Merry Christmas, and best wishes for the New Year! You are probably wondering why you are receiving this, in lieu of a card or whatnot, and especially about all the deciphering being demanded of you in this season of celebration. Well, with my father on his way from Vancouver to join us for the holidays, we were not going to produce one of these notes. But it was represented to us that you took some pleasure from them, and now that I have been able to go to Davao, you are certainly owed some kind of casting of accounts. We certainly do not wish to offend you, not when you have taken the German matter in hand!
Since you have seen the others, you will know that they have been the hobby of my Uncle George and my wife, Grace. Uncle George is still refusing to do anything that smacks of work, and my wife is only a week past her surgery, still on powerfull pain medication, and in no condition to do anything requiring sitting.
This also raises a rather sensitive matter. My father has dropped some hints, and I cannot find a way of politely disabusing him of the notion that I will need to make provisions, now that my wife has, well, suffice it to say that Victoria Claire's delivery was unfortunately abrupt. Someone needs to put his mind to rest! Dr. Rivers is a very good surgeon, and assures that me that no marital difficulties will ensue.
You will probably be disappointed by the scantiness of the accounts. The problem is that I am looking into an extremely unclear crystal ball. In the matter of real estate, we have already disposed of the old feedlot. Uncle Henry is developing it according to his own schemes. The land in Palo Alto has not attracted the same kind of attention. Frankly, I hope to see it as some kind of commuter's suburb, too, but one not entangled with Kaiser-style schemes. The orchards south of oSanta Clara will probably have to go, eventually, too, but I want to see the land around them start to move, first, as this will bid the price up. With the exception of the houselots which Grace has already carved out. Who knows? They may even get the ball rolling. I can visualise trailer homes on the Spokane lands --if there is enough population growth to encourage it, but in Couer d'Alene and the lower bend of the river in Canada, I think we can safely abandon hope of anything more than expropriation if the dam ever goes through.
As for the money we have invested "on the water," we will have a better sense of its value when our friends finally get around to incorporating. Unfortunately, no-one is in a hurry to launch stock issues in America right now --there is just not the need. If the tape-recording machine were ready for consumer use, then perhaps Bill and David, or their assignees (the preferred scheme) would hurry to the market, but it is not, and we continue to have misgivings about associating them with it, anyway. If it is not to be their "breakthrough" product, then we are back to their original schemes, according to which incorporation might be a decade(!) away. Hopefully, the Russian will before that.
Obviously, assessing the value of our stock portfolio is just a matter of subscribing to the business press. We stand ready to help you repatriate the money if you need it, but I hope you do not, as the end of exchange controls are imminent.
As for the Davao visit, the news is not the worst that can be imagined, but it is not good, either. The effect of heat and humidity on the papers is very noticeable. When I imagine what it must have been like to take them down the river, under the eyes of the Five Banners and the British alike, one can well appreciate why so many of the other Hongs burned their family documents, instead. And now they are rotting in the tropical air. I know we had always hoped that if ever family ties frayed to the point where we had need of a magistrate, it would be in Canton, where the bench could be trusted not to inquire as to what other names might attach to someone appearing before them "in their own proper person."
Looking at the situation in China now, I do not think that that is not going to be possible for a very long time. And, obviously, there should be no question of, for example, the original capitulation between the Admiral and the Lady being produced before a British judge. But if the papers are to be left in Davao for another century, something must be done about the climate. I am inquiring, very carefully, inquiring about air conditioning. We shall have to see. I have no idea how we would keep that secret from the neighbours and avoid gossip, but I am going to see what some Californian rice (as see below) might secure. Besides a bizarre story, related to me with a straight face by a Delta grower, to the effect that American agronomists discovered the best way to grow rice twenty years ago!
And so I leave off with one more round of best wishes of the season, feeling more than a little queer in pivoting from tropical heat to a Merry Christmas, even here in sunny California!
The Economist, 1 December 1945
“The Industrial Volcano” The paper is afraid of strikes, and thinks that the Government should do something in the way of a “national wages policy” that will be better than just negotiating wages. I notice that the paper thinks that somehow, in some way, workers should be encouraged to enter vital industries where wages are low. We'll see this in Fortune, below, where "pretty girls in the rest rooms" seems to figure.
“Reparations from Japan” Should Japan pay reparations, and, if so, to whom? Well, mainly China, but China already stands to inherit Japanese investments in Manchuria, so perhaps this is a wash. Except that the Communists have taken over in Manchuria, or possibly the Russians are taking the machinery. Either way, the Nationalists get nothing, and instead are inclined to demand the transfer of capital equipment from Japan. The United States, howevcer, belikevers that far from being able to make substantial reparations payments, Japan will be hard put to pay the costs of the occupation. America has sole responsibility for Japan, and has decided that it wants to keep the Japanese alive, no matter what was said after Pearl Harbour, so no reparations it is.
|Dr. Seuss was a complicated guy. 3:25ff.|
“Post-Fascist Politics” Latins are excitable.
“The Problems of Rates, III” And I thought a long article about whether the Socialists would continue to outpoll conservatives in places where the words have vowels at the end, and whether they would be distinct from the communists was boring. Here is a long article on the reform of local taxation in Britain. I imagine that this is quite important to you. I would not dream of interposing a glib summary.
Notes of the Week
“Idealism and Foreign Policy” The paper quotes Mr. Butler as saying that Labour is putting forward an idealistic foreign policy. The paper has doubts about idealism, and has specific opinions about, for example, “an Anglo-French full employment policy” such as one might have if once first all the other things that have to be nailed down. What would that even entail?
“United Nations in Session” It is.
“The Opposition’s Policy” Brendan Bracken, Harold MacMillan and Richard Law showed up in Parliament the other day, along with Mr. Eden, where they expressed opinions which, my wife summarises, may eventually grow up to be beautiful policies. No, sorry, I am confused. That's the ending of a story that Grace was reading to the twins last night.
“The Manpower Budget” The Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Minister of Labour gave a talk to the Fabian Society the other day, and the paper preferred Mr. Isaac’s contribution. The problem, as the paper sees it, is that “full employment” is not defined. Or, rather, that Mr. Beveridge defines it as when there is more demand for labour than supply, perhaps when unemployment is at 3%, and the paper does not like that definition. If labour is a seller’s market, then the highest-paying industries will get the labour, and this will result in distortions that are sure to cause a slump. “Policy” requires that, in the event of low unemployment, labour be directed to those important industries that do not pay well. The paper then goes on about how public works should not be the government’ only tool of “stabilisation,” that some means of “stabilising” private investment and foreign trade should be found, in way of preventing slumps. In summary, Geoffrey Crowther needs an editor.
“Russia and Persia” One continues to hope that a war with Russia will not break out any day now.It would be so exciting. I am sorry. One means, “terrible.” The reason I'm borrowing my wife's joke is that I'm reading aloud to her right now.
“Warfare and Negotiations in Indonesia” Mr. Bevin is very exasperated by the situation in Java. He wishes that the left would shut up about support for the Dutch, that the Dutch would shut up about lack of support for the Dutch, that Japan would not have done what it did with respect to supporting Indonesian independence, and that everyone would agree with him and with Mr. Churchill in regards to the value of meeting with Soekarno and negotiating with him. The paper thinks that now that Indonesian moderates have come forward, and that the RAF has rocketed the two insurgent radio stations inthe interior, we can get down to business.
|So apparently rockets had a less-than-stellar record against genocidaires as well as Panzerrs.|
“After the French Crisis” There was a French Crisis, and now it is over. I'm not really clear on the difference between “constitutional crisis in France” and “Tuesday,” but perhaps when I get round to reading my backlog of Time, there will be someone who can explain there, because The Economist isn't doing the job.
“The Tax on Cars” The argument here is that the old tax on engine capacity was getting in the way of the export trade by discouraging big, cheap cars. The solution the paper liked was an ad valorem tax, but that is not on the table for some reason the paper affects not to understand, leaving the alternatives of a “wide step” or “narrow step.” Given the two, the paper prefers the former, as reducing the number of models and paving the way to a bright, Fordist future. So, of course, the government has gone with the latter. The paper knows a lot less about automotive engineering and sales than it thinks it does.
“Strangling the Boundary Commission” The government is BUNGLING the reform of local government.
“Moves in he Docks Dispute”
“The Italian Scene” Parliamentary manoeuvres which are admittedly inconsequential ahead of the next election need to be parsed with great care, lest I not be bored enough.
“The Greeks Try Again” “The Greek crisis is over.” Well, aside from inflation and an unbalanced budget and postponed elections. But “Mr.Tsouderos” is in the cabinet, and the paper likes Mr. Tsouderos.
“The British Middle East Office” The Middle East Supply Centre has been renamed. The paper detects BUNGLING.
“Unrra, 1946” In spite of fears to the contrary, the Senate has approved the first tranche of the Unrra budget, so the paper can move forward to worrying about the next tranche, as Congress may yet vote not to extend it to areas under Russian control.
“Calcutta Rioting” With trouble in Palestine and Java subsiding, it is India’s turn. The paper sees the Govrnment of Bengal as having been provocatively violent, and Congress as having exerted a calming influence.
|. "Red Fort, Delhi by alexfurr" by Alex Furr - http://www.sxc.hu/photo/265265. Licensed under Attribution via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Red_Fort,_Delhi_by_alexfurr.jpg#/media/File:Red_Fort,_Delhi_by_alexfurr.jpg|
“Safety on the Roads” Road accidents are at high levels and rising rapidly. The Lords are going to study the issue. Road control is an issue, since Government takeover is a perquisite to improving the roads, but is there nothing else to be done, the paper asks. Perhaps changes to the Highway Code? Or legal enforcement?
“Communist Self-Criticism” The Communist Party of Great Britain is meeting, and self-criticising. The paper thinks that there is much to self-criticise.
“The Amateur’s Aircraft” There are lots of small civil aircraft types being launched in America. The paper detects a scheme afoot on a par with the old CivilAir Guard, and speaks out in advance agakinst the pernicious idea of subsidies for small plane owners.
“The Soldiers’ Vote” It seems that it is possible to construe the facts as showing that Labour was not elected on the strength of the soldiers’ vote not being properly counted, much to the disappointment of some people I used to try to avoid in the mess, although I'm sure that they would be charming people if they could just stop talking politics long enough to just finish something.
|I'm just going to go ahead and assume that Kiri Liz hasn't thought about the context. And, actually, this bit about the soldier's vote not being counted is new to me, and makes it even creepier. Thanks for ruining Lord of the Rings, history!|
Members of the House are not to say anything prejudicial about the judges in Nuremberg, that is, they are to be treated like English judges. The Allied Control Commission in Berlin has banned various sports to prevent secret German drilling. The paper thinks that this is stupid.
