Friday, July 24, 2015

Postblogging Technology, June 1945, I: The Inventors



Group Captain R_. C_., RCAFVR, DSO, DFC (Bar),
RAAF Richmond,
NSW,
Australia

Dearest Father:

What a relief! First, the war in Europe is well and definitively over. Second, I am  not to be repudiated by the family! I cannot thank you enough for your support in the matter of assistance. I wish that Uncle George were here, since it strikes me that some naval architectural advice would go far to alleviating the risks involved. The last thing the family would want is another 'white slavery' fiasco. The number of elders of the community determined to provide their grandsons with picture brides is amazing to me, but what am I to say? I shall have to bring up the matter of support and novel ventures again in a moment, but the whole thing is so strange that I shall leave you on the hooks for a moment!

Oh, I am sorry, my manners! I hope that the war finds you well in Australia. One would think that it would! My latest letters from Uncle George and James breathe relief at the end of the dreadful Ryukyus campaign, while it increasingly looks as though the Australian project will come to nothing. While I do not know much about strategy and diplomacy other than what I read in the papers, it seems as though we must look forward to a Japanese peace before my time, the turn of the leaves, or the arrival of British bombers in Okinawa. Next year in California!

"Miss V.C." has gone to the Couer d'Alene house for an extended stay, promising to be on the train the moment she hears of my confinement. She wants to thoroughly investigate the papers there, and has promised in return to supervise some long-pending modernising. Indoor plumbing and replacing the wiring to support something more robust than 60 watt lightbulbs in every room might be a bit much to ask given the lack of labour, but I have a promising lead on an electric furnace, a suitable appliance for the new main we must have anyway --we can then have either radiant heat in the rooms when the house is wired, or persist with the forced air ducting, although it is much too big, I am told, for that to work out well. The same excavation (or wire hanging) can then bring in a  telephone, very much overdue. 

Miss v. Q is in a tizzy over the expected confinements, but much soothed by her rapid progress towards an American driver's license, which apparently she simply must have for teaching in the fall, as life on the Berkeley campus would be, I am told, unthinkable without it. There is also talk of a business visit to a country house in Virginia known to Lieutenant A. --near Washington, I am told with a juvenile wink--. The Lieutenant is here and there and on about the country with manic energy since Wong Lee's little adventure, and not least where "Miss V.C.' is to be found. Although if I find him to be doing the Engineer's business, I shall be cross!

Returning to Miss v. Q., I am not so naive as to wonder whether she needs quite as much practice driving as she claims, but it is a beautiful summer here, and there is so much to see, and Professor K. has invited her to the Napa house several times already. He thinks her a good influence on Miss K., who chatters on about everything except what the good Professor things a young lass should be concerned with. Miss v. Q. takes a more tolerant view, which puts her on good terms with both.   And she does need distraction.

On the matter of her beloved, in so much more danger than mine, we have good news. Our new agent has returned from his voyage to Vladivostok with the package, a heavy bundle of prewar banknotes, carefully concealed with all of Fat Chow's art. I have passed it on to Cousin E., with strict instructions that Uncle Henry is to buy ten year bonds with it, which seems a long enough time frame for the Oahu project. No car factories, steel mills, airports, flying boats, hospitals, or other brainstorms, in other words! It is distressing to think that we are securing the money of the same clans whose sons now aim their aircraft at my beloved's ships, but they are old, old partners. 

Now, the bizarre matter: we have placed a great deal of trust in our new agent, and, of course, he wants something more than money, or he would have taken his chances in stealing our package! Specifically, he wants to be a science fiction writer. I am no judge of literary merit, but he seems more than talented enough by the standards of the competition, although your youngest writes from Michigan that he is put off by the man's style. On the other hand, a striking and odd style is, I am told, apt to gather a devoted following if delivered well. This said, using family influence to secure a placement in some odd literary magazine would be a spectacular waste of effort. I am open to suggestions.



Finally, with the letter, a puzzled note from Fat Chow, who has been approached to reactivate his pretended role as an exiled Kalmyk prince. Something is going on in far Sinkiang. I assume that it is just a matter of the Russians muscling in, but I can't help recalling Sir Eric's assassination. 

"GRACE."

A cloverleaf! How romantic.


The Economist, 2 June 1945

Leaders
Ipsos Custodes” The caretaker government put in place by the Prime Minister with probably only a bit more than a month to the General Election is enormously important and well worth attention, because several Conservative  no-hopers will be able to play minister for a few weeks. Even the paper recognises that it is all but impossible to have a non-Labour man at the Labour Ministry during demobilisation, “but if a Tory has to fill the post, Mr. Butler is as good a choice as can be made.” RAB Butler? I am sure that his career is full of nice things done for trade unions, only on condition of anonymity. Or the paper is being sarcastic. The paper goes on to say nice things about Mr. Bevin, even suggesting that he should be the Labour Prime Minister. The paper’s endorsement will impress Labour’s rank and file . . .

“New Model in Europe” Let’s talk about talking about the United States of Europe! General Smuts is the lead-off talker. Well begun is half done! (Yes, I am calling a new “talking about talking about” subject. Civil aviation has to wear thin now that there is civil aviation, while it will surely take years, if not decades of talking to get this right. And who doesn’t like talking?)

“Exports and Industry” Last week (I peeked, but will spare you the sad and gory details, especially concerning poor Burma, where the restored British government got off to a good start by repudiating the Japanese rupee notes), the paper was turning the rations cuts in Britain into a question of a world shortage of food, which there may well be, but is not the cause of the cuts. In an interesting contrast to the way that the American papers are covering it, the Economist talks about a global agreement by the Allied partners to share and share alike (steak, mainly, but also sugar and bacon). 



Back to this week, where the paper is on about the supreme importance of exports. “To pay for a volume of imports comparable to that of 1938 will call for an increase of about 50% by volume in British exports.” This, the paper deems a very hard task for a country which produced more than 20,000 warplanes in the last year. For, it says, the great standbys of British exports are coal and textiles. Coal is too expensive, it says, while the textile industries are having great difficulties getting their labour force back at their old rates. 

No, gentlemen, you are confused. The slaves grow cotton. They do not mill it. Seriously: British coal exports have been in trouble for years, and the cause for that, I understood, was the irreversible decline in demand for steam coal. The paper notices that Congress is not likely to go for the combination of an exports drive with Lend-Lease, but seems oblivious to the good chance that it won't go for Lend-Lease at all for very much longer. So since a sufficient export of goods is impossible, the Government is prepared (gasp) to support an adverse balance of payments for a few years. Even though borrowing from the United States would be a terrible thing, with unimaginable consequences. (Unlike taking from the United States under Lend-Lease, which is fine.)

The problem, the paper goes on, with an export drive is “one of supply, since there is likely to be no shortage of demand.” I –what? The problem with importing so much is that there is nothing to import? Is that how I am to understand this? Because if there is demand for exports, what is holding exports back, if not imports to make exports? And if there must be 50% more British exports available on world markets, and there is no lack of demand, only Government can see that this is done. Because all the laws of capitalism have been repealed? No, because otherwise our exporters might charge too-high prices, which the market will happily bear. However, in two years or so, there might be a reaction on world markets in favour of lower prices, and then Britain would be in trouble. So we must have wartime methods of organisation to prevent either price rises or declines in quality. And there must be, of course, reorganisation in various industries in order to achieve full technical efficiency.

In short: Mining having ruined coal by refusing to pay the wages demanded (because of declining demand), the paper sees the same strategy saving British industry in general, since demand must soon decline.

“The Levant Crisis” Let’s talk about talking about the situation in the Middle East! I should perhaps not make light of the fighting in Syria, with artillery fire in Damascus and the bombing of Hama, but this is a page and a half on how the right kinds of talks, with the right composition, might resolve the problem of the Syrians not wanting the French in Syria. I propose an alternative solution. . .

