Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Postblogging Technology, January 1943, I: Will There Be Marmalade in 194Q?

My Dearest Reggie:

Material is piling up, and I have to write you anyway, to brace you for some business in special cargoes that I must ask you to arrange. Special delicacy, I hardly need observe, is required in the matter of border "rebirths" in war years, especially with an enthusiastic amateur FBI informant under foot every time he can get up from Burbank. So, then, here is the first of my January newsletters! 

Nor can I say that I have not had an eventful few weeks! In taking up  my brush last week, "Mrs. J. C." dropped a little reference to the city of broad shoulders. Well, I have been to the one that never sleeps, in fast company. It was very nearly too much for me, who am set so permanently in my ways. Fortunately, and I have had a few days to retire early and sleep late and let my hair down. (That is this month's obligatory "permanent wave" joke out of the way. Never let it be said that I do not keep up with the trends.) This Sunday,  I slept until the smell of marmalade boiling began to percolate upwards. Judith has been teaching the art to our young housekeeper, and I, I am carried away with memories of things long past.

In the matter of our friend, mentioned by "Mrs. J. C.," you know much and will have guessed more from my mention of special cargoes. Needless to say, the very volume of the rumours demonstrate the need for discretion! You will know that he has an acquaintance, quite as erratic in person as he may seem from a distance, who boasts of breaking his own contract with the assistance of those to whom he oleaginously refers as "men of respect." You may rightly suppose that our friend's vanity would only be assuaged when he could make a like show, and that this is how I came to owe a favour to one of Grandfather's little brothers. The actual business will be done by "Cousin H. C.'s" lawyers, of course. 

And engineers. I cannot expect "Mrs. J. C.'s" solid but essentially feminine mind to grasp something so technical, but I remain firm on this. We can solve our friend's most pressing problem in the courts, but we can only deliver the kind of life that he would like to lead through "research and development." He is a very, very rich man, so someone will do it. Why not us? I await a favourable report in the matter of your Christmas present via Bill and David soon, although the actual work has been delegated to a White Russian of the Mukden emigration, who is more intimately obligated to us.

 The Economist,  1 January 1944


“Now or Never” The paper celebrates the announcement of the Second Front Commanders. “The curtain is about to go up. . . All the carefully husbanded trumps in the Allied hand are about to be played, in the hope of winning trick, game and rubber.” “Pray God,” the paper says, the Second Front will be won. 

Two Leaders on India to the effect that the Viceroy’s ten year plan is impractical in the light of Indian sectarian differences. Britain’s commitment to Indian independence is unequivocal with only two equivocations. (Defence and protection of minority communities.)

Notes of the Week

“New Fields” The paper is very impressed with Air Chief Marshal Tedder. Who was very active with the Young Liberals at Cambridge. Much more so than in his studies, I have been told; but now he is a world-historical genius, so we shall let that pass.

“Marshal Vatutin’s Victory” relieves the threat on Kiev with a smart check on Manstein.

“Poland in Suspense” the paper notices Governor-General Frank’s call for a Polish-German anti-Bolkshevik alliance, presumably on the grounds that the Bolsheviks will starve, shoot, and dispossess Poles while conscripting them for war work.

Latins and Jugoslavs are excitable.

“The Nursing Profession” Nurses need to be better treated as well as better paid if there are to be  more of them.

“Miners’ Wages” It being supposed that, if paid more, coal miners will all just lay about doing nothing (the technical term for this is, apparently, “heterodox behaviour"), it is proposed that their wages not be increased, and that any extra money paid to them be in the form of vaguely-defined performance bonuses. The paper’s enthusiasm for not paying coal miners is striking, especially considering the lack of coal. Ah, well, who is to argue with economists?

American Survey

 “Congress and the President” Congress is much criticised on the occasion of its adjournment.

“Ending the Strikes” The President has ended the railway strikes, and Washington’s pundit class is lined up in the receiving room at the White House to apologise for characterising the President as being weak and isolated. I jest, Reggie. In fact, the paper is worried that the settlement was too lenient. 

“End of the New Deal” It is supposed that the President is moving in a new direction. The article goes on to weave a path through the thickets of the future that lead to a future in which the President is politically unassailable, thanks to a postwar depression that ruins his political prospects for a fourth (fifth?) term. Has Our New York Correspondent taken up politics?