Stuart Rice, of the Bureau of the Budget in Charge of Statistical Standards thinks that there are good and bad statistics, and his budget is too low for good ones. Ceylonese have their difficulties with the Ceylonese constitution as proposed.
“Outside Surveys” From a Correspondent in Iowa
Outside institutions and such are often called in to “survey” problems in America’s local government. Our Correspondent thinks that depending on the Brookings Institution and such will have pernicious effects in the long run. For example, sprawling industrial cities won’t have plans until they do planning, or something like that.
“An Angry Ambassador” The sensational resignation of General Hurley as ambassador to China lays open divisions within the Administration over China. Hurley thinks that diplomats within State have been fomenting Communist resistance to the Nationalists. Others think that it is Hurley’s attempts to commit America to military support of the Nationalists which has been the problem. Fat Chow tells me that Chou calls him "the Clown," which I believe actually back-translates into English as "Member of the Engineer's Administration." General Marshall’s appointment will hopefully smooth things over.
“Labour Management Impasse” Is what exists in Detroit right now.
“When is Enough a Surplus” America has a lot of food, America is going off rationing, America is going off price subsidies, America is committed to continuing to save on excess consumption and to fulfilling its Unrra food aid exports and meeting foreign demand for food exports. The paper detects that a house of cards is being built which will collapse next summer.
“Pearl Harbour Politics” It turns out that the Congressional inquiry into Pearl Harbour is all politics! I know. I was shocked to hear it.
“Reorganisation Proceeds Slowly” American government is being reorganised for peace. There’s not actually much to report, though, except that the paper really likes talking about it.
“The Philippines Graduate” The Philippines were to have had a national election in November, but it has been postponed because the wrong people might win. Or not. There are insurgents who might be communists, or agrarian reformers, landlords who might or might not be feudal magnates, and General MacArthur, whose influence is held to be sinister. But America is washing its hands of the country next year, and would like to see collaborators struck from the government by then. Yes, of course it is. America's hands will be off the Philippines completely. As for absentee landlords . . .
The World Overseas
“Reconstruction in Austria” There does not appear to be a crisis in Austria.
“The Political Background in Mexico, II” There is always a crisis in Mexico.
“CNR Prospects” From Our Ottawa Correspondent
CNR is the government-owned part of the overbuilt Canadian rail system. It has done quite well in the war, but, if you squint, you can see trouble on the horizon.
|Two railways, one canyon. Some say "overbuilt," others say "nation building."|
“Norway’s Economic Recovery” Is going well. Our Norwegian correspoindent has no idea how to write for the paper.
“Swiss Recovery Begins” Trouble on the horizon! Now that’s more like it.
The Business World
The paper covers compensation for nationalisation and the Government’s concept of a “bulk housing purchase.” Both are in very tentative stages, so I really don’t want to bother myself with the details. I Conversions are how the Government is going to get to lower interest rates, and so, I suppose, “cheaper money,” so no doubt it is important, but. . .
Dorman Long and Co. is to erect a new Universal Beam Mill on Tyneside at a cost of £8 million, “revolutionising 75% of steel joist production in this country,” for it will roll the flanges, reducing thethickness needed to bear a given stress by 17.5%. The H sections can be sheared to produce T sections, so the savings will be passed on to shipbuilders as well. The sections can be as deep as 30”, with a flange up to 12” wide, corresponding to 400lbs/ft. There will also be a new open hearth furnace and unloading facilities capable of handling a million tons of ore annually. 23,000 tons of machinery will be required, and some of may have to come from the United States. A third of the necessary investment will have to be found outside the company. The paper is pleased. It is forty years since the first universal millwas erected in Luxembourg by Henry Gray, and the idea has since been taken up widely in America, even as British structural steel has been more expensive than required on technical grounds. It is about time, in other words.
|Source: Marcel Dekker, Hot Rolling of Steel. . The paper does not know as much about the shaping of steel as it thinks it does.|
In shorter news, there has been a report on reconversion, there is a prospect of cheaper bank loans, the French banks may be nationalised, the rubber crisis has had to be deferred for lack of crisis, but the paper is confident that it can be resumed at an early date, Britain’s railways are under strain due to winter, the war and coal and a shortage of waggons. Coal mining productivity continues to decline, and the labour force is falling by 800 to 1000 a week. The industry is also about to lose its Bevin Boys and optants, although the paper notes that 5000 of the Boys are already “officially unaccounted for,” and no-one is looking very hard for them. In good news, the floating debt has fallen and the industrial accident rate has fallen, notably in the mines. In not so good news, Electric and Music Industries is doing well financially, but is having trouble making a quick reconversion to peacetime production, as Government demands on it opver the last six years were unusually heavy compared to what is typical for the industry.
The actual shorter news includes an impressive array of errata from previous weeks.
Flight, 6 December 1945
“Unsound Optimism” The Parliamentary Secretary is too optimistic about the British industry recapturing the market in a few years’ time with fripperies such as gas turbines, when it could be conquering it now with more flying boats. That is, Short Brothers’ sale of a few reconditioned Sunderlands to Argentina is the first of a flood of sales, if only the Government would just Do Something.
“Turbines and Airscrews” The paper is impressed by the Bristol Theseus, and in particular by the way that the speed of the airscrew and compressor are governed separately, so that the engine has high efficiencies at takeoff, where in a system where the airscrew and compressor are turning on the same shaft, the low speed of the screw would stall the compressor.
“Lord Swinton’s Warning” Lord Swinton thinks that nationalisation will be bad for British civil aviation. The paper agrees while disagreeing.
“The Price of Progress” The loss of a test Handley Page Hermes, following on the death of a Fairey test pilot in a Firefly I reminds us either that the title of the bit, etc. Or, that Handley Page makes garbage, as my wife keeps pointing out.
A picture reminds us that DC-4s are being made in Canada with Merlin power plants.
“Bristol Theseus I” The Theseus is a gas turbine engine specifically designed to drive an airscrew. As the paper points out at length, this is an excellent compromise between jet turbines and internal combustion airscrews. It also has fewer bits that can go wrong. Besides the way the airscrew is driven, the design is interesting for using a heat exchanger to regenerate waste energy. Since compressors, like airscrews, are at maximum efficiency only within a narrow range of rotational speeds, and this at maximum power, and various gadgets are needed to accommodate the fact that plane speeds change. It has those gadgets! Some of which the paper is not allowed to describe. But, trust it, they’re ingenious. The paper traces the Theseus’ development back to Bristol’s 1924—5 experiments with the turbo-supercharged Jupiter, and forward to its experiments, beginning in 1937, with a turbo-blown version of its sleeve valve engines. “[T]he idea being that boost and back pressure would be progressively increased, the sleeve valve being very well suited to operation at high back pressure. Thus, ultimately, a state of affairs would be reached where the engine and exhaust-turbo powers were equal, and it would be possible to interchange airscrew and compressor, thereby making the engine and compressor virtually a gas generator unit, and driving the airscrew by the exhaust turbine.” The idea seems a bit ambitious for a period when the company couldn’t even get its sleeve valves to work, but while it might not have been able to deliver actual Taurus and Hercules units to the Air Ministry, never mind Centauruses, at least it had a path forward into the misty future! “The Theseus is only the first of a family of Bristol turbine units in which the primary objective is the attainment of the highest possible thermal efficiency consistent with reasonable weight and bulk.” Not only did someone think that this was a sentence worth writing, an editor passed it!
Because after the Theseus came the Proteus, and someone had the bright idea of using it as a car engine. Now I can't help linking to this.
Speaking of. . .
“Flight Editorial Staff: Pre-War Members Returning from RAF” Flt. Lt. H. A. Taylor and Wing Commander Maurice A. Smith, DFC And BAR, will be back at the paper within the month. I hope they bring blue pencils. Taylor, who learned to fly in 1929 and handled 40 civil types before becoming CO of No. 3 Ferry Command from May to October 1940, and was a test pilot at No. 48 MU for most of the rest of the war. Smith joined the Oxford University Air Squadron in 1934, the RAFVR in 1937, was a flying instructor from 1939 to 1942, then went into Bomber Command in 1943, first as a Lancaster man, later in the Pathfinders. H. F. King will also be back in March.
The test pilot lost in the Firefly I accident was Flt. Lt. J. C. Evans. He will be remembered for his recent, spectacular demonstration flights at the Farnborough show.
Here and There
“More Yankee Doodles” Pictures of two Northrop jet-propelled flying bombs, the JB-1A, and the “earlier, twin-jet type now superceded.”
Otto Wells has died in a road accident. Dunlops is now offering a special kind of tubeless tyre for “use in the Burma swamps.” RAF Transport Command’s Canada-Australia service, which was to end last Sunday, is going to continue, because the Australians aren’t ready to take it over, and the Americans are winding theirs down. The RCAF has disposed of its surplus aircraft, except for the twin-engined Cessna Crane trainer/light transport type. The Vancouver Sun reports that the Dominion government spent $80 million building 42 airfields to protect the British Columbia coastline during the war, and now has to decide what to do with them. Fairey wants us to know that it built the RAF’s late war pamphlet-dispensing device, andt his shows how ingenious the company is, in general. It built lots of things that it isn’t allowed to talk about., and also other things that it is, such as moulded seats, “parachute jettison control units,” and “fuel drain valves.” It is describing all of these in a pamphlet in English, French and Spanish, and wants everyone to know that, in spite of being in three languages, it is a lovely pamphlet, and shows Fairey ingenuity in describing its ingenuity.
A Dutch woman has written the Air Ministry to tell it that she named her son Ronald Adrianus Frans, even though the RAF was bombing Holland when young R.A.F. was born, because she was so confident that the RAF would win the war. The RAF responded by sending R.A.F. a nice model.
Sydney is to have quite the RAAF Memorial Centre, if the Air Force Association of Australia can just raise the money. Mr. A. S. Drakeford, the Australian Air Minister, announced this week that a jet-propelled aircraft would go to Australia next month for RAAF test flying under tropical conditions. The Aeronautical Engineers’ Association is upset at the Air Ministry. A Russian test balloon recently made a stratospheric flight for the Army Central Aerologic Observatory for the purpose of studying cosmic rays and the upper strata of the atmosphere, according to the Soviet Academy of Science. General Spaatz, the designated successor of General Arnold, called this week for a network of air bases in the Arctic regions as protection against a future war. This protection would take the form of B-29 Superfortresses making one-way bombing trips against “every industrial political and military centre.” Because once all of the arsenals have been atom-bombed, war will be impossible.
