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  • 30/06/2022

Celebrating 90 Years of Modern Machine Shop

For this anniversary issue, we consider developments and technologies that have been important throughout nine decades of being modern.

Peter Zelinski | Editor-in-Chief

They say it was the pockets common to machinists’ outfits at the time. The original dimensions of Modern Machine Shop were chosen to allow the machinist of 1928 to carry the magazine either in the side pocket of a shop coat orin the chest pocket common to some machinists’ aprons. While the publication is no longer that small size today (we first changed its dimensions in 2008), many readers of MMS still keep the magazine close at hand and close totheir hearts.

Celebrating 90 Years of Modern Machine Shop

They really do. I am biased, of course, but the frequency with which we hear from readers who honor us by describing their appreciation for the publication and its work over the years leaves me persuaded that MMS is more than just anindustry trade magazine. The affection and loyalty the magazine has won stem in part, I believe, from the priority this magazine has had from the beginning, the priority that focused on those very pockets in the machinists’clothes: an aim to belong to this industry. Those of us who produce MMS work for Gardner Business Media, the same family company that began by launching this book. And at the encouragement of owners of this company, we give our primarysense of allegiance to metalworking rather than to our own field of media or publishing. The business philosophy of Gardner and MMS has always been this: Focus on manufacturing—aim simply to be of greater and greater use tomanufacturers—and success will come. It has worked so far.

The June 2018 issue marks 90 years of Modern Machine Shop. We wanted to observe the milestone. Enough of us involved with MMS have long-enough tenure that we remember the 75th and 80th anniversaries, which we allowed to pass only lightlyconsidered. We wanted to do better this year, but how? Should we look back at major developments of the magazine?

The problem with that approach is the developments we would be apt to choose—special issues, changes in media, transitions on the editorial team—would seem significant to us, the staff. The MMS reader experiences differentmilestones with the magazine. They relate to ideas explored and technologies adopted because of what the reader found in its pages. We never get to know which specific magazine issues offer the breakthroughs for our readers becausethe important discoveries, the right ideas that come at just the right time, are different for every shop. What our readers appreciate about MMS and what they benefit from are its regular issues.

So that is the way to look back. In a special collection of articles in the pages to follow, we look beyond just epochal or event-defining issues of the magazine. Rather, we look back at regular issues of Modern Machine Shop out of themany decades of the magazine’s history. Decade by decade, the magazine has always sought to be relevant and helpful to the metalworking business leaders and professionals of the time. What did that look like, and how does itlook to us now? The staff of MMS has spent some time poring through back issues in search of articles that highlight where manufacturing has been, and that might have offered some of those milestones representing advances for shopsat the time. Let us share with you what we found.

But first, on behalf of all of us involved with MMS, let me extend my gratitude. Thank you for giving us your attention; thank you for giving us the chance to aid you in your work. Likely there is no machinist’s apron you weartoday, but thank you for slipping the magazine into briefcases and carry-on bags. Thank you for passing it through the office and through the shop until its covers tear and its pages become creased. Thank you for 90 great years ofgetting to be part of this industry.

Now, stay with us a while longer and read on. Here is what was going on in some of those 90 years.