“Republican Futures” Dr. Wilford Brimley examines the psephological entrails and suggests that the party that is already celebrating its coming victory of 1944 may well then celebrate its last. Poor people have come to vote Democratic, and the Republican Party is showing no signs of regaining its old hold on the poor. The birthrate also runs against the Republicans. “Older stocks inhabiting the poorer soils of the back country are scarcely less prolific than the teeming masses of recent immigrants, who together form the basis of the Democratic ascendancy.” I foresee a quick reversal of fortunes once actual Republican candidates start using this kind of language to woo voters.

“Global Suckers” Senator Brewster of Maine asserts that Britain is playing America for suckers.

The World Overseas

“Protection of Minorities” After the war, everyone will pogrom everybody. Unless Europeans learn to act like the British, with their exemplary record of toleration of minorities.

“Island Outpost:” “Mrs. J. C.” has taken up this article in some dudgeon, as you will recall. The author, Major Orde Browne, proves to be the Colonial Office’s labour advisor. Pray he never knows how he has offended our brooding kinswoman!

Business Notes

 “Disposal of Tramps” Prewar, the estimated tonnage of tramp freighters was 10 million. Postwar, it is to be 21 million, of which 12 million will be in the American, and 2 million in the Canadian Liberty fleets. 1.5 million will be under the Red Ensign, and 0.5 million under other European flags. The fate of the American Liberty fleet is thus supposed to be of great concern to Britons, though less than to the poor devils who have to sail them! Oh, to be sure, it is possible to exaggerate the shoddiness of Liberty construction,  as I have just done, but the fact remains that many --perhaps one in twenty-- Liberty ships will have to be laid up. It is no great stretch that more will be. There are prospects for the right ships, built at Hongkong or Whampoa, if we play our cards correctly.

Flight, 6 January 1944


The paper supposes that Air Chief Marshal Tedder will be a credit to the Air Force as Deputy Supreme Commander. A capsule biography appears later in this number. Apparently, he won a prize for a history essay at Cambridge. Well, that quite makes up for his grades! It is also pleased that Field-Marshal Montgomery proposes to win air superiority in advance of the landing. Sir Geoffrey De Havilland is honoured. (So is Oliver Simmonds, of Simmonds Aerocessories, but he is not mentioned, as he is not famous.)

War in the Air

The recent air-sea action in the Bayof Biscay is to the credit of Coastal Command. The latest raid against Berlin was a glorious victory. They are all glorious victories. Pay no attention to the 187 Allied bombers lost over Europe in the past two weeks.

Here and There

A gentleman with Handley Page assures America that Britain will be an “arsenal” for them once Germany surrenders and the Americans turn to finishing off Japan. Americans are guaranteed to appreciate such patronising sentiments far more than a corps ofBritish troops!

Looking Back

Various planes and engines appeared in 1943. Do you remember them? If you do not, here are several pages of reminders. If you do, well, here they are, anyway.. I am a little surprised that anyone would want us to remember the Blenheim Bisley. The paper does contrive to remind us that everyone was quite excited about “reaction propulsion” in 1943. Well, we were certainly told to be excited about it. Perhaps, the censors being willing, it will even eventually be explained why. The Avro York looks like it is pregnant, and the Lockheed Constellation 

like a not-quite-filled-in teenager.

Behind the Lines

Germans are cowardly, ill-fed, living in pre-fabricated huts, and reliant on Ju-42 transports to support encircled forces in the north. The Hitler Youth is being called upon to volunteer for service, and the neutral press reports that our bombing is having a considerable effect.

Lacking anything really novel to report, the paper has articles on “Supercharging, So That Even I Can Understand It,” novel methods of keeping aero-engines warm in cold weather; and “the case for flying boats.” The paper simply will not relent.

Of more interest, Bendix and Eclipse jointly announce “Gyro Flux-Gate Compasses” which are quick-acting, undisturbed azimuth indicators by virtue of the use of a gyroscope to eliminate magnetic compass adjustment. It sounds like a watch-stander’s dream, if it works.

The Economist, 9 January 1944


 “Post-War Democracy:” Latins and Americans are excitable.

“The Western Fringe” A few months ago, it was supposed by General Smuts that there might emerge an alliance of powers along the Atlantic fringe of Europe, opposed to a Russian-led continental bloc. The paper supposes that even if such a scheme were necessary or workable, America would have to be associated with it.