Notes of the Week

“No Policy for Coal” As see above. Full technical efficiency, and, if Mr. Foot is being interpreted correctly, continuing conscription for miners. I am sure that he is not, but he did talk about coal being put on the basis of “national service and the attainment of maximum productive efficiency.” Perhaps conscription of coal owners, instead? “No proposal for the coal industry should be entertained for a moment unless they clearly state how it is proposed to reconcile a decent standard of living for the miners with the urgently necessary reduction in the price of coal.”

“Unfinished Business” The paper gives its list of bills before Parliament which should be pushed through before it rises in two weeks.

“The Electorate” The new register is imperfect.

“Wild Men of Blackpool” The Labour convention is full of leftist lunatics, but one thing that is not on the fringe is the denunciation of another Labour-Tory coalition.


“UNCIO: The Last Phase” Talks on the new United Nations charter seem to be coming towards some kind of compromise due to the broad spirit of public interest and the fact that San Francisco restaurants are running out of meat. Something about a veto to be resolved? All seems rather dry  to me.

“Great Power Agreement” Are we to have one? Or a confrontation with “the East?” Also see “Policies for Germany.”

“Control of Engagements” From now on, employers can only engage certain age groups (men 18-50, women 18—40) with the approval of employment agencies. Exceptions are single mothers with children under the age of 14, ex-Servicemen or –women exercising their reinstatement rights, part-time workers, agricultural workers in England and Wales, fishermen, managerial and professional appointments, excepting engineers, chemists and nurses. This is a considerable relaxation of wartime controls, though, so good news. Otherwise, who knows to what kind of calamity the shortage of labour would give rise?

“Demobilisation of Doctors” The policy for doctors’ release is laid down. Doctors are not to be released with their age groups because of a shortage ahead of the coming war with Japan. However, various mollifying steps are to be taken.

“Councils or Cabals” The paper thinks that the new rules for local government may produce either, and calls for more talking.

“Black Week for Japan” The paper wishes that it was being published in Japan again. The actual “black week” just means the firebombing of Yokohama and Nationalist advances in Fukien Province.

“New Blood for French Cabinet” The local elections are evidence that de Gaulle’s cabinet needs more leftists, the paper thinks. Blum, Thorez, Herriot are suggested.

“Franco in Situ” General Franco is “the most unpopular leader in Europe.” But he is likely to give up on Tangier, disband the Falange, welcolme back “Reds,” and, in general, weather all this unpopularity.

The O’Neill InquiryThe horrific ordeal of Dennis O’Neill at the hands of Reginald Gough could have been prevented by the Newport authority, but also by the Shropshire authority, which explicitly refused care of supervision for the children. 

American Survey

“The Trade Agreements Bill” The Bill, which repelled every Republican attempt at amendment, is the clearest evidence yet that the Congress supports the Administration’s foreign trade policy. Bretton Woods is going through, too.

“Mr. Hoover Enters the White House” The Engineer has crowbarred his way in to see the President on the strength of his expertise in the field of feeding Europe’s poor, providing they are sufficiently grateful, with other people’s money. Or, alternatively, the President has nicely kneecapped the GOP by inviting the Engineer along with Landon and Dewey, cementing the Engineer's position as a "party leader" in the eyes of anyone who might have been tempted to vote Republican. On the third hand, he is making nice with the GOP delegation ahead of the arrival of the San Francisco Charter before Congress. On the fourth, he is warning Europeans that UNRRA food aid will come with the kind of strings that the Inter-Allied Food Council’s aid.

“An Idle Gargantina” No, I have no idea what a "Gargantina" is. That is why I rendered it by its sound. Willow Run will be idled after the last Liberator is delivered in August.  Five million square feet is a lot of idle. Mr. Ford doesn’t want it. Its 21,000 workers are in desperate demand elsewhere in Detroit. Uncle Henry is out of the picture, they say, and the best alternative suitor the rumour mill can conjure up is the CIO. However, schemes to simply hand it over at whatever price someone is willing to pay are coming forward, and Uncle Henry did come up with the first one. He is an inventor! A sad end to making bombers by the yard and chopping them off by the foot.

It doesn't look so gargantuan by the standards of 2010.( "General Motors Willow Run Transmission plant" by Dwight Burdette, Wikipedia.)

“The Battle of Freight Rates” The Interstate Commerce Commission’s ruling has been good for some battling. Governor Dewey is mentioned as one of those who is not in favour of better rates for new industrial regions. Because he really doesn’t want to be President that much.

“Another Election for the US” Americans are enjoying watching the British elections unfold. The New York Daily News, which used to hate Churchill back when it loved Lindbergh, now loves Churchill, as does the Hearst press. And the “left and liberal press.” Well, then. Doesn’t he have American citizenship? He can run here!

Correspondence

“Electrical Engineering” P. C. Smethurst reads the entire 5 May article and points out that the old complaint that a 60 watt lamp costs 6d (10 cents) in Britain, 2 cents in America, is ill-founded on several grounds. In “The Prospects for Exports,” “Bradford Exporter” writes that the country has a wool surplus and could export it if the Government would only get up off its rear.

The World Overseas

“Nazi Legacy in Norway” German occupation was bad for Norway!

“Eire’s Finances” Our Correspondent in Dublin wakes up from his slumber to show that the war was very good for Eire, and that this is bad, because it led to a rise in the cost of living and  a budget deficit, (after money was moved around, since the actual numbers  show a surplus of almost 2 millions in revenue over expenditure.) There will be an actual deficit next year, but OCD is confident of the future, because external debt is low, and the country bears no burden of reconstruction. He does add that it would be impossible to provide the full range of Beveridge services in Eire.



“Palestine’s Imports” Our Jerusalem Correspondent puts his finger on Palestine’s real problem right now. It is that it imports too much grain and gives out too much in individual grain rations at a cost of P£25 million per year. I notice a "grain extraction rate" of 90%, so I find it hard to believe that the Palestinians are being extravagant here. Other imports are also high, but not nearly as high as they need to be, meaning that Britain has an opportunity here. Because Palestinians love Britain!

The Business World

“The Future of Bank Advances” Will bank advances be crucial to the future of British industry? Perhaps, and perhaps not.

“Fats and Vegetable Oils” The recorded world production of edible oils in 1938 was about 19 million tons a year: vegetable oil, 59.4%; butter, 21.2%; lard, 10.6%; tallow, 4.2%; whale oil, 2.9%; fish oil, 1.7%. Before the war, the industrialised countries were heavy importers, and one third was used by industry, most notably for soap making, followed by paint. Even the United States met 73% of its consumption by imports. The loss of Manchuria’s 2 million tons of soya beans in 1938 was a hard blow, of tung oil, of whaling’s 500,000 tons/year. To compensate, the American production, mainly of vegetable oils such as linseed and cotton oil, although also soya oil, increased. Now, new supplies must be called in to meet Europe’s needs.

Business Notes

Restrictions on capital issues have been relaxed, and there has been a partial rally at home, bad news for us, but we have to accept that capital export controls cannot go on forever. Greece is having troubles over the value of the drachma, which is inflating rapidly. Gold sales have been stopped. The Greek situation may have been partially responsible for the rapid rise of gold on Middle East centres. The new savings drive has been postponed, and the paper is disappointed. Coal statistics are also disappointing, and the mining labour force is up to 16.5% over 55. Absenteeism is up to 16.1$, and he paper is critical of the use of men. Twelve thousand miners are to be released from the armed forces on a priority basis, but this is not enough. Also, costs of production are up, mainly due to higher wages. If only we could have lower wages and more workers! Gas and electricity production, meanwhile, are up over the war. Americans are heated over Workers Compensation changes. Dunlop Rubber and Edmondson Electrics seem to be doing well. As are two reporting oil companies.  The troubles of steel and wool are noted, and United Molasses orders two 10,000 ton tankers to meet war losses.

