A magazine is a publication, usually a periodical publication, which is printed or electronically published (sometimes referred to as an online magazine). Magazines are generally published on a regular schedule and contain a variety of content. They are generally financed by advertising, by a purchase price, by prepaid subscriptions, or a combination of the three. At its root, the word “magazine” refers to a collection or storage location. In the case of written publication, it is a collection of written articles. This explains why magazine publications share the word root with gunpowder magazines, artillery magazines, firearms magazines, and, in French, retail stores such as department stores.
The earliest example of magazines was Erbauliche Monaths Unterredungen, a literary and philosophy magazine, which was launched in 1663 in Germany. The Gentleman’s Magazine, first published in 1731, in London was the first general-interest magazine. Edward Cave, who edited The Gentleman’s Magazine under the pen name “Sylvanus Urban”, was the first to use the term “magazine,” on the analogy of a military storehouse. Founded by Herbert Ingram in 1842, The Illustrated London News was the first illustrated magazine.
The oldest consumer magazine still in print is The Scots Magazine, which was first published in 1739, though multiple changes in ownership and gaps in publication totalling over 90 years weaken that claim. Lloyd’s List was founded in Edward Lloyd’s England coffee shop in 1734; it is still published as a daily business newspaper. Despite being among the first mass media outlets to venture from the bible, periodicals still remained rooted in the naturalized class and gender system held by European and American society.
Manufacturing of the early magazines were done via an archaic form of the printing press, using large hand engraved wood blocks for printing. When production of magazines increased, entire production lines were created to manufacture these wooden blocks.