“The Balance of Payments, II” Not to anticipate, or repeat, but the paper is going to use up a medium-sized forest this month explaining that Britain will have to export vast quantities of goods in the postwar years and conserve imports.

“The Approaching Budget” The main interest of the December 31st Exchequer Return is that it shows a flattening of the curve of expenditure, which actually fell by 40 millions in the fourth quarter of 1943 compared with 1942. Expenditure in 1943 was 15.9 million per day, and will peak at 16.5 million, absent inflation. As a rough estimate, Government spending will peak at 6000 million per annum against an estimated national income of 8500 to 9000 “Buoyancy of revenue” is higher than estimated this year, as every year since the war began. The Exchequer is not embarrassed. There is nothing wrong with its “model.” (I have quite picked up this word from Fortune.)  It is the fault of the public, for incontinently consuming too much and thus paying too much in taxes.

Notes of the Week

“From the Dnieper to the Dniester” The Germans now have no choice but to evacuate the Dnieper bend.

“The Coal Cut,” of which you cannot but have heard, is excused as a means to build up reserves for the invasion of the Continent. It will be of 10% for industrial users. Domestic users will be restricted during January to 4 cwts in the south and 5 cwts in the North. The Ministry encourages industry to use coke, coal breeze and anthracite dust, until the young recruits in the training centres graduate.

“The Biggest Depressed Area” England and Wales lag behind New Zealand and Holland in infant mortality, albeit doing better than Scotland. It is because of poverty and poor housing.

American Survey

“Misgiving on Thanksgiving” A whimsical wander back to November and forward to now concludes that, due to cost of living (the Department of Agriculture’s index of farm prices is at 116% of parity, while the Department of Labour’s cost-of-living index has gone up 23.4% over the year) and shortage of non-black market turkeys, there is a sensible risk of the domestic front dissolving into inflation, sinking the Administration’s foreign policy and war production alike.

American Notes

“Crime Against America” is what General Marshall called the threat of a railway strike and a steel stoppage. Mr. William Green, President of the AFL, thought this inflammatory.

“Discrimination in War Industry” is becoming an issue. The President’s order to cease discrimination against Negroes has been flat disobeyed by certain southeastern railways. Southwestern Bell Telephone Company has appealed a ruling, arguing that the President’s order was merely a directive, not mandatory. The resulting storm in the “liberal and Negro press” led the President to say that it was indeed mandatory, and applied to sub-contractors as well. The railways are now claiming that the order will imperil the war effort, and have suggested that an order to employ Negro firemen might lead to their pressing “pretensions” to be engineers and conductors, as well. 

A Gallup Poll shows that public support for an amendment limiting presidents to two terms is over 50% popularity for the first time. A move to draft General MacArthur as GOP primary candidate is underway in Illinois.

The World Overseas

Latins are excitable.

“Sweden’s War Finances.” Neutrality protection looks exactly like making war. High spending, high taxes, high revenues, high debt, inflation around the corner.

“Eire and Denmark” Why are the fates of these superficially similar, agrarian states so different. Why are the Danes so much richer? Is it because Ireland’s climate is too good? That Denmark is politically stable? That Denmark has large and successful export industries? On the other hand, while Denmark is in national debt, Eire is not. Three cheers for financial probity! Eire could afford a programme of “agricultural and industrial intensification” without resort to any foreign borrowing.

Business Notes

“The coming of the New Year has brought no revival in business, so far…”

Flight,  13 January 1944

“The most jealously guarded secret in modern aviation history, and at the same time the best known, was suddenly revealed on January 6th.” It turns out, dear Reggie, that Group Captain Frank Whittle, and W. G. Carter, chief designer at Gloster, have been working on a jet-enginedaircraft! I, for one, am shocked.

War in the Air

 The Germans have ceased opposing air raids over Northern France. It is supposed that they have withdrawn their fighters to the Reich. The Russians are not pulling their weight, vis-à-vis bombing the Romanian oil fields.

The third imprint of the second edition of Mr. Smith of this paper’s book on jet propulsion is out of print. Nice work, if you can get it!