Roy Fedden, “German Piston-engine Progress: Projected Departures from the Inverted Vee-12 and Two-bank Radial Formulae: Planning for 5000 h.p.: Progress Delayed by Our Bombing”
Apart from the Sabre, all of the military engines used in the last war were either V-12s, or single or two-bank radials. This did not prevent the Germans from experimenting with other configurations. The 24-cylinder DB 604 24-cylinder “X,” for example, development work on which was stopped in 1940. I am not sure what the point is, when the Daimler-Benz V-12 development line, from the DB 600 in service at the beginning of the war, to the 605, which was never brought into production, was so fruitful. The 605, with a two-stage, two-speed supercharger, hydraulic clutch and freewheel, was broadly comparable, the author suggests, to the Merlin 61, although I think that’s a bit misleading, since Daimler-Benz increased engine volume progressively in the 600 series, where Rolls-Royce just made one break, from the Merlin to the Griffon (not counting the Kestrel/Peregrine), so that the 605 can also be compared with the new makes of Griffon just coming on now. Although the 605 skipped the intercooler, which sounds audacious, I suppose. Also, and with respect to the American bombing campaign against the ball bearing plants, it is interesting to see that the 605 dropped roller bearings on the crankshaft end.
There was also the Junkers line of inverted V-12s, terminating with the 213, “probably the best fighter piston-engine that Germany possessed,” and the BMW 801, a “successful 14-cylinder air-cooled radial,” with its single-lever control. This is the engine that introduced powered fan cooling, and gave the FW190 its sparkling performance, but, again, this is not noted, although I agree that the "single lever control" was a remarkable piece of engineering, although even here Fedden sells the "control device" far short. At this point he brings up the coupled inverted V-12 engines which were used on the big Heinkel bomber. He thinks that the designs were so congested that fire problems were probably insuperable, and who is to disagree, but this seems like an awfully short treatment of the only high power, unconventional engines which actually were used. He goes on to describe the D.B. 604, 43 litre “X,” project, the DB 630, with six blocks of six cylinders, giving a swept volume of 83 litres and a predicted power of 4000hp, but any work on these projects was lost to Allied bombing. Jumo came up with a 24 cylinder 4 6-cylinder bank radially-arranged, liquid-cooled engine, which had connecting rod problems which were never resolved, as Junkers abandoned the work in favour of developing the 213 with various gadgets (2 stage, 2 speed supercharger, 2 stage, 3 speed supercharger with four valves per cylinder, etc), of which the latter had almost reached the point of production, with the hope of achieving 2600hp on a dry weight of 2335lbs, but only at the cost of “abnormally high” piston speed.
Finally, he moves on to various developments of the BMW 801 that BMW hoped would take back the field from the V-12s that supplanted their 14 cylinder air cooled engine after its sparkling introduction in the FW190. I guess this isn’t surprising, given that Fedden was the main proponent of the air-cooled radial in the British industry, but devoting half the article to the BMW efforts seems like special pleading.
As he says, the Germans, in the end, have little to teach British industry, for their engines lagged behind ours, mainly on account of supercharger development. I suspect that the reason for that has to do with their inability to play with high endurance alloys more than anything else. Krupp, Fedden tells us, patented and did “much” of the pioneering work on nitriding steels, but the Vickers Hykro specification was superior in the end. Hykro is a 3% chromium, 0.5% molybdenum steel, and there is no way that the Germans could afford to make their engines of that!
“Parachute Problems” Mr. Leslie Irvin, of Irvin Parachutes, gave a talk on the problems facing manufacturers now that fighters are flying at 40,000ft. Both ejecting and deploying parachutes is difficult at this height, and a pilot descending under a properly-deployed chute will die of anoxia in the descent from 40,000ft Irvings has a parachute for ejector seat use that doesn’t deploy until 10,000ft is reached, and a complicated device it is! It still takes three minutes to fall from 40,000 to 10,000ft, so the chute must be automatic, although ideally the pilot would have a small amount of oxygen. Irvin made 400,000 parachutes during the war, and some 30,000 Allied airmen were saved by parachutes. He has also developed a flexible backpack parachute that will allow aircrew to “squoosh,” (as we say in Santa Clara these days when we are looking for missing toddlers), about in the confined quarters of a bomber without having to take their pack off.
“’Indicator’ Discusses Topics of the Day: Shock Tactics for Shock Waves: Starting with a Clean Sheet: Are we on the Right Lines of High-Speed Development: The Strange Case of the Spitfire”
The paradox seems to be that “a five year-old” design is safer at high speeds than recent designs with special anti-shock-wave features, and than an even older design is good for up to Mach 0.92. The five year-old design is the Meteor, and the “even older” one is the Spitfire. The “recent design” is the Lockheed P-80, famously and especially designed by that group in California for high speed performance. We are looking for some ingenious combination of wing profile and layout that will allow an airplane to go faster before encountering the shock wave, and then the furniture of patent recovery flaps and such that will allow it to get back down to safe speed. And I guess that if we press on with this, eventually we will get right through the close-to-Mach speeds where shock waves arise, and find a vast and sunny upland of super sonic speed, and fuel consumption to match. If, however, the key is furniture, “Indicator” points out, then we are going to have to make the skins of the wings very stiff indeed, so that they do not bend and spoil the effects of the patent flaps and whatnot. And then there is the problem of air intake. Two-and-a-half tons of air a minute is a lot of air, and if the intakes are in the body of the plane, as they must be for single-unit types, it is hard to locate them without spoiling airflow. “Indicator” closes by suggesting that we should accept that we have a lot to learn about these things, and that we should push on with test flying until we do.
“Short Sandringham: Civil Sunderlands Now in Production” Sir, you need to get over to Rochester and tell them that my wife is on the way over to explain about the future of flying boat airliners. They really do need the advanced warning, as she will be using some very forceful and salty language about intimate parts of her anatomy turning “as blue as her fingers had already gone” while waiting to dock and disembark. She may then get a bit violent, just as she is planning to do right now. . .
“The Shetland II: Further Details of the Largest British Flying Boat: Ingenious Electrical Assisters for the Flying Controls” I have been informed that my joke above was far too private. My point is that Grace flew from San Francisco to Hawaii several times during the late war, for the most part in the old Consolidated flying boats, and in what turned out to be her last trip, the boat had to set down in the middle of San Francisco Harbour in a ground fog, and the engines then couldn’t be run for taxying purposes because there was too much chop, and she got very, very cold in the cabin before the boat was finally towed into dock. This experience has quite soured her on flying boats, and also made her receptive to Uncle George’s criticisms of the type, which mainly revolve around his experience mucking around in boats. Though he does like to cite gory details of flying boats being wrecked by colliding with flotsam on landing, or with the bottom of the harbour. The two of them are therefore convinced that the flying boat has no future, and I have been witness to several vigorous conversations with Uncle Henry on the subject. So that is why I am ignoring the Shetland, at the expense of probably making you puzzle through more characters than had I simply summarised the article for you. Which is too bad, because if I weren’t ignoring it, I would summarise the very interesting discussion of the B. and P. Swift, Ltd “Synchromo” electrically assisted controls, with irreversible and “feel” variants. (Irreversible on the throttles, feel for rudder and ailerons.)
“Kibitzer,” “Anglo-American Angle: An Englishman in the States Reports Transatlantic Reactions to the Meteor Record, British Publicity Methods and Other Current Topics” The author is upset that the record attempt was announced in advance, as he supposes that a devilish American publicity campaign inoculated the American public against it. Only it didn’t, but that doesn’t matter, because Americans are convinced that their airliners will be better than British airliners, and the author thinks that they are right, and that British publicists should stop making stupid comments about the Tudor, Lancastrian, Hermes and such. Also, there will be light planes, and the National Air Races will be held at Cleveland again in .46, and a Melbourne-around-the-world race in 1947. “Kibitzer” thinks that there should be a British entrant. Finishing up the insight and hilarity is a short bit by the paper explaining what a “Kibitizer” is, which is completely lost in translation.
“The Illusionists: How the Radio Counter Measures of No. 100 Group Kept the Enemy Guessing” The Group that Father’s unit was eventually attached to is revealed. In November 1943, AirVice-Marshal E. B. Addison was appointed AOC No. 100 Group, after being AOC 60 Group since September. In the first months of the Group, Addison says, the emergency was met by borrowing radio equipment from hospitals (remember that feature about electrocardiographs? Hospitals actually have some pretty good gear!) and operating it at local police stations, often in the bedroom of the police sergeant’s wife. Addison describes an early success in “bending the beams” guiding a German raid and sending the raiders from the Derby works that were their target towards the Nottingham Starfish site. He also credited the defensive work of 80 Group, and in particular “Flt. Officer Barbara Pemberton, Flot. Officer Elizabeth Strang, and Flt. Officer Ursula Smith.” He notes jammers, the recovery of a Ju 88 night fighter with the latest version of SN.2 and Liechtenstein radars, and the work of Air Commodore L. Dalton-Morris, who supervised the creation of a radar/radio image fake invasion flotilla that diverted the Germans away from Normandy on the night of the D-Day invasion.
In other words, it’s essentially a collection of Addison’s reminisinces and some people he wanted to thank.
“German Aeronautical Progress” W. J. Stern of the RTP Branch of the Air Ministry is arranging for the circulation of thousands of German research notes in Britain.
Wing Commander L. V. Fraser, “’Gremlin Task Force:’ Japanese Aircrews and Aircraft Flying for the RAF in French Indo-China” In summary, in the Far East, we’re allowed to have Japanese collaborators. Communists, Annamese and Javan nationalists are not.
“Luxury on Trial: Minister of Civil Aviation Launches First of the Short Sandringhams” Everyone who flew on the Short Sandringham trials thought that they were very quiet and comfortable.
“Atlantic Ferry Pool: The Work of the Civilian Delivery Pilots on the Atlantic Run: From “Atfero: Days to 45 Group, RAF” Considering how often you have hosted pilots from the Pool, you probably do not need this article summarised. I’m not sure anyone does. It’s only a page and a half, and you can imagine just how much detail you can get into a page and a half.
