Revisiting SNIPS' 75th Anniversary
This is an updated version of an article that originally appeared in March 2007 as part of Snips’ 75th anniversary.
This was the beginning of “The Snips,” as the magazine would be called. The name was thought up by Carter and Walter J. Joy Sr., then the president of Republic Metals of Chicago, one of the publication’s early advertisers. According to a September 1973 Snips article, the name was chosen because the tool was synonymous with the trade and most similar journals had long titles.
It was Carter’s first chance to fully try the “friendly (and) close to the reader” concept he had developed. Many existing sheet metal and HVAC magazines were too technical, he thought, and didn’t serve the needs of independent sheet metal contractors.
“They weren’t covering the social aspects of the industry,” Carter said.
Snips would also be a way for sheet metal contractors to get the kind of recognition they did not receive in the mainstream press.
Launching a new magazine during the Great Depression wasn’t easy. Although Carter had been saving up to launch the publication for more than a year, the bank where he had been depositing the money failed, and Carter lost all of it.
Despite the bank’s closing, Carter was able to start the magazine by selling advance subscriptions - $1 per year; three years for $2 - and advertising.
The first issue was put together in the basement of the North Luna Avenue house he shared with his wife, Henrietta “Etta” Carter. Etta, who worked for a newspaper in her hometown of Columbus, Wis., before moving to Chicago after World War I, was Snips’ proofreader and bookkeeper for the next 20 years. She also attended many conventions and was active in the associations’ female auxiliary groups.