Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Postblogging Technology, May 1946, I: Baby Boom!

My Dear Doctor B:

Please again accept my thanks for your hospitality during my recent, all too brief stay. I have included a small present in way of thanks, since your wife mentioned having so much difficulty obtaining good tea and chocolate in Nakusp. I hope that it will not offend anyone's sensibilities.

And thanks as well for your solicitude. As you know, my husband and my father-in-law's younger son are both in the South Pacific on Admiralty and Navy duties, respectively. (They're there to watch some giant bombs blow up, and confirm that giant bombs don't blow up giant ships. I'm not as optimistic as the Navy seems to be about that, but no-one's asked me, either.) You are right to say that the strains of carrying on without them are telling, and right to say that I should trust to my mother-in-law to carry on the family business, as she has so well. As you also say, I am a young mother with three at home, and my attention should be on them. 

R_. C_.,
General Delivery,

My Dear Father:

I include a packet of photographs from the South Seas, where you will find plenty of "Reggie and his Uncle James," Tommy Wong, and all of the other young and not-so young men mentioned in your son's long and belated letter.  As you can see, although the business is supposedly serious, the actual atmosphere at Bikini Atoll is something closer to a holiday camp. 

I shouldn't worry about doings in San Francisco, either. The Russians, incredibly, contracted cleaning at their embassy with Kong Loh Suee (have you met?), and securing the additional material wanted in Virginia was a simple matter of sending someone in with the regular janitors to replace the old rat traps --no heroic second story work needed at all, although the safe did have to be cracked. Mrs. W. hopes that this is "good enough for Piggly Wiggly," as she puts it, and that she will not have to cross the continent enceinte. It is bad enough that her cousin is now in Texas, and, after some months delay, allowed to write to certain persons of unimpeachable credentials. Yes, I am still a little amazed that Mrs. W. counts as such, but we have the Director on our side. I just hope that we don't end up exposing, oh, say, the Secretary of Commerce as a red-under-the-bed as the price we pay. plaintive letters demanding attention. Anyway, he sends long screeds in impenetrable German handwriting about how Texans do not pay him enough attention, and reporting that the lineoleum in his hut is cracked, and that the Army food is awful. 

"Miss V." remained in the northwest after I returned, and hopefully will stop in again to see you in the first week of June. She is trying to arrange for a proper survey of the Spokane lands, with dreams of Uncle Sam busting the bank to build a nice officer's country right along the stream. We'll see. Even the outside-the-gates "strip" would be better than trying to make money on sheep on that land. Of course, even that is presuming that the Army chooses to buy from us, and not one of our neighbours. She will also be piecing her way through the papers in Couer d'Alene. She tells me that she has a "hunch" that she can hang something not covered by the state of California statute of limitations on the Engineer.

Finally, in the matter of the tape, we have a bite! Uncle George has found a New Jersey company which is eager going to manufacture tape recording/playback machines. all that is wanting is a customer, and Eimac has secured an FM license in the San Francisco area. Without going into the gory details, FM needs good sound reproduction a lot more than AM. James had a bit of doing to persuade the board that we had the right technology for them, but they were sufficiently open to the idea that I had the principal partners over to Arcadia. They seemed to take well enough to Bill and Dave, and  I think we have a sale. 

Uncle George had what he describes as an excruciating interview with the young man chosen to take on your little problem. He is apparently one of those supercilious boys who are wrong about everything, invincibly convinced that they are right, and determined to explain just why in the most annoying way. Obscure vocabulary, affected accent, condescending manner, hysterical religiosity. Truly a prig before his time. (Not to mention some casual remarks about "Asiatics," which do  not, of course, sit well with Uncle George. Really, you expect these things in an older man) 

Now, I do not know that Uncle George might not be exaggerating out of guilt. After all, the only thing the young man is really guilty of is tattling on a few fellow students to the Spanish embassy. The fact that one of them ended up getting arrested in Madrid does not look well on the boy, but it is a bit of a stretch that he planned it that way. 

Ah, well. It is not as though the boy, at least as described, is likely to let "playing husband" get in the way of his life. Ahem. Perhaps I should rephrase that?

I include pictures of your grandchildren. Vickie is now walking, and in honour of her stubborn determination to follow along on the war trail of mischief blazed by her brother, I also send along a footprint. We all hope to see you together, perhaps at Christmas.

Flight, 2 May 1946


“Jet Propulsion in America” The Americans will probably make their speed record attempt soon, and it might be 1000km/h, and the English shouldn’t worry about it. Only they should worry a lot. It will also be bad for America, because it will persuade the Americans, who are silly, that they do not need British jet engines, which they do.

“From A to B” Raoul Hafner says that the helicopter will always be the fastest way to travel anywhere up to 400 miles due to the trouble of getting to the airport. The paper thinks that the helicopter has a bright future ahead of it “some day,” when all of its problems are worked out, and it can land in the middle of some Heaven forsaken harbour somewhere and spend half the day taxi-ing around, avoiding floating logs and not-so-slowly cooling to San-Francisco-winter-fog temperatures. I made that last part up. It's not actually campaigning for flying boat helicopters. Yet.

“Radar for Airlines” Radar and radio aids to navigation would be quite useful for airliners, but it is quite bulky and heavy. They should work on that. 

Raoul Hafner’s Lecture on Helicopters: Some developments in Rotating-Wing Aircraft: A Lecture Given to the Society of Licensed Engineers” The helicopters of the future will slice bread (safely and almost automatically), cure cancer (quickly), and bring about world peace (while being very useful for air forces.) Also, commercial transport helicopter services will always be the fastest way to get around anywhere in England.

