The More Things Change

A new editor for Products Finishing's 74th year.

Nineteen thirty-six was a very interesting year, to say the least.


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Nineteen thirty-six was a very interesting year, to say the least. King George V died and was succeeded by his son, Edward VIII, who then abdicated the throne to marry an American divorcee. The Hoover Dam was finally completed. Max Schmeling knocked out Joe Louis in the 12th round of their boxing match at Yankee Stadium. Gone with the Wind was first published. Jesse Owens won the 100-meter dash at the Berlin Olympics to Hitler's ire. Franklin D. Roosevelt was re-elected in a landslide over Alf Landon.

And two magazines also debut in 1936: Life Magazine was launched for the first time as a weekly news publication, and Donald Gardner sent to press his first edition of Products Finishing.

In his welcoming letter in that very first issue in October 1936, Mr. Gardner wrote that he began Products Finishing magazine because of the fast advancements in the engineering and production of metal products at that time, adding that "the most important factor in the merchandising of metal products today is appearances."

He also spoke of the new magazine's mission of "searching out and disseminating the newest and best information available concerning metal finishing methods...including cleaning, polishing, buffing, plating [and] lacquering."

Almost 74 years later, I have the honor of continuing the tradition and mission set forth by Mr. Gardner so many moons ago...actually about 880 issues and more than 10,000 or so stories ago.

And it truly is an honor and a privilege to help bring you this magazine each month. In my first days on the job, perusing the last dozen or so issues to get a feel for what we've been bringing you, I get a sense of excitement, anxiety, curiosity, determination and ingenuity amongst those in the finishing industry.

These are tough times we live and work in, but reading the articles in Products Finishing, I get the sense that the industry has met these challenges before and succeeded quite well, thank you.

My excitement about working with our talented writers and columnists is about being able to bring you the insight and information you need to compete not just domestically, but globally as well.

My career in publications has not been in metal finishing, which makes it all the more interesting to learn new things, to ask questions that maybe have not been answered before, and to help bring you a sense of being on the pulse of what ticks in the finishing industry.

My father once told me, "don't wake up on third base one day and just assume you hit a triple," which meant joining a great team like PF requires recognizing the outstanding people who made the magazine as superb as it already is.

As the new editor, I understand what he was talking about now, especially with the stellar lineup of industry experts such as Carl Izzo, Art Kushner, Rodger Talbert, Stephen Schulte, Matt Kirchner, Steve Marcus, David Peterson and Larry Chesterfield, just to name a few.

I'll be out and around in the next few months at shows and conferences like the Process Cleaning Expo, ECOAT, Sur/Fin, NAI Coatings Show and the CCAI pavilion at Fabtech, and I look forward to meeting many of you. I'd also like to hear your suggestions on story ideas, trends we should be watching, and additional ways that PF can serve you.

In the meantime, feel free to contact me at 1-800-950-8020, or at Tim.Pennington@PFOnline.com with ideas for a story you think we should cover, or just to chat about the latest technologies, developments and issues in the finishing industry.