Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Postblogging Technology, February, 1946, II: Colour of Money

R._ C_.,
Chateau Laurier,
Ottawa, Canada

Dear Father:

After hanging fire for so long, the Canadian espionage story has finally broken; and, with it, the FBI's tacit admission that it has something. The rumours we hear, and probably you, is that she is a female Washington civil servant of loose morals who used to carry confidential documents for a number of people in President Roosevelt's circle. Including, it is darkly hinted, someone "largely responsible for Bretton Woods." Dark hints of that kind are probably best discouraged. One just does not know whether to kill them with obscurity, or with endless, boring talk. 

Probably obscurity. People seem, to have a limitless appetite for the tedious when it is dressed up with secret agents and national secrets.

Anyway, this is what we hear through the (former) "Miss v. Q.," who is now to go back to Washington with another batch of Naval GRU cipher texts. --which we will be charged with obtaining. I have made it very clear this time that we are not to hear from the Soongs, and that the FBI and the Navy are not to involve the Engineer, accordingly. Whether they respect my wishes is another matter, but if they can find a more readily disavowed burglar than Wong Lee, they are welcome to try. Uncle George tells me that he has some Italian friends. . . 

Proceedings towards Bikini proceed apace. Ensign Wong is already there, setting up shops for some grand new robot scheme. A robot tank was used at the last atomic bomb test, although not very successfully. At this one, they are talking about a robot plane. Your youngest son is competing for a chance to operate one, and your eldest is providing Allied expertise in the matter. He is also keen to get his feet wet with all of this atomic stuff, which, he says, is probably the future of naval propulsion. First, no black gangs. Now, no oil!

You may be glad to hear that Queenie has found accommodations for herself and the baby. "Miss V. C." has decided that she will stay in the city during the summer, pursuing research for her senior thesis, and will be moving into Professor  K.'s anthropological coach house until "Miss v. Q." returns from Virginia. The professor and his wife are pleased, because they think that she is a good influence on young "Miss K.," who is otherwise overly inclined to take refuge in her books and away from society. I am just happy that there will be people around "Miss V.C." while she does her research. Yes, the Oregon scandal was a long time ago, but that does not mean that there are not dangerous secrets. Why, as we learned last year, there are older secrets than that which are not entirely innocent today. (You will notice in the latest news someone poking Uncle George's friend with a stick.) 


Newsweek, 18 February 1946


Sterchios Demetradios and Muriel Dudov are very pleased with the paper. D. M. Jackson has opinions about capital, labour and government. (Capital good!) Mrs. Carter Wilson, of Nashville, Tennessee, reports that her son is living in a converted C-46 in Okinawa while waiting to be demobilised, and thinks that this shows that it is a fine idea to convert surplus aircraft into homes. Roy Temple House, of the University of Oklahoma, points out that official historian S. L.A. Marshal is wrong about pretty irrelevant things. Webster R. Smith, of Anoka, Minnesota, thinks that the paper’s Ralph Robey really made a monkey out of Leon Henderson on the CBS the other day, while on the other hand Mrs. Yetta A. Carmel, of Arlington, Virginia, is astonished by his ignorance of economic matters. Charles W. Moore, publicity director of the Great Northern Railway (and most definitely not its in-house legal counsel), contributes to the controversy over Bing Crosby’s age by sharing his father’s 1923 employment application with the world. Antero Liwanag, of San Francisco, thinks that armed forces unification is a bad idea because Premier Tojo held too many cabinet positions. Mary Twiss, from down the road in San Jose, asks what the average heights of American soldiers in the two world wars was: the paper answers that it was 67.49 inches in the last, and 68.15” in the next. So Americans got healthier as from the class of 1899 to the class of 1924, I guess. It will be interesting to see the numbers from the Great War of 1948!

The Periscope

The court-martial sentence for the loss of Indianopolis is predicted to be heavier than expected. General Bedell Smith will succeed Averill Harriman in Moscow. 
"Eisenhower's hatchet man" has no time for your Marxian shenanigans

The State Department is running into legislative obstruction from Republicans in the Appropriation Committees. Snyder and Wyatt are having a showdown over who is more in charge of housing policy in the Administration. Someone wants us to know that the War Department has General Lucas’ war diaries locked up in a safe place, and they say that Anzio was all Churchill’s fault. “Dry” laws are making their way to the legislatures in various Midwestern states now that the war is over and state legislatures can focus on making the church ladies happy again.

Secretary of State Byrnes wants it to be known that the reason that he is eager to get European peace treaties signed is that the sooner the occupying armies are out, the better. Occupation armies are hated, and badly behaved. As the paper points out, he is a Southerner, and should know. State and the War Department are now arguing over who knew when more why how the German Occupation was going to be a mess. Rep Helen Gahagan Douglas wants us to know that she is being urged to run for the Senate. By the voices in her head, I add. The Big Four, it is rumoured, are coming to an agreement to bail the French out of the Ruhr and Rhineland. One senator (Kilgore) has evidence that General Franco was actually not a nice person during the war, and another Senator (Connally), wants Acheson to make sure the papers don’t come out, so that Franco can be a not very nice guy for us from now on. The Paris edition of Stars and Stripes is locked up while the Army investigates allegations that there was –gasp—black market activity going on there!

Yes, it's Britain, not France. But Fortune did a "Britain in Winter" pictorial this month, not a "France in Winter," and the photos  are something else.

Even more astonishingly, a black market has emerged in Shanghai!

Australia is launching the most ambitious immigration plan in its history, looking to increase its population of 7 million three-fold with as many “British, Norwegian, Swedish, Dutch, Swiss and other” immigrants as can be attracted to the island continent. The quota of as-blond-as-possible immigrants is set at 70,000 per year for now. 

"35 Australian People Problems" Pinterest.

Two hundred million gallons of wine may be lost in Algeria soon if the French do not send enough tankers over to bring it to France. And the world starves. . . 
The weather this February.

“World Gold Movement” Periscope is one of those title-and-a-paragraph news shorts features where I can take the paragraph heading or sub-heading as I like. This one I like. So. The United States has been losing gold steadily since November of 1942. This has now come to an end. The total cumulative decline was a wopping $2,699,000,000, and, “less than 25% of this represented actual shipments,” with the rest simply earmarked for foreign accounts. “But the whereabouts of all the gold is not known.” The League of Nations reports that, cumulatively, $2,650,000,000 has been “lost to sight, statistically speaking,” and that the “great two mystery centres” are Russia and Britain. This is not because the League of Nations has suddenly grown detectives capable of, say, discovering shipments of gold hidden behind false partitions in the cargo liners of certain shipowners, but because Britain and Russia have not been publishing their gold holdings in a while: Russia not since 1933, Britain not since 1939.
London is in a fog.

Ford “has more than a 100 men” working on a gearless, hydraulically-driven automobile.[!] Russia wil probably boycott the upcoming trade summit, even though it hasn’t said so, which is annoying.  Patent pooling will continue after the war, while I.G. Farben’s patents are up for sale. The Treasury will soon clarify expected interest rates on U.S. bonds to ease investors’ concerns.  Westinghouse and Glenn L. Martin are going ahead with their coast-to-coast airborne TV broadcast scheme. Ginger Rogers’ husband will produce his wife’s radio show, expected this summer or early fall, while Rudy Vallee’s NBC show may soon be dropped by its sponsor.

Washington Trends: The Periscope Looks at GHQ of Victory

 Republican managers think that they have a better-than-even chance of taking the House in the midterms due to public irritation at strikes, while the Democrats think that a new wage-policy will put the issue out of play. The CIO is raiding east coast waterfront unions. AFL unions are fighting for jurisdiction in the carpenters’ unions, while two rival CIO unions are fighting to represent workers at Montgomery Ward. The services are fighting the McMahon Act’s provisions on nuclear secrecy. (They want more.) The Labour Department is cracking down on child labour, the War Department is reconciled to a compromise on national service, and the possibility of relief from sugar tariffs for the Philippines is improving. McNutt is also backing away from the idea of prosecuting Filipino collaborators. The Navy is convinced that the forthcoming atomic bomb trials will show that ships are not obsolete, after all.

National Affairs

“Nation’s Jitters, Critics’ Alarms, Fail to Ruffle Truman Aplomb” In English, ‘aplomb” sounds almost like “A-bomb.” (I know you know that, sir, but my father reads this, too!) The crisis, however, is not over atom bombs, but wages, price controls and strikes. Churchill, looking very old, visited Washington to talk about his Fulton speech, and the British loan.

“Strikes, Old and New” Of dozens of new strikes, the most annoying were by Philadelphia transport workers and Pittsburgh electrical workers. The former went ahead, shutting down subway and elevated and surface trains, while the latter was prevented by the mayor's emergency order, ahead of a blackout that would have affected 330,000 homes.

“Short Orders” Americans eat too much, the world too little. The President’s policies to remedy this are: i) scold Americans; ii) Send 375,000 tons of fats, 1.6 billion tons of meat abroad in food aid, on top of an already committed 225 million bushels of wheat, out an all-time high 1945 harvest of 1.123 billion. iii) rail and shipping priorities will be reassigned; iv) meat rationing might be resumed. In response, Alf Landon, reminded by the Engineer that he is not the most awful person to run for President as a Republican alive today, said that it is all the fault of the Morgenthau plan, and that furthermore “raiding the national pantry” won’t help. Though he doesn’t go so far as to say that we shouldn’t do  it.