The lecture was boring. This isn't. 
"Neither project proceeded past testing."

Here and There

“’Reactionaries’ Foregather” All the “jet pioneers who elected to retire from Power Jets Research and Development, Ltd” are getting together for a dinner in honour of Air Commodore Whittle, and not to form a new company, as was suggested last month.

Air Commodore Sharp did a flying tour of overseas RAF stations to look into safety. The Irish Kennel Association is looking into flying greyhounds to America for track racing. Spitfire’s demonstration team is in Holland, demonstrating. The RAF African Survey is happening more. Surplus Army aircraft are going for a steal in America. Four of the old Power Jets researchers have got on with English Electric, led by F. H. Keast. There are rumours that the Australian government will drop its independent air force and combine it with the navy “in view of the important part aircraft carriers are expected to play in any defence scheme for Australia and the Pacific.” Considering Australia has actually bought a hundred Lincolns and no aircraft carriers, wouldn’t it make more sense the other way round? Uncle George says that there's always a navy man dumb enough to buy anything a flim-flam man is willing to sell. I'll have to ask James about it when he gets back.

“Goblins at Munich: D.H. Jet Unites Tested in BMW High Altitude Chamber” BMW has a high altitude chamber at its works in Oberveisenfeld which survived the war, although they were heavily damaged in May 1944. German engineers were amazed that the Goblin could run a 41 hour series of tests without maintenance, the paper brags. Also, the de Havilland Ghost exists.

Killing yourself with jet speedboats --The 50s fad that hasn't been revived.

Air Commodore F.R. Banks has returned to Ethyl Corporation as a technical adviser. 

American Newsletter

“Making Full Use of ‘Mock-Ups;’ Some American Ideas: Service After Sales: The Record Attempt” ‘Kibitzer’ went to see a mock-up of something aeronautical. It was just like Hollywood! Several service firms have rental aircraft to replace the ones they are repairing. Lockheed is opening up maintenance depots for its Constellations in Europe. Another firm is working on a “flying workshop.” Douglas has published a service equipment catalogue, which is very nice. The American speed record attempt will come any day now. Americans should buy English jet or turboscrew engines for their big planes, but may not, because they are chauvinists. The English should respond to American chauvinism in the healthiest way possible, by beating the American speed record.

“Indicator,” “In the Air, XIV: The Mosquito: Some Impressions of the War’s Outstanding Aircraft: Advanced Simplicity” Indicator points out that a pilot’s first impression of the Mosquito will be determined by the aircraft he flew before. Most pilots will have come to the Mosquito from trainers or four engine types. He came to it from the Beaufighter and Whirlwind, and his overwhelming impression was of adequate power and “prospective safety.” It was light on the control, comparatively simple, although it was also easy to get into a bad swing at takeoff and landing. It could also G-stall on the landing readily, although this was the other side of a good short-field performance, much improved by the simpler undercarriage leg of the Hornet. It was also quite cramped, and visibility was much better in the fighter types.

“Airworthiness Requirements: The PICAO Code and Some ARB Requirements” Forty-seven experts from twelve countries met in Montreal and talked about talking about air safety. Many recommendations for recommended airworthiness requirements were recommended, as were investigations into things which might need recommendations. This passage is not recommended for people wanting to know what happened in Montreal, but is the best this writer can recommend, as the short article did not actually include any of the recommendations. Except one about the effect of slipstream on flap loading. (Which it is recommended should be investigated.)

The International Civil Aviation Organisation may be a worthy but boring institution, but it  has one kickass flag.

“Two RAF Groups Replaced by One” No. 26 Group, in charge of Signals Communication, and No. 60, in charge of radar, were officially dissolved and replaced by 90 Group. Both Groups were formed early in the last war, and did boring but important things.

Wing Commander Maurice A. Smith, “Pathfinder Story: Problems of Night Bombing: Application of Radar Aids: Conception and Development of Target-Marking Technique: Concentration of Attack” Bombing is more effective when it is accurate. It started out not being very accurate, and so it was not very effective. Later, it got quite accurate, and then it was effective. Navigation is important. At first, dead reckoning, aided by radio bearings and occasional visual fixes were used, but not astronomical ones, because the weather was too awful and it was impractical to fly straight courses for minutes at a time, and because young, mass-produced navigators lacked the skill to achieve reasonable accuracy. Gee, first used in May 1942 against Cologne, was the first radio beam guide. (In English use.) It was complicated (30 valves and a cathode ray tube) and heavy (120lb) and needed fairly extensive ground installations with tall aerial masks, in spite of having only 300 miles range at 10,000 ft. Then everyone decided that what was needed was a pathfinder force. Except 5 Group, which was allowed to have its own pathfinding force. The PFF was first used against Flensburg on August 18 1942. It was not very successful. It also highlighted the need to drop more and better flares. Then came Oboe, first used against Lutterade on 20 December 1942. It used a combination of ground stations with a transmitter/receiver on the aircraft. I can see that being the one obvious improvement that everyone would have resisted to the last ditch before the war. You don’t want your bombers broadcasting while they are flying over enemy skies at night! Also, the plane has to follow a beam only 17 yards wide! But this would give extremely accurate bombing.
Next came H2S, first used on 30 January 1943. It provided not only a “magic eye,” but a warning to the enemy of the presence of the bomber carrying it. It was also very heavy, at 700lb, and required great skill and practice to use well, and so was most effective in the Pathfinder Force. More talk about flares.
On Flickr as "Wing Commander Maurice Smith and crew"

