The History of EPE - 50 Glorious Years

This special feature describes the evolution of Everyday Electronics and Practical Electronics over the years. EPE Publisher Mike Kenward takes up the story and pays tribute to the team which has been responsible for producing your favourite electronics magazine - now the only UK magazine left for electronics hobbyists.

The early days...

Practical Electronics magazine (PE) was founded in 1964 as a constructor's magazine for the electronics enthusiast. From it was born Everyday Electronics (EE) in 1971 which catered for the electronics novice. Both PE and EE were published under one Editor and team until January 1977, when separate Editors were appointed, and the titles moved into separate offices which were over 100 miles apart - only to be reunited again under one Editor in 1984!

 

Publication as "sister" titles once again continued until 1986 when both titles were sold off by their owners IPC Magazines Ltd., and so each title went its separate way, under the auspices of independent publishers.

 

Over the years, the title of EE changed to reflect current vogues in the hobby electronics market. In the mid 1980s it was Everyday Electronics and Computer Projects, reflecting the new-found upsurgence of computer related project building. These were truly the golden pioneering days of hobby electronics for the home computer enthusiast. From the October 1985 issue there was another title change, as Editor Mike Kenward explained at the time: it was to become Everyday Electronics and Electronics Monthly, reflecting an earlier acquisition of a rival title which was to be the precursor of similar mergers fifteen years later. Electronics Monthly was formerly known as Hobby Electronics, to rival Everyday Electronics on the newsstands.

 

In the early 90's the fortunes of Practical Electronics declined, having all but deserted the practical needs of the advanced hobbyist. In 1992 it was purchased by Wimborne Publishing Ltd. who published Everyday Electronics. PE was merged into EE to form Everyday with Practical Electronics (EPE). The "with" in the title was dropped from the November 1995 issue. The volume numbering system used today has continued from EE so it indicates publication from 1971 (e.g. Volume 29 equates to the year 2000). EPE's roots, however, date back directly to 1964 when its "big sister" magazine PE was born.

 

Our Internet-only version EPE Online was launched in October 1998, and as far as we know was the first downloadable magazine that could also be bought in printed format in newsstands. Hosted in the USA, overseas readers warmly welcomed the availability of a downloadable issue. This ran its course until 2012 when a new version using the Pocketmags digital newsstand was introduced, mindful of the new era of tablet and mobile computing.

 

EPE people

One person established PE and EE at the forefront of the electronics hobbyist market - Fred Bennett.

Fred was the founding Editor of PE, and also delivered EE, which was originally intended to appeal to the beginner with the heavyweight PE catering for more experienced constructors. Fred edited both magazines until they split in 1977. In fact he continued to edit EE until his retirement in 1984 when the magazines were reunited once again under one Editor - Mike Kenward.

 

Mike originally joined the staff of PE in 1968. He moved to EE a few months before its launch, becoming Assistant Editor of EE in 1972. Mike left the magazine to edit ETI Canada in 1976, and decided to rejoin EE as its Editor in 1977. When both magazines were sold in 1986, Mike bought EE and set up Wimborne Publishing Ltd. in Dorset to publish it. Mike is now the owner and Publisher of EPE.

 

One person who has been involved with both publications right from the start deserves special recognition: he is Dave Barrington who was Assistant Editor on EPE. Advertising Manager Stewart Kearn explains in April 2013:

 

"Straight out of school aged 15, Dave started his career in publishing with George Newnes – the original publisher of the Practical magazines. He first worked as a copy boy on Practical Motorist, Practical Householder and Practical Wireless; transferring to Practical Electronics on its launch in November 1964. He continued to work on PE/EE, and then for EPE when the magazines were merged.

 

"Dave officially took retirement as a full-time staff member some years ago, but continued on a freelance basis until his 73rd birthday in March 2013 – nearly 50 years dedicated to the electronics hobbyist.

 

"For many years, Dave has been responsible for maintaining the accuracy of this magazine with his unerring eye for detail and his fastidious and patient checking of diagrams, component lists and all the other important sections of a magazine devoted to building and understanding complicated electronic circuits.

Thank you Dave, for your dedication and commitment over so many years. We wish you well for a long, happy and well-earned retirement."

 

More resources

 

The brief illustrated history of Everyday Electronics

 

This legacy website item was written in 2006 and is provided for interest only.