“Strike Curb: Half a Law” For the first time since the Wagner Act a decade ago, there is a law before the House to curb strikes. It probably won’t go very far, but sponsors hope that it gets noticed in this election year and provokes mail that will swing congressional votes in its favour in the new session.

“Tugs of Peace” Tugboat crews went out on strike in New York this week, shutting the port down. Since the city’s oil and coal reserves are low, it will probably not be very long before heating stops, and Mayor O.Dwyer has orered strict fuel rationing, with hospitals, public utility plants and schools as top priorities, and police visiting apartment buildings to ascertain that the temperature remained fixed at 60 degrees. Brr! The strike looks set to enter its second week.
Iconic image is not very iconic.

The “white power” filibuster in the Senate has shelved the Fair Employment Practice Commission bill. Captain Kramer, a senior navy translator, told the Pearl Harbour Inquiry that the “winds” message of 5 December was not a definitive advance warning of a Japanese declaration of war against Pearl Harbour and other places. Henry Steel, the New York radio commentator, formerly Hans Stahl, is running for Congress with Henry Wallace’s support.

“The Press, the Senate, Even the Old Curmudgeon: Everyone Takes a Kick at Truman’s Nominees Three” Edwin W. Pauley, George E. Allen, and James K. Vardaman are all having trouble in their Congressional confirmation hearings.

“Moon Gazers” Smoky Rauchfuss, 25, and Harry Schmidt, 34, two veterans just returned to Wyoming, have petitioned the Interior Department for five-section homesteads on Mars, plus a streetcar franchise on the Moon. (The American pioneer spirit of the “radar-rocket-atomic age” seems to include taking advantage of the actual pioneers a long time in advance.)

The full employment bill has been “filtered” into nothing very much. The American Communist Party is having an internal spat. The paper doesn’t like the one side even more than it doesn’t like the other, but manfully avoids the temptation to say something nice about Earl Browder. Women attached to former Italian POWs being shipped back to Italy mobbed their transport in Los Angeles and had to be fought off by MPs so that the boys could be sent back to Italy. I think I see the mistake here! Governor Bricker will run for the Senate from Ohio as a way of wiling away the hours until 1948. The story of the proposed UNO enclave on the New York-Connecticutt border needs another story, and the paper has it.

Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, traditionally the kickoff of the GOP election campaign, saw the kickoff of the GOP election campaign.

Ernest K. Lindsay’s column for this week is “Trusteeship or Annexation?” He is for annexing the Pacific islands, with the likely exception of Okinawa.

From the Capital

In even more gossipy news, Washington is apparently holding its breath over how “215 pound, 5-foot, 5-inch” Congressman Jesse Willcott will vote on Bretton Woods, while navy Captain Clark M. Clifford will be an even more important Presidential aide if his superior (Vardaman) goes to the Federal Reserve.

Foreign Affairs

“Famine Specter Stalks Old World in Footsteps of War, Crop Failure: Grains and Fats of America May Be Far Too Little to Feed Millions of Hungry Mouths” The crop failure in question is in Argentina, while Canada’s harvest is down 10% and Australia’s is off by about a quarter. The paper quotes Europe’s expected import need at 17 million tons, while America’s commitment from its record crop  is only 6 million. 40 million Europeans will have to get by on 2000 calories a day, while a hundred million will be at 1500. Aside from the war, the main causes of the shortage in Germany specifically (2.45 million tons in the next six months for the American and British zones alone) are the annexation of prime farmland by Poland, and the quartering of hundreds of thousands of Russian troops on German soil. France, which formerly counted on importing 1.3 million tons through August 1, now faces the consequences of a disastrous drought, and will require an additional 450,000 tons. Russia’s harvest is also below expectations, due to unseasonable rains this summer and a general breakdown of the agricultural system due to a shortage of machinery. China expects a famine this summer. The Japanese are being saved by the sea, and are getting 1,971 calories a day, sufficient with their smaller stature. “Furthermore, citrus fruits are plentiful.”(The paper might write about agriculture, but it doesn’t know very much about it!) India may face famine this summer due to a shortfall in rice imports, and needs another 2 million tons of imports before dealing with the annual population increase of 5 millions, which threatens to outrun any increase in the food supply. In a related story, the paper covers the outcry in Britain over the cancellation of the dried egg ration. Sir Ben Smith apparently failed to consult the Cabinet before making the decision, and all the other ministers are simply appalled.

Now he is proposing to resume the ration and pay for it by cutting imports of American tobacco, films or gasoline.”

“The Levant: Away, English” The English, who are occupying Lebanon and Egypt for their own good, a re having trouble explaining the point. England: me: the Levant: the twins; occupation: spoonful of cod-liver oil. Doctor Rivers is clear that the oil is good for the twins, though. He won’t say anything about the occupation!

“UNO: Step by Step” Every regular newsreader’s dream of a one-stop shop for talking about talking about things is advancing, step by step.

“Technicolor” Referring to 200 mulatto babies born to Italian women in Naples by Allied soliders, Rome’s Il Tempo predicted that they will give rise to a “numerous black colony which will insert itself into the lovely landscape like a piece of onyx between the blue of the sea and the green of the hillside.” What a colourful way to be silly and awful at the same time!

The Soviet National Elections were a farce, and so was Rudolf Hess’s flight to England. The former because everyone knew to vote for the Communist Party, the latter because Hess is mad. The paper also reviews recent comments by the Soviet press that shows that they are the propaganda arm of a sinister tyranny, etc. Although the paper has a point when it suggests that the official statements show that the Russian leadership is even more out of touch with reality than western Red-baiters.

“Palestine: Wrong Raid” A “typical” Jewish raid on a King’s African Rifles camp in Palestine led to a retaliation that “shocked all Palestine.” On finding four of their comrades in arms dead, the soldiers of the KAR “went on a rampage” in the nearby Jewish settlement of Holon, stabbing one Jew, shooting another, and wounding seven.

“The Ainu Comes Back” The leader of Hokkaido’s Ainu people will run for Parliament and show that they aren’t  a dying race, after all.

“Getting Hon. Hoarder” Japanese communists are launching raids on suspected hoarders, prompting the Tokyo police to promise that they will do their own raids from now on. In further news of swarthy Oriental foreigners, a long, eyeglazing story, entitled “Dutch Treat,” about the negotiations over Indonesia, while General Homma has been sentenced to hang as a common criminal, because just being executed wasn’t enough for MacArthur.

“Canada Tests Its Icebound Barrens with Column of Mechanised Troops” Operation Musk-Ox gets more press. It is pointed out that since Russia has been building cities in the tundra, Canada can, too! The column, by the way, is 50 men, and the Canadian defence minister wants it made very clear that this is in no way preparation for a Russian invasion of Canada’s enticing arctic.

Latins are excitable.

It's this or another eye-glazer about Peron.

The Services

“Air Force Finds Danger in Peace That Takes Most of Its Most Skilled Men” The Air Force is a mess because of all the good men who have been demobilised. James makes a sarcastic comment about how it probably had no idea that they were letting the men who did all the work go. Meanwhile, in Europe, the Lichfield brutality trials continue, servicemen are taking their leaves in European tourism hotspots, Captain Mildred Horton has gone back to Wellesley, General MacArthur has made good on his promise to release 300,000 men within six months, and the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company calculates that the world lost 10 million fighting men in the war, 2 million more than in WWI. Germany, which lost 3.25 million, suffered worst, followed by Russia, at 3 million, Japan, 1.5 million; the British Empire, 400,000. These figures are somewhat at variance of other estimates. For example, the American official estimate is that Russia lost 7 million dead. The first of a final total of 65,000 British war brides are now arriving in America on their way to 44 states. Those who have arrived are amazed by how much food Americans have.

Admiral Pratt’s “Naval Tides” column explains “How Bikini Became the Bomb-Testing Ground” It’s an island. It’s a long way away. No-one cares about it. Something about trade winds.

“Housing Program Latest Anser to Inflation-Strike-Shortage Riddle: But Time’s Growing Short: for Want of Quick Production, Market Kingdom Might Be Lost” There is too much money chasing too few goods, but if there were more houses, everyone would buy them and all the money would go away. The paper hopes that the Administration will guarantee the mass-produced modular homes progamme, which will put the assembly lines to work, and provide 850,000 units. Other assembly lines, notably in Detroit, are not in full swing because of shortages.

“Weeding with Flame” Price C. McLemore, of Montgomery, Alabama, has invented the patented “Sizzs-Weeder,” which is a flamethrower on a tractor for getting rid of the boll weevil. It doesn’t sound practical to me, but apparently it is a hundred percent effective and safe, so send all your money.

“Radio by Ink” The United States Bureau of Standards declassified a way of making radio sets with ink instead of connecting wire this week. It’s basically another version of the “printed circuits” idea, and the “ink” is actually a metallic spray.

“Name the Brand” Noticing how sometimes people say “macintosh” when they mean “coat,” etc, in 1933, Henry Abt decided that there was money in it if people recognised a brand name. So he has been promoting band  names for the National Association of Manufacturers ever since.

“For Sale: One Buried City” Picturesque Kentucky colonel Fain White King used his influence to get two highways built through the grounds of his estate, which is also home to the thousand-year-old ruins of a Mound-Builder city. He built a museum that showed it off at a dollar a head, and is now selling the business, complete with seven sheds full of ancient artefacts of the “Middle Mississippian” culture.