Civil Aviation News
The prototype Bristol Freighter is “nearly ready.” Jersey and Guernsey Airways have made many flights. There are still more plans for Prestwick. Or the old plans are still on. Or the still plans are more on. I’m being silly, but not as silly as the paper is being repetitive. More commercial crossings of theAtlantic have been made. Two airlines are test/service flying Constellations, one DC-4s. Pan American has ordered 20 Boeing Stratocruisers which might be used on the Atlantic service. The Swedes are still planning a service using DC-4s. The British are trying to negotiate a standard tariff, which will be highe than the one that PAA is currently charging. New Zealand is nationalising its airlines. It has airlines? Trans Canada is planning to use DC-4s with Merlins more. Irish services using Ansons are imminent. KLM services to London are imminent. Qantas is operating a Colombo-Sydney service with Liberators. Canada’s DC-4s have Merlins even more! Lost with the Handley Page Hermes were Flt. Lt. James Richard Talbot, who made the first test flight of the Halifax, and leaves a widow and three children, and test observer Edgar Alexander (“Ginger”) Wright, 31 years old, who joined the firm as a boy in the drawing office in 1931, started his apprenticeship in 1933 and has been specialising in the recording side of test work ever since.
R. Green points out that houses made of Sunderland fuselages would experience “the wonderful exttremes of temperature that can be experienced through the 18-gauge skin of a grounded aircraft, even in this country.” A problem with actual modular homes made of the same material, I should think! John C. Bray thinks that the Government needs to be giving more surplus material away, given how much of it is rotting away in dumps around the country before it can even be considered for sale. A Civil Scientist critiques I. G. Henry’s critique of Mr. Perring. G. E. 4279 thinks that skilled men are being treated shabbily in reconversion. J. S. Stanesly of the Aeonautical Engineers’ Association lectures “Miss (or Mrs.) Patricia Parker” on the subject of ground engineers, skill, experience, dilution, and trade union certification in a tone that he will probably regret taking with his wife some day.
|This is the "couch on the curb" case. You can have it. You just have to haul it away from where it is!|
The Economist, 8 December 1945
“Vote of Censure” The debate on the Vote of Censure introduced on Wednesday is to be held on Thursday, by which time the paper will have gone to press. Therefore, it can’t say anything useful, but, as my wife never tires of pointing out, that doesn’t mean that it won’t say something. Specifically, the minor speakers on Wednesday were on about “whether complete socialism or complete free enterprise would the more quickly ruin the country, instead of the more relevant question of what mixture of the two will most quickly rescue it.” The paper thinks that there is not enough of that special mixture in evidence: not enough on manpower, not enough on housing, not enough on export policy or the “grand economic question” of the proper balance between domestic consumption, exports and re-equipment. Thus, the Government has no defence against accusations that it likes austerity for its own sake, or against the anti-rationing campaign in the popular press. Also, there is sometimes too much nationalisation, in other cases too little. Also, since during the war, aircraft were produced more cheaply in Britain than in America, British cars should be cheaper, not more expensive. The paper thinks that it is because there are too many models, produced at too many factories. So the Government should do something. And, in summary, that's what the Vote of Censure should be about.
“The Russian Case” The breakdown of the London Conference has led President Truman to suggest that there should be no further Big Three meetings. But, the paper points out, that’s all there was to the “constitution” of the Alliance. Truman wants “open diplomacy,” but that can't just mean publishing diplomatic notes to Russia before a response has been received. Everyone has to get the same treatment, which they haven't, This leads the Russians to think that they are being frozen out by their Allies. The western Allies reply, yes, but what about Rumania and Bulgaria? Russia replies, what about Italy, France and Greece, where pressure has been put to retain right-wing governments? They also think that a shift in power in the United Nations from the Security Council to the General Assembly is a device to secure a permanently out-voted Russia. So, the paper asks, what is our Russian policy?
“The Dollar Loan” Unthnkably, we’ve stopped talking about talking about a dollar loan, and moved on actually having one. Will it pass Parliament? It has unpopular provisions, together with Bretton Woods, but “it is unthinkable for Britain to be estranged from both of its major allies at one time.” So it’s all back to Russia! Perhaps the paper is hoping that Comrade Stalin will save us from Bretton Wood? No, the paper concludes, after a few more rounds about, the dollar loan is inevitable. Though we can be rude about it. Being rude and ungrateful is super diplomacy! The paper also says there is no certainty that we can go off exchange controls. Which is perversely good news for us, if they come back.
“Jugoslav Republic” It turns out that running the country and having the army is a decisive advantage, after all, as the Jugoslav “Karageorgevich” dynasty falls in favour of the “Federal People’s Republic of Jugoslavia.” Now the new dynasty must commision a history of the old, to show how and when it lost the Mandate of Heaven. If you’re wondering, it is because King Alexander was a cruel and anti-Federalist tyrant, and while Mencius says nothing about federalism, I gather that Messrs. Hamilton and Madison added it to the Mandate of Heaven recently. (Though I should probably leave these references to my wife, whose Five-Legged education far exceeds my own.)
|I'm honestly not sure what Master Meng would have made of the Karageorgevichs.|
Notes of the Week
“The Wehrmacht in the British Zone” The Russians are upset that a half-million German prisoners in the British Zone remain under military organisation. (Although with two million already released, the BZ is doing a better job of demobilising than the Atlee Government!) Also, there is a “skeleton staff.” The BZ says that this staff is facilitating demobilisation. The Russians say that it is a contravention of the Potsdam Agreement, since it is hiding the germ of a future German General Staff, etc etc. The paper points out that the British authorities must respect the letter as well as the spirit of the Potsdam agreement, lest they be seen to be promoting the anti-Russian policy of European revanchists, who cannot wait to unleash a denazified Wehrmacht on the Russians. The paper thinks that the Russians have a point, and for both sides, “It is high time for the Allies to abandon the magnifying glasses of suspicion as the chosen instrument of political reconnaissance.”
“American and Russian Policy in China” General Hurley’s resignation and violent denunciation of the Reds-under-the-Beds-of-the-State-Department has been a “nine days wonder” in America. General Marshall’s appointment is supposed to reconcile left and right in America, and save face in China. Russian policy is hard to discern, as they seem to be ready to be complaisant with Yennan and Chungking, which is now to be permitted to airlift its troops into Manchuria after all. Is it possible that the Russians don’t actually care that much, and just want to demobilise their men in time for the spring ploughing?
“The FBI Co-operates” Sir Clive Bailleu, President of the Federation of British Industries, gave a speech in Manchester calling for some kind of cooperation with the government’s nationalisation programme.
“Reassurance to India” Britain reassures India that it is going. Given lack of progress in an Indian settlement, this might be taken to imply that the British will soon set a date and go, settlement or no. The paper thinks that this would be a mistake, unless the Government is willing to countenance a civil war in India. So we’re back to the “Never leave until everything is ready" position. . .
“Holland and the Indies” And then there are the Dutch, still trying to get back so that they can leave later. There are now “eight to ten thousand Dutch troops” quartered around Penang and Singapore, and the Dutch have asked for permission to ship them to Java, “If it were possible to do so, without adding grist for the nationalists’ mill.” The Dutch say that they want a “free Indonesian commonwealth within the Dutch kingdom,” which the Indonesians are fine with as long as it translates into complete independence, to which the Dutch answer that, if it did, they wouldn’t have gone to all the trouble of making up a euphemism. Although, to be fair, there are the 200,000 Dutchh said to still be in the Javan camps. My information is that the camps did not take anywhere near all the "Europeans," and the camps are actually much smaller, but my information may be better than the paper's, under the circumstances.
“Azerbaijan Again” I do not think I have to say any more, except to note the paper’s bland denial that Sayyid Zita is “Britain’s reactionary candidate” to replace Prime Minister Hakimi.
|Another underphotographed war. This Youtube video may clarify whether we are looking at Iranian, Kurdish or Azerbaijani troops.|
“Reform in France” The French are nationalising their banks, and are thinking about larger-scale nationalisation.
“Help for the Poorer Authorities” Local government in poorer parts of the country need help from London snore.
“Agricultural Safeguards” The only way of preventing the return of the Corn Laws is by having a National Agricultural Advisory Service to achieve full technical efficiency. And lower wages.
“Too Many Trees” If only the Corn Laws had covered timber, we could probably paste an article from an 1846 number into this space, too.
“Atlantic Airline Fares” Pan-American has backed down from its proposed $275 “cheap” fare ($495 return, in case you are thinking that BOAC is practicing piracy) under a threat to have the three services a week recently added, revoked, reducing it to two, while American Overseas runs seven, and BOAC twelve, both at $375 or more. American opinion is that the British are protecting BOAC’s high cost business. The paper scolds the Government.
“Report from Poland” The paper finds this report from the British embassy far too critical of Poland’s new democracy.
“In Court at Nuremberg” The indictments continue.
“Land Settlement in Kenya” The paper likes provisions for dealing with soil erosion, but is unhappy with the idea of settling yet another 500 European farmers in the colony. It has not been profitable in the past. Is the Kenyan Government prepared to subsidise it indefinitely? Because there is a huge difference between tolerating the White farmers already there, and adding another 500. The scheme will “stand or fail on whether Kenya’s land is being used economically and in the best interests of the African.”
In Shorter Notes, I mainly notice a continuing increase in road accidents, with fatalities in October rising to 534 from 487, seriously injured from 2,694 to 3,249, and 117 child pedestrians killed, the highest number ever recorded. It is blamed on the end of summer time, but the longer hours of daylight in May apparently also caused more deaths. “Black-out, dim-out, daylight and lights up –all in turn seem to be accompanised by a mounting total of road casualties, especially among children.”
“The War Over Zionism” From our Correspondent in Ohio
The twenty-eight anniversary of the Balfour Declaration was apparently a stormy one for American Jews, who are not nearly as united behind Zionism as others think, says OCO, who possesses special information, evidently. I hope it is of better quality than the observation that a 150,000 strong Zionist rally at Madison Square Gardens was no big deal, since “New York holds half of the 5 million Jews in the United States.”
|Big deal. Lots of people aren't here!|
It turns out that his special information is based on the Jewish community of Cincinnati, 20,000 Jews out of a population of 500,000. This has a “more typical cross-section of Jewish reaction to the Zionist programme.” At this point, OCO reveals a real gift for writing for The Economist by taking a long and leisurely walk around the facts, to finally arrive at the observation that many of the Reform sect, which is particularly strong in Cincinnati, are not Zionists. He then explains why no-one should be Zionists. (Palestine is so small that twelve million Jews couldn’t stand there without their shoulders rubbing together. They should all come to America instead, and there should not be a Jewish state in Palestine, because the Christians and Arabs would feel left out, and go sulk –which is hard when there is no room for sulking!) He then says, and repeatedly repeats his repetitive point that the Reform Jews are altogether the richest, most educated, most advanced and best dressed of all of Cincinatti’s (America's) Jews, which is why they would be right, even were they not right. In fact, Reform Jews are so outstanding that they also lead the Zionist movement (somewhat), which isn’t a contradiction, because the divide isn’t on sect, only it is. In summary, the only way to resolve the Zionist issue is to let in enough Arab migrants into America to neutralise the Zionist vote.