Flight, 7 June 1945

“The Wilbur Wright Lecture” “Ted” Wright is the finest human being the paper has ever had the honour of knowing. After President Roosevelt, of course. The paper never actually met President Roosevelt. It just brought his name up more-or-less at random. But it wouldn’t mind if you thought that it had.

“U.S. Air Forces Leave Burma” It being noticed that the Burmese did not want them there, the Americans, to their credit, take the hint.

“Fido Figures” “Fido,” an airfield fog-dispersal system involving burning massive amounts of gas in open braziers, is a good idea from the point of view of air operations, in spite of not being cost effective.
"Miles Aerovan 1955" by RuthAS - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Miles_Aerovan_1955.jpg#/media/File:Miles_Aerovan_1955.jpg


War in the Air

“It is not very far from Tokyo to Yokohama, the latter being a great naval port, and an industrial centre as well. So it was not unexpected that American Superfortresses should turn up there. . . “ Japanese news broadcasts reveal that former ambassador to France, Viscount Ishii, was killed in the last Tokyo raid, along with tens of thousands of boringly unfamous people.

“Another piece of bad news for the Japanese was the launch of a new British carrier, H.M.S. Powerful. Furious has been withdrawn from service. The author remembers flying over Furious prewar, “a number of years ago.” No word on the number or type of British bombers to be sent to the Far East has appeared yet, but they will surely be welcome because “Thoughthe Sueprfortresses have done magnificent work, they do not carry very heavybomb loads.” Something seems to have gone wrong at the paper this week. A more blatant example than this weak broth will follow.

the later HMCS Bonaventure, as it turns out. It never frightened any Japanese, but it was scrapped in Taiwan, which is close.

Here and There

Colonel Colin Gibson, the Canadian Air Minister, announces that the RCAF will be reducing its strength from 165,000 to 100,000 and accepting volunteers for Pacific service.  Canadian scientists differ from Ariesfinding of the Magnetic North Pole, asserting that they stand by their preferred location. 

Shamballah. I'm not sure how mainstream the idea that it is the Magnetic North Pole is in Buddhist cosmology, though. Image scraped from a website which has no time for attributing artist's work.


The Navy Department asks shipyards to redouble their efforts to build aircraft carriers, as construction schedules are slipping due to manpower shortages. At present the US has 26 carriers and 65 escort carriers, and will need “many” more for the invasion of Japan. The P-47N exists more. Group Captain Fulljames will contest Southampton as Liberal candidate. A pilot, and engineer, and a left-handed bowler who bowled 52 consecutive overs against the Army XI at the Oval in 1928, he also found time to assist Mr. H. P. Folland in founding a chapter of the Air League of the British Empire in Southampton. The Air Ministry is sponsoring an aluminium exhibit, and the story of Group Captain Larry Wray, RCAF, who caught a falling parachute in mid-air, donned it, and survived his fall, is told. With a note of skepticism. Ex-Halton apprentices gave a nice dinner for Lord Trenchard, who was unable to attend. It is announced, again, that British bombers will, eventually, bomb Japan. The story about the US air forces shooting down 10,000 Japanese aircraft in the last these few months is getting boring, so the number is revised to 11,601. George Angus and Co., Newcastle-upon-Tyne, made the “Gaco” synthetic rubber which sealed the PLUTO underwater pipeline to the continent. The B-32 will not enter combat in any great numbers. Nr. H. N. Sporborg, chairman of BTH, will retire at the end of this month after 43 years of service.
I have no idea if this is Mr. H. N. Sporborg's son, but it is the face of a man who was born on third base, etc.



No, seriously.


“Britain’s Aircraft: Exhibit in the Heart of London, Opening June 21st”” A mighty display of Lancasters, Halifaxes, Beaufighters, Fireflies, Tempests, Austers, Spitfires, Mosquitoes, Walrusses, and “part of a Wellington” are on tap. There will also be engine cross-sections, a display of bombs, working models, and many earnest lecturers exhibiting turrets, armament, airscrews, radio equipment, plastics “use of wood, and such-like.” “Maintenance services will not be overlooked.” The paper is thrilled that flying boats will be there. As will the RAF Band!

Miles Aerovan (M57): Functionally Designed General-purpose Aircaft with Particular Appeal for Operators of New Ventures” Miles suggests, for example, a “flying shop,” taking the thrills of high street to the counties; a flying operating theatre; a “flying caravan,” and all sorts of other things that would make good punch lines after one showed the audience a picture of this absurd little thing. At least it looks more sensible than the Libellula.

Indicator Discusses “A Pilot’s Job is No Sinecure: Teaching a Better Understanding Between Ground and Flying Staff: The Need for Patience and Confidence on Both Sides: Some Earthbound Misconceptions”

An ad tells us that “The World’s fastest ship, the Short Shetland, flies with De Havilland Propellers!”

“Sunderland’s Fast Flight” Lord Wavell flew home in a Short Sunderland in a mere 28 hours and 23 minutes.

“No. 38 Group: A Striking Force with No Equal: How the British Airborne Armies Came into Being” No. 38 Group was in charge of dropping parachutists. The paper is so excited by parachutist-dropping that it decides to insult some Americans (and Russians.)

“Two Novel Types” Things are so boring around here what with Germany being defeated and all that the paper decides to cover the Northrop XP-56 and the Spratt/Stout controllable wing plane again.

“D.H. Gipsy Major: Now 1500-hour Overhaul Period” The Gipsy was first tested in 1937, and after the proof 1500 hour run, the engine wsa found to need 2 main bearings, 2 connecting rods, 8 compressiona and 4 scraper rings, 8 valve guids, 8 rocker pads, 1 oil pump relief valve, 1 induction manifold elbow, 1 flame trap valve, 1 valve tappet, as well as sundry joint caskets, rubber conenctions, washers, split pins, control bushes, and levers. Replacement does not mean that they were fatally worn. An engine reassembled out of the worn parts was able to give another 300 hours of service.

“Fuel Development: How Chemists and Scientists Have Helped in Making Possible the Present High Specific Power Output of Aircraft Engines” to understand this exciting new frontier of science, we first have to go all the way back to the halcyon days of 1927, fully eighteen years ago. In that year, the Supermarine S. 5 won the Schneider Cup with an unsupercharged Napier Lion VII B engine running at a 10:1 compression ratio, using a special straight-run petrol with a high concentration of lead, developing 880hp. This was probably the first major aviation event where the fuel was tailored to the engine so that it could give its best, untroubled by predetonation. Two years later, the Supermarine S. 6 won the Schneider Cup with a supercharged Rolls-Royce “R” engine giving 1800hp. The thousand hp increase in two years was due to the use of a “semi-synthetic fuel containing tetra-ethyl lead and certain other constituents.” Shh! It’s a secret. The 1931 version of the R gave 50% more power, at 2350hp, the “50%” of the last sentence evidently applying to the attempt on the world speed record later that year, at 2650hp. Therefore, we should all look back, misty-eyed, at the Schneider Cup. In 1933, the RAF adopted 87 octane fuel. That was progress that might or might not be related in any way to the Schneider Cup. Later, there was 100/130. which was quite good for the war. Quite a nice paper on the subject was given by Air Commodore F. R. Banks, who probably knows something about the subject of more recent vintage than the Schneider Cup, unlike the author of this article, who is now off to get drunk somewhere. Taa!



I will be accused of being facetious, but this is simply all there is. Even for a well-known event 18 years ago, the article cannot be bothered to give any chemical information, and things do not get any clearer later on. This really is a terrible effort. It's not completely indicative of the issue, but I wonder if there is something wrong with the editor.

