April 1966 Popular Electronics
Table of Contents
Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics. See articles
published October 1954 - April 1985. All copyrights are hereby acknowledged.
Making format changes to magazines
after many years of an established standard always ruffles the figurative feathers of
a significant portion of regular readers. Two magazines I read monthly,
and QST, recently underwent a format
change - both of which I considered very nice. However, reader comments in the aftermath
showed a few who were not impressed. Popular Electronics magazine in
1966 made announcements regarding plans to adopt some of the newer base units for physical measurements,
including this one for beginning to use "Hertz" (Hz), along with its various numerical
prefix forms, instead of "cycles per second" (cps). The editors give sound reason for
Popular Electronics printed in
its first notice of new frequency units to be used beginning with the June edition.
The May issue included a piece titled, "Comes the Revolution
- or - '40 Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong'." Predictably, not everyone liked it.
With the June issue came the promised change and along with it the first in a series
responses. Here is a
reader's opinion from the August issue.
Old World Standards Breaking Through
Heinrich Rudolf Hertz dream that someday his name would create havoc with magazine
readers, editors, printers, and authors. If he were alive today, perhaps we could prevail
upon him to change his name to Heinrich Rudolf Cycles. It might have sounded funny to
Hertz, but it's no laughing matter to the electronics press. Starting with the June 1966
issue, Popular Electronics will join the trek to confusion and substitute Hertz for the
time-honored and sensible "cycles."
Popular Electronics is not alone in this changeover. Readers will find that
this international term of reference is appearing in other books and magazines. The
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), consistent
with the recommendations of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
and with the work of the
International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), has adopted this
standard. And if that isn't enough justification for its use, also consider that the
Conference Generale des Poids et Measures has adopted it, too!
Of course, "Hertzian" as a reference to electromagnetic waves went out of use several
decades ago; just why it is being readopted has not been satisfactorily explained. Let's
hope that "they" don't hit us next month with the metric system as a replacement for
inches and feet.
So, in June, all references to frequency will be:
Posted March 23, 2018