Company magazines were a thing in the 90s and 2000s before the digital intranets replaced them. But where and when did the company magazine begin?
The one that is acknowledged as the first known company magazine was published by female workers between 1840 and 1849 in the Lowell Cotton Mills in New England.
Much of the ‘printing’ was done by hand because the mechanisation didn’t exist.
It is believed that the ‘magazine’ consisted of poems, ballads, creative writing and essays. The stories were written by the women for the women (usually under pen names) who worked in often very harsh factorY conditions. It is believed that the Boston Associates who owned the mills must most definitely have ‘approved’ the writings as there are no accounts of anyone working long and gruelling hours.
The entire experience seems to have been sanitised, almost celebrated. One article is titled – the Pleasures of Factory Life.
The attempt clearly was to “ease the cultural tensions associated with the movement of rural women from the family to the factory,” according to a study. Also, the publication presented the organisation as a collection of women who may well be entering a friendly and comfortable life similar to the one they may already be leading at home.
Modern version of PR and internal communications would have to wait for a century and a half to catch up.