Magazines today cover every aspect of life, and cater to a market of special interests - the days of the great general-subject magazines are over.
As for history of magazines, they appeared much later on the scene. Through the history, there may have been approaches to a magazine in antiquity, especially in China, the magazine as it now known began only after the invention of the printing press in the West. The word "magazine" comes to us from France, where one of the first world's magazines, called Journal des Scavans, was first published in Paris in 1655.
On February 16, 1741, came ti life the first American magazine, appropriately named American Magazine, or A Monthly View of the political State of the British Colonies, published by the Philadelphia printer Andrew Bradford. A few days later The General Magazine, and Historical Chronicle, for All the British plantations in America appeared, published by a fellow Philadelphia's and rival printer, Benjamin Franklin.
There was a good reason for a delay of the magazine. Magazines had to wait until the literary and practical arts had developed enough in America to create an audience large enough for its own periodicals. As for magazines, the golden age for magazines came in the quarter-century from 1825 to 1850. Before 1825 there were less than a hundred magazines in America; after 1850 there were more than six hundred.
Three magazines funded during this period of American history are still surviving: Scientific American, began in 1845; Harper's Magazine, founded in 1850 as Harper's New Monthly Magazine. Its rival was and remains the Atlantic Monthly, established in 1857.
Highlights of the 20th Century, The Saturday Evening Post, Collier's, Liberty, and Life, include the rise and fall of such mass-circulation business. Success stories were written by the Reader's Digest, founded in October, 1921 by De Witt and Lila Bell Wallace; Time, started in 1923 by Henry Luce and his partner Briton Hadden; The New Yorker, the creation of editor Harold Ross in 1925.