Civil Aviation
Trans-Canada has increased its Atlantic service frequency to four per week, still flying Lancastrians. Commercial traffic is still increasing, but prospective British flyers still need to apply to the Ministry. European services are not controlled this way, but a percentage of accommodation is still reserved to priority traffic. Air land and sea freight transportation services should be “combined” in some way. Lord Rothschild and Mr. H. L. Newlands have been added to the board of BOAC. Lt. Cdr Neil Richardson has been appointed to PICAO. Air Vice-Marshal Rice, Air Commodore Bussell, and J. P. Jeffcock have been appointed to the Civil Aviation Office of the government of India. All British airliners are now flying on Merlins. British South American Airways has sent a Lancastrian to survey South America some more. Two more Sunderlands have been sold to South American airlines.


“Obsolete” thinks that some of the older planes in use in 1939 ought to be in the RAF Victory Parade. “’Ex-Brat’ Rtd” wants everyone to know that he was a Halton apprentice who was eventually commissioned, and, even so, he can’t find a good job. N. Britton thinks that the whole scheme of training Air Force technical apprentices should be dispensed with, and that the Ministry of Education should take it over. I think he is upset that the re-enlistment period is too long? “Provocateur” thinks that the Dakota, Hurricane, Fortress, Lancaster Mosquito, Mustang, Spitfire and Typhoon were the most important aircraft of the war. B. J. Hurren read a book at the R.Ae.C. Library recently, and reminds everyone with interesting books about aviation that they can give them to the library. F. C. Blackmore discusses “Mixture’s” mystery and points out “Abracadabra carburettor Ali Ka-zam!” Or words to that effect. “C.O.N.”, on the other hand, agrees with “Mixture.” It is really quite mystifying why a more-heavily laden aircraft might have a higher fuel consumption when it operates at the same engine setting. (It’s the question of whether you get wetter if you hurry through a rain shower or go slowly.) “H.T.F.” thinks he had too many physicals when he applied for his civilian “A” license. A. M Monday thinks that desynn gauges on each undercarriage leg would help more for proper aircraft loading than centre of gravity diagrams. “Twopenny” is sad that Pilot Officer Prune is being demobilised. Regular correspondent F. H. Potts has found an aeronautical error in a quite good book he read recently.
A taste of Pilot Officer Prune. Source

“Aeronautics and the Meallurgist: Value of ‘Elongation’ Examined: Suitability of BerylliumAlloys: Its Quality and Cost” Dr. Leslie Aitchison, a professor of industrial metallurgy at the University of Birmingham, recently gave a talk to the Royal Aeronautical Society. He points out that not much progress has been made since 1918. Steels are still as strong (a Young’s Modulus of 100 tons per square inch maximum stress), while wrought alloys have come up from 21.3 to 25 tons/sq inch. IN the future, the new electron theory of matter and thermos-dynamics may yield “marked” developments. More alloy steels, especially ones giving good performance at high temperatures, can be looked forward to by everyone who wants to prove my darling husband wrong about the future of high temperature steam. New zinc-aluminum precipitation hardened alloys, are much stronger than older wrought alloys, perhaps reaching 40 tons/sq. inch maximum stress. Full heat treatment of some copper alloys, especially ones containing beryllium, are promising. One experimental copper with 2.5% beryllium achieved 65 tons/sq. inch, and 85 tons seems within reach. (More than three times as strong as existing high duty aluminum alloys!) But what about ‘elongation?’ The reader asks? The reader is being silly. Certainly alloys with equivalent strength in shear but a greater modulus of elongation would be nice, but they are not necessary for aeronautical uses. We have, however, reached basic limits, at least until the bright day of the beryllium revolution is at hand. Or, on the other hand, there are indications that attention to the crystalline structure of metals will permit much greater strengths.
I think that the guy taking the notes was having a little trouble following the lecture. I will definitely have to ask Uncle George about beryllium, though.
A very expensive case of wrench rash.

In shorter notes, Hoffman Manufacturing is opening a branch office in Leicester, Brown Brothers is moving works and offices to one location in Northampton from their war dispersal, Phillips wants everyone to know that the RAF’s new Day/Night training apparatus was developed at Phillips, Ransome and Rapier had a nice commemorative dinner for Mr. W. S. Walter, Mr. W. F. Griffith is leaving the Flight Test Development Department at Bristol to return to Air Couriers, and British Aluminum has a nice brochure out describing the new M.B.V. process for protecting aluminum from corrosion. The paper enjoyed the new documentary “Progress,” about the Rootes Group, very much, and is thinking about inviting a nice fashion magazine from the other side of the newsstand to an encore showing. 

I have it on good advice that a little romance livens up the place.

The Economist, 4 May 1946


“Atomic Progress” The paper reminds us all that the atomic bomb still exists. It has to remind us, because it has been nine months, so it is yesterday’s news, and so irrelevant that even the English Council of Churches is talking about it. (The Council thinks that atomic bombs are bad.) However, it is no good to ignore it, we must face the cruel, cold facts, which is that the atomic bomb will end all of humanity tomorrow if we let it. So, good news, because the Lilienthal Report, out of Oak Ridge, confirms that atomic bombs can only be made out of uranium, and that U 235 can be “denatured” so that it cannot be used to make atomic bombs. A solution is thus at hand: a single, international monopolist will be created to take uranium, refine it into “denatured” U235, and distribute it to the nations of the world for atomic energy purposes. Only this international monopolist will be allowed to experiment with pure U235. The only problem that the paper sees is that all the national authorities seem to be baulking at the idea of an international one.

