Sanitary Maintenance 1950s coverage

In recognition of the 80th anniversary of Sanitary Maintenance, each issue will explore a different decade and how events during that time shaped the jan/san industry. 


Sanitary Maintenance goes from a bi-monthly publication to monthly. Carl Lien of the Lien Chemical Co., writes in to say, “Our organization will now realize twice as many dividends from reading it.”  


• With the Korean War underway, Editor Harry Apple suggest distributors be on high alert. He predicts “the sanitary supply industry will fare better than most. Our functions are essential for the maintenance of the public health through adequate sanitation in the home, factory and in all buildings where people congregate.” Despite his optimistic attitude, he does warn that the “emergency confronting us is a challenge” in terms of securing products, manpower shortages, training challenges and “selling substitute products possibly inferior to those customarily used.”

Sanitary Maintenance publishes the first “Who’s Who” exhibitor directory for the National Sanitary Supply Association (later known as ISSA) trade show. This free booklet is produced for 30 years.  


• To help train salesmen, Sanitary Maintenance publishes its first “Floor Maintenance Manual,” teaching how to sell floor products more efficiently and “keep them sold.” Ordered by the thousands, this guide is published for 25 years and, eventually, is slanted toward actual users of the products.


• The year starts off with an Outlook for 1956 and top management are asked to submit predictions on the state of the sanitary supply industry. Comments include: “Increased service and efficiency,” “Automation and Diversification” and “Re-awakening of salesmanship.” W. WM. Laitner of Detroit-based Laitner Brush Company, said, “We anticipate the year ahead to be a very active one volume-wise. We believe three words will describe the year ahead: Competitive, Inflationary, Prosperous.” 

• With 80 percent of distributor profits coming from floor care products, Sanitary Maintenance devotes the entire September issue to floor maintenance. Originally planned as a one-time special issue, the overwhelming support for this intensive coverage led to it becoming an annual “institution” for more than 40 years.


• The first Buyer’s Guide is published in the January issue. Readers call it “manna from heaven” and say it answers a “crying need in our field.” Today, Sanitary Maintenance still publishes the most comprehensive Buyer’s Guide in the industry.