Revisiting SNIPS' 75th Anniversary
This is an updated version of an article that originally appeared in March 2007 as part of Snips’ 75th anniversary.
The magazine was published bimonthly. Especially in those early issues, Carter included articles on running a business or other topics designed to make the sheet metal industry and workers in it seem more professional. In addition, he would help local contractors create business forms, time cards and estimating charts. This service grew so popular, Snips continued to sell them into the 1970s.
It was during this time that the magazine’s popular mail-order bookstore, stocked with trade manuals, was established. It carried the works of popular authors such as Paul Agrillo, Joseph Kaberlein and Richard Budzik. It continued until the magazine was sold in 1997.
One of the magazine’s most popular early features was “Little Journeys to Interesting Places.” Carter would write about an area contractor, wholesaler or distributor’s facilities and what the company was doing to succeed. This feature would be a mainstay for decades.
In later years, the magazine would also cover the sheet metal work on famous structures such as the Houston Astrodome, the St. Louis Arch and the Statue of Liberty, along with residential metal-roofing projects. Coverage of such architectural work was a mainstay in Snips.
Carter’s concern for the industry’s image - and the workers in it - was one reason that although the word “tin knocker” was a common way to describe sheet metal contractors, even before Carter’s time, you would never see it in Snips, Carter III said.
“(He felt) it would have sounded offensive,” he said.
Carter explained that his grandfather regarded sheet metal as a highly skilled craft that used mathematics and hands-on skills. That was another reason why so much space was devoted to reporting on architectural sheet metal projects, whether large or small.
“He always saw that as the best example of the craft,” Carter said.