“Fog Dispersal: ‘FIDO’ Out of His Kennel: A Brilliant British Development” British, I say! British! That means not American! Fog used to be the worst enemy of flying(!) So, on September 26th, 1942, the Prime Minister told everyone to get cracking on Buck Rogers gadgets to beat fog. Mostly they involved burning a great deal of coal or gas: LMS tried coal; Gas Light and Coke Ltd tried gas; ICI tried hot air blowers run by Rolls Royce Merlin engines (apparently in surplus by this time?); Anglo-Iranian went the other way, experimenting with artificial fog production at the Earls Court ice rink. And this helps because . . . ?  The upshot was that a temperature increase of 7 degrees F was enough to clear the fog, which once having been discovered with all this SCIENCE, turned out to be well known to Kent orchard growers with their heaters. Petrol burners being quick to start, they were chosen, andt he first operational use of FIDO was on 19 November 1943, with visibility outside the cleared area being down to a hundred yards. Since then, 15 airfields have been equipped.



So there you go. The paper is capable of delivering on useful detail. The point that FIDO essentiallly reinvented what the fruit growers of Kent already knew perfectly well is of a piece with the inventors we'll soon meet in this month's Fortune, too.

“Aviation’s Place in Civilisation: Mr. T. P. Wright’s Inspiring Wilbur Wright Memorial Lecture: Avoiding War: International Interdependence and Co-operation” I vaguely recall Mr. Wells suggesting that we would have world peace through air power once we got the apocalypse out of our system. I suppose the question is whether the last war was enough apocalypse. Mr. Wright hopes so. With the preliminaries out of the way, he went on to show how Amerrica’s wartime aviation industry contributed to the advance of civilisation by making ever more airplanes every year for the cause of peace through blowing stuff up. Other countries also made excellent devices that contribute to the onward march of civilisation, such as the gyro-stabilised gunsight, paratroopers, buzz bombs and rockets. In the future, there will be helicopters and radar.


Major F. A. de V. Robertston, V.D., “Lessons of the Air War: part IV: Air Power and Land Power” Speaking of inane –and Major Robertson hasn’t the excuse of being extracted in a weekly. Typically for Major Robertson, the article begins in 1918, and is graced on the front page by a picture of my beloved, poky old Lysander. And if a spirit of thoroughness had carried him through the war in the same level of detail –well, he would be no newspaper writer. Instead, goaded on, he quickly arrives at Stukas and “no close support” in 1940, and, turn the page, a Typhoon, now with rockets. At the bottom left of the last page of the article is a subtitle with the words “2nd TAAF” in it, which, I suppose is more than enough space for everything from D-Day on.

Civil Aviation News

Non-priority BOAC Atlantic flying will start within a few months. Stabinoil exists more. The Australian air line link exists more. Warsaw is to have an airport. Prestwick! Scottish Aviation!

Correspondence

G. A. Chamberlain thinks that there should be a National Air Museum, in case everyone forgets Britain’s part in aeronautical development. J. P. Trainor writes four paragraphs on how flying boats could fly freight using existing port facilities.  You know, with the cranes that reach down and around and in through narrow hatches? (He means rivers, by the way. Because rivers are kind of a port facility, and lots of ports have rivers.) Hugh Oswald Short writes that the RAF adopted the Short Method of Flying-Boat moorings. Oswald also wants us to know that he discovered the source of the Nile, penicillin and the canals of Mars, and showed them all to the King of Spain, the Duke of York and the King. Years ago. Before the war.  

The Economist, 9 June 1945

Leaders

“Churchill and Atlee” The Prime Minister’s radio speech calling the General Election was “lamentable,” the paper thinks. The paper likes Churchill less and less, but cannot bear to endorse Atlee. At lunch with the faculty again, I shared the notion of The Economist endorsing Labour to general hilarity.

“Drift in the Levant” Let’s talk about talking about the Middle East! (The concrete details of the intervention in Syria are surely in the press in Australia, so I don’t have to trouble myself with them.)

“Civil Service Reform” Why yes, paper, with this weight pressing on my kidneys, I do need some help falling asleep!

“Displaced Persons” . . And then there is tragedy, as millions of people are set on their feet in Europe with no idea where they are to end up. Can the UNRRA deliver? And what of eastern Europeans?

“Western Defence” Let’s talk about talking about the United States of Europe!

Notes of the Week

“One Germany or Four” There needs to be more talking about talking about Germany.



“Crux at San Francisco” Unfortunately, the only place where you can talk about talking about the world right now is San Francisco, and everyone else is jealous and hopes that the stalemate over the veto and the Secratariat goes on forever. Serves ‘em right for hogging all the good talking!

“Controls in the Transition” Tory appointments and policies will guide the government for weeks yet, and Morrison and Cripps are appalled at things. Also, taxation will be governed by Sir John Anderson for the entire summer.

The Canadian Election” The whole world is coming together to help me sleep.

“More Changes in Chungking” T. V. Soong is back. His new title is “Prime Minister,” and because he is widely beloved in Washington, we are told, this fully heals the breach with America caused by General Stilwell being right in an annoying way. Russia, on the other hand, is thought to be putting pressure on.

“’Liberation’ For Persia” Now that there is no earthly reason for the Allies to have troops in Persia, the Persian government has suggested that they might leave, perhaps in six months or so, or six months after the end of the war with Japan. The Foreign Office is ‘sympathetic,’ but cannot do anything until the Russians do. It’s all down to the other fellow, desperately sorry, old man, but what can you do?

“Italy and AMG” Also on the agenda for eventual liberation, Italy! The thought here is that it is down to the inability of the Italians to form a national government, as there are too many socialistic types in the newly-liberated North.

“The Italian Liberation Commission” and “The Boundary [of local governments] Commission” hardly need summary.

“Agricultural Plans” It always is, and will forever be, 1846, notwithstanding Mr. Hudson’s crazed notion that food can be raised in Great Britain. Total arable will be up slightly at 14,800,000 acres in  1947—8, dairy cows also up slightly at 2,870,000, other cattle at 4,750 thousands, sheep at 15,000,000. Milk for human consumption will be at 1.49 million gallons, meat at 800,000 tons, eggs at 100,000 tons (with huge increases in eggs, from 73,000, and pork, from 112,000.) The paper needs a special header to make fun of the Minister’s belief that “dear food is better than cheap food” and find him the most arrant and ill-intentioned liar ever to lay a lie before the House, and yet a third to denounce attempts to find labour for agriculture.

“Education in Scotland” Has its own bill, because Scotland is a different sort of place, full of Presbyterians. (See? I did pay attention to the missionaries who used to grace Father’s table. I know what a Presbyterian is. Sort of. Unless it hasn’t to do with men in skirts.)

“Reconstruction in Burma” Burma has rice, needs imports, lacks “inducement goods” to lure farmers into producing for the market. Also, the occupation authorities just invalidated all the money. That's got to have something to do with it, too.

Poles and British Communists are excitable.

“London’s Shortages” There are various shortages in London, including of goods said to be in good supply, such as coffee and cigarettes, and, more seriously, bread. Meanwhile, in Europe, where there is much liquid wealth set afoot, there is demand for the same. What a curious world we live in.

American Survey

“Fruit in the Future” By Our Correspondent in Oregon, who agrees with Fortune, if I recall correctly, that the Northwest is running out of trees, but makes an exception for fruit trees. Quick freezing and air transport may be the future here.

American Notes
“One Mr. Johnson Stands Pat” Senator Johnson of Colorado calls for repeal of the Johnson Act and the cancellation of WWI debts.
Quite the tie, there, Governor.

“Mr. Baruch has a Plan” Reparations and the dismantling of German and Japanese war industries are discussed, but the key issue is the end of German and Japanese “sweated labour,” which wins overly large export markets. Fascism is all about the sweated labour. Now can we talk about getting wages down in Britain, some more?

