100 Years of History

Jan. 9, 2006

“Published Monthly in the Interest of Buildings,” The Building Manager and Owner (later to become Buildings) was launched in January 1906 (Vol. I, No. 1) with the intent “to make this paper truly representative of the profession and assure you that you will in the course of a year absorb information from it that will be worth many times the cost of your subscription” (which, for the year 1906, was being offered at a special annual rate of $1 vs. the usual $2 yearly fee). After several recent months spent poring over 100 years of history throughout the pages of Buildings, the present-day creative staff is impressed with the insight and expertise our early industry leaders brought to the commercial and institutional buildings trade.

In addition to presenting “100 Influences That Have Shaped the Buildings Market” in this January issue, along with a year-long perspective of “Buildings of the Decades” and a monthly “Past, Present, & Future” technology column, we’ll also take readers on their own historical journey of published excerpts from the past, beginning here with the “Introductory” offered on page 12 of the January 1906 issue:

“The management of buildings is no longer a side issue of the real estate business. It is a distinct profession, and presents a great variety of problems to the conscientious manager.

“There having been hitherto no good guide to the solution of these problems, in the form of journals or textbooks, it will be the privilege and the pleasing duty of The Building Manager and Owner in its future issues to discuss, ventilate, and shed the light of experience upon such important subjects as the following: insurance hazard and rate reduction, fire protection, taxes, labor unions, liability and casualty insurance, building ordinances, civic and municipal improvements, heating, ventilating, plumbing, coal tests, renting, new ideas and labor-saving devices, public service corporations, cooperation among building managers, and the proper conduct of various departments of service, such as janitor, elevator, painter, engine-room, and other departments.”

By year-end, The Building Manager and Owner had changed its name to Building Management; professionals from around the country sent messages discussing the need, then planning the formation of, local exchanges and a national organization of building owners and managers (following the lead of Chicago and Minneapolis). Somewhat surprisingly in our discovery were the topics discussed: “Mechanical Equipment of Buildings” (HVAC); “Interior Humidity of Buildings” (IAQ); “New Fire Proof Material” (Asbestos); “House Telephone System” (Communications); and “The Installation of Sprinkler Systems” (Fire Protection).

It would appear that the old adage is true: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

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