Report onPalestine” Palestinians (both kinds) are excitable.

“The Health Debate” The British Medical Association is excitable.

“The Austrian Scene” Austrians are. . . Also, it is reported that the Russians have taken many Austrian rail cars, and an entire locomotives work. Also, Vienna is starving to death, while there is too much food in the western part of the country, although it is starving, too, because of the occupation. Overall, these poor, innocent victims of Nazism are in a bad way, and it is all down to the beastly communists. If only we had settled their hash in . . . I mean, if only they had settled their hash!
I hear nothing, I see nothing!

Notes of the Week

“Springtime of the Powers?” The Great Powers might get together soon in Paris and kiss and make up.

“The Italian Treaty” On the agenda in Paris will be a peace treaty with Italy. It will get to keep South Tyrol, and have to give up some bits of the mountains to Jugoslavia and France. The Austrians, poor, innocent victims of Nazism that they are, are upset. Also, the Italian colonies will be given over to some kind of supervision, with independence scheduled in ten years. After all, the paper says with an air of irony, if Koreans can be trained for democracy in five years, why not Arabs in ten? (The ironic part is that the paper doesn't think that the Koreans actually can be "trained for democracy" in ten years.) Anyway, all things being considered, independence is less trouble for everybody else, so why not let the Koreans and the Arabs have a go?

“German Food” British authorities are said to be satisfied with the health of their German workers, distressed with the amount of absenteeism involved in their seeking their own food in the country, and worried that there will be a complete breakdown of food supplies in the foreseeable future. I am not hallucinating, am I, sir? The calendar does say “June?”

Alarmist talk aside, there are problems. For example, in April only 16,000 tons of grain were sent to Germany from America, against 50,000 tons promised. There is “no hope” that internal production will make up the deficit, since while the extent of spring sowing isn’t known yet, “it is unlikely to exceed last year:” due to a shortage of fertiliser and natural manure. (Potash production in the steel industry is rising, but not where it needs to be.) Since fertilisers are estimated to be 50% short, the German harvest is expected to be 50% that of the 1943/44 level. Also, floods and the Russian land reform are expected to cut production.

“Food Cuts” Already covered in the previous article are an expected round of scale-downs of German rations. Austria’s situation is “expected to be desperate by June,” while in India famine is “in the balance.” Then follows, in the third sentence, the point: The British cut in the size of the bread loaf and total beer brewed, is too little, too late. Also the rise in bread prices is bad; and the cut in potato an butter prices is . . . not bad? (Really. I expect better of the paper than this. Surely it can come up with a reason why cheap buttered potatoes is bad news. Doesn’t it have thighs?) The paper recommends other ways of making life less fun, as for example no bread plates at restaurants, no bread rolls (they are “wasteful”), and smaller cakes and biscuits, as well as less breakfast cereal. Also, people should be encouraged to eat less bread.

“Return to Simla” There is considerable hope in India that the summer talks in Simla will break the impasse between Congress and Muslim League.

“Conscription and the Universities” University students will be deferred from National Service until . . . some point. Unless the service period is only a year? In which case they won’t? I think that this has already been agreed, and that the details are the devil, or vice versa.   Even though university professors do not, as a rule, the kind of professionals who take the paper, the paper is still concerned to make sure that they have an adequate supply of students to work on. Oh, and it would be nice for the students, too.

“Azerbaijani ‘Independence’” If you haven’t been following the Iranian “crisis” assiduously, and I will admit that I haven’t been writing about it in any detail, you may not be aware that Azerbaijan is a province between Russia and Persia, and that the Azerbaijanianitesians are upset at Teheran, and there will be trouble in the near future, and it is all down to the Communist Russians, you mark the paper’s words.

“Polish Dilemma” Poles are excitable.

“Japan in Search of a Government” The elections were a success, but the patient has died. Specifically, Baron Sidehara could not muster a majority in Parliament, and has resigned. The Liberals hold the plurality in the House, but their leader, Hatoyama, is unacceptable to the Social Democrats, who are the Liberals’ natural coalition partners. The Liberals need to agree on a more acceptable leader, and in the mean time, the developing famine is laid off on a government which cannot do its job, which is run the country, subject to the Occupation Headquarters, which certainly cannot do the work.

“House in March” 1,652 permanent homes, and 4565 temporary were built in March. This is an improvement over 793 and 4000 in the previous month respectively, but the upward trend is not consistent or as large as it should be, so it is all the local authorities fault. (And also the brick shortage.)

“Bristol Tenants” The Bristol Corporation Housing Authority has done up a book on its 1938 survey of tenants in council housing with “interesting” results. The main “interesting” result is that large blocks of families of the same social background should be avoided in public housing schemes, for a variety of reasons. Isolating “great blocks of the poorer and larger families together” has “unfortunate and unnatural results.”

“Staggered Holidays” Poor people can go to the seaside in February, when it is less crowded. (Since they will be taking their Christmas holidays at the same time, they can even stretch them out! That's  my suggestion, not the paper’s. Actually, the paper just suggests “less crowded times,’ rather than no summer holidays at all. It is much more likely that it isn’t thinking it through, as opposed to being horrible.)  

“Better Terms for Finland” Finland is a country that fought beside Germany, but only against Russia, and even the Russians seem to be a bit embarrassed that they attacked first, so they are willing to let the Finns off, less a railway here and a nickel iron plant there and, oh, yes, how about 10,000 tons of grain, just for old time’s sake? I have a hard time imagining Finland exporting grain. It's cold there!

