Benjamin Day (top right) gave birth to the newspaper business (top left) and jobs for a whole lot of kids (under Mt. Day) in the US.  And while we may get a whole lot of information online these days, there is still nothing quite like a newspaper in your hand and a cup of coffee on the table.  :))

Habit. Ritual. Insights. Knowledge. Need to know. Comfort. World events. Gossip. Sports.  Comics. And more. I don’t know about you, but there’s just something special about sitting down and reading the newspaper.  Comfy chair, check. Hot coffee, check. Good lighting, check. Paper, got it.  Growing up I can remember Mom and Dad …reading both the morning and afternoon papers religiously. I usually read the comics first, and sometimes the sports page.  As a business person, I never tire of the stories, editorials, other business stories, the “sporty page” and future predictions. I can remember when traveling back in the day “everyone” had a copy of USA Today – in the airport, on the subway and in the hotels, delivered right to your door.  Today marks the anniversary of the first newspaper published in the US back in 1833, along with a unique method of distribution (my daughter would call this “a clever target consumer user engagement strategy”).  Now, I know I can get more than enough news on my phone and computer – it floods my inbox 24/7 – but it’s just not the same. Good for headlines and a paragraph or two, but not the same.  For those who know what I’m talking about, drop me a line (skowalski@khtheat.com) and let me know your habits.  (I know this is “e” blog/email – if you would like a hard copy, let me know!!)  Enjoy.  And thanks to quintype.com for the info and YouTube for the music.

Music while you read: Eddie Fisher

Newspapers have been an integral part of people’s lives for nearly 400 years. From the initial handwritten notes, to the advent of the printing press, print media has come a long way.

The history of written news dates back to the Roman empire around 59BC. Back then, Rome was the center of the western world and was the hub of innovation – from grid-based cities to the invention of concrete, Rome was leading the way. Most historians credit the birth of the regular written news updates to the Romans.

Acta Diurna (which roughly translates to daily public records) which was hard carved news on stone or metal sheets, covering politics, military campaigns, chariot races (wonder if drivers went to pre-season training camp?) and executions (now that’s something to follow – ugh), was published daily and posted by the government in the Roman Forum. The Acta which was originally kept secret, was later made public by Julius Caesar in 59BC.

The history of the printed newspaper goes back to 17th century Europe when Johann Carolus published the first newspaper called ‘Relation aller Fürnemmen und gedenckwürdigen Historien’ (Account of all distinguished and commemorable news) in Germany in 1605. You can access some of the digitised versions from 1609 here. Europe was the hub of printed newspapers in the 17th with quite a few of them starting operations in German, French, Dutch, Italian and English soon after.

The first newspaper to be printed in India was the Hicky’s Bengal Gazette in 1780 from a printing press in Calcutta.

Newspapers have been integral to society in recent history and have had a significant effect in shaping our political views. The initial newspapers were expensive and hence read only by the privileged few. The rapid evolution of the printing press brought down the costs of newspapers and helped print a lot more copies at much lower costs.

With the advent of advertising in the 19th century, the cost of newspapers fell significantly and was well within reach of a much wider population. As the circulation grew, so did the ad revenues. These were the heydays of print media — they were the innovators in using illustrations and images in storytelling, in using telegraph and telephone for rapid sourcing of news from across the world and setting up widespread distribution channels to reach their audience. Most of the publications were hugely profitable and owned by wealthy individuals who used these mediums to spread their political views. (by comparison, Google’s ad revenue last year was $85 billion – not a bad model to follow).

The American newspaper business as we know it was born on September 3, 1833, when a twenty-three-year-old publisher named Benjamin Day put out the first edition of the New York Sun. Whereas other papers sold for five or six cents, the Sun cost just a penny. For revenue, Day relied on advertising rather than on subscriptions. Above all, he revolutionized the way papers were distributed, selling them to newsboys in lots of a hundred to hawk in the street. Before long, Day was the most important publisher in New York.

Newspapers have faced competition from other media vehicles in the past. First, In the 1920s and 30s, when radio adoption was growing, and organizations started broadcasting news over radio transmission. News over radio was almost immediately available rather than waiting for the next day.

And then, in the 50s television was a new device in western homes and became the primary medium to influence public opinion. The news formats on television were a lot more engaging when compared to print or radio. The concept of primetime was invented, and people were glued to their television sets between 8pm – 10pm to catch the latest political, sports and weather updates in their country, and across the world.

While both these mediums did have an impact on newspapers initially, print didn’t face any existential threat from either of them. In fact, newspaper circulation continued to grow as television got more popular and they were largely considered parallel media rather than direct competition.

However, the last 20-25 years have not been that accommodating to print media in general. The rapid rise of digital media on the back of the internet and smartphone penetration has had devastating effects on newspapers worldwide, but advantages too, as it takes about 500,000 trees to make enough paper for one day of newspaper production.

