50 years of World Pumps: Founding father

Within the international technical publishing industry, 50 years is quite an achievement. Many magazines are launched with a great fanfare and huge amounts of optimism only to fade away or eventually be merged with others in a similar field. World Pumps has not only withstood the fluctuations of publishing fortunes for half a century, but has maintained and strengthened its presence as the leader in its field. Whereas at one time it served the interests of the European pump industry, today it is the only magazine that reports on what is happening around the world.

The concept of a magazine specifically for the pump industry was first raised in 1958, when a couple of pump manufacturers approached Trade & Technical Press, London with the suggestion that the UK pump industry needed its own magazine. Trade & Technical Press was a well established book and magazine publisher at that time, publishing journals including Power Transmission and Hydraulic Power Transmission. Having established the commercial viability of such a venture and elicited the support of many of the leading pump manufacturers, a decision was taken to go ahead and the first issue of Pumping Magazine appeared in January 1959.

BPMA approach

The editor was R V Glithero, founder of Trade & Technical Press, who was ably assisted by a network of associate editors and advisors from within the pump industry, and his son Richard. The circulation was restricted to the UK, and, following an approach from the BPMA, Pumping Magazine became the Association’s official magazine. The editorial content featured technical papers and scientific research, together with advisory articles – all of which were submitted by respected figures within the European pumping community.

“We always carried a small section on patent applications to reflect what was happening in the market, but we worked on the basis that every subscriber/reader should find at least one item that would be of specific interest in every issue,” says Richard Glithero. “Thus, the range of subjects had to be wide ranging, informative and of a very high standard.”

The expansion of industry in the late 1950s stimulated the decision to create a multilateral organisation to deal with the common interests of European pump manufacturers. In March 1959, the European Working Group of Pump Manufacturers, comprising associations in France, Germany, Italy and Belgium, set up a mutual technical commission and at a plenary session held in Paris in November 1960, the European Committee of Pump Manufacturers was formed, with the name Europump being introduced soon afterwards.

It was as a consequence of Pumping Magazine’s reporting on the European plenary sessions organised by the individual member countries, that Europump asked the publishers to expand the editorial scope and circulation of the magazine to cover Europe. In order to satisfy Europump’s requirements, the magazine changed its name to Pumps, Pompes and Pumpen, with all technical articles containing a synopsis in German, French and English. At this time, Europump was very much concerned with standardising terminology within the pump industry and eventually they asked Trade & Technical Press to publish a definitive book on pump terminology in three languages, this being called Europump Terminology.

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s the magazine was able to report on the very many changes that took place within the pump industry. It was in the 1960s that new methods of manufacturing were introduced and new concepts in pumping technology emerged, providing Pumps Pompes and Pumpen with a rich stream of material. According to Richard Glithero, this was a very exciting time for the magazine as pump manufacturers were keen to use the magazine to talk about their technologies and to discuss the issues that mattered most to end users.

By the late 1960s, such was the quality of the magazine’s editorial content that the reputation of Pumps, Pompes and Pumpen had spread beyond Europe. Subscriptions were being received from many other parts of the world because for many manufacturers, specifiers and end-users it had come to be essential reading.

Global readership

The global readership profile and advertising eventually became recognised in 1982 when under the editorship of Chris Dickenson, the journal was renamed World Pumps. Under Chris Dickenson, the editorial style and design format of the magazine changed dramatically, giving it a new impetus which was reflected in the expanded readership and range of subjects covered. World Pumps had by now become very much a commercial publication, rather than a learned journal, but one which still commanded the respect of its peers.

In 1988, Trade & Technical Publishing finally closed its doors after 52 years and World Pumps and its associated publications passed into the ownership of Elsevier. Chris Dickenson remained at the helm and masterminded the re-launch of the magazine. Since then, World Pumps has undergone several cosmetic changes, but the founding editorial values have continued and it remains the official organ of Europump.

So, as the first 50 years come to a close what does Richard Glithero now think of the magazine that he was instrumental in founding? “It is far more colourful and commercial now,” he said. “The editorial reflects the activities of manufacturers in many countries and the advertising is truly global. The magazine has moved with the times and I am delighted to see it reach this milestone. Let’s hope it continues.”