 

 

EPE 50th Birthday Supplements

Don't miss our special centre supplements in November 2014 and December 2014 EPE, celebrating 50 years of Britain's last remaining hobby electronics magazine. More interesting facts and fascinating cover shots of Practical Electronics, Everyday Electronics, Hobby Electronics, Electronics Monthly and ETI will help you travel down memory lane.

 

Roll of Honour

Another individual who influenced EPE over many years was John Becker. John was Technical Editor of EPE until semi-retiring in 2005 and went from being a reader of the No. 1 issue of PE to becoming a contributor in 1972, to an advertiser for many years (when he owned "Phonosonics" and sold kits for PE projects), then to Editor of PE from 1987 until 1990, returning to EPE as Technical Editor in 1994.

 

John was at the forefront of keeping EPE up with technology. For example, his PIC Tutorial course (published March to May '98 and later produced as a CD-ROM), has been acclaimed as the best ever PIC programming tutorial. John has been responsible over the years for countless EPE projects. Sadly, he passed away in June 2009, leaving an incredible legacy of electronics projects and skilful tutorials for all to enjoy.

 

Another unsung hero was Peter Mew, the Advertisement Manager. Peter first joined PE and EE as Assistant Advertisement Manager back in 1972, moved on to work on a variety of other publications in 1978 and then rejoined EE in 1986. He retired from the post in 2005. Stewart Kearn now handles advertising.

 

It is worth noting that the above four staff members between them had nearly 100 years of experience on PE, EE and EPE.

 

Many other people have helped to make EPE what it is today, freelance authors and designers like Robert Penfold, Barry Fox, Ian Poole, Max Horsey, the late Andy Flind and Alan Winstanley. Alan was an avid reader of Everyday Electronics as a schoolboy in the 1970's and wrote his very first constructional article for EE April 1978. He manages our Internet presence and previously ran Ingenuity Unlimited and Circuit Surgery (now written by co-writer Ian Bell of the University of Hull), plus occasional articles and Teach-In series for EPE. Mike Kenward handed over the editorial reins to Matt Pulzer from the Feb. 2008 issue of EPE.

 

Backing everyone up there is a loyal administration staff in Wimborne - Marilyn Goldberg, Fay Kearn and Stewart Kearn, plus a wide range of freelance contributors spread all over the World. The production of EPE remains very much a team effort, under the auspices of its Publisher Mike Kenward.

 

EPE - The Seven Year Itch?

Interestingly, the fortunes of the magazine have been marked by significant events peaking roughly every seven years!

 

  • Oct. 1964 - Practical Elecetronics (PE) was born.
  • Oct. 1971 - Everyday Electronics was born as a sister publication to PE, both published in London.
  • Dec. 1977 - PE moved to Poole in Dorset under a separate Editor.
  • Apr. 1984 - EE rejoined PE in Poole.
  • Jan. 1986 - PE and EE were sold to separate publishers.
  • Oct. 1992 - PE was purchased by EE and the magazines were merged to form EPE.
  • Oct. 1998 - EPE Online was born. Making EPE the first ever printed magazine that could also be bought and downloaded from the World Wide Web.
  • Feb. 1999 - Wimborne Publishing acquired its UK rival Electronics Today International (ETI).
  • Oct. 1999 - Wimborne Publishing Ltd. acquires Radio Bygones magazine, the journal for vintage radio enthusiasts. It would merge with The Radiophile in March 2017 after 17 years of dedication by owner Mike Kenward.
  • The year 2000 opened on 2nd January with the sad news of the sudden death at the age of 61 of Terry Farmiloe, our typesetting manager for the past ten years. We miss him greatly and working life was never to be the same again in the EPE offices.
  • In 2001 - EPE relocated to new offices on the outskirts of Wimborne.
  • In 2003 a new web site went online.
  • In 2006 EPE announced an association with Silicon Chip of Australia. EPE also went to full colour for the very first time, printed on higher quality paper with better photography and clarity, to appeal to today's discerning readers.
  • In February 2008 Matt Pulzer took over from Mike Kenward as Editor of EPE. Matt has been closely linked with EPE for many years, for proof-reading and technical drawings and understands the needs of the electronics hobbyist extremely well.
  • In 2012 a new Online version based on the Pocketmags digital newsstand was launched.
  • In 2013 David Barrington retired after nearly 50 years of service to hobby electronics.
  • In November 2014 we celebrated 50 years of success.

 

The latest developments at EPE strengthens the UK's leading hobby electronics magazine and will ensure its continued success, as well as meeting today's demands for high quality printed magazines.

 

 

Best wishes from the EPE Team.

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