Hit-and-Miss


| July 2006



RichardBackus.jpg

The more things change, the more they stay the same

When Rev. Elmer Ritzman launched Gas Engine Magazine 40 years ago, he tapped into a growing interest in the preservation and restoration of stationary engines. Ritzman was no stranger to old iron: Twenty years earlier, he had launched The Farm Album, which eventually became Iron-Men Album and then Steam Traction.

As he had done with The Farm Album, Ritzman combined his natural enthusiasm with a sincere interest in old iron to satisfy the wants and needs of a unique community of like-minded folks.

For 19 years Gas Engine Magazine readers eagerly awaited their bimonthly fix of old engines and tractors. Beginning with the May 1985 issue, the decision was made to go monthly. The hobby was taking off like a rocket, and as it did readership continued to increase.

In GEM's last bimonthly issue, March/April 1985, editor Gerry Lestz alerted GEM's readership to the pending change to a monthly frequency, but not without noting that there were readers who didn't support the planned change. Regardless, Lestz felt strongly that the time had come to make a change, and for the last 11 years GEM has continued to come out each and every month, 12 times a year. Now, as we get ready to head into GEM's 41st year of publication, it's time for another change.

The old engine hobby is as active as ever, but the challenges of delivering GEM every month have increased significantly. Rising paper costs (almost 30 percent in the last couple of years) and increases in postage have made it that much harder to deliver your favorite magazine on a monthly basis.

After long consideration, we have concluded that the best way to ensure GEM's health and longevity is to consolidate and deliver six larger issues every year. We'll move to the new schedule beginning with the next issue.