Ralph Robey’s “Business Tides” column this week is “Politics Versus Your Dollars.” The President is trying to run the economy with “experts,” when he should listen to the plain sense of business-savy men like Ralph Robey. Specifically, he is trying to make you, the reader, pay higher prices so that he, the President, can make them, the unions, happy by giving them, the unions, higher pay. In conclusion, the sky is falling.
Sometimes it almost seems like management lacks self-awareness.

Science and Medicine

“Answers by Eny: All-Electronic Super Calculator is a Whizz at Super Problems” The Eniac machine is the latest entrant into the mechanical brain field. (Electronic Numeric Integrator and Computer,” if you were wondering.) It was invented by Dr. J. W. Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert, at the Moore School of Engineering of the University of Pennsylyania, and instead of being at least partly mechanical, it is all-electrical. (As James points out,this is not actually true, but it is accurate to say that none of the integrating or computing is done by mechanical means.)

“Tomatoes to Ringworms” The Bureau of Agricultural and Industrial Chemistry at Beltsville, Md, have isolated a natural compound in tomatoes, tomatin, which fights ringworm and might be a treatment for athlete’s foot if it could be manufactured on a large scale.

 “Too Many Sick Friends Stymied Medics in Paris” The Army has had to abruptly shut down its hospital in Paris, as it had somehow become host to well-off medical patients from various places who can’t explain how they got there, but were guite grateful at its reasonable rates. In Paris.
Anchor baby! Gonna be grateful if Trump wins. 

“Why Heat Spurs Polio” Why does infantile paralysis rage more fiercely in summer than in winter? Dr. Frank Holtmann, of the University of Tennesee, explains that it is because body processes run more quickly in the summer than in the winter. He found that if mice were kept cold while incubating polio, they lived longer than if they were kept hot. I have a hypothesis, which I will test with mice: by getting one mouse hired as a doctor by the University of Tennessee, and one not, I will show that doctor-mice get more publicity than regular micec. Or, wait, no, that Tennessee mice get more publicity than regular mice.

The Press, Education

The paper makes fun of people who say, “That’s a joke, son!” Not at all a joke is the recent controversy over The Atlantic publishing an article by Anna Louise Strong, which shows, says William Henry Chamberlin, that it is just a nest of Reds. Skeptics point out that Chamberlin, who resigned to make his point, had a distinctly anti-Communist tint to hiswritings. So, turnabout is fair play.

“The Mouth of a Babe” Mourning the departure of a favourite teacher, an eleven-year-old pupil at the Center School in Wilson, Conn., read a poem that ended, “We’re awfully sorry you’re going away/But maybe you didn’t get adequate pay.” The Germans destroyed the library at Louvain again in the late war, and are in trouble for it at the Nuremberg trials. Japanese school texts are being corrected to be nicer to round-eyed foreigners.

Theater, Movies, Radio

The Economist’s New York Correspondent might want to go see “Born Yesterday.” He might or might not be in the mood  for “Pi-Ka-Pi,” featuring Mary Martin singing “Mountain High, Valley Low;” Monkey See, Monkey Do;” and “Leave it to Me.”

The paper mourns the death of George Arliss. The Japanese are seeing a lot of movies right now. They love romances, but disapprove of screen kissing. And by “disapprove,” Imean that the first movie with a Japanese on-screen kiss only failed to do better box-office because management couldn’t clear the theatres between screenings. The paper is lukewarm on Adventure, I think. A February 4th radio broadcast (“Platform 70”)  of a pretend-atomic war drama has had the same effect as the Orson Welles Martian invasion thing. Which was a hoax, or something, if I recall? That is, the broadcast wasn’t a hoax, but the story that everyone took it seriously was? I don’t know, I was only eighteen!

Michael Sayers and Alfred E. Kahn have The Great Conspiracy out. The conspiracy is to blacken Soviet communism’s good name in various ways. Frederick L. Schuman’s Soviet Politics at Home and Abroad is more measured, but apparently Trotskyites will be upset about both.

The paper also liked Jo Sinclair's The Wasteland, because it is a very improving novel. In Art, it goes to the Whitney to see some middlebrow art. (That’s the worst kind.)

Raymond Moley’s “Perspective” column this week is “The Boom That Failed.” Moley believes that we are seeing the rapid disintegration of the great reserve of buying power which was to provide all of that “pent up demand” that would lead to a postwar boom, because inflation is eroding its value.

Flight, 21 February 194


“The Next Stage” The paper is sick and tired of hearing about BOAC buying Constellations, and not hearing about the exciting next generation of British civil aircraft. The public is vaguely told about gets and prop-turbines which will astonish the world, but the paper wants to be astonished now, and unless something is done, it will start searching its parents’ closets in search of suspicious packages that might be its birthday present.

Never mind, I'll do it.

“Bermuda Conference Settlement” Settlement means that the paper cannot talk as much about talking about civil aviation, but it manfully pretends to be pleased with the compromise, anyway.

“A Well-Deserved Compliment” The news that Montgomery is out as officer commanding the German occupation zone is packaged as a compliment to the RAF, in that Sholto Douglas gets it in his place. This looks like the last move in Sholto’s stunning career of rising-in-spite-of-being-always-wrong.

“N.G.T.E.” That is the National Gas Turbine Establishment, formerly Power Jets.

“’Indicator’ Discusses Topics of the Day: Length and Breadth: The Heathrow Controversy: The Importance of Directional Variety: A Brabazon Anomaly” ‘Indicator’ thinks that the current three-runway layout is inadequate, because big aircraft might be asked to land as much as 30 degrees out of a 60mph wind. There needs to be four runways, and also a more rapid adoption of tricycle gear. However, until tricycle gear is universal, there need to be more runways. Also, to accommodate the likely traffic. He also writes against those who criticse him for asserting that, in fact, turbines will not give the same thrust at any altitude. This is only possible with compressors capable of rotating at infinite velocity.

The Wasp Major exists more.

Here and There

The rate of air accident insurance is down, while the Science Museum in South Kensington is the latest to exhibit fascinating German aircraft that were never built and were not possible. RAF Halton is having its Silver Jubilee, and the Martin Mauler exists more.  Andree de Jongh, the Belgian “MllePimpernel” who helped a thousand Allied airmen escape continental Europe in 34 trips across France to the Pyrenees was honoured in London last week.  The Japanese battleship Nagato is to be one of the atomic targets in the upcoming test blasts. A B-17 of “No. 168 Transatlantic Mail Squadron RCAF” has set a new record Toronto-Vancouver. Why is the RCAF flying the transcontinental mail? In B-17s?

“Series II Goblin: Full Details of the Latest D.H.Turbine/Jet Engine” Now that we know the designers (F. B. Halford and Messrs. J. L. P. Brodie and E. S. Moult,” and that units were sent to America for installation in the P-80, “it is permissible” to describe this engine in detail. The author begins with an extended explanation for why de Havilland’s designers abandoned Whittle’s concept of a double-entry impeller for the centrifugal compressor in favour of a single-sided one. First, the single-side, with its wide opening, gave the most promising fluid dynamics. Second, the reverse flow required for the rear entrance seemed impractical. Mark down de Havilland as a company building jet turbines with steel blades, using ferritic steel, “with the help of heat-sensitive paint.” Specific fuel consumption is 1.233lb/lb. thrust/hour. Air flow is 60lb/second at maximum operating speed. Operating speed is 10,500rpm, at which speed the gyroscopic coupling to the plane is about half that of a comparable piston engine installation. It is 31 inches in diameter, the impeller is a one-piece, heat-treated light-alloy forging, anodised and polished, 31 inches in diameter. The gas turbine is a single-stage axial flow type, with seventy-seven stator blades and eighty-three rotor blades. Tip diameter is about 27”, and the blades taper from root to tip from 1.3 to 1.1”. Under operating conditions, the centrifugal stress on the blades is 9 tons/sq inch. The construction material of the blades is Nimonoic 80, an alloy with very high nickel content, while the turbine disc is, as noted, ferritic steel, with a creep limit of 0.1”. The centre shaft, which is bolted to turbine and impeller, is of forged steel, and the whole, which forms the main rotating assembly, is carried on three ball bearings, the former on a stub or pivot shaft to takek thrust loading. Combustion gas is cooled from an initial temperature of 2000 degrees in the chambers to 760 at the outlet pipe, which itself measures a peak temperature of 650 degrees. Fuel is supplied by an engine-driven pressure pump of the rotary type, having seven plunges reciprocating in a cylinder block rotating round a central stationary shaft. The pump is rated 650 gal/hour at a pressure of 800lb/sq in at 3500 rpm. Before delivery the fuel passes through a control box (the central mystery to which James pours a libation of fresh orange juice every morning). It contains a “metering orifice which is controlled by a tapered needle operated from the pilot’s throttle lever.” The contour of the needle is arranged to provide a “roughly linear relationship between engine thrust and throttle lever travel.” All that talk of automatic brains that are going to walk our dogs for us after the war, and the “thinking” consists of the profile cut into a tapered needle! Though the control box does contain more complicated-sounding elements, in this case a barostate “automatic altitude control.” Fuel is kerosene, lubricating oil is oil, delivered to the two main bearings at a rate of a half pint per hour –a fraction if a piston engine’s demand! Starting is by a 9.12hp starter motor. The paper is evasive about starting time, but three minutes of low-rpm engine running on the ground is recommended before takeoff, which is a long time with high speed atomic bombers on the way. The pilot may attempt to restart the engine if it stops in the air, so long as engine speed is still above 1200rpm, but this is an emergency measure.