“Pan-American Postponement” Latins are excitable.

“Nigeria’s Development Plan” Nigeria has a ten-year development plan, which should build on its wartime prosperity towards a bright future, etc., although it is not clear how, a £1,800,000 subsidy for agriculture aside.

American Survey

“More Americans” (By an American Correspondent)

“The question of 'How many Americans' was answered before the war, in the most painstaking and scientific way on the assumption that the trends established during the years of the depression would not vary much in the years to come. (That means that they laid a ruler to a chart and extended the line through the “190,” “1960,” and “1975” verticals, but not “1980,” because that would be science fiction.) Science, however, advances one error at a time, and the paper tells us that “[T]he predictions of the population experts have been skewed right off centre during all of the war years. Instead of a gradually declining birth rate there has been a baby boom . . . The question is, how far are the wartime adjustments permanent, and how far are they merely kinks in the steady development of American population trends.” At this point, AAC gets around to his point. In August of 1943, the National Resources Planning Board published a book, Estimates of ‘Future Population of the United States, 1940—2000, by Thomas and Whelpton (it’s “Mr. Churchill” sometimes, and “can’t even be bothered to look up the authors with those oh-so convenient cross-indices of citations they have at the university library” at other times). Dorothy Thomas and P. K. Whelpton predicted an American population of 137,512,000 on 1 April 1945. (Hurrah for a feminine lead author!) Now there has been a revision, as the actual number turned out to be 139,254,000, or 1,742,000 above estimate. The authors did not include 28,000 military deaths; but also did not predict 250,000 fewer civilian deaths than called for in their models, or net immigration (supposed to be zero due to the war) of 500,000, or, lastly, 1,100,000 more births than predicted. This would be big news if there really were some kind of “baby boom” going on, and at first the trend was misidentified, with the authors seeing an increase in births in May-August 1942, and attributing it to the early-wartime effect that The Economist is still citing for England.

This has proven not to be case, and “Thomas and Whelpton,” at least, agree with James in seeing family order breakdowns, as showing that it is, in fact, down to couples having babies deferred during the Depression. Since the Depression was deeper in America and lasted longer, the number of make-up babies will be larger in America than in England, although this is our opinion, and not the paper.  What the experts do think is that the combination of the excess of births in 1945—50, a continuation that might extend through 1950 if the post-war bust isn’t too deep, and also a falling death rate, will produce a predicted American population of 1950 will be 2.25 to 2.5 million more than expected, with an additional 40,0000 a year added to the roles each year during the 1950s. The American population in 1975 may be expected to be between 162 and 165 millions.
I've used up my baby ads for this post, so let's have a cute five year old, and get a little misty at the thought of the many families that were taking their first "family vacation" seventy years ago today. Probably not riding the Wabash, though.. That's just reaching.

American Notes

“Strike Poker” Ongoing negotiations over the coal strike are like a game of poker, and the Administration is losing because it is playing at all.

“The Liberal Offensive” The paper quotes an American paper as saying that the American political parties are dividing into a liberal Democratic party with a reactionary Southern wing, and a reactionary Republican party with a liberal Western wing. Now, the paper hopes, there are attacks on these “citadels of reaction” in both parties. The unions have their “Operation Dixie,” which is trying to crack Southern industry, while in Minnesota, Governor Stassen is the second coming of Wendell Willkie, and look how that turned out!

“The Foundations of Atomic Control” The McMahon Bill leaves the Senate with watered-down military control. This will please the scientists, and hopefully end their exodus from atomic work. The rumour is that Senator Vandenberg went along with it in return for a promise of a hard line against the Russians at Paris. Meanwhile, there will also be firm steps in the direction of international control.

“Feeding the ‘Invisible Guests’” The latest alarming report on food supplies is in. This time, it is that there are only 339 million bushels of grain on hand on American farms and silos, compared with 375 million on 1 April last year. This is admittedly because the grain has been transported much ore quickly than last year, but it still means that future shipments will be smaller than expected. (I’m not sure I see why, if the grain is in transit, but I am only  a girl.) It is still the case that only 550,000 tons of grain were shipped in April, against a one million ton target. These facts add force to calls for “wheatless days,” and “starvation days.”
The one thing we can all agree on, is that eating meat is wrong. It's just thre reasons that change.

“Housing in Conference” A House-Senate conference will determine the future of the Wyatt Bill. The paper finally notices that, to achieve the bill’s targets, there will have to be a substantial cut in commercial and industrial building. It adds that the most hopeful aspect of it is the emphasis on temporary and prefabricated housing, of which the paper cannot get enough. As long as everyone living in the prefabricated homes are not relegated to vast fields dotted with house trailers somewhere where the land is cheap. That would be “unnatural.”

In shorter notes, the paper points out that the Philippines Treaty is the first preferential trade treaty in modern American history, and that the Army-Navy Bill has made it out of the House.

