The Unisphere, symbol of the New York 1964-65 World's Fair. Flushing Meadow Park, New York

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. Here's a look back at the 1960s.


The decade was known as the “Soaring Sixties” for two main reasons. First, so much focus was on space exploration and jan/san was no exception. Cleaners working at NASA could make or break a successful mission with a single speck of dust. Second, back at home, new construction meant a time of growth for distributors, as well as competition.  


Building service contractors became more prominent with the emergence of new facilities, and their direct-from-manufacturer purchasing forced distributors to adapt. To help, Sanitary Maintenance launched dozens of articles on the topic written by Morris Wertenberger Jr. By the 1980s, "Contractor Management" themed issues were launched. 


Cleaning for sanitation started to take a back seat to cleaning for appearances, making "hard selling” more challenging for distributors. Sanitary Maintenance helped by offering “romance of products” and background studies on cleaning tools that had an interesting origin, such as sponge fishing. “After grading, the sponges are put on a line attached to the rigging until the boat reaches port.” 


The National Sanitary Supply Association, under the presidency of Gordon Bodek, officially changes names to International Sanitary Supply Association (known today just as ISSA), hosting their annual convention under the new name in March in Boston.  


Sanitary Maintenance published the first ISSA Exhibition Product Review from the Chicago event. Still a reader favorite, the magazine continues to publish a product showcase following ISSA North America that illustrates the latest innovations from the event.