De Havilland concludes by reminding everyone that the Goblin is the first jet engine to have flown a plane off an aircraft carrier.

G. Geoffrey Smith, “Turbines for Aircraft: Four-Stroke Piston Engines and Turbine/Jet Units Graphically Compared: Effect of Rotary Power on Aircraft” I suppose that the existence of a G. Geoffrey Smith, Junior, means that Uncle George can never fulfill his dream of showing Geoffrey around the town, but that does not make him any the less dreamy! Here he explains that gas turbines are better than four-stroke piston engines, for a number of reasons. Notably, he gives short shrift to the idea that the higher thermal efficiency of the piston engine means that it is necessarily more fuel efficient than an equivalent jet.  He says that it is “not optimistic” to think that a gas-turbine-powered airliner will have been “evolved” by the end of this year. I am guessing that “evolved” means something short of actually flying the Atlantic on commercial service, though.
The problem with peaking at the Christmas presents in the closet is that it spoils the surprise. By BEA_De_Havilland_DH-106_Comet_4B_Manteufel.jpg: Ralf Manteufelderivative work: Altair78 (talk) - BEA_De_Havilland_DH-106_Comet_4B_Manteufel.jpg, GFDL 1.2, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17868134

Civil Aviation
“air Transport and the Public: Lord Knolly’s Brancker Memorial Lecture to the Institute of Transport: To Australia in Twenty-four Hours?” Just to confirm what you just read is the correct transliteration, a Lord Knolly is giving the Brancker memorial lecture this week. Except in Boston. Pooh. Lord Knolly believes that there must be much talking about talking about civil aviation before we decide what kind of plane flies where. What if there are no ideal routes for an ideal plane capable of carrying 100 passengers 5000 miles at 400mph? What if it turns out that all the passengers want to lollygag about in sybaritic quarters, being fed peeled grapes or perhaps primped by BOAC’s staff of sloe-eyed Circassian harem girls? What then? Probably they will all flee the plane the moment they reach Australia and marry a sheep farmer. Also, it turns out that it is important that pilots and ground crew know what they are doing!!!! BIG NEWS!!! Eventually, air travel will have to be extended to the not-so-well-to-do. More flying will mean cheaper flying, and so more flying, generating even more flying, until finally everyone is flying everywhere all the time, and there are not enough sloe-eyed Circassian harem girls to go around. Damn those sheep farmers.

An inset picture of passengers being unloaded from a BOAC Liberator making the airlines’ 2000th crossing of the Atlantic into what looks like a repurposed bomb truck on a rainy Prestwick after a  13 hours, 38 minute flight from Dorval suggests that comfort and convenience are works in progress compared with actually being able to fly the Atlantic!

The glamour of air travel in the golden age.

“Bermuda Agreement” The results of the Bermuda Conference need to be in this number of the paper. Here they are! Tariffs are to be regulated, but not numbers of flights or the air version of cabotage.

Civil Aviation News

Mr. F. G. Miles gave a statement on the introduction of the new Gemini to the effect that personal flying is not dangerous and adventurous, but actually tedious and uncomfortable. Potential buyers then stampeded over him to place their orders. I paraphrase. And make things up! It’s in honour of Miles Aircraft financial disclosures.

 The French and Americans are fighting over the proposed New York-Marseilles tariff, which Pan American has set at an unheard-of $295. All restrictions on inter-state flying have been lifted in Australia. Except for the one about parliamentarians being given preferential bookings. So since two-thirds of passengers are parliamentarians right now, the status quo effectively survives. Constellations have set more records. BOAC is trying to find more experienced flying boat pilots who might want an exciting, long-term career in civil commercial flying boat flying. No takers, for some reason. Aer Lingus has hired nine pilots and bought 10 surplus DC-3s. Mark Lacayo died in a flying accident last week.

Clarence L.Johnson, “Control Boosters: Design Problems and Their Solution on the Lockheed Constellation” This is an abstract of a paper given to the Los Angeles chapter of the American Institute of the Aeronautical Sciences by the chief research engineer at Lockheed. He describes the Lockheed hydraulic servo unit, previously described in the 5 April number last. The paper notes the existence of a British equivalent, the Swift Synchomo, briefly described in the 6 December last article on the Short Shetland. Having already noticed these, I am going to take this as an excuse for not discussing the control boosters used to increase force on the large control surfaces of the Constellation, complete with a discussion fo the math around approximating a linear scaling of the amplification effect on a rotating object, where the displacing force rises at a much-greater-than-linear rate at high displacement angles. (And conversely, over-controlling at small angles also being an issue.)


R. V. Hammond writes to point out that he patented the idea of extendable safety rotors ten years ago, and shopped them around the world. The British Air Ministry was most interested, but manufacturers thought it impractical without a large investment in research and development. Thomas D. Roberts takes excruciatingly pedantic issue with ‘Indicator’ on the subject of power developed versus work done. G. A. B. Short thinks that for reasons I decline to understand, that getting rid of the Royal Observers Corps has had an effect on the recent rash of air accidents.

Pacitor Fuel Gauge: Full Depth Reading with Electronically Operated Instrument: No MovingParts” It is claimed that this new Simmonds fuel gauge will measure the mass of fuel, over all ranges of temperature and basic specific gravity, to within 3 percent. It has a capacitor which is placed above the fuel surface. As fuel is consumed, the partial pressure of vapour above the surface of the fuel will change, and so will the voltage across the capacitor. Clever! And if Simmonds is selling it, it probably actually works.

Newsweek, 25 February 1946


Mrs. E. Tetenham, of Los Angeles, writes to say that American soldiers at bases in America are being forced to retake basic training, and do not like it. The paper says that the War Department is calling it a refresher, so it is okay.

T. L. Purvis, of Oswego, New York, points out the difference between the Russian exaltation of “Hero Mothers,” and Planned Parenthood’s sinister plan to depopulate America by preventing millions of births, leading to a “vanishing” American race. Mrs. N. C. Atterbury, of Nashville, Tennessee, writes to take the other position, which is that preventing unplanned pregnancies will lead to more planned ones, if anything, and is the humane thing to do, anyway. Howard Kaufman, of Long Island City, New York, is appalled that 22% of American soldiers thought that the “Nazis had good reason to want to get rid of the Jews.” Bing Crosby writes the paper to thank it for digging all the dialogue he was dishing. Several writers have opinions about Boston’s censor. A Kansan is grateful that he has suppressed at least one racy novel, while two Bostonians wish that there were more racy novels, fewer dull tomes by sour scholars. W. Homer Bunge, of Reno, Nevada, is appalled by recent Hollywood fashions, and hopes that soon, foreign countries will  send missionaries to effect a general American religious reform.

The Periscope

This week’s story is the Harold Ickes-Pauley thing. In which, once again, the worst side of California is the side that gets attention in Washington. And, yes, it is southern California, and one can afford to feel a bit superior, but it is still discouraging. With Ickes out, it seems more likely that Wallace will be the Vice-Presidential nominee in 1948, as the last progressive in the Cabinet. Saudi Arabia’s first ambassador to America cannot find a building to house his consulate. Robert Hannegan may resign from the DNC soon, and the President wants a UNO international conservation conference to devise ways of conserving world coal, oil, wood, minerals and other natural resources. Talk of legislation to set ceilings on prices for homes continues. The paper thinks that there will be a military coup in Chile similar to the one in Argentina. The Japanese are trying to find productive work for the various princes of the imperial house. The Red Cross or social work is suggested, if the Shinto priesthood is barred. Brazil has been told that America will not sit down with Peron if he is seated as Argentinian head of state at the Rio conference, because he is awful. The Russians recently published up-to-date statistics of militarily-relevant production, which pleased U.S. intelligence agencies. The Japanese subsidised national steamshipline is converting to a fishing company. China claims that it is not getting as much relief from the UNRRA as, say, Italy. The sugar shortage should ease next month, when the Cuban harvest comes in. The supply this year will be 7,150,000 short tons, up from 6.041,382 last year. Industrial users, who were getting 50 to 60% of 1941 usage, will receive 65 to 70% in the third quarter of 1946, and 80 to 90% in the fourth. Rationing will be lifted in January, and price controls in the summer of 1947. John L. Lewis is awful. The government is offering surplus B-29s to universities for ground training at $350 each. New kinds of canned goods, such as mixed meat-vegetable and meat-egg products, developed for the armed forces, may be available to consumers soon. Government forecasts are bullish on wool sales, which began to trend upwards in September. However, the supply is expected to remain high for some years.

Fanny Brice is in poor health, and will confine her performances to her General Foods broadcast, just renewed for another two years. A movie version of Life with Father is in the works, and Shirley Temple is in the running to star. Hopefully the fact that she is being revived in a project with the Engineer’s son won’t hurt her chances! Vera Michele Deans[!] has been named to succeed Dr. Henry Noble MacCracken as chancellor of Vassar. Dr. Vannevar Bush has a book out. An American rival of The Economist may soon be launched. (It can’t be Fortune, because Fortune doesn’t bludgeon away your will to live.)

