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Popular Mechanics

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Popular Mechanics
Popular Mechanics first cover (January 11, 1902)
CategoriesAutomotive, DIY, Science, Technology
FrequencySix print issues/year
Total circulation

11.9M digital
5.69M print

First issueJanuary 11, 1902; 122 years ago (1902-01-11)
CountryUnited States
Based inNew York City, New York
Websitewww.popularmechanics.com Edit this at Wikidata

Popular Mechanics (often abbreviated as PM or PopMech) is a magazine of popular science and technology, featuring automotive, home, outdoor, electronics, science, do it yourself, and technology topics. Military topics, aviation and transportation of all types, space, tools and gadgets are commonly featured.[4]

It was founded in 1902 by Henry Haven Windsor, who was the editor and—as owner of the Popular Mechanics Company—the publisher. For decades, the tagline of the monthly magazine was "Written so you can understand it." In 1958, PM was purchased by the Hearst Corporation, now Hearst Communications.[5]

In 2013, the US edition changed from twelve to ten issues per year, and in 2014 the tagline was changed to "How your world works."[6] The magazine added a podcast in recent years, including regular features Most Useful Podcast Ever and How Your World Works.[7]


Cover of April 1924 issue, 25 cents ($4.34 in 2022)

Popular Mechanics was founded in Chicago by Henry Haven Windsor, with the first issue dated January 11, 1902. His concept was that it would explain "the way the world works" in plain language, with photos and illustrations to aid comprehension.[5] For decades, its tagline was "Written so you can understand it."[8] The magazine was a weekly until September 1902, when it became a monthly. The Popular Mechanics Company was owned by the Windsor family and printed in Chicago until the Hearst Corporation purchased the magazine in 1958. In 1962, the editorial offices moved to New York City.[9] In 2020, Popular Mechanics relocated to Easton, Pennsylvania, along with the additional brands in the Hearst Enthusiast Group (Bicycling and Runner's World).[10][11] That location also includes Popular Mechanics' testing facility, called the Test Zone.[12]

From the first issue, the magazine featured a large illustration of a technological subject, a look that evolved into the magazine's characteristic full-page, full-color illustration and a small 6.5" x 9.5" trim size beginning with the July, 1911 issue. It maintained the small format until 1975 when it switched the larger standard trim size. Popular Mechanics adopted full-color cover illustrations in 1915, and the look was widely imitated by later technology magazines.[13]

Several international editions were introduced after World War II, starting with a French edition, followed by Spanish in 1947, and Swedish and Danish in 1949. In 2002, the print magazine was being published in English, Chinese, and Spanish and distributed worldwide.[14] South African[15] and Russian editions were introduced that same year.

The march 1962 issue of popular mechanics magazine aided in the June 1962 Alcatraz escape attempt, where three men, Frank Morris and John and Clarence Anglin, used the magazine as a reference to build life vests and a raft out of rubber raincoats and contact cement.

Articles have been contributed by notable people including Guglielmo Marconi, Thomas Edison, Jules Verne, Barney Oldfield, Knute Rockne, Winston Churchill, Charles Kettering, Tom Wolfe and Buzz Aldrin, as well as some US presidents including Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan. Comedian and car expert Jay Leno had a regular column, Jay Leno's Garage, starting in March, 1999.[16]


Name Dates
Henry Haven Windsor Jan 1902 - Jun 1924
Henry Haven Windsor Jr Jul 1924 - Dec 1958
Roderick Grant Jan 1959 - Dec 1960
Clifford Hicks Jan 1961 - Sep 1962
Don Dinwiddie Oct 1962 - Sep 1965
Robert Crossley Jul 1966 - Dec 1971
Jim Liston Jan 1972 - Dec 1974
John Linkletter Jan 1975 - Jun 1985
Joe Oldham[18] Aug 1985 - Sep 2004
Jim Meigs[19] Oct 2004 - April 2014
Ryan D'Agostino May 2014 - March 2019
Alexander George March 2019 - April 2021
Bill Strickland[20] April 2021 – Present
The impact of the greenhouse effect on Earth's climate was succinctly described more than a century ago in this 1912 Popular Mechanics article.

