A dedicated group of volunteers is working to save Invention & Technology, the only popular magazine of the history of engineering and innovation.
With the help of subscriber donations, they recently built a new, much improved website for its sister magazine, American Heritage, and published a first new issue, Summer 2017. More info is at the press release. Now it's Invention & Technology's turn!
For the last several years, our volunteers have done the best they can, bootstrapping the creation of InventionandTech.com with 30 years of articles online. But we can't do it alone. Please consider giving a donation to help us save and relaunch the magazine.
In an era of fake news -- and when too students are pursuing STEM careers -- America needs a trusted source of information about the many contributions that engineerrs and innovators have made to society.It is imperative for future generations that we keep this brilliant tradition alive and growing in the future.
Invention & Technology has told the story of what engineers and inventors do for millions of readers over the decades (including many students and teachers) with accessible, interesting stories crafted by respected historians and journalists.
But these are challenging times in publishing, and the magazine was forced to stop print publication in 2011.
Like many other print publications, Invention & Technology faced increased competition from other media including the Internet, sparse ad revenues, and rising costs.
In 1989, subscribers paid $15 a year for Invention & Technology. In 2011, twenty years later, Invention & Technology was still only able to charge $15 a year. After taking over the magazine in 2007, American Heritage Publishing cut costs and the magazine broke even in 2009. But few investors stepped up to help cover losses during the recession and to pay for promotion and other critical expenses.
That barely covered printing, paper, and postage expenses. The cost of maintaining the subscriber list alone (invoicing, renewals, labels, address changes) was $200,000 a year.
After print publication stopped in 2011, revenue dropped off to almost nothing.
How can American Heritage keep this extraordinary archive accessible, continue to publish writing by younger historians, and add new types of content to encourage the next generation of Americans to learn about history?
Our Plan to Rebuild
The nonprofit American Heritage Society is taking over Invention & Technology from the old publishing company and is working to relaunch the magazine and build a new website in partnership with the leading engineering societies (ACS, AIAA, ASABE, ASCE, ASME, and IEEE) to combine the Invention & Technology archives with aggregated information on the societies' landmarks and milestones.
This new website will be the only location for aggregated information on the history of engineering, with over 2,000 essays.
However, the current website uses an old, outdated and unsecure version of Drupal 6 and must be upgraded, redesigned, and made "mobile friendly." We also need an updated system to track subscribers.
ut to relaunch the magazine, at least digitally, Invention & Technology needs to 1) update its website, which is now running on outdated and unsecure software, 2) build systems to create new issues and new types of web content, and 3) construct a system to track subscribers.
That will enable the magazine to sustain itself into the future and allow it to provide future generations with the lessons (and entertaining stories) from our past.
It can be done, but not without resources. To survive, the magazine must:
1) Modernize its complex, 30,000-page website, which was mostly built eight years ago. Its software is now unsecure and no longer updated by developers
2) Hire writers, editors, and designers to help create new issues of the magazine, at least for digital editions
3) Build systems to publish future issues, and add new content and website features to attract new readers, and
4) Build systems to enroll and track subscribers, and hopefully restart the print edition if subscriber lists grow. This will enable us to continue to produce the kind of respected, accessible historical writing that American Heritage is famous for. If we can build our subscription rolls high enough, we might even be able to relaunch the print edition.
We also plan to repurpose this content into educational materials for K-12 students. We hope to attract more students to STEM careers by creating the Innovation Gateway, a new website with 25 years of articles from Invention & Technology, information on over 1,0000 landmarks in the history of technology, and unique, interactive experiences for all audiences.
Your donation will help us create this important new website designed to get students and the public excited about the contributions that engineers have made to our society.
Praise for Invention & Technology and the planned new website
Madeleine Jacobs, Former Executive Director & CEO, American Chemical Society:
We support the American Heritage Society’s proposal to develop a multi-disciplinary Engineering History Portal to promote the engineering and technology developments of multiple scientific societies, including the American Chemical Society. A multi-disciplinary online portal for engineering and technology developments would be a welcome companion to ACS’s own online resources for education and awareness of chemistry’s importance to our daily lives, and we can envision many opportunities for cross promotion of the two sites.
Greg Pearson, Senior Program Officer, National Academy of Engineering
The website you propose to create can play an important role in expanding education about engineering and presenting a richer, more positive image of its disciplines.
Michael N. Geselowitz, Senior Director, IEEE History Center
The IEEE History Center looks forward to working with The American Heritage Society on this exciting project.