Here and There

The industrial research committee of the Federal Bureau of Investigation reports that while in 1930, 422 American firms spent £1.736 million on research and development, by 1938 this had risen to £5.4 million spent by 566 firms. Considering the difference in business climates, this does not strike me as the most useful of comparisons. Why, exactly, is the FBI spending its efforts on this? A précis of a Swedish report on Turkish radio implies that the RAF now has invisible planes, thanks to infra-red, which is the new name for “magic.” The twenty Glenn Martin Mars flying boats are to be extensively modified internally before entering service with the USN. At a cost of £500,000, the mind quails. Fourteenth Air Force, in China, receives all of its supplies via trans-Himalayan flights. The paper is impressed. The third annual conference on “X-Ray Analysis in Industry” is to be held later in the month.

“2,200 h.p. Napier: Some Features of a British Engineering Triumph,”

You know, if it were a niece of mine whose debute in society were scheduled for the same day as a royal princess, I would have sharp words for those responsible. Napier has a right to be upset. The engine is not new, of course, but the article is a very detailed look-in that no-one will notice or remember, because all eyes are on the new jet turbines. That, unlike the Napier Sabre, has yet to fly in battle in this war.

“A Great British Achievement: Jet-Propelled Aircraft HaveBeen Flying Since 1941: British Pioneers Given Due Credit at Last.” It all seems somewhat anti-climactic to me.  Though very patriotic!

 Behind the Lines

German fuel exports to Denmark have been cut. A German war commentator depreciates novel secret weapons and tells the world that Germany will have the victory through “total war.” Even a German commentator admits that our bombing offensive is working! German pilots are to be protected from the upsetting smell of lily-of-the-valley and chrysanthemums, and exposed to the soothing effects of garden mint, instead. This, indeed, is the news.

“Altitude Sounding” Altitude-sounding rockets might be used to investigate “cosmic rays.” A diagram of such a rocket is included. Though not of the ray-detectors that we will catapult into space at rocket velocities.

The Economist, 15 January 1944


“Church and School” A compromise means that state schools will have some religious instruction. Catholics are opposed. 

“Trade and Employment” There is nothing incompatible between high imports and full  employment, as long as high imports are balanced by high exports. Still, better for all the world to be in balance. For this to be possible, international trade needs to be regulated internationally.

Notes of the Week

Poles and Russians are excitable. “Farmers in Arms” Farmers are dissatisfied, and hope that prices will be fixed such that even the least efficient farmer has a surplus over (rising) wages. The Paper is not impressed. Does the Skipton byelection foretell the future? The Industrial Association defends itself against Beveridge’s criticisms. There is an incipient water shortage in Britain that occasions ruminations about the state of public works. A German-Swedish trade agreement is under discussion. Ciano’s execution is “nightmarish,” Amery says that the worst part of the famine in India is passed. The West Indies are less worried about being cut off from the mainland by U-boats. (I honestly had not stopped to think about how the submarine campaign must have alarmed islanders about their food supply.) Labour supports milk for children and expectant mothers. The American Communist Party has renounced revolution.

American Survey

“A Win-the-War Deal” The President’s message to Congress is a bold return to leadership –if carried through with.

“Tu Quoque” Mr. Wilkie, who recently criticised British intervention in American affairs, has now been taken to task by Pravda. Wilkie seems wounded. It all comes down to the Polish vote, 5.5 million strong and concentrated in key states, which went 10 to 1 for Roosevelt in 1940.

“The Favorite Son Crop:” Warren, Bricker, General MacArthur, Harold Stassen. Apparently this is the fruit of Mr. John D. M. Hamilton’s Anyone-But-Wilkie effort. You will recall that Hamilton was campaign manager to Alf Landon? Governor Dewey? Hello?

Shorter Notes: President Roosevelt has appealed for every one except qualified war workers to stay away from the Pacific coast. “The physical capacity of all community facilities is exhausted.”

The World Overseas

“Saving Canada’s Bacon” Under this year’s agreement, Canada will supply Britain with 450 million pounds of bacon vice 675 million last year. It is suggested that this will cut the British ration from 4 to 3 oz per week, and there is “sharp comment,” for bacon will be taken off the ration card in Canada. The truth is that the coarse grain crop is not likely to repeat the 1943 bumper and hogs must go.

“Swiss Agriculture” As elsewhere, the war has brought rationing, stringency, high prices, and odd propaganda and still odder initiatives. The drive to reduce the amount of arable land in permanent pasture from 83% to 54% made progress at first under the impetus of demand for cereals, potatoes, sugar-beet, vegetables, oil-seed and tobacco, but has now stalled. The 1942—3 revised plan calls for intensified production from already-ploughed land instead. The 1943—44 plan has had to admit that Swiss agriculture has reached its limit, held back by shortages of labour. Meat and edible fats production has fallen, and it may be doubted that actual nutritional value production has increased, although bulk certainly has.

