so the quality and quantity of home furnishings was a clear indication of class. By using the system of hire-purchase the growing number of middle class professionals could afford to have beautiful items such as sofas, tables, cabinets and pianos in their homes.