“100 Days and After” After a hundred days, you’re allowed to criticise the President. Who stinks. Even though in the first 100 days 3.5 million have been demobilised (5 million are expected in the next hundred), plant clearance is at 93% completed, with pre-war plants 85% reconverted; military buying is down from 90% to 10” “in twelve months;” controls, except for sugar and tyres, are off; retail sales are up 10%, and the cost of living is down 0.3% (Ha! Says Judith.) The reason he stinks is that Mr. Walllace made a statement before the House Appropriation Committee to the effect that due to the withdrawal of $40 billion of Government demand, unemployment would be up to 6 million in twelve months. Over and above the problem of avoiding the post-1950 slump, there is the question of the $25 billion in wages withdrawn from the working population, even as cuts in war taxes leave business in a “comfortable position.” The paper wonders whether Mr. Wallace is even a member of the Administration.
There's no real difference between Truman and Dewey! So vote Wallace, because what's the worst that could happen?
“McCarran Tries Again” The paper thinks that the Pan-American fare reduction was engineered by Trippe to give McCarren a chance to reintroduce his “All American Flag Line” bill.
|I love my Surface. The camera's a bit of an afterthought, though.|
“Wool Stocks and Imports” At the head, I had some comments on the problem of liquidating our sheep lands to your satisfaction. I won’t add to my comments there, or for that matter to the detailed accounts below. I will add that the article gives no comfort. American consumption is estimated at 750 million lb, American production is at 400-450 million lb, and the current world surplus is 5000 million lb, produced at lower costs. Growers would like the tariff continued, to keep American imports at the margin between American production and consumption. (Although another plan, by an official at the University of Wyoming, has the American government buying the entire American clip, adding to it the necessary imports, and then selling it at a price calculated to remunerate the growers.) Everyone else just wants the tariffs gone entirely, with perhaps some subsidies to artificially buoy up those growers in the small Mountain states who can’t find any other use for their land. I’m not saying that flooding our pastures, with either water or trailer homes, is a “better” use, but it does get us out of this dying business!
The Business World
“The State as Manager” The paper looks into its crystal ball to see the future of nationalisation, sees a blur of words, in which I discern “technical” and “administrative."
“Security Profits and Prejudices” I suspect that you have read this with enough care that you do not need my opinion.
“Encouragement from Washington” News of the loan buoys the Stock Exchange.
Follows two notes on housing, licensing and planning, again things you know better than I. I shan’t continue our campaign to persuade you that demand for housing is likely to be higher than forecast, even if Grace has highlighted implications of higher-than-expected population growth with an “I told you so” flare. Follows that, three bits on the French bank nationalisation. It almost makes me wish that we knew a few furious ducs and comtes eager to make their francs flee to Frisco. I’m sorry about the vulgar character. It alliterated before I translated it.
“Nationalisation for Gas” It really seems that everyone ison about scientific research these days. Nationalisation, amongst other things discussed in a pretty long “note,” is the formation of a Gas Research Board with a £200,000/year budget.
“Overseas Trade Pointers” It might seem that the 47% increase in the last year was good news, but there are ways of seeing it as terrible.
“Finding the 50 Percent” So where are we to find the 50% increase in British exports? Dairy, tobacco, artificial silk and chemicals have been strong. Coal, non-ferrous ores and scrap, wool, oilseeds, resins and gum, iron and steel, machinery, cotton, woollens, vehicles, locomotives, ships, aircraft and autos are all discouraging, and the 50%, and the hope of dollar independence, is but a rosy dream.
The paper also notes that the Bank of England nationalisation has been revised to better keep bank accounts secret, that the price of lead might be going up, and that General Lindsell, in his capacity as head of the Disposals Executive, admits that Disposals are being BUNGLED. Also, there is a shortage of foundry labour, and the international aluminum cartel is being disbanded due to the enormous increase in production and consumption and disappearance of the German and Hungarian industries making the 1936 market sharing arrangement completely obsolete.
Flight, 13 December 1945
“The Navy that Flies” The recent landing and take-off trials of a de Havilland Vampire on a carrier deck shows that the Navy is now very airminded, whereas it might or might not have been in the past. (Circle one or the other as to your taste vis-à-vis air force versus navy.)
“Jets and Decks” Vampires have very low wing loading, and so do not need catapults, but, on the other hand, have very poor low speed pickup, as do all current jet fighters, making them very dangerous to “wave off.” The Vampire’s very large flaps mean that it can come in fairly hot, with the flaps down to mitigate speed, and then rapidly raise the flaps to pick up enough thrust to make it around again. Power Jets is experimenting with thrust spoilers for the same effect, which, as developed, might even allow for negative thrust. Using jets on carriers will rule out wooden decks, and will eliminate the need for a warming-up period.
“Tail Screws” A Douglas XB-42 bomber type has recently flown Los Angeles-Washington at an average speed of 430mph. This once again demonstrates the aerodynamic potential of the tail-mounted airscrew, although the paper does not think it worth the extra weight, although the point of this is to advertise the upcoming DC-8, and in an airliner noise reduction may compensate.
“Two of a Trio: The Bristol Buckingham Fast Day or Night Bomber and the Brigand Long-range Attack Monoplane” Now that they’ve been mentioned, and pictured, the paper supposes that it is time to talk about these new Bristol aircraft. Or not so new, in the Buckingham’s case. It was developed as a Blenheim replacement, with the thought that, as a fast day bomber, it might make daylight raids against German heavy industry, back when the Blenheims of 2 Group were making those gingerly raids into the Low Countries. However, by the time the Buckingham was in quantity production, radar-assisted night bombing was in full swing, the Mosquito was in production, and the only real use for it was as a transport. I would also note that the country was swimming in American medium bomber twins, and while the Buckingham might have been a bit faster with twin Centauruses, it was hardly a big difference. Meanwhile, the use of the Beaufighter in the coastal strike role led to the thought that, just as the Beaufort had led to the Beaufighter, the Buckingham might lead to a replacement for the Beaufort. At this point things got a bit more ambitious, as a picture showing the Brigand’s enormous dive brakes indicates. Presumably, the dive brakes have all the automatic actuators and interconnections that so impressed the industry when the Do 215 was captured, back in 1942. Unfortunately, we ran out of Japanese to dive bomb before the design was ready for service. Perhaps someone will volunteer to be dive-bombed when they are ready.
Roy Fedden, “German Jet Developments: Big Production Before the Collapse: Ingenious Designs to Overcome Material Shortages: Insistence on Axial-Flow Arrangement” German jets were more numerous than ours, but had inferior performance, largely because of lack of strategic alloys. Improved cooling was sought with hollow turbine blades with internal air flow, which amazed British engineers, but probably didn’t actually work that well in practice, given compressor stall problems. The engines were extremely easy to make, once production was ramped up, a new engine being assembled in about 50 hours. Fedden thinks that the BMW 003 was the better design.
“The Post-War Gipsy” A new range of the small de Havilland aero-engines are coming to a lawnmower near you.
Flt. Lt. Gordon White, A.R.Ae.S., “Cockpit Classification: Four main Groups: More Logical Cockpit Drill: Colour and Positioning Grouping of Instruments and Controls” Flt. Lt White has strong and well-argued opinions about how the controls and instruments in a cockpit should be arranged.
In an ad, Martin reminds “Over Ocean Airlines” that the Martin Mars exists.
A full article on the deck trials of the Sea Vampire follows. Captain Caspar John’s HMS Ocean was the trial ship, with Lt. Cdr. E. M. Brown as the pilot. You may not know the names –well, I expect his father has mentioned Captain John to you!-- , but the Admiralty is doing its best to signal that it is Very Serious Indeed about this. To the Vampire’s other virtues as a jet deck trial unit, the article adds its all-up weight of 8000lbs, compare with the 13,000 being reached by the current generation of naval fighters.
“Indicator,” “Hampden and Hereford: Two Early British ‘Heavies’ in the Series of Handling Impressions” Hardly anyone remembers the Hampden, because it wasn’t much of a bomber, but Indicator remembers that it was a nice aircraft in the air. The handling of the Heresford –the Dagger-powered variant—was even more forgiving. Unfortunately, the engine tended to overheat on the ground, and the high engine speed characteristic of those unconventional Napier engines tended to give the crews “MTB ear.”
“Photo Reconnaissance: Peacetime Occupations of the P.R. Squadrons: Big Tasks in Hand” Why can no-one get film and other photographic equipment? Because the old PR squadrons have launched massive projects of aerial surveying, of all Canada, all India, all Indo-China. The paper notes that PR is a “Cinderella” of the RAF. Poor RAF, all Cinderella, no evil step-sisters! Its proof of this is that photoreconnaissance’s highest man in the Air Ministry is Deputy Director Group Captain F. C. V. Laws. The article ends by advising us that “there is no doubt that British lenses are the world’s best.”
Here and There
US Postmaster-General R. E. Hannigan is exploring a halving of air mail rates. The ATC is to receive only 8 captured German gliders, as German flying clubs might want the rest, and suddenly there is no objection to giving to them. One Mr. Rowarth is leaving the Air Ministry to return to Automotive Products of Leamington. The Red Air Force’s transport command will be turned over entirely to civil aviation next year. Avro is exploring setting up a subsidiary in Australia. The RAF’s Sikorsky R-4B and R-6 helicopters will be known as the Hoverfly I and II in British service. The RAF will be out of Iceland by March.
Civil Aviation News
Two pages of not-news. Contracts placed for runway extensions in Ireland, DC-3s going to Tata Airlines, an anniversary celebration of something-or-other at Prestwick. . . Fairey demonstrates how oil tankers were converted into Merchant Aircraft Carriers, which is admittedly not actually civil aviation news, but rather appended at the bottom of the page.
“Lancaster Group Celebrate: Avro Dinner to Mark Completion of Lancaster Bomber Production” 7,336 Lancasters were delivered to the RAF, over half by the parent company. In the peak month of August 1944, 293 Lancasters were delivered in a single month, said Mr. Dobson, who went on to suggest that, post-war, we should be looking at “five hour hops” as the target to aim for, and that speed was the important thing for air transport, since economy, comfort and security could be better provided by other means of transport. Air Chief Marshal Harris, who could not be present due to illness, and also because we’ve decided to blame him for wrecking Europe, sent a nice message.