“Reconversion –Slow but Sure” Let’s talk about—

“Everything for the Veterans” Veterans have been promised various things which might not come to fruition without very necessary reforms of the Veterans’ Administration, which now must be discussed.

“Another Enemy” It is thought that the war with Japan may yet devolve into a race war. At least, so the paper reads Secretary Ickes’ recent statement on “exclusionist” policies against returning Japanese detainees. It’s an odd race war against the Yellow man which touches the Japanese but not the Chinese, I should say. The Admiral and General MacArthur’s highly prejudicial statements against Japanese serve to show what kind of Americans think these things. Then the paper proceeds to endorse all the old logic about how Asiatics would be better accepted if they just spread themselves out better.

“The Formula May Go” The War Labour Board may be forced to abandon its effort to control wages, because Senator Taft opposes all controls on the grounds that they restrict profits but not prices, and what Senator Taft says, goes. Apparently.

The World Overseas

“The End of a Dream” Germans have noticed that they have lost the war, and are uncertain of who to blame, now that they can’t blame Jews and backstabbers. They would blame the Nazis, only suddenly there are no Nazis.

“Italy’s Economic Underground” The Italian Resistance apparently prepared for a full economic reorganisation on the coming of peace while running a national economy across the front lines.

The Business World

“Capital for Reconstruction” Details of the relaxation of restrictions on the formation of capital for new business are laid out.

The Occupations of the British” A new report by Mr. H. Frankel on the “Industrial Distribution of the Population of Great Britain in July, 1939” is out. The proportion of people working in 1939 was quite high, of course, but had not gone anywhere near as far as it could in drawing women into the work force, with only 37.5% gainfully employed, the high proportion employed in 1918 having fallen dramatically by 1920. Two thirds are still in manual work, while almost a third are now in non-productive occupations.

Business Notes

Markets are down, perhaps because of the election, or the new capital rules. Mr. B. G. Cattterns is retiring as deputy-director of the Bank of England, to be replaced by Mr. C. F. Cobbold. France is to have new bank notes, in part to check inflation. The Drachma has been devalued again. Cheque-cashing practices are to be tightened to reduce tax evasion and the black market. Mr. Bevin thinks that existing British cars are too small and underpowered, and thinks it due to tax policy. Better policy might serve to increase exports, so, all to the good. (But cars are famously low value-added by labour, and the raw materials must be imported. Does the paper think these things through?)

“Aviation in India” Some parts of the world are so backward that they are still talking about talking about civil aviation. Though it would be silly to talk about talking about the United States of Europe, or the state of the Middle East, in India, so I can excuse them.

“Iraq’s ‘Hard’ Currency” Egypt and Iraq are the only non-Empire members of the Sterling Area, and want more hard currency. They seem to have a very ungenerous view of the amount they must sacrifice to meet the neeeds of their imperialist masters, I must say.

“Profit Limitation in Australia” Australian customs rules are hard on a tobacco importer. Though it would be pretty absurd to have a trade war with Australia to force it to be kinder to a tobacco company.

Elsewhere, coal production disappoints again, the Amalgamated Engineering Union celebrates its jubilee, and Imperial Continental Gas might have an idea how much money it is making on the continent soon.

Flight, 14 June 1945

Leaders

“Designing for the Customer” Low wing transport planes have no future because the wing gets in the way of views of the ground. The Miles Aerovan has a high wing, and, therefore, no matter how silly it looks, it might be the future.
“Fastest and Heaviest” Now that the war is over, we are permitted to reveal the de Havilland Vampire, Avro Lincoln (more or less), Supermarine Spiteful and de Havilland Hornet.
Assume a Twilight joke.

Oops. Source.

Now that's the good stuff.


War in the Air

The capture of Naha airfield on Okinawa brings our land aircraft closer to Japan! Enemy suicide bombers attacked our carriers, but our casualties were few. Americans were heard to express relief at that. “Baka: suicide bombs were also used against recent B-29 daylight raids. AnAdmiralty chart published this week shows that 351 U-boats were sunk by Allied aircraft against 262 by ships and submarines, with 224 of the former by land-based aircraft. The P-38 “Droop Snoot” two-place bomber variant exists more. Demobilising the RAF is difficult, as a disproportionate share of its ground force was taken form older men who are a demobilisation priority. The wreckage of Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory’s aircraft has been found near Grenoble.

Here and There

The last RCAF Lancasters of 6 Group left Yorkshire last week for home. The Hawker Tornado, an early war prototype using the Rolls-Royce Vulture engine, is shown. 

The first Lancastrian for Australia has been delivered. It is thought that jets will speed the rate of aircraft replacement in the United States, says the Wall Street Journal. Aries is back(?) in Canada. Mr. Wright and Dr. von Karman were in the united Kingdom this week. The USAAF handed over the last of 5 RAF airfields in Northern Ireland this week, complete with “buildings, machinery, equipment and utility services.” Sir Roy Fedden tells The Autocar that he will have a 14hp three-cylinder, sleeve-valve-air-cooled radial rear-mounted auto engine with a torque converter on the market in no time. The body will accommodate six people, as long as they’re in no hurry toget anywhere. Group Captain Whittle received a gold medal from the Aeronautical Society, at which point the mixup was discovered, and the Benzedrine he would have traded the medal for, anyway. was substituted. (Actually, the paper simply referred to Whittle’s “tremendous enthusiasm.”) Alvis celebrated the delivery of 10,000 power units to Rolls-Royce. Air Vice Marshal Leslie O. Brown is off to America to explore our methods of training. Air Commodore Lord Willoughby de Broke, Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire, is to be the RAF’s new Director of Public Relations, replacing the late Mr. H. A. Jones. Mr. H. Warren, former director of technical education at BTH, is to be the new Managing Director. The Avro Lincoln is to be made in Australia. The new American incendiary bomb exists more. Lord Swinton says that it is up to the Secretary of State for Air to decide when private flying can resume, for safety reasons. Various British planes flew in all directions very fast for very long distances. Bristol Aircraft’s prefab aluminum home is shown.



G. Geoffrey Smith, “German Jet Aircraft” Uncle George’s heartthrob is back to discuss German turbine aircraft. Besides the general, historical interest, the Germans are significant for pushing down the axial-engine route much faster than the Allies. Their engines are not particularly powerful (mainly because of lack of strategic alloys)l, and the great speed of the Me 262 has more to do with aerodynamic cleanness than anything else. Still, the latest BMW was a seven stage axial. There was certainly no shortage of technical ingenuity, and various attempts to combat overheating, such as hollow turbine blades, are well worth exploring.

Charles Gardner, Sqn Ldr, “Whispering Death: The Story of the Beaufighters’ Share in the Battle for Burma” Apparently, the Japanese nicknamed the Beaufighter the “Whispering Death” because it was quieter than most planes due to its sleeve valve engine.  Beaufighters mainly shot up Japanese trains, troop columns, and, disturbingly to everyone involved, bullock cart convoys. One third of casualties were due to high speed stalls.


S. M. Parker, “Aircraft Ancillary Services: All-electrica nd All-hydraulic Systems Not Necessarily the Most Efficient: Each has Special Advantages: One produces Rotary Motion, the Other Longitudinal” Compromise? The author must know a very different kind of engineer. Hydraulic systems are currently more compact and deliver more instantaneous power, while electrical installations tend to be lighter.

“Aviation’s Place in Civilisation” Once we admit that bombing people does not advance civilisation, with an exception for barbaric people, it will be seen that Aviation’s place in Civilisation is to carry things. Which it does. And to enable talking about talking about civil aviation, which the article now proceeds to do.

Marshall Cabin Blower” Another cabin pressurisation blower is described.

