At the beginning of the nineteenth century, most commodities in the United States were produced either in the workshops of artisans or at home. Skilled tradesmencarpenters, cobblers, potters-crafted their wares in small shops, owned by merchants or master craftsmen, that had not yet been significantly affected by machine methods. Goods made at home were usually consumed there, although in urban areas the putting-out system was common: Merchants distributed raw materials and tools to household workers, who then wove the cloth or made the shoes and returned the finished product to the merchants for distribution and sale. By the end of the century, however, everything had changed: Most commodities were now manufactured in factories, which were enormous agglomerations of machinery and men.