Today most people get their news on their smartphones (news sites, aggregators, social, search etc). The industry is certainly facing its toughest time in history, much like the 90s and early 2000s when photography was disrupted through the invention of digital photography devices.

Of the estimated five billion newspaper readers in the world, three billion read print newspapers. Readers looking for a break from screen time have also been known to subscribe to larger print content. In certain niches and industries might prefer print over digital; this could be due to the internet penetration level and the nature of the population.

The 57th annual World Newspaper Congress, held in Istanbul in June 2004, reported circulation increases in only 35 of 208 countries studied. The significant increase in numbers came from the developing countries, notably China.

Top newpapers in the US today remain – The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New York Times, followed by LA Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and New York Daily News

In order for democracy to hold its essence, people will always need access to information. With “media mogals” buying up more local and national newspapers, we often wonder how “fact based” newspapers are these days as the political voice has shifted. This is being accelerated as the switch from mass media to personalized information is changing the very nature of content consumption.  See charting HERE.

Best print cartoons of the week HERE.
See how The New York Times Is Made HERE.

One last comment: Regardless of your political beliefs we all need to demand a free – fair uncensored press!



Me, too.

As you may know the Kowalski Heat Treating logo finds its way
into the visuals of my Friday posts.
I.  Love.  My.  Logo.
One week there could be three logos.
The next week there could be 15 logos.
And sometimes the logo is very small or just a partial logo showing.
But there are always logos in some of the pictures.
So, I challenge you, my beloved readers, to count them and send me a
quick email with the total number of logos in the Friday post.
On the following Tuesday I’ll pick a winner from the correct answers
and send that lucky person some great KHT swag.
So, start counting and good luck!  
Oh, and the logos at the very top header don’t count.
Got it? Good.  :-))))
Have fun!!


Hope We See You In Detroit!

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COBO Convention Center – south elevation. 

We’re fine tuning our plans for the upcoming Heat Treat 2015 – ASM Heat Treating Society Conference & Exposition, Oct 20-22 at the COBO Convention Center in Detroit MI.

At the show, be sure to stop at the Kowalski Heat Treating Booth #732 and see all of the new and exciting developments we’re bringing to our customers, from vacuum hardening to rack salt to salt austempering / marquenching, to deep cryogenics and close tolerance specialty flatwork. Don’t forget to ask us about our new N2Clean Controlled Atmosphere Processing, the nation’s finest socially responsible PIA flatwork facility!

Better yet, shoot me an email at skowalski@khtheat.com and reserve a time to chat.

And don’t forget, we’ll be giving away an Apple iPad Air to the customer with the toughest PIA (pain in the #%$) Job, so bring us your pain!

If you are not planning to attend the show, you can still be eligible to win our PIA Job Contest – To enter, just send us an email at winanipad@khtheat.com describing your heat treating struggles and we’ll enter you into the contest.



Chipping Away at the Problem.

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Top left: The 15 types of pentagonal tilings discovered. Art: Ed Pegg/Wikipedia   Bottom left: The math.
Right: The 15th convex pentagon found to be able to tile a plane.  Art: Casey Mann

At Kowalski Heat Treating, we’re all about doing great work, constantly searching for new and better ways to help our clients grow their businesses – often rooted in problem solving your PIA (pain in the @#$) Jobs. And we marvel at new thinking and new discovery.

This week’s blog and email post salutes the work of three mathematicians in their discovery of the latest convex pentagrams to tile a plane, courtesy of a post by npr.com.

Jennifer McLoud-Mann, along with her husband Casey and David Von Derau have spent the past few years trying to help unravel one of math’s long-standing unanswered questions. How many shapes are able to “tile the plane”? — meaning shapes that fit together perfectly to cover any flat surface without overlapping or leaving any gaps. For example, mathematicians have proved that all triangles and quadrilaterals (shapes with four sides), can tile the plane, and have documented all of the convex hexagons that can do it. But what about five sided pentagrams.

When dealing with pentagons — specifically convex, or nonregular pentagons with the angles pointing outward – the number of convex pentagons is infinite — and so is the number that could potentially tile a plane. It’s a problem that’s almost unsolvable, but also so simple, as anyone could start working toward a solution using just pencil and paper.

Last month, a cluster of computers spit out some intriguing possibilities. Sifting through the data, McLoud-Mann thought she found either impossible pentagrams (one’s that did not fit the problem), or ones that already fit into the 14 types that had been found.

But, this time it was different – the team came up with the first new convex pentagon able to tile the plane in some 30 years, joining only five mathematicians who have accomplished this feat. McLoud-Mann is considering what to do with the pattern – either tile a spot in her home or build a display of the pattern at her University of Washington site. To read the full original story, go HERE.

You know, I’m inspired to re-tile my bathroom with the new pentagon this weekend. I’ll let you know how it turns out.



Congratulations to NASA on their most recent “PIA” job

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New Horizons was about 3.7 million miles (6 million kilometers) from Pluto and Charon when it snapped this portrait late on July 8, 2015. Image Credit: NASA-JHUAPL-SWRI

After a more than nine-year, three-billion-mile journey to Pluto, it’s show time for NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, as the flyby sequence of science observations is officially underway.