B. E. J. Garmeson writes several paragraphs to expand on the idea that nationalisation is bad. G. W. Buckingham has opinions about war decorations. “Stressman” points out that the Meteor’s achievement of 0.8 Mach is not unprecedented, and that a Spitfire had recently achieved .92 in a controllable dive at RAE. The paper points out that it has said that already, that the number was actually 0.85, and that you cannot compare dives at high altitude to level flights near the ground, and that the Spitfire is, in fact, under uncontrollable nose-down characteristics at that speed. J. H. Stevenson, General Secretary of the Aeronautical Engineers’ Association, writes a much kinder and more polite reply to Patricia Parker, expanding on the AEA’s problem, which is that aeronautical engineers trained after 1939 are being denied Air Ministry certificates available to all mechanical engineers trained before 1939. Reading between the lines, I think that this is to provide jobs for returning RAF groundcrew, which is a very contentious issue for union men on both sides of the Atlantic right now.
The Economist, 15 December 1945
“Second Thoughts” Most of this article is going to be devoted to the loan, which is keen news, as it’s a beautiful, sunny afternoon in Santa Clara, and I was thinking about walking the twins down to Great-Grandfather’s tree. (As you may recall from Grace’s letters, it probably won’t be with us very much longer. Sigh. I wonder if the thought went through Rohmer's mind, for the least second, that night in Limehouse, that the "sinister figure" he was looking at liked to push his great-grandchildren on a swing at the bottom of an orange orchard?) As for the paper, its second thoughts are very second thought-y.
“A Government for Germany?” The Americans want some kind of German secretariat to coordinate the zones. The Russians are likely to be opposed. France’s position, pro or con, will be overridden. It is left to Britain to somehow find middle ground where it can maintain the Four Power Agreement and get this government, which it wants. That seems impossible, but, along the way, it will be possible to tweak de Gaulle’s beak, which is almost as good.
“The Trade Proposals” A leading article on what it is that the paper has “Second Thoughts” about.
“Safer Railways” To mass carnage on the roads we can now add a spate of rail accidents. The Bourne derailment will add heavily to the good record of the war years (4 in 1943, 12 In 1944; unbelievable figures from an American point of view), and the Ecclefechan collision would have added still more, but for good luck. The steady fall in railway fatalities has clearly been reversed by the war. The block system, and its concomitant track circuiting, has contributed to this decline. So has power light signalling, but automatic control will be even better as it is extended from London Transport as either the GWR or Hurd system, which are really “warning control” systems in which an open signal sounds warning bells and hooters in the cabin, and energises the brakes unless the engineer interrupts. The paper admits that there is a limit to the amount that can be spent for safety, but thinks that automatic control should be extended.
Notes of the Week
“Before the Moscow Meeting” Hopefully the Moscow meeting will thaw out things, because no-one wants World War III. Grace interjects, for her day bed, upon which she has just arrived, “No matter how exciting it would be!”
“Food For Germany” Mr. Hynd is not optimistic about achieving 1500 calories per German per day this winter. The British public want to help, but this poses a dilemma, as Britain is importing food itself, but the paper still thinks that Sir Ben Smith is “going to absurd lengths” to make sure that British food reserves are not depleted by an increased allotment to the continent.
“The Palestine Commission” It is hoped that the Palestinians will be taken in hand by the Egyptian and Saudi Arabian governments and kept from making emotional interventions before the new Council as it settles everything.
“The Docker’s Minimum” The increase in the docker minimum wage is bitterly disappointing to the rank and file, so the paper is warming to it.
“The Rate of Release” The paper is pleased to hear that there is to be a reduction in the delay of release of army officers. (This means more being released?) As for the rank and file, the paper finds contradictions in recent statements as to whether and how the armed forces are to be reduced to 2.2 million by next June, or, on the other hand, 1.2 million. BUNGLING!
“The Manpower Position”
“The Indonesian Tragedy” Where previously British policy in Indonesia was to disarm the Japanese and release prisoners of war and detainees, it is now to “recover Japanese arms,” which means, in effect, to disarm the Indonesians. “There will be fighting ahead, ugly, difficult fighting, before Java can be ‘pacified.’” “The end is not in doubt, but the way will be bitter,” the troops were told, as they marched off to invade –I’m sorry. Where have we heard this before? The objective, of course, is in no way to crush Indonesian nationalism or frustrate Indonesian aspirations. It is only to get rid of all the collaborators and leave only “moderates.” Eentually, given enough tanks and rocket-firing aircraft, we can be confident that Java will be as peaceful and moderate as India is now.
Yes, I'm a bit skeptical.
|Elizabeth Butler, Remnants of an Army|
“The Site of UNO” If it’s in America, it will cost dollars. The paper is hoping for “the large capital city and cultural centre of a small state enjoying first-class communications.” So not San Francisco, then.
“Convention for Newfoundland” The way in which Newfoundland is governed is an important issue, it turns out.
“Mr. Bevan and the Doctors” It turns out that the minister and the British Medical Association have been skirmishing over the national health plan.
“Nationalising the Land by Installments” Surely there are limits to what Parliament can do? “The Labour Government is clinging to the idea . . . that development can be effectively controlled without nationalisation” The paper is skeptical.
“Universities and Teachers’ Training” Some members of the McNair Committee on the Training of Teachers think universities should have colleges for training teachers’ trainers, that is, be in charge of “supervising” teacher’s colleges. Others think that there should be a “machinery of coordination.” Whatever the outcome, given that the long-term need will be 30,000—45,000 student teachers in training at any given time, and the size of the teachers’ colleges, about half of university students in the future will be teacher trainees. So the Butler Act implies a very great change in the universities.
“The Greek Troubles” The Greeks ae back to being excitable. (So also the Italians and Hungarians.)
“Cost Plus” The cost plus system of paying for war damage repairs is to be ended. It was good while it lasted, I am sure I hear you saying. “A system of firm prices is to be substituted.” The real hope is for more competitive bids for tender as more men come out of the Forces.
Lord Wavell’s comments on the explosive situation in India were “intended to reinforce the Government’s strong words.” Although the paper doesn’t believe that the British will just withdraw, and imagines that Indians don’t believe it, either. Of course not. The Indians believe that the British will find some excuse to never leave! Also, the paper is disappointed (“happy,” Grace corrects) about the strikes in New South Wales, which show that Mr. Curran’s government has no grip.
“The Creditor” Americans are as unhappy about the loan agreement from their point of view as the British are from theirs. The paper thinks that the Colmer Committee could have done a better job.
“Full Employment?” Congress has been happily marking up the Murray Bill to remove all of its teeth, but cannot bear not to pass something under the title of “Full Employment” in an election year which may see 8 million unemployed. It just has to be ineffectual. Certainly it cannot be so outlandish as, for example, to mandate the running of a budget deficit if full employment cannot be achieved any other way, as the Murray Bill does.
“Republicans at Chicago” The Republican National Committee met in Chicago to put together an election platform. Since it can’t really agree on a platform that will draw water in ’46, it has agreed instead to focus on negative criticism and obstruction in Congress to prevent the Administration from accomplishing anything.
“The Treasury Loses Six Billions” The paper is very happy to point out that, with none of the wailing over the loan to the British, the Treasury is happily giving up 6 billions in tax reductions. “Mr. Vinson proposed $5,175 million;” the House Appropriations Committee increased it to $5,305 million; the Senate bid 5.788, and a joint committee of the two houses compromised on $5.92 billions. $2,784 millions comes out of individual taxes, $3.136 billion from corporate rates. The paper thinks that this is an odd way to stimulate consumption, and points out its similarity to the British package, which is put forward as a way of increasing investment. It is almost as though cuts on the taxes paid by the rich (upon which subject I’m a bit torn, I will admit on threat of a thrown pillow from the distaff side of this sunny study. But what else is a throw pillow for?) are justified by whatever need arises.
“Houses on Paper” The Wager-Ellender Bill, which promises to resolve the housing problem in one sweeping act, remains on paper only, and will not reach the Senate this session. It was said, the paper shakes its head mournfully, that home building would be the salvation of reconversion, that it would be to this war what the automobile was to the last. But shortages of construction materials, and the industry’s resistance to price controls, have “dimmed the outlines of the fine plans” of the past. 1.25 million homes are needed, but only 4 to 500,000 are expected. At least 3.4 million city families, and one million farm families must be prepared to share their homes in 1946, the National Housing Administrator, Mr. Blandford, warns. Real estate prices are soaring, and, the paper concludes, only a “federal plan” can save the day.
“The ‘Rich Port’” Puerto Rico suffered direly during the war from the lack of shipping, although its brith rate went up. It is thought that there will be a referendum on independence soon. No, these two thoughts are not really related. They’re just the two things the paper knows about Puerto Rico in recent years.
The World Overseas
“Revolution in Brazil” Latins are excitable.
“After the Cocoa Crisis –I” By Our Accra Correspondent
As near as I can tell, the marketing board offered too low a price for cocoa, and there was a “hold up,” which is a labour action, but it is not clear that the hold up was caused by the price offered, or by concerns that the payments for the last crop had not been remitted to the Gold Coast yet.
The Business World
“Can Sterling be Freed?” Apart from the political difficulty of negotiating with Britain’s largest creditor of all, the Government of India, the paper has its doubts, but concedes that the loan is necessary. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
“Asia’s Rice Famine” Is finally noticed.
So: Asia consumes 95% of the world’s rice, and the cropaveraged 95 million tons of cleaned rice (151 million tons of paddy) in1935—40. In the last year of the war, the crop was at 90—95% of average prewar output, but, this included a significant increase in American and Latin American production. This could not offset the decline in production of the principal exporting countries: Burma, Siam and French Indo-China, which could not export due to the Japanese occupation. Prewar eports were estimated at 8.3 million tons: 3 million from Burma, 1.5 million each from Siam and French Indo-China. China, British Malaya, the Philippines and Indonesia all imported rice. A shortage of rice exports to Europe followed, but they were irrelevant to total European needs. More pressing was the loss to India, where cleaned rice production rose from 25.4 million tons in 1937—42 to 31.3 million tons in 1943—44. Unfortunately, the yield fell to 27.7 million tons next year, still above the pre-war average, but not enough to prevent the famine. Acreage increased by 10%, “increasing production, but not enough to make up for the increasing population.” Throwing in a dig about the Indian proclivity to breed doesn’t seem to help the analysis here, but what do I know? Only 160,000 tons of imports have been found for India since capitulation, so the crisis continues. British statistics for this year’s total crop and the stockpile, if any, are “vague.” Japan increased its crop, and storage capacity during the war, but nothing similar is possible in the monsoon countries, so it is thought that no significant surplus will be foud. It is thought that India, Malaya and Ceylon will need significant imports, that the Philippines and Indonesia will need temporary help, that Korea and Formosa will see their crops decline, and that even Australia has had a setback due to drought. The only hope of easing the situation is, apparently, the small Western Hemisphere surplus.