Washington Trends: The Periscope Looks at the GHQ of Victory

“Substitution of Truman bread for white bread” will reduce livestock, as well. The reason is that  increasing the extraction rate to 80% will reduce the amount of available livestock feed. Meat will be short after an initial rush of selling of stock, and the Agricultural Department is thinking of establishing a set-aside programme using available cold storage. There have been protests, but not effective ones. The British Labour government has asked for more American support in the fight against Russian expansionism. Byrnes, still hoping for support from Truman, is hoping that the Russians will moderate on their own and place their faith in the UNO. Among possible Russian moves is a shift to backing the Arab, anti-Zionist forces in Palestine. The Russians may also make other moves, “relying upon Communist and other fellow-traveller propaganda to support their policy within the United States.” Every inch of my five-legged education tells me that the pen is more powerful than the sword, but this is insane. The farm lobby is opposed to continuing price controls. A compromise research subsidy bill is calling for an annual outlay of “$100,000,000 to $200,000,000.” It will go to university scientists, business and government in some proportion.

The Fox News business model. It's been around longer than you might think.
A proposal to discontinue the wartime rule permitting bnks to discount 7/8% Treasury bills at ½ of 1% at the Federal Reserve may or may not be withdrawn. Eccles is for withdrawing it, Vinson is against. Both agree that low interest rates must continue.
Vaguely relevant, and cute.

National Affairs

“Week of Trouble at White House Produces Plan, but Will it Work” I know! Let’s talk about talking about setting wage price policy! Also, Ickes resigning over the Pauley appointment, the Bowles versus Snyder feud. And (sigh), the possible effects on the election. (It’s only two-and-a-half years away!)

“Loan Line-Up” Without the British loan, the world will blow up. So of course there are only 12 Senators lined up to support it, 17 opposing. If is any relief to anti-the-world-blowing-up forces, the papers and lobbyists are much more solidly pro-loan.

“Tale of Three Cities” Strikes have thrown New York, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia into chaos. Blackouts, cancelled bus, subway and train service; and in New York, a “total shutdown,” effective at noon, February 12th, to conserve heating oil. Public complaints, and the emergency delivery of another 2.6 million gallons of heating oil, prompted the mayor to call off the shutdown that evening. Pittsburgh can be happy that it just had a blackout for a few hours, while Philadelphians couldn’t get to work for two days. A fourth city, Seattle, had an earthquake.

“Georgia’s Black Ballots” In a spectacular turnaround after the last, heavily Coloured voting district of Atlanta reported in, Mrs. Helen Douglas Mankin was elected as a Democratic Representative. The coloured press exulted over their electoral influence, the white press was stiff, and Mrs. Mankin, a New Deal regular who will face a “white only” primary next year, was evasive.

 Averill Harriman is returning from Moscow. (Hopefully he won’t be too upset about what we’ve done to his portfolio. At least he gets to go on selling iron ore to Fontana –although it is not as though we helped with that, either!) The Ezra Pound trial has found that he is mentally incompetent to stand trial. The paper went to a party thrown for President Truman by Mrs. George Mesta, which it thinks is hypocritical, given that she used to throw parties for the Engineer. (Eeww.) Earl Browder is out of the American communist party. The Archivist of the United States says that it now has 768 shelf miles of documents. The Pearl Harbour inquiry heard today that the President knew that the war was coming, but not when, precisely, or where. The Inquiry is also in the news for being extended.

Ernest K. Lindley’s Washington Tides column for this week is “Mr. Truman Under Fire” An extended comparison with the Engineer establishes that, unlike the last President to be defeated in a bid for re-election, Truman, while “not a great strategist and perhaps not even a first-rate tactician . . . is a man of character and fortitude under fire.” Lindsay doesn’t say that the Engineer was not a man of character, but he . . Well, read it for yourself, if you can.

The Services

“Apathy Menaces the Services Bill as Nation Shift Interest to Peace” The country may cancel the armed forces, on account of being more concerned about strikes, sugar rationing, Florida vacations and Fibber McGee and Molly.

JuneauIt's been six months since the war. Time to run those "civilians have forgotten about our sacrifice" stories! Although.
Or it may not. Probably not. If this story turns out to be a waste of space forever, at least it gets Felix’s name in the news for once in his life. Lt. Martin J. Monti is a feckless, wandering Italian-American. Some stern and humourless people might call him a deserter, but he just wanted to see the world. Now he has been involuntarily re-enlisted as a lieutenant. St. Judson Smith, convicted of brutality to American military prisoners, has been more harshly sentenced to three years hard labour. The paper publishes a two-page, red-boxed poem by Joseph Auslander,Postscript to Iwo.” It’s quite touching, and remember Michael and Judith’s little Mike, I cried. Auslander might have said more about the incompetents who sent him there to die, though he has a point about the “hawkers of poisonous fear and hate.”

International Scene

“Canadian Exposure of Spy Ring Turns Doubting Eyes on Russia” It’s official, sir. You can come home! Can’t you? The paper reveals that, on “information of undoubted authenticity,” the Government of Canada has arrested between 12 and 22 people, and that secrets passed probably do not include atomic ones, but involve the latest developments in radar, jet propulsion, “atomic rockets,” which I think means rockets for atomic bombs and not nuclear reactor-powered rockets; and bacteriological weapons “perhaps more deadly than the atom bomb.” The paper speculates at length about what this all means for the world war that is definitely/definitely not coming very soon/in a generation.

“Young UNO Closes First Session with Hope, Suspicion, and a Veto” The Russians, we are told, were rebuffed in their attempts to end the British occupation of Indonesia and the Franco-British occupation of the Lebanon. The question is what the latter day governments of Indonesia and the Lebanon will think of Russia, as opposed to Britain and France, though, isn’t it? There is a plan for dealing with Spain, where Franco is awful, but not so awful that anyone but the Spanish will deal with him. (The  plan is to cordially invite the Spanish to do this, and otherwise ignore the Generalissimo.)

“Labour’s Old Score” The Labour government is repealing the Trade Disputes and Trade Unions Act, for some incomprensible reason, no doubt reflecting its inability to let go of old grudges.

“You’re Next, Paulus” Field-Marshal Paulus testified at the Nuremberg war trials and was not kind to the defendants. He said they were awful. In Belgium, the “middle is vanishing,” and the communists will be in power in no time. Or the royalists. Or perhaps both? In France, young Frenchmen are contemplating emigrating to the United States, because France is awful. Well, obviously Paris isn’t, but on the other hand, its stores look like “an American department store in a nylon sale.” One thing the French are doing to make it less awful is writing a new constitution. (Another thing they are doing is not upsetting Franco, as Spain is the source of vital supplies.) In Italy, Gugliemo Gianini’s L’Uomo Qualunque is fighting the Communists in the name of the “common man.” Austrians, Egyptians and Germans are excitable. Sir Sholto Douglas loathes being mistaken for Goering.

“India: the Three Dangers”  Sectarian rioting in Calcutta has left 45 dead and 400 injured. The Madras grain ration is down to 12 ounces for adults, 8 ounces for children. Nehru and Jinnah are both talking revolt. In Japan, General MacArthur has attacked inflation by calling in all bills of more than 20 yen denomination and had them destroyed. When a new currency is issued on 7 March, heads of Japanese families will be allowed to withdraw only 300 yen ($20) per month, although war victims will be allowed a special withdrawal of 1000 yen to cover losses of housewares, clothes, and home repairs. The Tokyo police are striking for an end to military-style discipline and uniforms and a 200 percent increase in pay. Civil war is reported in Manchuria.

Canadians are not excitable, even in the middle of a spy scandal. Latin Americans are excitable, even when nothing is happening. (And America wants it to.)
Can't get enough Musk-ox.
Science, Medicine

“Young Men of the Atom” The paper notes that Harold C. Urey, Enrico Fermi, Ernest Lawrence, GlennT. Seaborg, Luis Walter Alvarez, Edwin Mattison McMillan, Robert Serber, WiliamMorris Brobeck, Robert L. Thornton, Kenneth MacKenzie and Emilio Segre were all involved in the atom bomb thing.

William Brobeck may not have  a wiki page, but he will be immortal for his robot lawnmower (1954). 

“The Poster Cure” GIs are having trouble making the transition to peacetime life, so the Army has made up some helpful posters.

The AMA has offered an alternative to the President’s proposed national compulsory medical insurance plan. It’s voluntary. They’re doctors, so I guess it is understandable that they don’t know how insurance works. A mold extract called mycocidin is showing promise as a tuberculosis cure.


“New Rungs on Inflation Ladder Spur Stocks to Fresh Scramble” There wasn’t nearly enough talking about talking about wage and price policy in the first half of the paper. Though here we learn that it’s causing stocks to go up. Or stocks are going up, and the paper needs a story for it to be about.

 Industry is said to want synthetic rubber, but not enough to pay for it. Paul W. Litchfield, of Goodyear, this week urged the Federal government to keep on making it. I think that that's not how free enterprise is supposed to work. 

“Darker the Bread” At an 80% extraction rate, bread is darker, but, says the press, tastes pretty much like any bakery bread. It reminds some of the Engineer’s 1918 “Victory Bread,” we are told, and The American Vegetarian approves. The Secretary of Agriculture can’t taste the difference, but Judith, who remembers Victory Bread, rolls her eyes. Plant breeders have produced a giant, sweet, red onion, the “California Red Number 1.” An eight pound miniature turkey will be available next Thanksgiving for smaller households which cannot deal with the 18 to 24lb Broad-Breasted Bronze.* Breeding scientists also promise a harder-shelled egg, less prone to cracking while being handled industrially.