The Business World

“Money and Income” During the 1914—18 war, the volume of English money was greatly increased, and the postwar idea was to do something about this by punishing everybody for taking it. You being a bit older, will remember how it all worked out! After the current war, the volume of money (not, precisely, it seems, the number of pound notes in peoples’ hands, but close enough to the actual situation to excuse me from understanding where bank deposits and such fit into it). This time around, though, there won’t be urgent measures to “deflate” the money supply. This, by the way, definitely does not mean bankers wandering the streets, knocking people over the head, and rifling through their purses for small change. Instead it means something about interest rates? Which has everything to do with the situation? For some reason? And bonds? So raising interest rates and doing . . . something. . . perhaps the same thing? . . . would accomplish this deflation, and I suppose if I bothered to look, I would find that this was what they did in the 1920s, when I only cared about red bean paste and egg custard. Now we are not to have these high interest rates, because deflation is not on the table. But what of its opposite, inflation? It is not intended, but might come anyway. The rest of the article it is mainly concerned with “proving” that something called the “money-income ratio” will not return to its prewar trend, and there is not time in this mother’s life to unravel it. Perhaps if I am enceinte again any time in the near future, I will try to understand it in the way that I did the Bretton Woods Agreement, but . . Actually, who knows?

“Higher Railway Charges” Oh, sure, why not?

Business Notes

The stock market has been up and down, and it is agreed that there must be reasons for this, but they are not to be agreed upon. Cable and Wireless has opinions about the nationalisation of telecommunications, with which stockholders must concern themselves. I would have a share if we had not got out in 1939, but I don’t, so I don’t. There is another ‘Anglo-French Agreement, some appointments to the IMF (Sir James Grigg), and the Americans are putting more money into their Import-Export Bank. The Monthly Digest of Statistics for April is a page-turning read, and longer than ever. Cotton merchants are still upset about the closing of the Liverpool Exchange. The Malaysian rubber trade is still recovering at a disconcertingly quick rate considering that it was without White supervision for five long years. There is a boom in Holiday Camp building, also in shipbuilding, in the sense that the tonnage building at the end of March was ahead of December and comparable to prewar boom years. There have been “Rayon Weaving improvements.” Labour is so short in the brickmaking trades that all brickmakers in the Army who declined release under the Class B scheme are now going out, whether they like it or not. The paper’s joke is that “Church Parade” is no longer compulsory in the new army, but “brickmaking parade” is. Is coal to follow this precedent, the paper asks? Anglo American and De Beers have reported returns, and the paper regrets misstating the rapid progress of the plywood industry in reducing imports.

Flight, 9 May 1946


“Back to Dunne and Junkers” Various people have fiddled with tailless aircraft in the past, including Colonel Dunne and Professor Junkers. Now people are fiddling with them again, notably Armstrong Whitworth. Also, flying wings. Flying wings are tailless types, but tailless types don’t have to be flying wings. 

“Atlantic Factors” It looks as though the Constellation will not make the Air Regulatory Board’s load factor limits for winter Atlantic flying, and that the five purchased by BOAC will be granted some kind of waiver. The paper thinks that this isn’t fair to British makers.

“Second Reading” The Civil Aviation Bill passed second reading without a riot in the House. The paper is sad.

“Percival Merganser” The Percival Merganser will be a very nice feeder-type airliner when it is built. It will use the de Havilland Gipsy Queen 51 engines.

C. W. A. Scott is given a very brief and strangely placed obituary.

Here and There

The paper prints a picture of the “first Dove” following “the last Mosquito” on the De Havilland production line. “Prudence,” the RAF’s “safety pin-up girl,” is to get her film debut in “an instructional film, made for the Air Ministry’s Directorate of Accident Prevention,” with Miss Patricia Cutts playing the role of Prudence. I can’t think of a single thing to say. The first plane ever to land on Campbell Island, “almost 400 miles off South Island, New Zealand,” landed there this week. Evidence that flying cures whooping cough comes this year from Sweden.
Not a happy life.

The A.W. Flying Wing” The experimental A.W. 52 glider, with its interlinked rudders and flaps, is featured. We know very little about flying wings’ performance near the stall, so an experimental model seems like a good idea before one goes ahead and designs, say, an intercontinental flying wing bomber. The control system is . . . elaborate. I would describe at greater length, but I think the basic point is that all the controls are on the same surface, leading to the possibility of forcing oscillations. These might lead to the aircraft porpoising or otherwise hunting; but also to it pitching over and diving straight into the ground. Actual aircraft have a rudder on the tail, which gives it a nice bit of leverage to for the pilot to fiddle with until the oscillations are damped. Getting rid of the tail means that the damping has to be built in somehow. Armstrong Whitworth’s solution seems to be to build an elaborate apparatus of gears, springs and joints that is the physical equivalent of the algebraic monstrosity that is your typical damping equation. I have no idea what Northrop’s is.

Ran into my friend Brandon Konoval the other day, and we got to talking about Vincenzo Galileo and Mersennes, trying to understand the math of capped and uncapped organ pipes. "Poor, naive bastards." At least they didn't send organists up to 20,000ft to experiment,!

Maurice Smith, “The Pathfinder Story, Part II: Target Indicators: Marking for Small High-Priority Targets: Enemy Reactions: Master Bomber Duties: Solutions to Some Problems” Now that the author has dealt with boring, pointless radars in the last section, it is time to move on to something interesting. Flares! In twenty  years, when we are all spreading flares around our kitchen to signal which casserole is to be taken out of the oven first, we will look back on the Pathfinders as the pioneers of our modern way of life. (They’re also quite good for flagging down the fire brigade!) He also needs to talk about the radio that made the Master Bomber (the maitre d’hôtel of a bombing raid) useful. It was the HF TR1196 until shortly after D-Day, when the VHF TTR1143 was introduced.  VHF gives you enough, short range, clear channels for this to actually work. Finally, he talks about LORAN, API, GSI, and ASI. Finally, he points out that the Pathfinder Force is unlikely to ever be resurrected, so there’s not much to be said about lessons learned.