“Civil Aviation Policy” Talking about talking about. . . And Prestwick! Scottish Aviation!

Civil Aviation News

Pan-American’s New York-Lisbon service has begun. KLM is the safest airline. Vancouver airport is to expand. Clan Line wants to run an airline. United Airlines thinks that four main types of commercial aircraft will be in use after the war. Latin America something. Afghanistan has no problem with the Chicago Civil Aviation agreement. Without going so far as to read an entire paragraph on the subject, I am inferring that they will be the big type, the not-as-big type, the not-very-big type, and the quite-small type. R. H. Henderson points out that the dangers of turning are underestimated by those who fail to realise that “only elevators affect wing-loading,” that is, due to changes in the pitching plane. All very technical, and I have no patience to read and think and think until I understand whether or not he is right.

I have an idea for the cover art for the next edition of Arkham Horror


Correspondence

F. F. Brundle is the source of the sentiment that high wings are better than low wings. “Indicator” defends his novel notion that different grades of flying licenses would make private flying safer. E. E. Fresson talks about Scottish Airways! Dennis Cook, ex RAF Flight Engineer, explains what happens when airscrews part company with planes in flight. Nothing good, although the good news is that it doesn’t smash into the plane. “Straining Stressman” agrees that aircraft designers should be tied into their own designs and thrown off a cliff –or something like that.

*


Fortune,  June 1945

The Job Before Us

The paper thinks it “not impossible” that this will be a peace number by the time it reaches readers hands. (Fortune really is the opposite of The Economist. However, the point here is that one of the big articles in this number is an exploration of the economic impact of a year of the Japan war.) What Japan is looking for, the paper says, after giving away the plot to a Japanese play it saw once, is a formula for a “moral” surrender. The paper also wants quick work on the sale of war surplus as one way of taming the coming “inflationary boom.” And it endorses an article by George Terborgh attacking the idea of “economic stagnation” (Mr. Hanson’s thesis, so beloved of The Economist’s New York Correspondent) with its own eclectic observation. How can you have economic stagnation when airplanes are getting so much bigger, better and faster so quickly? The gas turbine, as it matures, will do a body blow to “stagnationist” theories. 



The paper also wants no compromise on tariff reform, and calls for the leaders of the Republican Party (taken, as see my musings about his visit to the White House, to include still the Engineer as well as Dewey and Brownell) to speak out. Also, it mocks the inside-Washington monthly The New Republic for being rude to “Professor Friedrich Hayek” in defence of the planned economy. The New Republic thinks that Hayek is a new apologist for reaction. The paper seems to have come round to thinking about Professor Hayek the way that Flight thinks about G. Geoffrey Smith.

“One War to Go” The war in the Pacific will require $71 million of chemical stores; 571 of food; 286 of tanks; 1,429 of planes; 286 of engineering supplies; 143 of clothing; 643 of ordnance; 143 of quartermasters supplies; 429 of trucks over the next year, the equivalent of $4,200/soldier. The war may see thousand-plane B-29 raids by mid-summer, and an entire army must deploy there from Europe through America, straining ports and rails. It is thought that a full year of war with Japan might cost $60 billion. It is after that cut that civilian needs can be figured. Some concrete points are that meat supply will be down from nearly 19 billion pounds to 15.5. (Notice no word here, or anywhere else, about an agreement to cut the American meat ration. It's a supply issue.) Clothing is also in short supply as the Army steps up its buying for the Pacific war, with rayon and wool shortages looming. Planned auto production is up some more.Machine tools, lumber and steel will have to be released from military use ahead of an increase in refrigerator and other consumer good production. Steel mills are still running at 97% of capacity. Unemployment due to shifts out of munitions might rise to 2.4 million at the end of the war year with Japan. Also, the economy will continue “half slave and half free” until the fight is won –at which point Washington better let up, or there will be heck to pay.

“U.S. Meat in this War” A steak house in Chicago has been serving brisket, stew, calves’ brains and pig knuckles for months now, because steak is scarce. This is in spite of the 65 carloads of chilled beef that landed in Manila with Mrs. Douglas MacArthur. Or maybe it is because of it! The Army is buying 350lbs per man per year, giving 300lbs actual meat annually, which is 100lbs more than the 200 eaten in 1920, when steaks and chops were breakfast dishes, while the average annual consumption was 126lbs/year at the bottom of the Depression, and present consumption is 115. The War Food Administration figures that the number would be 170 if there were no restrictions. That 55lb gap is the current meat shortage. The meat that goes out to the army is chilled, canned, and sometimes even dehydrated. Better bacon is also going out, but the real key to solving the Army logistics problem was boned, frozen, packaged beef. Large packers have been boning up to 15% of beef for sausages and canning, but an output of 100% “3-way” boneless beef is a novelty. It is also a profitable one, since byproduct goes up 50%, and it is a modest and uncontrolled profit. 

It is less perishable, less heavy, and might find a postwar market as packaged, cook-ready cuts under cellophane wrap in self-service style supermarkets. The butchers’ union doesn’t like the idea of meat supplied by the packers ready-to-sell, but can hardly stop it if consumers want it.

"Self serve meat?" Bizarre.

So stop me if I wander out of my area of expertise, such as it is. (Not being able to sell mutton counts as an expertise, right?) First, we have livestock counts rising. Second, we have a meat shortage which is showing up only at Federally-regulated packing plants which handle interstate meat. Third, we have a shortage of transportation which is also cutting into efforts to clear grain, including livestock feed, from the farms. Fourth, we have a new butchery technique which requires more skilled labour, raises wage costs, and increases "byproduct." 

While I do not have the information needed to put this together into any kind of coherent picture, it does seem to me that the main cause of the meat shortage is not a failure of agriculture, but rather more systematic. The paper's embrace of he-of-the-Road-to-Serfdom would seem to reflect a certain American exasperation with planning, and it might well be that excessive resources have been diverted here and there by planning errors. --"3-in-1 butchery" seems to be the latest example of a good idea carried too far. Or too much might have been asked of the American economy.

“Phillips of Eindhoven” the liberation of the Eindhoven factory has been noticed before, but the exciting thing about Phillips is that it is a worldwide conglomerate.



“The New Transport Planes” “A 160 ton plane to carry 200 passengers at 325mph for fourteen hours is now at your call. Where did it come from, and, above all, where is it going?” I think that that’s a bit of an exaggeration, as are claims that the Stratocruiser will carry 100, the Constellation 150 passengers. The paper also seems to believe in the 320,000lb Consolidated Vultee “Super Clipper” flying boat, which I will believe when I see.   But the point is clear enough. Transport airplanes are getting much bigger, and very quickly. The paper moves on, in one of those newsmagazine ways, to wrap an explanation of the jet turbine around a potted history of aviation. Sir George Cayley thought about it in `1809! “Engineer Zand” soundproofed the cabins of transport planes in the ‘30s. (I missed that happening, and I fly!) Flight will throw a fit on the paper’s emphasis on American inventors and planes, but it’s not a bad account. Apart from being a complete waste of space, that is.

This whole supergiant transport of the future thing never gets old. Where's the swimming pool?


George Terborgh, “The Bogus Case of Economic Maturity: Washington Spenders Claim that Capitalism is Moribund Because Savings Tend to Outrun Investment Opportunities: Theirs is a Flimsy Case”

I type the full subtitle because it gets Mr. Terbolgh’s brief off to a running start. Although he then throws the brakes on hard by wandering back to the summer of 1929, and to the Engineer presiding over the Committee on Recent Economic Changes of the President’s Conference on Unemployment with not a thought of what lay before him. Well, that’s the Engineer for you.  Anyway, the point is that the Engineer’s days saw economic opportunity shining before it at the precipice of disaster, while in 1945Washington sees stagnation ahead at the dawn of economic opportunity. They are reverse Engineers! 

