Publication brought out periodically, typically containing articles, essays, short stories, reviews, and illustrations. It is thought that the first magazine was Le Journal des savants, published in France in 1665. The first magazine in the UK was a penny weekly, the Athenian Gazette, better known later as the Athenian Mercury (1690–97). This was produced by a London publisher, John Dunton, to resolve ‘all the most Nice and Curious Questions’. The US Reader's Digest, first published in 1922, with editions in many different countries and languages, was the world's best-selling magazine until overtaken by a Soviet journal in the mid-1980s.
The earliest illustrations were wood engravings; the half-tone process was invented in 1882 and photogravure was used commercially from 1895. Printing and paper-manufacturing techniques improved during the 19th century, making larger print runs possible. Advertising began to appear in magazines around 1800; it was an important factor by 1850 and crucial to most magazines' finances by 1880. Specialist magazines for different interests and hobbies, and comic books, appeared in the 20th century.
In the UK, distribution and sale of magazines is largely through newsagents' shops; in the USA, postal subscriptions account for a large percentage of sales. Publications that give details of television schedules regularly have the highest sales.
History Among the first magazines in Britain were the Compleat Library (1691) and the Gentleman's Journal (1692), started by the French-born Peter Anthony Motteux, with a monthly blend of news, prose, and poetry. Notable successors, mainly with a mixture of political and literary comment, included Richard Steele's Tatler (1709), Joseph Addison's Spectator (1711), Edward Cave's Gentleman's Magazine (1731) (the first to use the word ‘magazine’ in this sense), the Radical John Wilkes's North Briton (1762), the Edinburgh Review (1802), Quarterly Review (1806), Blackwood's Magazine (1817), and Contemporary Review (1866).
The 1930s saw the rise of the photojournalism magazines such as Life in the USA and the introduction of colour printing. The US ‘pulp’ magazines of the 1930s and 1940s, specializing in crime fiction and science fiction, were breeding grounds for US writers such as Raymond Chandler and Isaac Asimov. The development of cheap offset litho printing made possible the flourishing of the underground press in much of the Western world in the 1960s, although it was limited by unorthodox distribution methods such as street sales. Prosecutions and economic recession largely killed the underground press; the main survivors in Britain are the satirical Private Eye (1961), and the London listings guide Time Out (1968), and in the USA the rock-music paper Rolling Stone (1968).
Women's magazines From the Ladies' Mercury (1693) until the first feminist publications of the late 1960s, the content of mass-circulation women's magazines in Britain was largely confined to the domestic sphere – housekeeping, recipes, beauty and fashion, advice columns, dress-making patterns – and gossip. In the late 18th century, women's magazines reflected society's gradual acceptance of women as the intellectual equals of men, discussing public affairs and subjects of general interest, but by 1825 the trend had reversed. Throughout the 19th century the mildest expression of support for women's rights was enough to kill a magazine and male editors often saw their functions as instructing and improving women by moral teaching. Around 1900 publications for working women began to appear, lurid weekly novelettes known as ‘penny dreadfuls’. The first colour magazine for women in Britain, Woman, appeared in 1937.
Writing an article for a school magazine
Writing an article for a magazine