“Northrop Developments: Details of the XB-35 Flying-wing Bomber: F-15 Reporter Photo-Reconnaissance Development” Jack Northrop is the cat’s meow. The XB-35 is just the best. It is made of a “new aluminum alloy known as Alcoa, said to be stronger than previous materials of a similar nature. . . “ It has a span of 172ft and a wing area of 4000 sq ft, which makes for an “interesting comparison” with the B-29, which has a span of 141ft and a wing area of “only 1,739ft.” The root chord of the wing is 37.5ft, thinning out at the tips to 9ft 4”. Power is from four 4-row Pratt & Whitney Wasp Majors, each delivering 3000hp, and it uses eight-bladed counter-rotating Hamilton Standards driven through extension shafts an capable of pitch reversal for braking. (Which is much more than just a useful gadget in a flying wing.) The engines each have a turbosupercharger. It “seems strange” that it is not equipped with gas turbine engines. “Presumably this is due to the fact that no suitable jet units are at present available in America.” I think the paper mentioned this once before. Control is via a servoed elevon system, with hydraulic power through a pneumatic “feel” device. It has leading edge slots, and an AC electrical system with 400-cycle, three phase 208-volt AC. A new Minneapolis-Honeywell automatic pilot with an extra servo motor has been designed for the aircraft.

A killing machine?

Also in development at Northrop is the F-15 Reporter, a Black Widow development for photo-reconnaissance.

Civil Aviation

The British South American Airways survey Lancastrian, Star Land, is back in London. BOAC has ordered a dozen Short Solents for service in the Far East between Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai. TCA now plans a daily trans-Atlantic service for the summer. KLM’s regular Skymaster service will begin 21 May. BOAC’s Liberator return ferry service is being redirected five days a week through Shannon. Parliament is in a ruckus over an “alleged” statement by the British Air Line Pilots Association that Southampton Water is not and never can be a flying boat base. The Italians have opened their first civil air service, Milan—Rome, using Savoia-Marchetti SM-95s. Australia’s trans-Australian public airline is to be the Trans-Australia Air Lines, and will fly Merlin-powered Skymasters. A Sydney factory is said to be tooling up to produce Merlins. This would probably be good for Australia if they can manage it, but I’m a bit skeptical that the country's industry can cope with the metallurgy. That's why they didn't take on the Bristol engines, isn't it? (Apart from sleeve valves being silly.) The paper talks about two more Sunderland deliveries to South America again. The First Constellation delivered to Brazil appeared in London this week.

“Jet Propulsion for Civil Aircraft: Hypothetical Air Liner for High-sped, High-altitude Operation: Axial Power Unites Performance and Costs: Summary of a Paper by Major F. B. Halford” Major Halford, who designed the Goblin and Ghost, gave this talk on Wednesday, 1 May. The planes would have to be quite large, many problems of high-altitude operations have not been worked out, and the power plants would have to be much more powerful than any available right now, which presents problems for turbine blades. Higher heat resistant materials, or better cooling? Such a jet airliner would be cheaper than a DC-4, but a turbine-powered airscrew would be belter than either.

“Britain’s Test Pilots, No. 8: Charles K. Turner-Hughes” He left the RAF in 1931, and has been test-flying for Armstrong-Whitworth ever since. His most exciting story involves landing a Whitley that had popped some rivets, and he is up in the AW 52 right now.


MSR is tracking down old comrades of 170 Squadron. D. L. Brown corrects “Indicator,” this time correctly. Stanley Bradshaw thinks that Julian Huxley’s answer on Brain Trust, that birds fly in formation not because they are following the leader, but because of aerodynamic advantages, just must be wrong, and asks the readers to explain why. J. D. S. Alan has some strange ideas about flying helicopters. Ex W/O Sam corrects some of the misinformation about Halton. R. M. Cracknell corrects a correction. 

The Economist, 11 May 1946


“Exodus from Egypt” The Prime Minister’s announcement that all English forces will leave Egypt as the only way of securing a treaty and preventing “something like a revolution” has naturally been criticised roundly in the House, where Mr. Churchill asks how it can be compatible with our agreement with Egypt to defend the Suez Canal for them. (“We will defend you, whether you like it or not!”) The paper’s only concern is that the promise will be interpreted in Egypt moregenerously than what is actually to be conceded in terms of the speed of thewithdrawal.

“Stalemate in France” Latins are excitable. (They had a referendum that was supposed to put an end to the current provisional government, but didn’t.)

“London’s Railways” The Minister of Transport published this week a plan to improve the nation’s roads and London’s railways in a ten-year scheme costing £230 million. The details are interesting, and my eyebrows are raised that “main stations at deep levels” were even considered, only to be rejected. (In plain English, that means that people have thought about putting the main railyards servicing London underground. It’s the kind of scheme that would appeal to your youngest, and since it is not on the table, the plan is instead of yards at the outskirts, and an in-city working with electrified rails and routes “plunging underground” all over the place. There will be viaducts, and a major redevelopment along the banks of the Thames, and a freight line tunnel under the City, and it seems as though the final cost of the railways alone will be 236 millions, and the paper doubts that it will actually be done.
Someone should put up a Kickstarter for an underground London main rail station.

I’m just a little staggered that Nigeria's ten-year plan for prosperity estimates expenditure of 1.8 millions on agriculture over ten years, while for railways in London, a hundred times this is appropriate. I know that this is not what the paper means by “easy money,” but even so!