“Uneasy Swedes Wonder What the Future Holds” The paper’s European correspondent goes to Sweden, talks to Swedes. They are upset about the coal famine: 200,000 versus 8 million. If they could just get more, they would export to America far more of what it needs, such as paper, rayon and cellophane. The paper points out that by supporting Swedish industry now, perhaps with American coal, we can set the stage for a vigorous trade in the next decade.

“Clearing the Air” Also needed for talking about talking aviation civil. Tired the writer  is this subject of.

“New Products” A direct-reading compass, a “Wake-o-matic” alarm clock with a switch attached to the bed spring, a 1200lb mini-car from the Bobbi Car Company of Los Angeles, intended to compete with the Crossley. It has a four-cylinder, 25hp engine. A “silencer” button which turns off the radio for the duration of a commercial.

Ralph Robey’s Business Tides column is “You’re Losing Money, and It’s Your Fault” The Administration is BUNGLING price controls. (There shouldn’t be any. Wage controls, on the other hand. . . )

Radio, Press

Jerry Colonna’s Who Threw That Coconut is a book but it is a book by a radio star. Request Performance is being cancelled. Various words that are used in television are going to be in the dictionary, such as “woof.” (It means “OK and goodbye.”) The Hearst papers are on their annual anti-dog vivisection campaign this week. Robert Best was arrested in Vienna this week, and is being returned to American to stand trial for treason. Marshal Field’s LIFE competitor, USA, is a little closer to actually being published. Alberto Vargas is back in court on obscenity charges, just a week after his last case was thrown out.

People, Transitions, etc.

Marlene Dietrich’s daughter is back in America. Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt thinks that American boys shouldn’t be allowed to marry while overseas on service. Clare Booth Luce is joining the Catholic church and leaving politics. Nine USO entertainers, of whom tap dancer Norma Browne, of Ottawa, Illinois, is the best known, are missing in the Pacific after their plane failed to reach its destination. Sonja Henie is getting divorced. Stirling Hayden is receiving the Order of Merit on the personal recommendation of Marshal Tito. Adolph Lorenz, the famous Viennese “bloodless surgeon,” has died at 91. Lady Drummond-Hay died this week, with her companion, Karl v. Wiegand, by her side. Marshal Field’s proposed Life competitor, USA, is a little closer to coming off the press.

Movies, Art, Books

Tomorrow isForever is a real weeper of a movie, featuring Orson Welles. The paper didn’t like it, but thinks that it will be a hit. It also thinks that Scarlet Street is “flim-flam-floozy.” It also notes that the New York Censor Board first banned the movie, and then approved it with a few cuts, helping its box office. Which leads me to. . .

“Picasso of the Camera” Because, you see, Edward Weston is an artist, like that Picasso fellow, only with a camera. And that is why the Museum of Modern Art is exhibiting his pictures of dunes and also naked ladies. Both of which are printed in the paper. (Before you run out and get a copy after all, it is from the rear. You cannot see my stern look of disapproval, and the paper doesn’t care about it, apparently.)

Edmund W.Starling, former head of the Secret Service’s White House detail, dishes on five Administrations worth of not letting the President be shot. (Starling of the White House.) He tells an “amusing” story of Coolidge putting a “black cat in a crate with a rooster, just to see what would happen.” He sounds delightful! Mark Twain also comes off as a little less than delightful in Mark Twain: Business Man, Samuel Charles Webster. The late Franz Werfel’s last book, Star of the Unborn is out. It is about a man who is frozen in something for a hundred thousand years, is thawed out, and experiences the wonders of the far future.

Raymond Moley’s closing Perspective column is “Reform in Truman’s Town” President Truman is a conservative machine politician, so Ickes’ resignation means that the New Deal is over in St.. Louis, which is Truman’s town.

Flight, 28 February 1946


“The Strength of British Forces” The Estimates are out. The Navy is getting £255 million, the Army is getting £680 million, the Air Force £256 million, plus £474 million to Supply and Aircraft Production. The Army is so big because Britain is occupying so much of the Earth. For its own good. It will get smaller, but demobilisation is not being BUNGLED, but is, rather, dependent on means of transportation. For example, Transport Command and Bomber Command, between them, were flying 9000 men a month at the peak. “Both ways,” the paper goes on to say. So unless those were Australians and Indians being demobilised, I am a little confused at why it is transportation which is the issue, and not, say, occupying the whole world. For its own good.

“Vicious Circle” The Government has decided not to subidise club flying, which will accordingly wither away, along with the small plane industry. (Violin plays sad music.)

“Second-line Strength” Without the club pilots, there is no “second-line strength,” and the air force will wither away. Possibly. The paper does not take a stand. (Only it does.)

“The Latest Mosquitoes: Improved Performance with New Rolls-Royce Engines” De Havilland is up to the Mark 33, 34, 35 and 36 Mosquitoes. The Mark 33 is the Sea Mosquito. De Havilland is very pleased with it, because they had to redesign it with folding wings. It uses the combined Alclad-Redux-spruce structure used on the Hornet. It is very elaborate, because lots of things have to be unlocked and folded. Control tabs and aileron lines, for example. I’ll bet you never thought about how complicated it all was, de Havilland seems to be saying to the readers. It also adds weight, which is why it is good that the new Merlin 25s operate at a take off rating of 1620bhp at 3000rpm and +18lb boost. It has been designed for safe operation with one engine out and not feathered. The Night Fighter Mark 36 is a high-altitude type, with the Merlin 113 giving 1430hp at 27,250ft in FS gear. (It does not have flame dampeners, which hold the earlier Mark 34 to a maximum speed 25mph lower.) High altitude Mark 114s drive the new PR type Mark 34s and 35s. They cruise at 315mph at 30,000ft, and achieve 3 air miles to the gallon.

Here and There

Babcock and Wilcox developed an experimental steam-launching system for V1 flying bombs, and tested it in the Gulf of Mexico. Air Commodore Whittle will be travelling the world giving talks about gas turbines all of next year. The US Bureau of Mines produced 370 million cubic feet of helium during the war, and the price is down to one cent per cubic foot. The US Navy has reannounced the existence of the McDonnell FD-1 and Douglas BT2D-1 dive bomber.

“British Civil Aircraft: Present Position in Tabular Form: Good Interim Types: The Next Stage” Here is a table of all the British civil types which exist, or nearly exist. The new types coming are the Bristol Brabazon I, as they are now calling it. (Bristol 167), Airspeed AS-57, and Miles Marathon. The 167, we are told, will have an all up weight of 110 tons, and is expected to cruise at 250mph carrying 72 passengers on the New York-London service.

B. J. Hurrent, “Quo Vadis: Naval Air Arm at Cross-Roads: Problems of Reorganisation: New Aircraft Operating Puzzles: Employment Query”  No-one will tell Mr. Hurren anything, but he supposes that the enormous size of the new naval aircraft will require all sorts of operational changes. Also, all those barnacle-crusted admirals are just waiting until nobody is looking to bring battleships back. Which is because they have nice cabin suites for admirals. 

‘Indicator,’ “In the Air, X: Boston and Havoc: Memories of Early Tricycle Days: Outstanding American ‘Lend-Leasers’” The big tricycles took some getting used to, and, from the sounds of things, were real boy’s toys, as they were best taxied as fast as they could go. Although they are not at their best off pavement. They might not have been practical bombers and night fighters, but, as planes go, they were one of the nicest medium twins of the war. A back-handed compliment which ‘Indicator’ doubles down on with the observation that tricycles are not for grass fields. I wonder why the Russians prefer them, then?

They were also a bit half-baked, as planes. “Indicator” tells two, possibly related stories. The first is about a training flight with an ATC cadet as the bomb aimer in the little nose compartment. When the pilot discovered that the undercarriage could not be lowered in mid-air, he told the cadet “no doubt to his delight,” to bail out, because it was impractical for the aimer to leave the compartment in flight, and the nose was obviously a bad place to be in a wheels-up landing. Second, he notes that since the first Bostons had no final emergency system for lowering the undercarriage, just a hand pump in the cockpit to supplement the engine pump, “if the hydraulic fluid fled away through no fault of one’s own,” the pilot had the foolish feeling of sitting in mid air in a perfectly fine aircraft, knowing that he had no alternative but to write it off to get back to the ground again. On another occasion, he spent the better part of an hour circling the runway and working the hand pump trying to get some function out of it as it dealt with a succession of air locks. He finally got the undercarriage and flaps, but not the brakes, a vicious combination in a tricycle, and “did one of the slowest recorded approaches on the longest uphill runway available.” It turns out that the reservoir was almost empty. He also reports that raising the undercarriage after takeoff had exactly the same effect as accidentally raising the flaps, so that airflow must have been interrupted.

I gather that all of the aircraft of 1939—40 were half-baked in some way or the other. The Douglas planes might have been more so; if so, that is probably down to the half-baked way in which the Air Corps was then proceeding. We’ll have something to complain about if they do not get the baking done properly with the budgets they have now!

“Tactical Air Forces: Review of Their Role in Modern Warfare” Boom! Zap! Pow! Rattatat!

“Propjet and Plain: Consolidated-Vultee XP-81 Combines Turbine-Driven Airscrew and Plain Jet Propulsion” The XP-81 is a huge plane (22,000lb all up), with virtually as much thrusting power available as a B-29, says Consolidated Vultee. It is designed as a long-range bomber escort, and so for the highest fuel economy possible, which is where the turbine-driven airscrew comes in. It looks funny due to its long nose.