*In general, dates are the inclusive issues for which an editor was responsible. For decades, the lead time to go from submission to print was three months, so some of the dates might not correspond exactly with employment dates. As the Popular Mechanics web site has become more dominant and the importance of print issues has declined, editorial changes have more immediate impact.



National Magazine Awards

  • 1986 National Magazine Award in the Leisure Interest category for the Popular Mechanics Woodworking Guide, November 1986.
  • 2008 National Magazine Award in the Personal Service category for its "Know Your Footprint: Energy, Water and Waste" series, as well as nominations for General Excellence and Personal Service (a second nomination).[21]
  • 2011 National Magazine Award nomination for "General Excellence" in the "Finance, Technology and Lifestyle magazines" category.[22]
  • 2016 National Magazine Award Finalist in "Personal Service" category for "How to Buy a Car" and "Magazine Section" category for "How Your World Works."[23]
  • 2017 National Magazine Award nomination in the "Magazine Section" category for "Know-How" and in "Feature Writing" for "Climb Aboard, Ye Who Seek the Truth."[24]
  • All together, the magazine has received 10 National Magazine Award nominations, including 2012 nominations in the Magazine of the Year category and the General Excellence category and a 2015 finalist in both categories.[25][26]

Other awards

  • 2011 Stater Bros Route 66 Cruisin’ Hall of Fame inductee in "Entertainment/Media" category.[27]
  • 2016 Ad Age "Magazine of the Year."[28]
  • 2017 Webby Awards Honoree for "How to Fix Flying" in the category of "Best Individual Editorial Experience (websites and mobile sites.)" [29]
  • 2019 Defence Media Awards Finalist in "Best Training, Simulation and Readiness" category for "The Air Force Is Changing How Special Ops Fighters Are Trained"[30]
  • 2021 American Nuclear Society "Darlene Schmidt Science News Award" to contributor Caroline Delbert for her "passion and interest in all things nuclear and radiation."[31]
  • 2022 Aerospace Media Awards finalist in the category "Best Propulsion" for "The Space Shuttle Engines Will Rise Again" by Joe Pappalardo.[32]

In 1999, the magazine was a puzzle on Wheel of Fortune.[33] In April 2001, Popular Mechanics was the first magazine to go to space, traveling to the International Space Station aboard the Soyuz TM-32 spacecraft.[34] In December 2002, an issue featured the cover story and image of "The Real Face of Jesus" using data from forensic anthropologists and computer programmers.[35]

In March 2005, Popular Mechanics released an issue dedicated to debunking 9/11 conspiracy theories, which has been used frequently for discrediting 9/11 "trutherism."[36] In 2006, the magazine published a book based on that article entitled "Debunking 9/11 Myths: Why Conspiracy Theories Can't Stand Up to the Facts," with a forward by then senator John McCain.[37]

An October 2015 issue of Popular Mechanics, featuring director Ridley Scott, included an interactive cover that unlocked special content about Scott's film The Martian.[38] In June 2016, the magazine ran a cover story with then senator Joe Biden called "Things My Father Taught Me" for its fatherhood issue.[39] Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook guest-edited the September/October 2022 of Popular Mechanics.[40]

The magazine is mentioned in the 2013 film The Wolf of Wall Street.[41]



In June 2020, following several high-profile takedowns of statues of controversial historical figures, Popular Mechanics faced criticism from primarily conservative commentators and news outlets for an article that provided detailed instructions on how to take down statues.[42]

In early December 2020, Popular Mechanics published an article titled "Leaked Government Photo Shows 'Motionless, Cube-Shaped' UFO."[43] In late December, paranormal claims investigator and fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI), Kenny Biddle, investigated the claim in Skeptical Inquirer, reporting that he and investigator and CSI fellow Mick West identified the supposed UFO as a mylar Batman balloon.[44]

