Happy Anniversary, Electric Light & Power

I often use the November-December editor’s letter to look ahead and offer my predictions about the upcoming year. This year, however, I’m doing the opposite by looking back. I hope you’ve already taken a look at the 90-year anniversary poster that was included with your issue. For several months, the editorial team scanned 90 years’ worth of past issues to collect interesting information for the poster. Collecting the information took a lot of time, but the most difficult part was narrowing down hundreds of tidbits to the few that appear on the poster.

I was a surprised to find that some of the topics covered in the magazine decades ago are the same or at least similar to the ones we discuss today. Some examples include electric vehicles and charging stations, covered in the 1920s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and into the 2000s; difficulty obtaining rights of way for transmission line construction, reported in the 1920s; and numerous programs and strategies aimed at putting veterans to work at utility companies, reported in the 1940s.

Although I wasn’t aware of it until I helped review past issues, the magazine’s purpose hasn’t changed in 90 years. When I looked back at the first issue’s letter from the editor written by Electric Light & Power Editor C.L. Funnell, I discovered what you might call the magazine’s mission statement. Funnell wrote that the magazine “aims to be helpful and at the same time human and interesting. It must seek out the good practices of its industry and promote their general acceptance. It must also help to eliminate mistaken ideas and wrong tendencies. It must be a strong power for right thinking and progressive action.”

He completed the editorial, “To such a program Electric Light & Power is dedicated. Its great hope is that its service to the central station business may be proportionately as great as is the service of that industry to its customers.”

Ninety years later, Electric Light & Power magazine’s mission remains the same. I hope that if Funnell could see the magazine today, he would be pleased it’s still going strong and providing a great service to those who still provide a great service to their customers.

Before I close, I’d like to point out that I did find one significant difference between the early issues of the magazine and today’s issues: Funnell wrote and published a poem with his editor’s letter. Although that’s a nice touch, I won’t be doing it. I do, however, want to share the first poem with you. I hope you enjoy it.

Our Partly Metric Bow
by C. L. Funnell

If you’re a man who looks upon
The watts as they’re created
As things to serve in countless ways:
As merchandise related
To commerce, progress, joy and health—
Read on for half an hour.
Because we’ve edited for you
Electric Light & Power.

If you confess essential taste
For business angles to
The sale and distribution of
Electric juice; and you
Think mainly of your customers
In thunderstorm or shower
You’re welcomed as a reader of
Electric Light & Power.

If you delight in steady growth
If building trade and men—
Warms up your heart, you doubtless make
Promotions now and then.
And you can help your runners up
Increase their training dower.
Why not make sure they also read
Electric Light & Power.

Teresa Hansen, editor in chief

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