From left: Richard Holzer (President of Glumac ), Sally Ehrmann,
Russ Swenson, Victor Lee, Ali Sherafat and Herb Lin.
Fifty years ago in the summer of 1956, the then Chapter president, Hank Ulovec, brought up the question, “Why doesn’t Southern California Chapter have a publication or journal?” No one within hearing distance seemed to have any answer. Hank had recently returned from Portland, Oregon, the site of the First Regional Meeting of Region X where representatives of all Region X chapters got together and discussed mutual problems. Results of this meeting were conveyed to the Society’s Board with request for resolution of operational problems being encountered at the Chapter level.
Experiences of chapters with Technical Meetings, Product Shows, Student Assistance Programs and Publications or Newsletters were presented at seminars during this Region X meeting. Hank’s question was, no doubt, a result of one of these seminars, where several chapters showed off their newsletters.
Hank was determined that Southern California Chapter would have a publication and formed a committee to study the situation. With Hank as chairman, the committee consisted of John R. Hall, Tom Marshall and Elbert Kelly. They met at Hank’s house on a Saturday afternoon in July. Items discussed included format, what the content should be, how it should be financed, Society regulations, periods of issue, and what it should be called.
It was decided that it should be a formal format with a masthead and pictures where possible, that it should be an announcement of chapter meetings, have news of members and firms, carry timely technical articles when available, report past meetings, report actions of the Board of Directors, the actions of Chapter Committees and financial status of the chapter should be reported at least once a year.
Much time was spent at the meeting in discussing names. The Oregon chapter had “The Oregon Diffuser”, the Puget Sound chapter had “The Fog Dispenser”, Houston chapter had “The Recorder”. It was finally decided that as solar energy was quite popular at the time and that the movement of air was a backbone of our industry, that SOLAIR would be the name. The masthead would include a sun with rays and a blowing face to represent the wind and would be written with an asterisk in the middle to represent the sun and the blowing man, thus SOL*AIR.
The SOL*AIR has had many, many Editors and staff members including assigned Associate Editors, Co-Editors, Assistant Editors, Staff Writers, Circulation Managers and Photographers. Tom Marshall was chosen as the first Editor. He went right to work and issued No. 1, Volume 1 in September 1956. Thus SOL*AIR was born and will celebrate it’s 50th Birthday with this years June issue.
The front page has had many formats including terse meeting announcements to banner headlines with notables’ pictures and headline stories when appropriate. Other pages have varied throughout the years. They have included technical articles, stories of functions, a melange of pictures taken at meetings or golf outings, “prexy” says, editorials by the editors, letters from members to the editors, notices of people seeking work or firms seeking people, business cards of people giving donations to help defray the costs of publication of SOL*AIR, and others items.
Computers have, no doubt, eased the labor of putting together an issue for publication. Originally each page was “dummied up” by hand with estimated copy space, picture arrangements, etc. prior to delivering it to the publishing company. Then the editors would have to stand by for a couple of days to answer or work out the problems with the typists and printers. It has been said that putting out the paper is a “labor of love.” All those who have worked on the 50 Volumes will surely verify this.