Further reading

  • Israel, Paul B. (April 1994). "Enthusiasts and Innovators: 'Possible Dreams' and the 'Innovation Station' at the Henry Ford Museum". Technology and Culture. 35 (2): 396–401. doi:10.2307/3106308. JSTOR 3106308. S2CID 112116916.
  • Wright, John L. (July 1992). Possible Dreams: Enthusiasm for Technology in America. Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village. p. 128. ISBN 978-0-933728-35-6.
  • Bryant, Margaret M. (1977). "New Words from Popular Mechanics". American Speech. 52 (1/2): 39–46. doi:10.2307/454718. JSTOR 454718.
  • A nearly complete archive of Popular Mechanics issues from 1905 through 2005 is available[45][46] through Google Books.
  • Popular Mechanics' cover art is the subject of Tom Burns' 2015 Texas Tech PhD dissertation, titled Useful fictions: How Popular Mechanics builds technological literacy through magazine cover illustration.[47]
  • Darren Orr wrote an analysis of the state of Popular Mechanics in 2014 as partial fulfillment of requirements for a master's degree in journalism from University of Missouri-Columbia.[48][49]


  1. ^ "Popular Mechanics Media Kit". www.popularmechanicsmediakit.com. Retrieved June 14, 2024.
  2. ^ Albiniak, Paige (September 12, 2022). "Popular Mechanics Highlights "Responsible Innovation" In Issue Guest Edited by Apple CEO Tim Cook". MediaVillage. Retrieved June 14, 2024.
  3. ^ "eCirc for Consumer Magazines". Audit Bureau of Circulations. December 31, 2017. Archived from the original on July 24, 2012. Retrieved July 2, 2018.
  4. ^ "Popular Mechanics".
  5. ^ a b Seelhorst, Mary (1992). Wright, John (ed.). Ninety Years of Popular Mechanics. St. Paul, Minn: Seawell. p. 62. {{cite book}}: |work= ignored (help)
  6. ^ "The 60-second interview: Ryan D'Agostino, editor-in-chief, Popular Mechanics". Politico.com. October 20, 2014. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  7. ^ "Popular Mechanics podcasts".
  8. ^ Whittaker, Wayne (January 1952). "The Story of Popular Mechanics". Popular Mechanics. pp. 127–132, 366–380.
  9. ^ Seelhorst, Mary (October 2002). "In the Driver's Seat". Popular Mechanics: 96.
  10. ^ Rhodin, Tony (October 14, 2020). "Hearst Magazines to soon move its Enthusiast Group into Easton building". lehighvalleylive. Retrieved June 7, 2024.
  11. ^ Kelly, Keith J. (January 30, 2019). "Popular Mechanics HQ headed to Easton amid Hearst struggles". Retrieved June 14, 2024.
  12. ^ Wescoe, Stacy (September 20, 2018). "Hearst to move Bicycling, Runner's World operations to Easton". LVB. Retrieved June 14, 2024.
  13. ^ Seelhorst, Mary (May 2002). "The Art of the Cover: The most memorable covers from the past 100 years and the stories behind them". Popular Mechanics: 94.
  14. ^ Seelhorst, Mary (March 2002). "Zero to 100". Popular Mechanics: 117.
  15. ^ "Popular Mechanics". RamsayMedia.co.za. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  16. ^ Seelhorst, Mary, ed. (2002). The Best of Popular Mechanics, 1902-2002. New York: Hearst Communications. p. 1. ISBN 1-58816-112-9.
  17. ^ Seelhorst, Mary (October 2002). "In the Driver's Seat". Popular Mechanics: 95–97.
  18. ^ Oldham, Joe (September 2004). "Editor's Notes". Popular Mechanics: 8.
  19. ^ "Ryan D'Agostino Named Editor-in-Chief of Popular Mechanics". April 22, 2014. Retrieved December 31, 2018.
  20. ^ Miller, Rudy (November 22, 2022). "Roads, trails and a world-class track. Why the Lehigh Valley is a cycling mecca". lehighvalleylive. Retrieved June 7, 2024.
  21. ^ Shea, Danny (May 10, 2008). "National Magazine Awards 2008: The Winners". HuffPost. Retrieved June 24, 2024.
  22. ^ Davis, Noah. "Magazine Of The Year And 21 Other Predictions For Monday's National Magazine Awards". Business Insider. Retrieved June 25, 2024.