In the early morning hours of July 8, mission scientists received this new view of Pluto—the most detailed yet returned by the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) aboard New Horizons. The image was taken when the spacecraft was just under 5 million miles from Pluto.

This view is centered roughly on the area that will be seen close-up during New Horizons’ July 14 closest approach. This side of Pluto is dominated by three broad regions of varying brightness. Most prominent are an elongated dark feature at the equator, informally known as “the whale,” and a large heart-shaped bright area measuring some 1,200 miles (2,000 kilometers) across on the right. Above those features is a polar region that is intermediate in brightness.

“The next time we see this part of Pluto at closest approach, a portion of this region will be imaged at about 500 times better resolution than we see today,” said Jeff Moore, Geology, Geophysics and Imaging Team Leader of NASA’s Ames Research Center. “It will be incredible!”

We at Kowalski Heat Treating salute the hard working engineers and scientists who have accomplished this amazing feat.  (courtesy nasa.gov website)



Tech it out!

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We are proud to announce our continued ISO 9001 Certification. Each and every one of us at KHT values your business and we hope you understand that this certification represents our dedication to you within every process, procedure and action we take.

Here are the eight main business principles we strive to exceed:

• Customer focus
• Leadership
• Involvement of people
• Process approach
• System approach to management
• Continual improvement
• Factual approach to decision making
• Mutually beneficial supplier relationships

We want you to know that it’s not just about performing tasks to conform to the ISO 9001. It’s about performing every task for the mutual good of our businesses. Yours and ours. Simply put, it’s a culture thing here at KHT. It’s what we do. It’s who we are.

— Steve




At Kowalski Heat Treating (khtheat.com), we’re constantly working on behalf of our customers to achieve the proper balance of strength, durability and end performance when processing alloy and tool steels. This heat treatment process consists of heating and cooling these steels to move atoms to an atomic state called martensite.

The atomic arrangement of steels vary depending on the structure or phase it is in. Controlled heat treatment changes the arrangement of these atoms resulting in a desired hardness and mechanical properties specified by our customers. Often we customize this process to enhance tool life and durability.

“Tool steels are typically annealed after rolling or forming to make them suitable for machining and other operations, a process which consists of heating the steel slowly and uniformly to a temperature above the transformation range,” says Dave Lorenz, VP of Operations / Metallurgist at Kowalski Heat Treating. “The transformation range is the temperature at which the steel starts to form austenite, usually around 1350°F (the annealing temperature is 1600-1700°F). A slow cooling rate (25 – 40°F/hour maximum) from this temperature enables the alloys, in combination with the iron atoms, to form uniformly dispersed spheroidized carbides in a matrix of ferrite. This ferrite structure is a body-centered cubic structure (see graphic), typically the condition in which we receive steel tool grades unless they are pre-hardened by the customer.”

“To achieve the next phase, the tool steel is hardened by bringing the material up to its austenitizing temperature, which will range from 1500 – 2250°F depending on the grade,” said Dave. “Upon going through this transformation temperature range, the structure changes again – from ferrite to austenite. This austenite atomic structure is a face-centered cubic (see graphic) – a high temperature phase only formed by heating the tool steel to the appropriate temperature. Austenite is non-magnetic and is slightly denser than ferrite, causing the steel to shrink slightly when at this stage in heat treatment.”

“Upon cooling or quenching from the austenitizing temperature, the steel is transformed once again into a new atomic arrangement called martensite. The steel must be cooled fast enough to keep the dissolved alloy content in the matrix of the steel. The martensite is in the form of a body centered tetragonal structure (see chart) – the desired structure that most of our tool steels are in to achieve high hardness and strength properties. This arrangement of atoms is less dense which results in an overall growth after the quench and subsequent tempers.”

Once completed, the tool steel is shipped back to customers to be machined or sharpened for superior performance.

For more information on tool steel processing, contact Kowalski Heat Treating (khtheat.com) – the leader in distortion sensitive thermal processing, celebrating 40 years of excellence and customer service.



KHT is 40 This Year! Still Focused On Your PIA Jobs.

Kowalski Heat Treating was established in 1975 to specialize in Distortion Sensitive Thermal Processing, or in the words of our founder PIA (Pain In The @%$) Jobs!

Our dimensional management divisions and teams of specialists can help you save time and money, revitalize underperforming materials, reduce waste and scrap and provide confidence you are working with a reliable, dedicated partner.

We love and want your PIA (Pain In The @%$) Jobs!, your high volume, consistent critical jobs or your “one-off” hard to solve prototypes.  No matter. Our divisions are built to provide world-class specialized solutions for our customers, leveraging forty years of thermal processing excellence, backed by our commitment to quality, customer service, family and community.

To learn more, visit each of our specialty divisions HERE, or just call us at 1 888-KHT-HEAT (548-4328) or 216-631-4411.

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