Which, to be fair, is my reading of Our New York Correspondent, too.

Dr. Hansen says that with technology giving ever less “room for revolution,” and population growth tapering off, opportunities for investment will taper off in turn. Savings will accumulate as idle funds, and only government spending can save us. (You can already guess from the subtitle what Mr. Terborgh thinks of that!) It is curious, Mr. Terborgh thinks, that while the theory is drawn from Keynes, its elaboration into a theory of stagnation was by Dr. Hansen, an American. What a turnabout for former, boundless American optimism. 

Mr. Terborgh goes on quote that exact same passage in The Economist which struck Uncle George so forceably, six years ago, asking why Britain might seem less "mature" than America. I do not think it any mystery under Dr. Hansen's frame of reference, given the National Defence Loan, but apparently we are not to think of this. Mr. Terborgh has no time for government spending, and is quite capable, as a child might wish, of "making it didn't happen." (And if that sounds like a reflection of a visit to the doctor, it was, and I do not thank the aunt, however well meaning, who brought her niece to the doctor to deal with the fact that the child was still upset about her father's death after being given six weeks to move on. The twins are too young to understand, of course, but you could see the effect on some of the older children.)

Distracting domestic thoughts set aside. . . 

Mr. Terborgh moves on to dispatch Hansen's "four horsemen of the apocalypse," in his phrase. The first is the idea that a declining rate of population growth has anything to do with the case. True, America’s population growth will be stationary before 2000. But the question is not whether a stationary population will have less investment, but whether it will have less investment relative to its saving. If stability curtails savings along with investment, the stagnationists will be proven wrong! 

Speculation is a weak counter-argument, so Mr. Terborgh moves on to something stronger. First (this is a sub-count, as I am giving three reasons to slay the first Horsemen, I should say in advance lest you be confused below), stagnationists believe that savings and investment are distinct, but there is some theoretical reason tot hink that this is wrong, that savings just are investments, no matter how held. 

Second, as the number of elderly in the population who are dissaving rises, the saving rate will fall. While this is surely true, do the middle-aged not save more than the young? So it depends very much on the exact numerical distribution of the age groups and their incomes, does it not? Might the middle-aged in a stationary society not have to save more? Weak broth, again.

“There appears to be no correlation between demographic expansion and economic progress,” Mr. Terborgh concludes, with the proof presumably in his book. Although unless living standards fall, ‘economic progress’ would seem to have a new meaning here. Still, I can see repairing it, so it is down to the quality of Mr. Terborgh's research.

Second (Horseman), there is the passing of the American frontier, which Mr. Terbolgh seems to have added to the Hansen argument to get to four, because four is the number of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse. At least, I have nevere seen Hansens' argument framed around the closing of the Frontier, and so  have never had to think up a counterargument, although I can, and not even bringing up Alaska. Third (Horseman) is the “Dearth of New Great Industries,” which seems to be a restatement of the “technological progress is slowing” argument.


 Now, you know and I know that Uncle George thinks that there is a new great industry out there, electrical engineering. (Even if, when pressed, the only inventions he can think of are radar and “spliced” recorded music, neither of which would seem to have large markets outside of specialist applications. On the other hand, television and refrigeration? So I am inclined to think that Uncle George will be proven right.) 

But Mr. Terborgh isn’t taking Dr. Hansen on outside the limits of his theory. Terborgh’s position is that we do not actually need great new industries to absorb investment. The old ones will do fine. The distinction here is between a few "big" investments and many small ones. 


Fourth is “the increasing importance of depreciation reserves,” which Mr.  Terborgh thinks is an extraordinary aspect of the Hansen argument, and one which requires an extensive quote of Dr. Hansen’s testimony before the Temporary National Economic Committee. I, on the other hand, read this article thinking that this was an extraordinary part of Mr. Terborgh's counter-argument, even compared with the "closing of the frontier" Horseman. That is, until I had a night's sleep and noticed that Mr. Terborgh works for the machine tool industry's research arm. I am not sure that Mr. Terborgh understands Dr. Hansen’s point properly,but It hardly matters. Mr. Terborgh wrote this book to ward off changes in depreciation which would cost his employers money. 

That does not mean that he's wrong, though. 

Having summarily dealt with Hansen’s Four Horsemen, we move on to the Great Depression. What caused it, if not stagnation? The answer is that it was just a normal movement of the business cycle. For none of the four horsemen, as they are now framed, can have had their special effect in 1929—33. Population growth had been falling for three-quarters of a century; the Frontier was closed forty years before, electrical and rail investment had drawn to a halt, etc. The stagnationist are making war against “over-saving” with high income taxes and spending to make up for a lack of private investment, but the country is not over-invested, and, with a few exceptions, never has been. It is all cyclical.
Yes, fiscal policy is an appropriate way to counterbalance business depressions, Mr. Terborgh concludes, but apart from that, things can be left to private enterprise.

In the end, this is an odd article. I find holes in all of the arguments. The odd, 'heroic" picture of Professor Hayek in a Bismarckian pose in the first page gives the political game away, and, within the larger attack on "Washington spenders" there is the blatant one on depreciation reform. 

And yet I come away convinced. Silly as the "giant airplanes" argument of the paper is, the basic point is that with all the pent-up demand for consumer goods, including many that did not even exist (or hardly existed) in 1929, this is surely the wrong time to be talking about stagnation, and if the case for "economic planning" is no stronger than the argument for "stagnation," then the endlessly recurrent, comic opera food crises deserve their place as a counter-argument. (Remember the tipping trains full of rotten eggs?)

CommanderMcDonald of Zenith” This navy man runs Zenith Radio Corporation, the second largest American radio corporation after RCA., He is an amazing, amazing man.

Articles follow about medal-making, the military police, and the Battle of the Philippines, none terribly interesting. It does give a fuller account of the Battle of Leyte that helps me make sense of Uncle George and Tommy Wong’s accounts.
"World's First TV Remote Control By Zenith" by Source (WP:NFCC#4). 

The Farm Column

Ladd Haystead has fallen in with another promoter, no less than the “inventor” of aerial mail pickup, Dr. Lyttle S. Adams,* of San Diego, the inventor of many inventions, notably the much-publicised air mail pickup system, who has now invented an aerial seeding method that can do 20,000 acres per hour. (He coats them in a bit of clay, if you were wondering. So they fall straighter.)

Admittedly not for seeds, as such, but a logical extrapolation!


 Moving on, Ladd notes that axle weight fees on trucks are a “punitive tariff” on farmers. Various states have various regulations. Special highway taxes are being overcollected, are more than enough to pay for maintenance and new roads, says Dr., Fruehaff, who carried out the study for the Automobile Manufacturer’s Association, which was motivated entirely by curiosity. Meanwhile, on the farm, farmers will buy a billion dollars of machinery this year as part of the historic migration from farm to city. 

Business at War

“Gourmets should shudder at the newest idea in the food business. It is complete, mass-produced meals, pre-cooked and frozen, all from W. L. Maxson Corporation. Maxson is already in business making machine gun mountings, sine and cosine machines and automatic navigation instruments for the Navy. Since March, it has been making these precooked, frozen meals for the Navy. “Cooking,” Maxson says, “Is simply an engineering problem involving heat and time.” Maxson’s first invention was an automatic navigation machine which was used in Howard Hughes’ 1928 flight around the world. Since then, he has invented a gasoline pump which computes totals in dollars and cents rather than gallons, a number of fire-control devices now made by Sperry, and various navigational instruments for the Army Air Forces. He branched out from inventing to manufacturing in 1940, and has been working on quick freezing since 1942, although as the paper points out, the idea was actually developed first by Clarence Birdseye in 1934, and is the source of his profitable Birds Eye business. The problem has always been reheating, and Maxson has the obvious solution: a separate Maxson Whirlwind Oven, “which heats by both radiation and convection, weighs only thirty pounds,” and can run on electricity or any kind of available fuel. Frozen meals were used first by the Naval Air Transport Service, with the meals being handled in Maxson’s Sky Chef, a  hopefully not-patented invention which involves a box with a front door and a space inside and shelves for  holding things, only made out of aluminum. 

