With the Internet explosion, you would think that soon all printed forms of magazines and newspapers will disappear from the face of the planet. Some publishing companies have even decided to just concentrate on their online versions of magazines and news sites instead of continuing printed ones. Whether we seize seeing printed forms of reading materials in the future still is anyone’s guess, but before that happens or when it happens, let’s have a nostalgic look at the history of magazines.
Looking at different bookstores or news stands, you’ll still see some popular magazines in Dubai that people subscribe to. But how did this printed material all began anyway?
Well, printing goes back from the 1440 when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press. From then, the many companies used the printing press to mass produce newsletters, almanacs, pamphlets and of course reproducing religious materials like Bibles.
Then in 1663, the periodical titled Erbauliche Monaths-Unterredungen or in English, ”Edifying Monthly Discussions” came out under the leadership of German theologian and poet Johann Rist. This was considered as one of the earliest forms of news magazines, which remained in publication for five years and inspired similar materials from other European countries like France, England, and Italy. Some of the common contents of the magazine were book summaries and scholarly articles.
During 1672 in France, a “periodical of amusement” came out under the creation of Jean Donneau de Vizé, a French writer and playwright. He called this printed material “Le Mercure Galant” and contained more of an entertainment style of articles such as gossip, songs, poems, etc. Some people dismissed the material as less important because it didn’t contain intellectual content, but still the magazine became very popular in France.
By the 1700s, society’s thirst for knowledge had already triggered the wide-spread popularity of magazines that featured a bunch of topics from cultural events, news, entertainment, essays, etc. In England, there were three periodicals that became very popular and were published several times a week, which resembled the way we produced modern newspapers and magazines. These periodicals were: Daniel Defoe’s The Review, which was published between 1704-13); Sir Richard Steele’s The Tatler, which came out from 1709-11; and Addison and Steele’s The Spectator, published 1711-12.
Finally in 1731, the term “magazine” was first coined by Englishman, Edward Cave when he published the periodical titled, The Gentleman’s Magazine. Cave derived the word “magazine” from the Arabic word makhazin, which meant storehouse. His concept was for his magazine to contain a lot of essays, poems, and stories and even political opinions and musings.
The magazines that we have known—those with lots of art works, graphics, and glossy photos—first came to existence back in 1842, when Herbet Ingram, a Britich news agent, released the first illustrated magazine, The Illustrated London News. He came up with the concept after realizing the photos, cartoons, and sketches attracted the attention of readers and helped increase the sales of magazines. From then on, we can say that the rest of the magazine world was history.
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