It is reported that Goodyear has succeeded in creating helium-filled tyres. This is impractical in natural rubber, as the helium leaks out, but the butyl rubber in these tyres holds it longer, and the tyres save on weight. Also, if the cartoons before the feature are any guide, they allow a car to fly!

Major F. A. de V. Robertson, V.D., “Air Survey of West Africa: Expedition to Gold Coast, Nigeria, Gambia, Sierra Leone” Over the next ten years, an RAF survey flight based at Takoradi will survey 80,00 square miles of unknown Africa.
The contents were always a disappointment (funny books aside), but there was nothing like a Gold Key cover. 

Civil Aviation

“Approved Air Routes: Services Proposed at Bermuda for the U.K. and U.S.A. “Proposed.” Silly me. I thought we’d had an end to talking about talking about civil aviation! In other news, Pan-American is restarting its San-Francisco-New-Zealand service, and it talking about a 30 hour Sydney-San-Francisco service, once a week to begin with, but increasing to three, and using Lockheed Constellations. Australia is talking about a “British” Pacific flying boat service, and is also said to want a resumption of the Britain-Australia flying boat service. I'm pretty sure we've talked about all of this before.

“Informal Radar Conference: Applying Wartime Navigational Aids to Civil Aviation: European Delegates at London Discussions” Britain brought over a bunch of dumb Europeans and explained how radar works. Ping! The radioballs bounce off the plane, winging back to the receiver dish. Serve returned! The radar station hustles to the net, performs a magnificent overhand stroke! Pop, they come back. . . 

Or, er, something like that.
Electronics. Now with classy modern art.

The point is that British experts explained all the nice British radar stuff that the Europeans should buy to make civil aviation even more safe than it is already perfectly safe.

Civil Aviation News

PICAO is looking for funding from various countries. England and France are going to take a turn at talking about talking about civil aviation. Twenty-five percent of seats on War Department flights are to be reserved for American businessmen doing the business of America, which is business. KLM is now flying a thrice-weekly Amsterdam-Madrid-Lisbon service. Its London service reopens March 4th. Iberria will soon have a London service. Air Service Training will soon resume civil aircrew training, beginning with ground maintenance. Twenty Tudor Is will be delivered in 1946. Priorities will soon be dropped in British internal civil services, except to Belfast, if a suitable carrier could be found to take priority seating for businessmen London--Belfast in the first place. Trans-Canada Airlines’ UK service is now available to regular, booking passengers. As opposed to passengers who buy the priorities of other people, because that would be wrong, unless you really need to send someone to Europe over the Christmas break.


E. G. Smart thinks that civil aircraft of the future should carry a fighter parachute and a dinghy, so that a designated member of the crew could bail out in the event of trouble, and hopefully bring word of the cause of any accident. “Armstrong Jackson” thinks that pressurised airliners need auxiliary cabin blowers. R. G. Lofting corrects J. L. Cloverdale’s calculations of Lancaster range. With an overload of 4,900 gall fuel, the plane would weigh 73,000lb, and could not possibly achieve 29 gal/hr/engine, even at the end of the proposed 42 hour flight. 35 gal hour/engine is more likely. Undeterred, Mr. Cloverdale returns to the charge. He still thinks that the Wellington I could beat the B-29 distance record.

For the bookshelf, Robertson reviews an odd and novel sort of book, a “biography,” as it were, of the Hurricane fighter, by F. H. M. Lloyd. Please do not mention this to Reggie. Your youngest is not hard to buy for, but this sounds as though it would be quite the hit for his birthday. Did you know that there were plans for a Liberator to carry a Hurricane as the second stage in a composite aircraft, presumably for convoy defence?

Service Aviation has F. F. E. Yeo-Thomas’ George Cross nomination in full. Quite hair-raising. I wonder what his post-war career will look like? I asked Fat Chow if all of that sort of stuff was normal for an international man of mystery, and he said that, usually, the key to being an international man of mystery is keeping your head down so that people don’t notice you. “That’s pretty hard for a man like me in Berlin,” he added.

The Industry

“Dickinson in Battle Dress” John Dickinson and Co., has sponsored a documentary about all the exicting things they mae in the war, such as drop tganks, fairings and magnetos. Fairey has a new venture in the way. Heston Aircraft Company is working on a replacement for the Auster Taylor AOP. Fokker will soon have a contract to convert Dakotas for KLM use. Simmonds wants everyone to know thaqt its Pacitor is actually in Air Ministry sue on Vikings, Windsors, Spearfish, Furies and Spitefuls, and has been ordered by American for its fleet of DC-4s. Bakelite is going to make polyvinyl chloride extrusion compounds for cable coverings, etc, at a new 38 acre site at Aycliffe in Darlington, Co. Durham.

Fortune, February 1946


The paper has leading articles now, the former “Job Before Us” column, reinvigorated. “The Promise of American Recovery,” and you can tell that it is from the paper because it starts by quoting Wendell Willkie. Specifically, Willkie told Washington in 1945 to “[G]ive up this vested interest in depression, open your eyes to the future, and help us to build a New World.” Wise advice, the paper thinks. It is now clear that Willkie, his brilliant and far seeing eyes seeing past the veiling mists of the future, saw that there wouldn’t be depression and deflation. But what about inflation? Isn’t it just as bad? No! It is just a symptom of the boom that is all around us. Unemployment is not up, Los Angeles and Seattle are not ghost towns after all, national purchasing power is not in decline. Real estate an stock prices are up so far that there is a chance of a reaction, but the U.S. is not headed for a depression. Reconversion, in spite of strikes, has been faster than predicted. Even the capital-goods industry is not surfeited, in spite of all the machine tools made for war. Specific types of steel are not available. (James just shades his eyes and groans. They made high pressure steam pipe out of some of that stuff, he says.) The destroyers are going to have to be gutted in dry-dock if they’re to be kept in service, he says. Entire classes will have to be struck from the books, he says. James is excitable about these things.
Optimism? In 1946? Are  you insane?

“Rebuild the Army” The army has been de-builded, and needs rebuilding.

“The British Loan” The paper would have preferred a grant-in-aid to a loan, but a loan is what we have. If Congress passes it. As for the British voices against it, Lord Keynes is acidic.

“Strength Through Misery: Is the Key to Britain’s First Winter of Peace” London is cold, and the shop windows are not empty, but an austerity dress will cost a third of an annual clothing ration, two-thirds for a suit. Theatres and concerts start at 6:30, and the streets are deserted long before midnight. No-one has anything, the country can’t afford to import anything, because the export trades and financial services are gone, and only full technical efficiency will bring them back. Etc, etc. The exports needed are too large, and Britain cannot bar American imports, industry is to costly. The price of coal is too high, but the wage of coal miners is too low. Agriculture must shift back from the war emphasis on import substitution, but will then need subsidies, because of inefficiency.

Needs more grim.

“Television: A Case of War Neurosis” Television has spent “twenty years and 20 million dollars” trying to solve its engineering problems, and yet, today, it is split by the issue of black and white versus colour. Until the industry solves its basic technical problems and gets down to producing sets to a standard specification, advertisers will not come to the industry, and programming will remain cheap and unappealing. One group, led by Radio Corporation and including General Electric, Philco, DuMont Laboratories, Farnsworth Television and Radio, and Don Lee Broadcasting Systems, is in favour of going ahead with the prewar technology and standards, that is, black and white, broadcast at around 120 mHz with 515 lines per picture. Columbia leads a group, including Westinghouse, Zenith, Federal Telephone and Radio Corporation (ITT), and the Yankee Network, which wants to scrap the prewar technology and start again. It also wants television to go all UHF (above 300 mHz, where there is 300 mHz of bandwidth, enough for 28 channels, with 1029 line transmission, twice what is available now. Colour would be possible at 525 lines –more than for black and white at the current frequencies.  The FCC has now stepped in to rule that broadcasting will go ahead at its existing frequencies. but that there will be experiments with the UHF band. This is part of the point of Goldmark’s colour broadcast experiments. So far, much has happened to justify CBS's confidence. The transmitter they ordered from Federal wasn't even considered feasible when they issued the contract, but has been delivered. a working transmitter does not by itself justify the UHF experiments, but it does make them more plausible. However, "colour" is another matter. Even granted that the lower resolution of colour television is acceptable, the colour filter wheels won't  cover the whole screen of a set bigger than 21 inches. So more engineering is needed to make Goldberg's colour scheme practical in larger televisions. And will people even buy these televisions if the colour installation is not mandatory? Even the expected rush of orders for black-and-whitle televisions has not emerged yet.

Another engineering question: will coast-to-coast service be by radio relays, air broadcasting, or by coaxial cable? Or all three?

Grenville Clark: Statesman Incognito” The paper would like to be invited to Mr. Clark’s parties.

“Swiss FamilyNestle” A profile of the canned-milk giant. Condensed sweetened milk is preserved by its sugar content, while evaporated milk is good for baking. Milk goes into their chocolate, and they use Swiss milk because Swiss cows give better milk. Until exports for other uses outbid them, and now they use milk from all over the place. They also make baby food, we are told. The paper thinks that this is a different business, because the paper is apparently unaware that there is milk powder in pabulum.

“New Planes for Personal Flying”
What I said about talking about talking about civil aviation. There aren’t even pictures, as in Aviation!