With a contact for 3000 meals a month, Maxson went into business in a converted Queens garage, and hopes to increase production to 25,000 for hospitals, ships, and other captive audiences. I have to say that the idea of a timed conveyor belt taking chops and steaks through a preset oven is not making me hungry. During my only-too-brief time as a single gal housekeeper back in 1940, I pretty quickly discovered the limits of freezer storage --and depended more than I should say on Birds Eye in the weeks when Uncle George and Great-Uncle were away. There is a reason that the best selling Birds Eye product is a carton of chicken a la king.  

In other news, the tin shortage has led the glass industry to aim to displace tin cans from some traditional markets such as baked beans, although it is having more success with more compact beer bottles. Meanwhile, the tin can industry has been busy, too, finding ways of reducing the amount of tin in cans.



Books and Ideas


Sumner Schlichter reviews several recent works on the idea of the annual wage. Lewis W. Douglas, formerly of the War Shipping Administration, vigorously disagrees with his former boss, Admiral Emory Land, arguing that the wartime shipping fleet should not be kept in service. It would simply beggar America’s ship-owning allies at great expense due to necessary subsidies. (Which would be colossal, if Uncle George’s cynical view of the quality of the ships were taken seriously.) Instead, they should all be mothballed. Melvin K. Whiteleather’s Main Street’s New Neighbours argues that the world is ready for trueinternationalism now. Britain, France, Russia and China are our new next-doorneighbours, and we should invite them over for mah jongg. A book suggests that nationalism has been bad for Germany. Stanley Lebergott lays out how to calculate the national product, and in A Million Homes a Year, Dorothy Roseman sets aside grandiose plans in favour of a detailed examination of the process of getting those million homes built. Finding the right property, paying the developer, buying the land from the owner with the indistinct relationship with the developer, setting up house across the street from the new shopping development where the old sheep farm used to be. . . Oh, I am sorry, I was distracted by visions of money jumping over fences.. 

Aero-Digest, 1 June 1945

This paper, a bit late, headlines the passing of Ernie Pyle, and revives the pain that all of us here at home who have sent away men a little too old for the work to follow and help the boys who are to young for it. It is because he wrote aviation stories in the 1920s, and the editor flew with him.

Symposium on the Future of Civil Aviation

-Russell R. James, President of the Burlington Transport Company, wants everyone to know that the railroads are not opposed to air transport. John Cohill, President of Firestone Aircraft Company, thinks that the future of civil aviation is bright. C. G. Taylor, of Taylor Engineering, has opinions about the future of control arrangments for private planes that no-one cares about. Robb C. Oertel of the Aviation Division of Standarde Oil of New Jersey, thinks that air education for the air age should be airminded, and the "Stanley Plan" for administering large labour forces is further explained. 

Editorial

General Billy Mitchell, saint and martyr. His persecutor, Henry L. Stimson, will probably die of ubalanced influences soon. 

Washington In-Formation

"Washington is tired." That's why nothing is getting done about the McCarren Act, even though Judge Vinson says that America must get its feet on the ground and redouble its efforts, etc. (Because there's a war on, don't you know?) 

Aviation Engineering

More on the problem of lofting streamlined bodies! The pneumatic apparatus which drives the B-29's bomb-bay doors is another front on the "electrics versus" fight. The Ranger inlined air-cooled engine is the subject of this number of the portfolio of design features. Helicopters! Vibration mountings for radios. "Airframe Design for Passenger Comfort (Part 1)." "Continental's I-1430 engine" is, after 15 years of development, ready for service. It is a 60 degree V-12 delivering 2100hp at 3400rpm, and is the lightest engine yet. Fifteen years! Continental started work on this before Rolls-Royce started work on the Merlin!

J. B.  Nealy, Associate Editor, "Integration of the Automatic Pilot System and the Norden Bombsight" I do not think that it is at all news that the Norden bombsight briefly takes over the automatic pilot so that the bombardier "flies the plane" during the attack run. In fact, if I recall correctly, it is an argument against the Norden --all that flak. It is nice to have a discussion of this c. mid-1930s technology. (That is, it was built before the blistering review of the Sperry autopilot in that old number of The Engineer that my darling likes to carry around in his briefcase.) Still, it is a very nice discussion, and you certainly will not encounter the same details of the Honeywell, much less RAE systems, so if you are going to take aircraft systems as the starting point of, for example, your industrial "flash" deep freezer, and do not want to pay Honeywell, you could do worse than pick up this number of Aero Digest. 

L. L. Raye, Fractional Horsepower Motor Engineering Division, General Electric, "The Dynamotor in Gunfire Control" A little more up-to-date (it uses selsyns!) is the B-29's automatic gunfire control system. Accuracy would be impossible without precise control of the applied voltage, which is quite a trick with a lightweight generator operating at 8--12000 rpm. Here is how the GE dynamotor does it. 

The Enola Gay's radio shack. This is onboard a B-29. ONe of the devices pointed out here is a dynamotor, but probably not the one driving the gunsights. Source.  Which has many more details and close-ups.

R. G. Naugle, "Designing a Boom-Tail Pusher Plane, Part 1" Well, I suppose that with jets coming on. . . 

Carl. J. Madsen, "Limitations of Dielectric Heating" That is, heating by exposing dielectric materials to a varying electric field. It has various limitations in terms of penetration and cost.

"Efficiency of Helldiver Production" The lads at Curtiss-Wright want you to know that they build their useless and overly expensive aircraft in a very cost-efficient way. 

James T. Blakistone, "German Compass Redesign" The Germans have a remote-reading compass, too! The one being studied here is a captured one from 1943, though, which is a little silly. 

"Enemy Aviation Patents Available" The office of the Custodian of Alien Property wants everyone to know (now?) that there is a gold-mine of seized enemy patents to exploit. I think this is probably a little closer to the end of the vein than its beginning! Right now one might rather want to know how much gold was mined than how much remains.

Digest of the News

The war is over, but the war is still on. Everyone must work harder than ever, but not as hard, because we must get stated on civil life, but not not too hard, because the war is on. I can hear the tyres spinning!


In more concrete terms, all of aviation seems to be coming in with good financials, and Glenn L. Martin is starting a special course to teach people how to fly the Martin Mars, because large flying boats are stupid. Well, there's more concrete news than that, although mostly to the effect of machine tool engineers associations electing new officers at annual meetings, but I shall spare you the awful details. 

In fact, in a turnaround from my usual emphasis, the only thing I am going to point out in the 15 June number of Aero-Digest is the editorial. It might still be fatuous, but at least it is fatuous about something that has happened since President Roosevelt's first term. Specifically, it calls, in a veiled way, for an end to Lend-Lease, quoting Calvin Coolidge's "they hired the money" malarkey. I am not sure that the confusion over Lend-Lease is because the editor thinks that this would be controversial, or because he assumes that it is a done-deal. But the last is what I keep hearing on the street. The Washington column, by the way, reports rumours of Japanese peace feelers. And so war gadgets take a back seat to new private planes, airports, and perhaps a little about aircraft radios. 

That last introduces the one exception, a discussion of the "Aircraft Microwave-Beam System," which is actually the West Coast microwave relay system and television broadcasting chain envisioned by Raytheon. Since right now it is aimed at serving airports, it qualifies as an "aircraft" technology, but I think the hope is national distribution of television programming, as is done by the national radio networks. Television is too high frequency for cable distribution, but microwave beams might answer.  



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