You've probably noticed the 75th Anniversary logo emblazoned on each of our covers this year. Our actual anniversary is this month. September 1938 saw the launch of Equipment Preview for Process Industries Production Men, the predecessor of Chemical Processing.
The cover page of that 16-page initial issue prominently proclaimed the magazine's mission: "To keep you abreast of latest developments in new equipment, new machines, new products applicable in process manufacturing… this is the sole purpose of Equipment Preview."
That introduction went on: "To you process production men who in recent decades have made brilliant industrial history, and who today are pioneering new processes, new products, there is perhaps little need to say more.
"New equipment, new products, new applications — these words summarize the progress from yesterday and the hope of progress for tomorrow…
"Every manufacturer, every individual production executive, knows he must keep abreast, or lose out to more alert competition."
The phrasing may seem dated and the use of "men" certainly is (but to be fair, few women were involved in chemicals production then). However, the underlying credo — "… every item published is selected because of its practical usefulness" — still defines what Chemical Processing does today.
The publication was the idea of Russell L. Putman, a veteran of more than 19 years in industrial publishing, and was the first magazine produced by Putman Publishing Co. It became Chemical Equipment Preview in 1941, Chemical Preview in 1943, Chemical Processing Preview in 1947 and, finally, Chemical Processing in 1950.
Professor Harry McCormack, director of the chemical engineering department at the Armour Institute of Technology (now the Illinois Institute of Technology Armour College of Engineering) and a long-time consultant to chemical manufacturers, served as the magazine's technical advisory editor.
Recipients of that inaugural issue — 18,750 copies were printed — found details on a variety of products, including corrosion-resistant alloys, catalyst carriers, cooling towers, dryers, evaporators, fans, filters, flow meters, instruments, mixers, pumps and valves, that remain crucial to processing today. Some of the brands mentioned in that issue, e.g., Bird Machine, Gardner-Denver, Kinney, Marley and R.P. Adams, are still familiar today.
On the next few pages, we've reproduced some of that inaugural issue to give you a glimpse of cutting-edge products 75 years ago. You can check out the entire issue at: www.ChemicalProcessing.com/assets/Media/MediaManager/CP_09_1938_issue.pdf.
A notable anniversary like this calls not only for looking back but also for looking ahead. To put where we're going into perspective, it's important to understand that today Chemical Processing is far more than a print magazine. While the full text of CP articles going back to 2002 is accessible at ChemicalProcessing.com, our website boasts a substantial amount of exclusive online content, including resource centers, vendor information, multimedia such as webinars, job listings and the CP 50, which follows developments at 50 leading chemical manufacturers.
We plan to increase our digital presence even more in the next few years. Our goal is to significantly expand our content, e.g., by adding regularly updated features and by more extensively covering developments at trade associations, professional organizations and other relevant groups.
We also aim to develop a vibrant interactive online community. Our popular "Ask the Experts" forum and "Comical Processing" cartoons already generate a substantial number of inputs. We've now added a "What are your comments?" capability at the bottom of each article and news item to make it easy for you to start or take part in a discussion. And we're eager to find other ways in which you can actively participate — so, please let us know your ideas.
Rest assured that the 75-year-old credo of "practical usefulness" will guide our evolution.
MARK ROSENZWEIG is Chemical Processing's Editor in Chief. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org