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Since 1929, Consumers’ Research has been asking the foundational question: Who — or what — best serves consumer wellbeing? In their book 100,000,000 Guinea Pigs, our founders, Frederick J. Schlink and Arthur Kallet, wrote about a need to provide “the consumer some manner of defense against” the shortcomings of the 1930s-era consumer education. For decades, Schlink continued this pursuit at the helm of Consumers’ Research.
In 1981, newly-appointed editor M. Stanton Evans helped guide Consumers’ Research through its expansion from a product-focused organization to one that also considers the effects laws, regulations, and government programs have on consumers.
Today’s Consumers’ Research leadership continues that legacy, looking to the writing and advocacy of its predecessors in our effort to put consumers first.
First formed as the Consumers Club in 1927, Consumers’ Research was incorporated in New York City in 1929. The organization moved to Washington, New Jersey, in 1933, where we opened a groundbreaking advanced testing laboratory.
Consumers’ Research pioneered consumer product testing in the United States. From playing cards and radio construction kits in 1937 to the first home computers in 1981. CR provided consumers with unbiased, reliable, scientific results up which informed consumer choices could be made.
For fifty years Consumers’ Research tested, rated, and reported on a wide range of products. Of course, the nature of the challenges facing consumers has changed dramatically from the days of our 1930s lab work: A broad array of consumer health, safety, and fraud laws, programs and agencies have given consumers unprecedented protections; and the advent of the Internet has made every consumer a potential product reviewer and empowered entire markets with information once only available to elites. However, in contrast to the time of our founding, the new pocketbook issues facing consumers are driven in growing part by the expanding involvement of government in the operation of the American economy.
Over the years, we gradually shifted our mission focus from testing products toward providing broader consumer information, and with the closing of our lab in 1983, we shifted our focus almost exclusively to our publication Consumers’ Research Magazine in order to inform and educate consumers.
Nearly 90 years ago Consumers’ Research broke new research ground with a sophisticated, science-driven approach to help consumers by providing information they needed to make wise product choices. Today, we are breaking new ground as we broaden our mission to include examining the effects on consumers of government programs, laws, and regulations. We bring to this task the same dedication to unbiased, fact-based analysis as we brought to our lab work.