The first issue of the company newsletter was printed in December, 1901 under the direction of the Sociological Department. Camp and Plant was published weekly in an “effort to bring coal camps and [steel]works closer together and to promote the work of the Sociological Department.” A special feature of the publication was that due to the huge influx of immigrants coming to the CF&I payroll at the time, several articles were printed in German, Italian, Spanish and Slovenian. Each month featured a themed article with the remainder of the publication noting newsworthy events both in Pueblo at the Steelworks and in the many mining communities. The first two issues were provided free of charge to each employee. If the reader wanted a continuous news feed, subscriptions could be purchased for $1 per year. Camp and Plant can be accessed on our website in downloadable PDF’s. Check them out here.
Although it was a popular publication, CF&I executives in 1904 felt that the Sociological Department was full of what they called “unnecessary frills” and discontinued printing the publication that spring.
In 1915, in an effort to promote better communication between labor and management, the company began to print the Industrial Bulletin, a monthly news magazine. Printed on slick paper with dozens of photographs, the publication began similar to Camp and Plant in providing news and information about people, places and events in the mining communities, the Bessemer neighborhood and at the steel mill. Minutes from the Employee Representation meetings were also printed in this publication so that all interested parties were kept informed of the activities and changes that were occurring during the era.
As the 1920s came to a close, the articles within the Industrial Bulletin became much more sales oriented. Although photographs and articles do appear in the Bulletin, CF&I hired artists to create cartoon drawings and caricatures to illustrate the pages. Artwork during the latter part of the decade was similar to that seen in other media depicting characters with large round heads, big eyes and almost no hair. A second publication, the Steelworks Blast, began to be published in 1927 listing events and schedules available at the newly built Steelworks YMCAs. A shift was beginning where audiences read more and more about activities occurring at the Y and less about CF&I topics in general.
Turnover, a sales and trade publication, was published for three years with the intended audience of farmers and ranchers and those stores that catered to their needs in the 1930s. Articles and graphics gave advice as to how to close a sales deal ethically and professionally. Other articles focused on the newest in barbs for barbed wire and how clean, advertising their own brand of domestic coal of course. Presumably because of the economic constraints put on the company during the Great Depression, Turnover stopped being published in the spring of 1933.
By the 1930s, the Steelworks Blast became CF&I’s primary method of weekly communication. Articles of what was happening at the mill, mines, subsidiary companies and sales offices dominated the publication with shorter articles of what was happening nationally and internationally from time to time. Advertisements of local businesses and subscriptions helped to support printing costs. Sports, lifestyle, recipes, comic strips, advice column, and classified ads were also contained within the pages of the Blast. This year, we have been sharing various pages in our #Blastfromthepast postings.
In the late 1950s, a shift occurred once again to the majority of articles written about more company focused themes rather than city wide, national or international topics. Due to the tight economy and associated economic problems within CF&I, the Blast was sporadically printed in the 1960s and discontinued entirely by 1974. In 1993, a new publication, the CF&I Key began its short printing run.