Germany at War

“The Housing Disaster” is real. This seems to be a refutation of Dr. Ley’s recent statement that everything was fine.

The Business World

“British Cinema Prospects” Cinema stocks have done well, but are rated “speculative."

Business Notes

“The Gold Cure” Combating inflation with gold sales is working in the Middle East and India.

“Miner’s Bonusses” appear to have been under-issued under the current scheme, which somehow contrived to exclude virtually all miners. Hurrah! Coal miners have not been overpaid!

“Housing for Pit Recrutis” arguments about whether to put the young pit recruits in hostels or in houses is rather beside the point, which is that housing Housing is short. Whichever method works best in a particular region must be used. Production must not be held up by such matters!

“The Clothing Ration” has not been reduced from its current 24 coupons/6 mos in two years. It is a grand achievement. Oh, by the way, it will be continued into peace. This does not seem to me the approved way of writing news stories. Is the news not supposed to go in the first sentence?

So much, for the weeklies, save Time, but I fear an overdose of backward sentences, as I am covering Fortune this time around. Enough Luce has been cast over this scene!

Fortune, January 1944

“Trials and Errors”

This is to be Eliot Janeway's regular column, but no-one told him, and he is off discovering America. Instead, we have the thoughts of Ladd Haystead, normally the paper’s farm columnist. His subject today: political sentiments of Mid-Western farmers! Did you know that Westerners hate Easterners like Easterners hate Englishmen? It is very geopolitical. Other things that they hate include postwar planning, foreign aid, taxes, Social Security, inequitable freight rates and the Administration (which has already written off the farm vote). Since New York bought one third of all war bonds, it follows that all the war wealth has gone East. There’ll be no jobs after the war. All the returning servicemen will hang out in the village square, not able to spend their bonus, because there’ll be no bonus, because the money is all gone. Everyone will be forced out of business by taxes, and a depression is absolutely in the cards. Business will be busted, agriculture will be on a subsistence basis (it can’t go broke, because it’s out of debt). While all of this is going on, Russia, Germany and England will take over the industrial leadership of the world, as our traders will be out-traded at the negotiating table, because they are a bunch of dreamers who have never had to carry a payroll. “We’ll be lucky to keep Stalin from getting the state of Texas.” The synthetic rubber industry has been stabbed in the back.

What is the answer? A new generation of politicians who can tell it like it is. Men like Eric Johnston, President of the US Chamber of Commerce, who is said to have the backing of labour. Or Wheeler McMillen. Say, here’s an idea: A Johnston-McMillen ticket! As the European war will be over by the time of the next election, FDR is doomed. After all, he has neglected the Japanese war and been very cutting to MacArthur. As an easterner, FDR doesn’t understand the Japanese, like Far Western men such as Eric Johnston. Meanwhile, the one thing the British understand is a hardboiled negotiating stance. Johnston will be tough with them, not like FDR or especially Wilkie.

“That’s what you hear at this time west of the Appalachians.” Says Ladd Haystead. President Eric Johnston. You heard it here, first, Reggie.

Business at War

“Research is a Business” Specifically, National Research is a business, headed by Richard S. Morse. Morse founded a company dedicated to industrial research just at the time when a group of New England investors led by William Coolidge were looking for new outlets for venture capital. The brand new National Research Corporation gas done various things since, and might do more things later. I am a little perplexed at how this company rates a  mention in Fortune, save for the very large amount of money provided it by "venture capitalists" and the novelty of a firm that consists mainly of a laboratory. That said, it is possible that someone knows something. I almost tempted to take this as a stock tip. Almost.

“The Lame, the Halt, the Blind” The Lewyt Corporation of Brooklyn, NY, makes sheet metal and electronic devices on contract, using a labour force of disabled people. He also uses various means to promote worker health and reduce absenteeism.

The Fortune Survey

This month, an attempt to assess the voting preferences of independent voters. Conclusion: independent voters feel complex and divided ways about complex and intractable problems. The future is uncertain. Ask again, later.

Ads: Pitney-Bowes says that striking is killing our boys; Jenkins Valves says that not replacing your valves on time is killing our boys.

