As you might have heard already, Stone World is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year. And since so much has changed in the stone industry since the magazine’s inception, our staff thought having a feature to highlight pivotal moments throughout the decades that have helped to define our industry would be interesting. Starting on page 42 of this issue, you can begin a journey starting back in November of 1984 when Stone World was first published to when the first StonExpo was launched in April 1987. From that time to the present, new associations and organizations such as the Artisan Group, Stone Fabricator’s Alliance and Rockheads were formed and various trade shows have started, transformed or have grown. And more recently, the Marble Institute of America and the Building Stone Institute merged to become the Natural Stone Institute and the Women in Stone and Use Natural Stone campaign were born.
My personal introduction into the stone industry was in September of 1996, when I was hired as Stone World’s assistant editor. Only a year out of college, I figured I would stay here a year or two to gain some publishing experience before moving on. But little did I know how endearing the industry and its members would be. I soon formed relationships with our advertisers and industry members – many of whom I consider friends to this day – and the rest is history, so to speak.
One of my first writing assignments was about the new “Information Super Highway” – a.k.a. the internet. Back in 1996, only a handful of “forward-thinking” companies were starting to develop their brand and design a website. For most of us, this was a foreign concept and uncharted territory. (We didn’t even have student email addresses when I graduated college in 1995.) For anyone interested, that article appeared in the December 1996 issue.
It’s amazing how far the industry – and technology in general – has evolved in the 20+ years since I have been at Stone World. Now it’s a given that most companies have a website, and today, emphasis is placed on their social media platforms. And who would have ever imagined we would be able to control all of this from our smartphones! Here at Stone World, we have moved past only print issues to producing two monthly eNewsletters, as well as a digital edition each month.
On the subject of technology, the machinery and tooling for the stone fabrication industry has exploded as opposed to what it was 35 years ago. In this issue, we have two case studies on CNC technology, which illustrate how these sophisticated pieces of machinery contribute to the overall production rate and efficiency of a fabrication shop. What once was thought of as unobtainable has now been made possible.
And on a final note, one noticeable change in recent years is the overall united front of the stone industry. Organizations worldwide are collaborating for the better good of the industry and to promote the use of natural stone. Many fabricators are also sharing experiences, advice and tips of the trade with their peers in an effort to help everyone succeed.
So as Stone World heads into the second half of its third decade, myself and our staff look forward to continuing to be an active part of the industry. Look for us at trade shows or other industry events, or contact us by phone or email, if you have a story to share. Stone World is eager to remain the voice for our industry, as well as to witness what’s in store for the future.