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 1941 start of U.S. involvement in World War II meant changes for the magazine, as it did for most businesses and Americans. Rationing had led to a paper shortage and self-imposed restrictions on travel. New advertisers were rare, since most manufacturers had retooled their factories for the war effort and lacked new products. However, most current advertisers continued to appear in the magazine.
Instead of going to state and local association gatherings in person, Carter would rely on readers to send in reports.
To save on printing costs, Carter shrunk the page margins and fonts. Many articles and advertisements focused on the industry’s war efforts urged readers to buy war bonds.
After the war ended in 1945, Edward C. “Nick” Carter Jr., just discharged from the Army Air Corps, joined the staff full time as editor. Nick Carter, then 20, had worked at the magazine during elementary and high school. A September 1939 issue lists the then-13-year-old as circulation manager.
“I remember him saying sometimes that my grandfather would give him things to take to the engraver or the printer,” said Edward Carter III, Nick Carter’s son.
It would be Nick Carter’s only full-time job for the next 52 years.
Like the magazine’s founder, Nick Carter was never a sheet metal worker.
“My father was probably the most unmechanically inclined person you’d ever run into,” Carter said. “But he did understand the sheet metal business.”
When he arrived at the magazine, Nick Carter had a lot of ideas about ways to improve Snips, according to his son.
“One thing he wanted to do was upgrade the articles to give them a little more of a professional spin,” along with better-looking layouts and typefaces, Carter said.
In a March 1957 column celebrating Snips’ first 25 years, Ed Carter wrote about Nick’s contributions to the magazine:
(Nick) grew up and soon fell into the work nicely. He likes trade-paper publishing and the people this magazine serves. He has become a most able co-worker of the publisher in getting out this constantly expanding periodical, and along with it has come a friendship with many people in both the reader and supply end of the industry, which means a still-better paper will be forthcoming as time goes on.
The rapid population growth of the Southern states after World War II and into the early 1950s saw Snips circulation increase as well. Large numbers of subscribers were added in North and South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Virginia.
The new readers meant Ed and Nick Carter would have to begin attending trade shows and meetings in those states. Nick Carter concentrated on the Carolinas, Georgia and Virginia, while his father covered Alabama and Florida.
“Between the two of them, they were on the road a whole heck of a lot,” Carter said.