Welcome to 1907
Teddy Roosevelt occupies the White House, the population of the United States is about 92,500,000 souls, the national debt is approximately $1.15 billion, the average salary is $750 per year, and YACHTING was born on a mainsail and a prayer. The prayer? That the political and social unrest of the Progressive Era (1895 through 1920) would leave room for reading about yachts.
In January, Lawrence Perry, YACHTING’s first editor, writes in his introductory editorial, “The publishers of YACHTING magazine have no apology to make for adding another to the long list of magazines which bid for popular approval.” The list of hot startup magazines from the time includes Vanity Fair, which would fold in 1936, unlike YACHTING. We are a new breed of magazine that serves a single interest or, in our case, passion, capitalizing on the new phenomenon of national advertising.
It was an optimistic age. “With the great national prosperity of recent years,” Perry wrote, “there has come unprecedented expansion in every branch of yachting and boating.” YACHTING’s staff set out to cover the waterfront and returned with an inaugural issue of 62 pages inside its covers-brokerage and classified ads up front, the opposite of the way it is now.
Given technological advances and the new fortunes being made, the number and variety of yachts exploded-and the pastime came to attract more than just the Vanderbilts, Goulds, Morgans and Belmonts, though of course it would never lose its elite status.
Leading up the YACHTING’s birth, the world had marveled at the Wright brothers first flight in 1903, the ground-breaking for the Panama Canal in 1904, the opening of the New York subway system in the same year, and in 1905, Albert Einstein’s proposal of his theory of relativity and the introduction of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes.
In 1907, the first taxis with meters appeared in London, the first Boy Scout campout took place, the Hoover vacuum cleaner was invented and UPS started delivering packages to homes and offices like ours. YACHTING’s birth predates Henry Ford’s introduction of the Model T by one year.
Within a decade, the Titanic would sink, radio would take off and the U.S. would enter World War I- started by a devotee of toy boats, Kaiser Wilhelm II.
Today our world is still a messy set of contradictions, but YACHTING holds true to its roots, giving watermen, design enthusiasts, oil oligarchs, weekend cruisers and celebrity sea-lovers alike an escape from mediocre politics, a roller-coaster economy, Britney Spears and threats of nuclear extinction. No matter what, we’re still optimists, still looking forward to another 100 years of yachts-and YACHTING.