Under Business Notes, another of those bits about “cheap money” which are impenetrable to a non-banker. Something to do with the loan, the paper goes on? There has been progress in the distressed areas, ICI has a new plant going in on Teeside. The Northeast is, in general, recovering quickly, South Wales not so fast. Wages are going up in the building trades, hopefully helping with the “black market” for construction labour. It turns out that the Malayan tin industry did not fade away into ruin and wreckage when the Whites left, after all. The Swiss report that their banks hold fr. 1000 million in German assets; the Swedes kr. 480 million. Various explanations are put forward as to why these are not actually large numbers, and why nothing urgent need be done.
At which point –hurrah! A massive insert on the loan begins. I am off into the sunshine, and Grace to dreamland under the gentle ministrations of the Lady of Mercy. Or a carefully-measured portion of morphine, Dr. Rivers having had some experiences at Iwo Jima of which he grimly says, the less said the better.
Aviation, December 1945
Down the Years in AVIATION’s Log
Twenty five years ago, Captain Corliss C. Moseley won the Pulitzer Prize in a Verville-Packard biplane at 178mph.
Airmail flies 116,023 miles a month at 63 cents per mile. The Pacific Fleet plans a record 66500 mile seaplane trip to Panama, and Zeppelin builds a four-engined transport plane. Fifteen years ago, the nine month output of American aircraft companies was 2,154 aircraft. Ford reports that its private air freight service Detroit-Chicago and Detroit-Cleveland-Buffalo had flown 10 million lbs of cargo over five years. Ten years ago, German military aircraft production was set at 3000 per year. The RAF sent aircrew to the United States for instrument training, Curtiss-Wright built an amphibian with a nose wheel, Kellet produced the first wingless autogiro, and the Naval Aircaft Factory produced the firstXN3N-1 Trainer, powered by the Wright J-5.
“Controlled Atoms or Controlled Lives” Atomic matters hang over civilisation’s head like the Sword of Damocles, and the coolest judgement is needed. This is no time to get hysterical. First, atomic war is futile. There is no practical means of preventing an atomic attack except the hollow one of deterrence. An aggressor might succeed through a sneak attack, but it is more likely that the victim’s atomic weapons, widely dispersed according to best atomic strategy, would still be used in retaliation. It is true that the country with the most dispersed population and industry might come out the better, but there is no guaranteed that the explosion of “twenty thousand atomic weapons” might not create clouds of poison that would be “fatal to great masses of population, not only in the country bombed, but perhaps in the country which launched them.” The peaceful use of atomic power to produce untold amounts of energy is a more hopeful side of the story, but and any country that makes fissile materials is at risk of having them fall into the control of “paranoid elements of its own population” which might well use them, even if atomic bombs were banned. Atomic bombs can destroy countries, perhaps the world. Only America, Britain and Canada can make them, so we face the question of either keeping them under our control, or placing them under international control. The former is impossible. Other countries will have them soon. That leaves international control as the only option. Alternatively, there will be an arms race in atomic weapons, and this “will mean an end of free science, a severe policing and regimentation of international trade and trade, and innumerable restrictions upon . . . individual freedoms.” So, instead, first world government, second, international bans on atomic weapons, third, an end to war. After that, afternoon tea!
“Reconversion to Re-Complacency” We should have an arms race. Because they’d be hard to start once we need one, so we should start before we need it. Otherwise, we’ll be doomed by our complacency just like “Sumer, Greece and Rome,” which also didn’t build enough aircraft when they didn’t need them, just to have the factories and researchers ready when they did.
“Here is the Allied Bombing Record” Germany planned to take over the world with trickery and cunning strategy. Then Britain and America came along and built enormous numbers of bombers and dropped enormous amounts of bombs, and levelled all the German cities, which, luckily, had factories in them that made things like ball bearings. Without ball bearings, Germany, obviously, lost the war. Some statistics and anecdotes extend the article, all cribbed from the United States Strategic Bombing Survey, about which I have heard bitter complaints from the boys in blue. (They think it gives short shrift to area bombing) but that’s a subject for another day.
Aviation’s 1945 Annual Maintenance Feature Section, Or, What Will I Do With All My Free Time
|In case you were wondering what you were missing.|
“Construction and Operation of New Injection Carburetor”
The new Stromberg “PS” series single barrel small-plane injection carburetor is described.
C. E. Pappas and G. Harrison, “Analyzing the Aspects of Future Flight, Part II”
Once above Mach 1.2, aircraft will experience less instability due to air flows. However, enormous amounts of power will be required: 12,000hp (thrust) to achieve Mach 2.0 at 50,000ft in a plane of 6 ft fuselage diameter. Assuming a wing loading of 100lb/sq ft to give a wing area of 300sq ft, the total goes up to 15,000hp. Since the plane will melt trying to go Mach 2.0 at lower altitudes, there is not much point in working out the numbers much below 50,000ft. And besides, once we’re talking about high altitudes, we can go on about the acceleration required to reach orbit, the possibility of aircraft heating by the “recombination of ions” from the ionised belt of the atmosphere, and, as near as I can tell, the heat a plane flying that high might receive from the reflected solar flux.
Speaking of complete wastes of paper, Ernest G. Stout, “Landing Analyses for Flying Boats an Seaplanes,” Part III Flying boats aren’t allowed to skip on landing any more.
B. C. Boulton, Engneering Divisional Staff, Douglas Aircraft Corporation, “Standards Engineer Still Faces High Hurdles” Did you know that R. R. Richolt, a Lockheed hydraulic and mechanical staff engineer, designed a standard aircraft bearing pulley t replace some 300 special pulleys developed to replace the previous standard, the unsatisfactory AN210 series? An extensive discussion of bearing pulleys underlines why standards engineers are much more important members of the engineering staff then some might think. That is because the standards engineer might develop a new standardisation that is better than the old one, although he probably won’t, because that’s not actually his job.
“Beech Marketing C-P Props for Low Horsepower Ranges” In case you’re wondering, they were made for AAF liaison aircraft to further improve their short-field takeoff performance. Although you probably weren’t wondering. I’m just at a bit of a loss as to what need for them there would be on the civilian market.
K. H. Holmgren, Associate Director, Aviation Institute of Professional Sales Training, “Open Home Sales School for Dealers-Distributors” For a limited time only, take a course on salesmanship from this man!
|I can either make fun of this picture, or link to some class WKRP. I choose the latter, because I have class.|
“Floatplane Bases Cut Expenses and Time” Oh, Good God.
“New Voyager Four-Placer Delivered by Stinson”
“Here’s Bumblebee-Powered Soarer” (The Nelson Bumblebee has a 4 cylinder, 16 hp engine, which you can put in a glider or a lawnmower.
“Firebrand and Lincoln ‘Up’ RAF Might” Here are two planes you’ve heard of before.
James B. Rea, “Consairway Sharpens Convair Peace Designs” ‘Consairway” was Convair’s private wartime long-range overseas transport organisation. Convair learned something about operating an airline by operating an airline, and now has ideas about how to build airliners.
Raymond L. Hoadley, “Airline Earnings Peak Six Months Off?” Because of tax changes, maybe. So that’s a short-term airline earnings peak, only.
|Pictures make everything clearer.|
“Bellcrank Production Boosted by Switching Weld Location” More exciting news about the Martin Mariner. Even more exciting than “Production Costs ‘Clipped’ with Clips”
“Funny” story about a man who fell out of a fuselage door that popped open during a flight over the Hump. Fortunately, the crewman was wearing a parachute. Now this is funny: a recent survey suggests that none of the 300,000 military pilots need to look for work in other fields. Ninety thousand want to stay in the service (says the survey!), and the other 210,000 can look forward to the 10,000 new airline pilot jobs available by 1950, among other opportunities.
“Leaders Drive to Unify Our Military Forces: Success Likely Despite Navy Opposition;” “Billion Dollar Airport Bill Ready for Signing;” “Symington Heads SPA: Faster Action Seen” That last needs some explanation, which is that Bill Symington is expected to Get Things Done at the Surplus Property Administration. We also have news of the existence of the Boeing XF8B-1 Navy fighter, which has a 3600hp six-blade contra-rotating propeller and can carry a 6400lb bomb load or two torpedoes, in addition to six .50s or six 20mm cannon. Now they just need a carrier that will float it.
|Normal takeoff weight: 21,000lbs. It's only 37,000 for the F-18!|
. . On a saner note, pictures of the new flying bombs, which might actually exist some day, appear.
The Washington Windsock
Stubblefield thinks that we shouldn’t be squabbling over flags when there is a backlog of passengers to be carried over the Atlantic, that Congress is in danger of diverting too much money from existing planes to space missiles and other wizardry that won’t be ready for years yet, that “even the cloistered basic researchers” think that we will soon have airliners faster than the rotation of the Earth, allowing people to fly westbound at sunset and remain at sunset for the entire way. (About Mach 1.5, give or take. As see the Pappas article above, this would entail north of 15,000hp of thrust. He also notices the ramjet and proximity fuze. I notice that there doesn’t seem to be any reporting in this bit, never mind a pretense tht this is what “Washington” is thinking. Except for the “space missiles.”
“Airline Seat Demand Rockets 25%: Route Mileages at New High: Get ‘Tide-Over’ Planes” The headline pretty much says it all. The paper hasn’t heard of Heathrow yet. (That is, the “Worlddata” section has an extensive complain about Croydon and suggests that no replacement has been decided upon yet.)
Fortune, December 1945
The Job Before Us
Even though the paper was out too early to hear the news from China, (Have no fear, I look forward to Time this month!) it’s still on about General Marshall, in this case, his talk at the New York Herald Tribune Forum, where he decried the demoralisation of the army due to rapid demobilisation. The United States, the paper says, is not interested in “non-intervention.” It is backing its ally, Chiang Kai Shek, and is “responsible” for the Arabs as well as the Jews of Palestine. So it needs an army, and therefore conscription.
“Back to the Market” “It was Wendell Willkie who said that only the strong could be free, and only the productive could be strong.” Which somehow means that there shouldn’t be a cross-the-board pay hike. The market can sort it out. More importantly, the paper is still quoting Willkie.