“The Job Before Us” The idea here is to estimate expected demand for various goods in “194Q,” the year after the end of demobilisation and reconversion. Apparently, 194Q is a "model" based on data from 1939 to 1943. The exercise is justified with the example of the Sears catalogue. Using this kind of date,  American production at a national income of 192 billion was projected at only 64 billion in consumer goods and 56 billion in war expenditure. On this basis, Sears added books to its catalogues, reasoning that it would be desperate for merchandise to sell, and so it proved

The "194Q" model proposes a national income of 165 billion. From this basis, it can carve up expected expenditure. Notice first that 8 billion is allocated for new home building.

To explain: GNP of 194Q is, of course, limited by manpower. We can’t have a higher national income than we can achieve by producing at peak employment. This will be lower lower than it is in 1943, but, obviously, higher than in the slack employment year of 1939! Given that productivity will continue to go up at 2.5%/year, it is projected, we actually get to the 8 billion for housing by backing into it. This is the number required to soak up all of the savings sloshing about due to the high national income. It is higher than the previous total of 4.6 billion in 1925, and constitutes the Producer’s Council’s estimate for peak building. So one of the problems of the 194Q model is that there may not be all of this housing activity to soak up savings. Still, I am gratified that the logic of Fortune's "modeller" converges with mine. There is not much point in cheap housing a la "Cousin H. C." when the issue will be to find investments for savings.

The rest of necessary investments will be found in the form of 16 billion in private investment in railways, factories and the like. Now, projecting from 1939, there will be consumer spending of 37 billion on food and other agricultural goods. This suggests that farmers will be working hard and making good money. Thirteen billion on durable consumer goods assumes, as Professor Sumner Slichter puts it, that wartime savings are “cold,” and will not rush into new goods as soon as these come onto the market, so that production will be at historic levels. If not, if savings turn out to be “hot,” and consumers splurge on can-openers and cars, then production will have to be at unprecedented levels or there will be inflation. 

Now, where will the money go? That is, what will be the share of the national income?

Making some assumptions (for example, that the already high profits of 1943 will not be even higher), we get an average annual income up $780 from 1939’s $1410. However, cost of living is up, too. By some alchemy, the author folds the change in cost of living into the calculation to show that the average man will have $350 more to spend or save (that is, "$350" as this would have stretched in 1939, not in 194Q). Farm, professionals and business incomes will be up much more than this.

Still, for all the money about, prices must be high enough, and wages low enough, for price signals to work. We shall not all be able to have everything at once.

The one worry in all of this is that we do not know how far unemployment can be reduced without causing inflation (again.)  There might well be 4 million unemployed in the demobilisation year, less than 2 million in 194Q. So how do we get from 1943 to 194Q? Don’t say that we can’t. That’s just “exogenous pessimism.” Which is not to say that there might be problems. Americans might save too much, because the experience of the Depression made us a “badly scared generation,” or not invest enough, because demand is not there, as see above. But if we demobilise in an orderly fashion, if we tell ourselves that we are a $165 billion nation, we can get there.

Fortune is much more optimistic than The Economist.

“Shortage of Oil?” Peak oil! America is running out of oil, although this may change as exploration ramps up again with peace. There is also the rest of the world to consider.

“Jack and Heintz: More about the “Jahco” way. These are the 12 hour day, 84 hour week guys. So the  new business miracle plan is to go in with your employees to soak the army and navy on cost-plus contracts? It could work, I suppose.

Aviation, January, 1944

Leslie Nielsen’s editorial for Aviation says, plan for contract termination now. James H. McGraw II's line editorial is missing in action.

America at War

Germany’s plan to convert from bomber to fighter conversion has failed. One city after another is getting the Hamburg treatment.

“Beam of Sunshine Pierces Termination Clouds” Bernard Baruch has been put in charge. 

Aircraft Design Portfolio No. 4, “The A-20 Havoc.” 22 pages of a very old plane.

Willy Ley, “Jet Propulsion: From Fancy to Fact” It’s a fact! Such are the perils of running a monthly. 

Chester S. Ricker, “Continuous Pouring of Magnesium Castings” is hard. But we do it at Chevrolet.

Ellis F. Gardner, “Spotwelding Expedites Lockheed Constellations”  Lockheed is now using the method on structural members, is the point.  Many many details about where spot welding is used, and where torch welding; about the alloys used, and the increasing thickness allowed in extruded tubes, which provides enough of a flange for a spot welder to get a grip, and more also.  One gets rather a sense that much of this is "good enough for government work."

