CHEMICAL PROCESSING celebrates a notable anniversary in September. It’s exactly 80 years since the debut of our predecessor, Equipment Preview for Process Industries Production Men. September 1938 certainly wasn’t obvious as a great time to launch a new magazine. After all, the Great Depression still afflicted the U.S. and foreboding events were taking place in Europe: Germany had annexed Austria earlier in the year and, on September 30th, signed a pact with the U.K. and France allowing Hitler to take over the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia.
Nevertheless, Russell L. Putman, a veteran of more than 19 years in industrial publishing, launched Equipment Preview as the first magazine of the Putman Publishing Co. The title was renamed Chemical Equipment Preview in 1941, Chemical Preview in 1943, Chemical Processing Preview in 1947, and, finally, Chemical Processing in 1950.
That initial issue had 16 pages and a print run of 18,700 copies. [We’ve reproduced a portion in this issue; you can see the entire issue here.] A look at the products featured then underscores not only how much some equipment has changed but also how the same basic technology underpins processing. A review of the roster of vendors reveals many long defunct firms but also others that still exist (although often as part of another firm).
That first edition clearly stated the mission of the new magazine: “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.”
The introduction continued: “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.”
We certainly wouldn’t phrase such a message in that way today and, most assuredly, wouldn’t put “Production Men” in the title. However, it was a different time and women were a rarity in our industry then.
That September 1938 issue proclaimed: “… every item published is selected because of its practical usefulness.” We still adhere to that credo. Chemical Processing strives to publish material that helps readers make plants as efficient, safe, environmentally friendly and economically competitive as possible. We aim to provide authoritative and impartial information relevant to real-world technical issues in the chemical industry.
Today, Chemical Processing is far more than a print magazine. Our website, ChemicalProcessing.com, has become a key element in our mission to serve you. Besides providing the full text and graphics of CP articles going back to 2002, the website includes significant online-only content, such as our popular Ask the Experts Forum, Chemical Reaction blog, industry news, monthly poll, and Comical Processing cartoon.
In addition, we now offer a wide range of free webinars — including a very popular ongoing Process Safety Series. You can participate in these webinars when they are held or view them later at your convenience.
So, while an 80th anniversary traditionally is signified by oak, rest assured that we are far from wooden in our quest to serve your needs.
MARK ROSENZWEIG is Chemical Processing's Editor in Chief. While some folks joke about his age, we can assure you that he was not the editor in 1938. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.