“American Productivity, II” How did American productivity do during the war? It continued to rise, even faster than in the previous two decades. Why? Have Americans achieved full technical efficiency? Well, perhaps: but it has more to do with the 75% increase in electrical power consumption. The Pacific Coast consumer three times as much electrical power in 1944 as it had in 1939, and, of course, it had that much, thanks to the dams.

Electricity consumption will continue to go up with more installations, which will require more supply. So although 86% of horsepower used in American factories is electric, the industry is estimated  to be less than 50% electrified. Where will all of this current needed to fully realise the potential of electricity come from? Nuclear power seems to be the answer.

Chemistry, too, is increasing its efficiency. Here, the secret was stealing German patents and making the stuff that used to be imported from Germany. At least as far as synthetic rubber is concerned. There were plenty of other things that the chemical industry made, but we’re apparently no to going to talk about them. Also, planes fly faster and higher, and there’s that electronics stuff, which adds to the efficiency of everything. Electronic relays can respond to changes detected by photoelectric relays thousands of times faster than a human being! Some electronics applications will replace human labour, and this is bad; but most of the jobs being displaced are “barely human.”

Productivity is likely to continue increasing, unless there is a war, which would be disastrous, or government regulation. Automation might, in the end, cause a loss of  employment, but, on the other hand, might bring a bright new age of leisure.

So not a lot of good statistics, once we’re done with electricity.

“Bowling: In A New Aura of Refinement, The Sport Has Captured a Vast Family Following and a $220-million Take” Everybody likes to bowl,  and laneway pictures of Grandma and Uncle Ed bowling are funny!

“Shanghai: Opened Under New Management” The only man the paper loves more than Wendell Willkie (who is still dead, unless he has been reincarnated as Harold Stassen), is Chiang. Therefore, everything is wonderful in Shanghai.

Magic realism makes Chiang classier!
Our reporters even get a byline. (Charles V. Murphy and Bernard Perlin). Hurry and invest, everyone! No communists to see here!

“Three Men on Paper Plates” The Lithomat Corporation of Cambridge, Massachusetts, is another paper duplicating company, but its main success has been in paper coating techniques. This article is by Venture Research Co., a non-profit research organisation devoted to touting stocks –I mean, to finding new and promising business enterprises.

Books and Ideas

James Warburg, banker son of a banker father, worked during the war for the Officer of War Information, and he has concerns about the voice of America and American foreign policy, which he intends to share in Unwritten Treaty. He thinks that the OWI dopes good and important work countering the irresponsibility of the American free press. The /American free press detects tyranny. Other publications include Count Ciano’s diaries, brought out by his wife in jig time. Hans Nerisser has Realism and Speculation in Employment Programs. Mr. Nerisser’s prescriptions for full employment are different from other prescriptions. (He wants guarantees for supplies rather than promotion of demand.) Sumner Schlichter writes in defence of strikes, Robert C. Weaver writes on Negro Labor (He is for it, and thinks that firing all the Negroes, even so that veterans can get their jobs back, is likely to have bad results.) Randall Gould agrees with the paper on China. (China in the Sun.) Preston James[!!] thinks that Brazil is doomed forever.

Fortune Faces

Otrher people throw parties the paper is dying to attend.  They are Fred Weick, at Engineering and Research Corporation, Willard F. Rockwell, of Equitable Meter Co., now Rockwell Manufacturing, and John Steelman.

Business Abroad

The paper supposes that Russia’s policy in Iran is driven by its thirst for oil, from which it infers that Russian oil production, not really known since 1940 must still be falling well short of domestic needs. It even has a quote from Pravda! I find it hard to imagine that the world’s largest country by several times over has a shortage of oil, but then Australia has no oil, and Canada not much, so who knows?

There is also trouble in Haiti. A large American investment there in rubber-producing vines may have been corrupt. Thomas A. Fennell, the former American resident agricultural advisor, may have been complicit.

“Wall Street Buys British” Not having heard that Britain is doomed, Wall Street invests. Stocks are also climbing in Bombay.

The Farm Column

Ladd Haystead looks at the small tillers and roto-ettes and such now available for gardeners. The kind who have lots too large to spade, and too small to plough. “Theoretically, you cannot plow more than twice as deep ass your plow is wide.” So a solution for people working in deeper loams is looked for. He also goes to his favourite Seabrook Farms in New Jersey to discover that vegetable growers are finding it economical to use longer fields and smaller tractors. Uncle Henry is in the business, having bought the “Roto-tiller” line. He is gearing up to produce a five horsepower unit for $350—400.
Finally, it is noted that in Mr. Haystead’s absence, the paper has ghost-written the column form his notes. Oh, no. I hope that he is all right.

Fortune Shorts

The paper makes fun of the squalid history of the Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures, “which never did.” It notes that binoculars are back on the market for bird watchers, and that Glenn L. Martin has now sold 122 of its 202s off the drawing board.

Fortune Survey

The Fortune Survey asks about Ameicans are Anti-Semites, and how bad are they. It discovers that there are a lot of them, and that they are mostly horrible, rich old men, and usually hate everything else, too.
Full technical efficiency is achieved through the application of the latest developments in science and engineering.

Radio News, February 1946


The paper is flattered but frightened by all the young servicemen asking the paper for advice on how to establish themselves in civilian life. It does suggest that more young men should think about sales work, though.

Spot Radio News

The FCC has made history by authorising the Garrison Irrigation Company to create a radio control network for its 10,000 acres of irrigated rice and other land, currently controlled by a team of men in cars. OPA price schedules are broadly satisfactory this month, and the FCC is being reorganised  to have more engineers. Tests and experimental applications for licenses continue in the FM radio field.

John D. Goodell and Donald J. Coleman, “Future of Electronics in Aviation” There is one!

R. H. Barley, Fairchild, “Spinning and Repeating /Record Player” This “language master” is to allow foreign language students to select the exact point on the record player to listen, so that they do not have to listen to the whole record every time they want to check a word. It was designed by Dr. Wentwoth Fling. As far as I understand it, the stylus can be automatically advanced by a crystal-controlled switch.

Lt. Hugh Lineback, USNR, “A Writing Cathode Ray Tube” A neat gadget which can show letters on the screen of a CRT.

McMurdo Silver, “Universal Test Instrument” As previously established, McMurdo Silver isn’t a person, but a company that used to build electronic equipment, and presumably wants to do so again. In the mean time, it fills up the paper with articles about the things it used to  make, or would like to make. This one is simple, and yet complex, easy to make, and cheap,. But accurate. My skepticism perhaps shows.

Radio-Electronic Engineering Department

A new section has articles! The microwave radar article is just introductory. “Quartz Crystal Applications” is . .. technical. The new high power triode is useful perhaps for FM broadcasting or r.f./ heating. Remote Control broadcasting is when you broadcast from outside the studio, and the signal has to go back through the studio, which has to control it to some m extent. The articles on UHF design are timely, considering CBS’s push for UHF television right now right now, as described in the Fortune article, but there’s not much the authors can tell us. UHF faces all sorts of engineering problems that don’t go away just because CBS doesn’t like the fact that they exist.

Industrial Review

At the other extreme, GE is promising new low power FM transmitters. Various companies offer improved compounds, including iron ballast for microphones, new glass for colour television from American Optical, and (based on a German material), and Cleveland Tungsten has “improved contacts.”

New Products

The Sheffield Sine Bar Fixture is a  device for checking the accuracy of tapered and angular work. There are new HF amplifiers from Sylvania. Barker and Williamson have a new rf generator. Submarine Signal of Boston can now talk about its radar counter measure equipment, which detected enemy radar emissions. Captain W. G. H. Finch is showing off an antenna that “looks like a skyrocket.” It is for FM, or maybe facsimile. Really, any of those new-fangled things that might give him some money. Grayhill has a small tool demagnitizer. Jennings Radio Corp has a vacuum variable capacitor.

John Rider’s As I see it Column  is about “Let’s Look to the Future of Radio Servicing”

Bizarre as the idea of people getting their radios repaired is, the repair industry supports a wide range of electronics manufacture.

Jordan McQuay, “AS Resonant-Cavity Wavemeter” Mr. McQuay wrote a lot of this number. As he points out, calibrating fm and uhf equipment will be easier with a wave-cavity device, as it has no moving parts.

Eric Hansen, “Self-Synchronous Transmission System” An article about Selsyns! I called James over so that he could reminisce about his boyhood.

Lt. Colonel Byron Hargrove, AUS, WSLFU, “Wide-Range Converter-Receiver” Short wave stuff.

James E. Kauke, “Velocity Modulation” The klystron is a “radically different type of tube.” The author explains.

Richard Hubbell, “Television Must Sound Right” Never mind the broadcast standards, UHF versus VHF, colourversus black-and-white. What about the talking?

News Brief
Dr. Bernard Waldman, an associate professor at Notre Dame, tells us that nuclear reactors for civilian power use might be possible. NBC has opened a new studio, and the IRE Winter Meeting has been scheduled for the Hotel Astor in January. Even given that this is a slow paper, that’s a bit of short notice, isn’t it?

I might have given the back  matter of Radio News a bit of a short shrift there, but the CBS push for UHF (colour) television has really thrown the industry into a tizzy. How can you make plans to go into the radio repair business when it suddenly looks like all the shops are going to have to close until they can be re-equipped? Etc.  

True story: depreciation allowances may be the most important issue facing the postwar economy, and no-one even understands them.

*So it turns out that this is an urban myth. Hunh.

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