Edward M. Greer, “Pressure Control in Aircraft Hydraulic Systems, Part 1”The American hydraulics industry went from low, American pressures to high, British pressures over night, and the number of accessories designed in the last two years to exploit this and ameliorate the problems that it brought in train are staggering.

“NACA: The Force Behind Our Aerial Supremacy”

Ralph H. Rudd, “These Horizontal Jigs Boost Aircraft Panel Fabrication,”

Loren F. Dorman, “Aircraft Production Analysis Key to Assembly Line Efficiency, Part II.”

“Refrigerated Welding tips Save Time and Money,” When I saw this title, I thought, at first, "Ah hah, more use for industrial refrigeration. Maybe we need to put more family money in there." Then it turned out that  this is actually a refrigerated (cooled) unit. Coolant circulates through the tip. Now, this is remarkable. I was in my worldly-wise thirties when the grizzled elders of this industry first made aircraft with saws and emery boards, and now they are wielding devices that would shame a science-pulp writer and his "blasters." (What can I say? Your younger son's reading materials surround me!)

That said, I feel as though my enthusiasms are in danger of taking me for a ride, rather like our local business council, dropping money at Fortune's elevated rates to trumpet to the nation the triumph  of landing a factory for record-keeping cards in San Jose!

H. L. Federman, “How Tax Policies Affect Our Industry’s Future.” “Profitless prosperity”seems to be the point, and the generous dividends of last month some fever vision of a land beyond the sea of dreams.

Carl E. Swanson, “Supercharged Ignition Cures ‘Rough Engine’” Northwestern Airlines has fixed the problem of rough DC-3 engines by adding a supercharging harness to prevent moisture buildup and stuff. It is curious that one never hears about problems such as these until they are solved. Unless one has had a few occasions to fly on a DC-3.

Aviation wants you to know that the dark-skinned men working on P-40s here are "heavily-tanned." Why else would they look like that? In this light, I mention that "Mrs. J. C." worked all the cunning of the female of the species to secure Wong Lee's son ambition last month. I do not imagine that he will ever be more than a sublieutenant of the naval reserve ("Lieutenant, j. g." in Americanese), but I expect that in the long run, wartime command of a United States naval craft will count for far more than his substantive rank. 

R. Dixon Speas, et al. “Cruise Control for Flying Efficiency” is part vi of “Current problems” –I think. Anyway, here is yet another discussion of some form of automatic control in the cockpit. The American public seems quite taken with "Elmer the autopilot."

“Sideslips” is upset that Ford and Kaiser have been allowed to boast about their production when other firms aren’t allowed to seek publicity about their in fact much better production records.

Aviation News

Bomb tonnage on Germany up 30%; Russia may join the air attack on Germany. The Martin Mars has finished its m ission to Brazil, which was to do one useful thing to justify their cost before the end of the war. Blaine Stubblefield just wants us to know that while bombing enemy railroads is useless,Brigadier General Johnson, who led the attack on Ploesti is a hero. A B-24 just made the Atlantic run in 11h 35min. The new Wright Cyclone is in service. November’s aircraft production was a record 8,789, including 1000 bombers.  Some P-47s now have water injection in their engines. 

Oh. Did I somehow, unavoidably, downplay the fact that American air production fell 211 aircraft short of the 9000 plane revised target? Perhaps that is because the story was buried in Aviation, too. As an American propagandist, I would certainly not be ashamed at having built 1000 heavy bombers in a month. I am sure that the British figure is nowhere near that high. I would be worried about the loss rate. And I am.

Sometimes, cynicism can be a defence, Reggie. While I do not despair, as I have at some points in this long war, I frankly do not see a way out of this war that does not end in some kind of compromise with Berlin and Tokyo. What of poor China, then? Instead of being coerced into moving more poor refugees into America, perhaps we should get back into the business in our own right?

Ah, well, a toast to the Navy, Army, and Air Force. that they achieve a miracle on the coast of Europe this summer, and bring "194Q" to this whole, suffering nworld. 

*Scraped from Food.com


  1. Still enjoying the work you are doing here.

  2. Has anyone checked the economic numbers for 1947? I did this morning. Holy crap. I wish an economist would tell me what happened.