  23. ^ Steigrad, Alexandra (January 14, 2016). "American Society of Magazine Editors Unveils Finalists for 2016 National Magazine Awards". WWD. Retrieved June 25, 2024.
  24. ^ Bloomgarden-Smoke, Kara (January 19, 2017). "American Society of Magazine Editors Announces Finalists for 2017 Awards". WWD. Retrieved June 25, 2024.
  25. ^ "Popular Mechanics News and Updates". Hearst Communications. Retrieved December 31, 2018.
  26. ^ Bloomgarden-Smoke, Kara (January 15, 2015). "The Finalists for the National Magazine Awards Are …". Observer. Retrieved June 14, 2024.
  27. ^ Nolan, Michael (September 14, 2011). "Route 66 Rendezvous: revved up, ready to roll". Daily News. Retrieved June 14, 2024.
  28. ^ "Ad Age's Magazines of the Year 2016: See all the Winners". December 19, 2016.
  29. ^ "PopuplarMechanics.com, "How to Fix Flying"". NEW Webby Gallery + Index. Retrieved June 14, 2024.
  30. ^ "2018 - 2020 Award Winners". Defense Media Awards. Retrieved June 14, 2024.
  31. ^ "Award Recipients / Darlene Schmidt Science News Award -- ANS / Honors and Awards". www.ans.org. Retrieved June 24, 2024.
  32. ^ "2022 Award Winners". www.aerospacemediadinner.com. Retrieved June 24, 2024.
  33. ^ andynwof (June 30, 2021). "WoF Retro Recap: April 6, 1999". WHEEL of FORTUNE with Andy Nguyen. Retrieved June 25, 2024.
  34. ^ Dunstan, James. "Doing Business in Space: This isn't your Father's (or Mother's) Space Program Anymore" (PDF). Space Studies Institute, Inc.
  35. ^ Legon, Jeordan. "CNN.com - From science and computers, a new face of Jesus - Dec. 26, 2002". CNN. Retrieved June 25, 2024.
  36. ^ "'Popular Mechanics' Tackles Sept. 11 Theories". NPR. Talk of the Nation. September 7, 2006.
  37. ^ Stahl, Jeremy (September 6, 2011). "9/11 "Truth": How believers in the 9/11 conspiracy theory respond to refutations". Slate Magazine. Retrieved June 26, 2024.
  38. ^ O'Shea, Chris (September 8, 2015). "Popular Mechanics Updates Logo". www.adweek.com. Retrieved June 26, 2024.
  39. ^ Webber, Stephanie (May 18, 2016). "Joe Biden Opens Up About Past Family Tragedies With Son Hunter Biden". Us Weekly. Retrieved June 26, 2024.
  40. ^ Albiniak, Paige (September 12, 2022). "Popular Mechanics Highlights "Responsible Innovation" In Issue Guest Edited by Apple CEO Tim Cook". MediaVillage. Retrieved June 26, 2024.
  41. ^ Winter, Terence. "The Wolf of Wall Street Script" (PDF). Selling Your Screenplay.
  42. ^ Concha, Joe (June 17, 2020). "Popular Mechanics publishes how-to guide to take down statues 'without anyone getting hurt'". The Hill. Retrieved June 3, 2022.
  43. ^ Daniels, Andrew (December 8, 2020). "Leaked Government Photo Shows 'Motionless, Cube-Shaped' UFO". Popularmechanics.com. PopMech. Archived from the original on January 3, 2021. Retrieved January 3, 2021. The U.S. Intelligence Community has known about the mysterious object for two years. What could it be?
  44. ^ Biddle, Kenny (December 29, 2020). "Popular Misinformation". SkepticalInquirer.org. CFI. Archived from the original on January 3, 2021. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
  45. ^ "Google and Popular Mechanics". Popular Mechanics. December 10, 2008. Archived from the original on December 31, 2008. Retrieved March 13, 2010.
  46. ^ Ross, James (August 15, 2005). "Google Library Project". Popular Mechanics. Archived from the original on April 22, 2009. Retrieved March 13, 2010.
  47. ^ "Tom Burns (2015)".
  48. ^ Orf, Darren (2013). ""Written So You Can Understand It": The process and people behind creating an issue of Popular Mechanics". {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  49. ^ Darren Orf. "Analysis" (PDF). MO Space. Retrieved September 22, 2016.