“Stop Fighting the Last Depression” The country hears calls from Chester Bowles to “hold the line,” because inflation is imminent, and for wage increases from Mr. Wallace, because deflation is imminent. The paper points out that it can’t be both. It has to be one or the other, and all signs point to inflation, not deflation. With tax cuts inevitable, the President must do something about the Treasury’s cheap money policies, and do what he can to encourage the fight against excessive wage settlements, or there really will be serious inflation.
“High Altitudes and Low Rates” The paper doesn’t buy Pan American, but does think that the industry is probably too young for tariff scbedules such as the Trans-Atlantic Steamship Conference has.
“Ships are Here to Stay” New passenger liners are being built, since the day of all trans-Atlantic air travel is still a ways away.
“Iron Ore Dilemma” This is the flip side of The Economist’s fear that America will enter the market for overseas iron ore. The Mesabi Ranges, which provided 85% of American ore in the late war, and have supported the American industry for two generations are being depleted. Director EdwardWilson Davis of the Minnesota Mines’ Experiment Station believes that the Mesabi’s best ores will be gone by 1950—54. Although, as the paper points out, iron is the fourth most abundant element in the Earth, good, easily transported ore bodies are less common. The Mesabi is a typical ocean bed deposit, exposed to air by the movement of the continents. It is rich, and it is also not “wrinkled,” as other such deposits are, so that it is easy to mine, needing only for the surface layer of clay to be scraped away so that steam shovels can get right at the rich 50% iron content ore. And it’s near the lakehead, and the Great Lakes basin includes good coking coal. It is thought that there are 500 million tons of ore in the range, and US Steel owns 350 million of them, the other sixteen companies with an interest sharing the remainder.
|Giant steam shovel|
This is one of those good Fortune articles. It explains benefication and specifically the flotation techniques, and why Minerals Separation Company has gotten rich from its patents, and why everyone is researching ways around them. Not to mention the Engineer . . . This is also relevant in that no benefication method has been found that will make the taconite ore at the eastern edge of the Range commercially viable. If one were found, the life of the Range would be greatly extended. They also think things could be improved by cuts on transport costs and by tax breaks. The mining towns of the range have extended their municipal limits over the ranges, allowing them to charge an occupation tax that goes to enrich the local communities at the expense of the iron companies. Hibbing, Minnesota, for example, is entirely too posh for its inhabitants, and could stand to be taken down a peg. How this will increase the amount of ore available is another question entirely.
“The Nurnberg Novelty” The paper disapproves of the war crimes trials.
“Marshall Field, the Store” I will leave the articles about department stores to my wife. And duck.
“Reuther: F.O.B. Detroit” Walter Reuther is the Vice-President of Detroit’s United Automobile, Aircraft, an Implement Workers of America,” and he has a modest, two-and-a-half story house, paid off, on his $7000/year salary, and quite a nice hobby workshop. He is also an “intellectual,” and has “theories.” Now, the main theory he has that anyone cares about is that his brothers deserve a 30% wage increase from GM, and that the Fishers can afford it. Reuther explains that wartime advances will considerably increase productivity on the assembly lines, and someone has to get the money. Also, he will explain about how “economic democracy” is preferable to “socialism,” if asked.
“F-hp: Once fractional horsepower engines were merely laborsavers. Now they make possible new techniques and new Products” “Small-motor enthusiasts call the second World War the “small-motor war.” Of course they do. Well, there were 300 fp engines on the B-29, so there’s that. We’re told that all the new engines use the wonder materials Alnico “discovered by a Japanese before the war,” and “Silicone,” which is one-third more heat resistant than the materials it displaces. The electric motor, engineers believe, coupled with electronic controls, could automate any task men can do. Ducks again! Women, too. The censorial power of this arrangement is somewhat diminished by the fact that I have to bring her pillows back to her. So, anyway, women, too. There is also a shortage of fractional motors, and many new needs. So this is a good industry to get into.
“Will Clayton’s Cotton, II” There is just too much of interest in this cotton wholesaler’s business to contain in a single number of the paper. Or so the paper thinks. Grace suggests that the party that the paper is trying to wrangle an invite to was put over a month.
“Through the Wringer with A.G. & E.”
Mr. Hopson’s Associated Gas and Electric was placed in receivership by the New York Federal Court four months ago. It’s a rare company that manages to fail in the conditions of the last four years, but the seeds of disaster were sown long before the war –before 1929, actually-- and it turns out that it was largely because it was a massive fraud involving borrowing on the utility’s assets. Hopson himself, “shattered” by the collapse of his empire, is in a Winchester sanatorium, somehow getting by on a $6000 annuity.
“Germany was Badly Run: The Inventors of Total War Were the Last to Adopt It. Their Administration was Pooe and Dictatorship a Handicap” Now that the match is lost, it is time for the losers to talk about how their knees were acting up, John Kenneth Galbraith, recently returned from the Strategic Bombing Survey tells us.
“The Boom in Ballet” Grace has nodded off again, so there’s no joy in teasing her about this. All I can say is that Fortune keeps getting odder. I am tolerably certain that we’re not talking a boom in ticket sales, though.
The Farm Column
“That’s Where the Short Corn Grows” Ladd Haystead is off to Iowa to interview the tenant farmers of that state, to see how anyone could possibly mismanage an Iowa corn farm so as to be a tenant farmer at this stage in the war. Tales of misfortune follow. I’m at a loss for news here, although the story of the way that German Lutheran pastor Father Durren saved Westphalia, Iowa, is touching, and there’s a bit about how Iowa has half the doctors it needs –one for every 1500 occupants, vice a recommended one for 750, so yet another peacetime shortage to be made up.
The paper goes to England, where it visits Rubery Owen, which makes steel products at Darlaston, near Wolverhampton, and is 70% reconverted. It has sent out fifteen men to India, Scandinavia, the dominions, Latin America, and the Middle East to drum up orders. It should probably send them to America (dollar shortage), but I am guessing that it is too expensive (dollar shortage) Raleigh Cycle Co, which stopped making the “Rolls Royce of bicycles” to focus on small arms, ammunition and fuzes, needs access to annealing ovens so it can start making bicycles again. Since he can sell a hundred bikes for everyone he makes over the next five years, he is not really worried about sales once he starts actually making them again. Austin Motors made 600 cars a week for the first months after V-J Day, but that was with stockpiled parts, and production has now slumped to 130, and the company could lay off another 6000 workers, having already fallen to 12,000 from a wartime 19,000 peak if it did not anticipate a pick up. Metropolitan-Vickers is also struggling to find ways to keep up to wartime production levels, though fortunately turbine blades and portable generators are in heavy demand, especially in Russia. Ferranti’s businesses in meters and transformers is back, but not its domestic appliance line, which never made much money anyway, and which the Board of Trade would probably not allow it to make, anyway. Horrockses, Crewdson and Company, the cotton manufacturer, seems mainly focussed on attracting labour. It promises ideal conditions, but the actual factory seems to fall short. Boots Pure Drugs Co., Ltd, is obviousy not put out much by reconversion except for the 100 (out of 1200) stores destroyed by bombs. It does have concerns about Stafford Cripps refusing to buy sanitary napkins now that the Lend Lease supply is discontinued. Domestic production is down 40%, and there are already signs of a shortage. Cadbury’s, the other side of the “cocoa crisis,” is also the other side of the sugar crisis, which is holding production down to 37% of capacity. It is, however, eying the possibility of getting into the electrical products business(!)
|Horrockses: Off the rack fashion from 1946. It's almost like everything isn't doom and futility in Britain in late '45. Source: Anna Battista's Irenebrination|
Books and Ideas
Ferdie Deering’s USDA: Manager of American Agriculture, puts it that the management of American agriculture is being BUNGLED. Carlton J. Hayes, a history professor who spent three years with the embassy in Spain, emerges from secrecy with Wartime Mission to Spain. He finds no evidence of Fascism in Spain, and thinks that while Franco is bad, he is not that bad, and we shouldn’t do anything about him, because it is a matter for the Spanish. Kenneth Pendar, an archaeologist where Hayes is a historian, offers us Adventures in Diplomacy, which is set in North Africa, where he helped prepare the way for the invasion. He tells us that he fell out of love with de Gaulle in North Africa, and came to prefer Giraud. Noel Busch’s Lost Continent? Is not a thriller set on Atlantis or Lemuria, but rather a typewriter portrait of Europe as it is now, which is not really “lost,” hence the question mark. Crane Britton gives us The United States and Britain,which the paper dislikes as anti-British. Carl Crow’s The City of Flint Grows Up is a history of a Michigan car-making town associated with Buick. Herman Finer’s Road to Reaction is meant as an answer to Hayek’s Road toSerfdom, but since the paper is a-swoon for Hayek, it is not much of a notice.
Fortune Faces gives us Donald Bathrick of Pontiac, John Green of the CIO (at length) and Mead L. Bricker of Ford.
“Hi-Yo Silver” US silver policy is insane, because it is a cheap way to buy senators from small states, and notably Nevada’s McCarren. We all know that, but it is eye-opening that, even though America is required by law to hold 500 million ounces of silver in Treasury vaults, this is still a “shortage,” and the McCarran bill, which will set the purchase price at 71 cents, will bring little foreign silver into the United States, and keep the mines working.
Also, the RFC is still trying to sell the Big and Little Inch, and there is burgeoning demand for common stocks from “everyday” investors, and a shortage of new investors. (Knowing Uncle Henry, I’m even more dispirited by hearing that Kaiser-Frazer is one of the few exceptions.) Perhaps the tax cut will unleash a torrent of new issues, the paper suggests. Or, perhaps, the company is awash with cash and no-one needs to issue stock! (As see my comments at the head.) There may soon finally be some Willy-Overlands “Jeeps” for sale to civilian buyers in America soon, but they will still only be war surplus. I hope that they don’t still tip over if they go around corners at above 20. (Unpleasant memories from Mindanao.)
More Americans expect a “big war” in the next twenty-five to thirty-five years than at the peace, with Russia well at the head of possible causes. 63% think that Japan will “try again” to rule Asia, while most think that Germany has learned its lesson. They have poor opinions about Japanese character, but, on the other hand, think that the Japanese knew less about atrocities than the Germans. They think that overpopulated Japan should be made to live with the land it has, and that the atomic bomb was used just about right –although 22% think that we should have “used many more bombs before giving Japan a chance to surrender.” People are optimistic that atomic bombs will not be used in the next war that they think is coming (although this may be a question of people not thinking contradictions in their answers through, I say), and 65.6% think that “some other country” will have an atomic bomb in about five years. (52.5% in less, 11.7% in more than five years.) There is wide agreement that “politicians” and not “military men” are responsible for Pearl Harbour, but Republicans are much more enthusiastic about saying so, and thinking that the issue should be kept alive for political purposes.