SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN MAGAZINE
In August of 1845, the first weekly publication of the Scientific American came out in print. The periodical changed to monthly in 1921. Rufus Porter, who began the 19th Century magazine, started his career as an apprentice shoe maker. Being very inventive and ambitious, He fifed, painted, and even entered into education and became a school master. He invented a camera, and later turned to the art of painting. Along the way, he became an editor, and eventually in 1845 started the Scientific American.
These were historic and industrialized times. The direction of the Scientific American took on the tone of the nation. During the Civil War, much of the magazine focused on armory and weaponry. Initially the magazine was only 8 pages long, but eventually published supplements and a 16 page magazine. The periodical began printing articles about what was happening abroad and scientific discussion that was more specialized in nature.
There were thousands of new inventions in the 19th century, including Thomas Edison’s phonograph, carbon telephone transmitter and electric light bulb, Elisha Otis’ elevator brake, George Eastman’s’ fixed focus Kodak camera, and Alfred Nobel’s discovery of dynamite, to name a few. Scientific American printed the new patents that were pending and reported the developments of these discoveries, with numerous illustrations and beautiful engravings.
In the 1890s, the World’s Fair in Chicago took up numerous pages of the magazine. There was also news of important electrical inventions and developments, as well as experiments in aeronautics. The circulation had grown to over 40,000 by that point and businesses were eager to advertise. When the automobile first came out, the concept was not a new one for readers of the Scientific American. They had been reading about the tests and progress all along.
The World War brought more stories about guns, ammunition, submarines and chemical warfare. The scope of the magazine changed in 1921. It would no longer be an inventor’s magazine, but one of interest to the scientific community as a whole. The goal of the paper was to prove that science was not dull and boring, but fascinating. In fact, the magazine went so far as to say that science had an undeniable charm.
What exciting times those must have been. Those were the years when the simple life was introduced to so much “modern technology”. It was a time of great advancement in inventions and technology overall, and the Scientific American was the only magazine covering it all.
Select from the titles below to view our offering of vintage articles from Scientific American. You may open each listing for additional details of the items. Please check back often for we are adding to our inventory daily.