“A Solution for Trieste”

Our Special Correspondent in Trieste writes in with a plan. My guess is that it is not for Trieste to be Jugoslavian M, W, F, and Italian, T, Th, Sun, because all the signs would have to switch replacing of “Ys” with “Js" three times a week. And I am right! OSCT suggests that it should be a “free city” instead, because Danzig worked out so well.

Notes of the Week

“First Anniversary” The anniversary of the end of the war is not being celebrated in this number because no-one can agree on when exactly it is. The paper, looking back, concludes that it was gloomier than it could have been during the last year, although it still needs to be plenty gloomy.

“The Loan in Congress” Congress is having a merry fight over the British Loan preparatory to passing it, and the paper has to pretend to take this seriously if it is to cover it at all. Speaking of, “Deadlock in Paris;” and “The Italian Treaty.” In this case it is not Congress grandstanding, but the Great Powers, but the point is the same. Austria will be de-occupied soon because everyone is sick of occupying it, nice as the Austrians are, but Trieste is a problem because the Italians and the Jugoslavs actually care about it, in opposite directions. The paper supposes that the Russians are making such a fuss over Trieste because they have a secret plan to consolidate their control of the Danube Basin, and Trieste is the “natural port” of the whole basin. Don’t we usually worry about the Russians getting “warm water ports” on the Pacific or the Indian Ocean, or at Istanbul? At least it makes a change.

“Balkan Difference” Balkanites are excitable.

“Civil Aviation Bill” The airminded are excitable.

“The Trend of Employment” The paper showed a Belgian around last week. He was surprised that so many more Englishmen were unemployed compared with Belgians in spite of full employment in both countries. The paper explains that it is actually because the Government is BUNGLING demobilisation and reconversion.

“Road Caution” The paper didn’t get around to talking about the roads part of the roads-and-London-rail discussion in the last number. Now it does. For a wonder, the “caution” is not that the scheme is too ambitious, too costly, etc., but that it won’t do enough to cut the current, horrendous rate of road accidents.

“New Towns Progress” Oh, Good Heavens, paper. No, actually, I can’t blame the paper. This is something that is happening in Britain, and which people care about, and I suppose that it actually matters to landowners like the Earl.

“China and a ‘Certain Country’” Russian troops are apparently serving with Communist forces in Manchuria. This ‘certain country’ will probably intervene if the Nationalists try to conquer Manchuria, and that is why the Nationalists have done nothing of the kind.

“First Reactions to the Palestine Report” Politicians ad the people who lobby them are excitable.

“Holland’s Great Debate” The Dutch parliament has produced a Parliamentary Committee Report supposes that Indonesian independence was cooked up by the Japanese, who are still secretly at work amongst the Republicans. Get rid of them, and the good old, loyal Indonesians will take over. The Dutch government’s response, as interpreted by the paper, is that Indonesia can only be satisfied by an arrangement like the British Commonwealth. If only the rest of the world would wise up and be more like the English!

“Equal Pay” The Royal Commission on Equal Pay is still working on its report. The paper says that the question of whether or not it is fair for women to make less than half what men make for equivalent work cannot be dodged for long. I don’t know why not. You men have been dodging it for ten thousand years now. What’s another four, and then, sorry, time’s up, we’re having an election!

“More Food Cuts” In further measures to reduce food consumption, the extraction rate for English bread goes up to 90% this week, reducing available feed by 100,000 tons, which cuts available rations for pigs and chickens from one-sixth the prewar level to one-twelfth. Autumn-born calves will also receive lower rations, and unless an alternative supply of “feed offal” is found, there will be a “serious” decline in output. (In paper talk, “serious” is one step above “marked.”) The paper hopes that “the unpalatability” of the new loaf will mean that “the saving in consumption will be larger than expected.” Biscuit production will be reduced by 25%, and the sugar and fat allocation for cakes will also be cut a quarter, in hopes of securing a similar reduction in flour. The extra sugar will be used to increase the sweets ration. A good time to be an English dentist, but every time is a good time to be an English dentist.

Indians are excitable.

“South Seas Islands” The Australians and New Zealanders are talking about a regional organisation for the South Seas, and the paper has advice. It is to handle the islands carefully so that “the white man’s prestige is . . restored.”

“Viet Nam Republic” The paper celebrates the imminent complete pacification of French Indo China with the withdrawal of the Koumintang, which the paper persists in seeing as the cause of the problem in the Southern Lands. Now it is offering “an independent Viet Nam Free State, within an Indo-Chinese Federation, which in turn would be a free and self-governing partner within the world-wide French Union.” The Viet Minh leader, Ho Chi Minh, is being offered the Presidency as a further sweetener to bring him in and split off the remaining Annamese nationalists who want complete independence.

“UNO, Refugees, and Displaced Persons” Is it too much to hope that reporters typing the latest exciting missives from the Uno will no longer have to remember to drop the shift key on the second strike? On less important issues, the UNO is now dealing with 5,781,000 refugees, including 2 million Russians, 1.5 million French, 600,000 Italians, 600,000 Lowlanders and 950,000 east Europeans. These join a half million refugees of longer standing, including 100,000 Armenians, 130,000 refugees from prewar Germany and Austria, and 212,000 Spanish Republicans.

The paper is pleased to report that its series on the German crisis has been reprinted as a pamphlet.


“G. H. R.” writes on the late Lord Keynes. He was very smart, “lacked the common touch,” was “ruthless,” and “often came away from argument convinced that he was right, when, in fact, he was wrong.” But he was very witty, and fun to be around, and he had ideas about economics and stuff, so it all balances out.

Francis Beaufort-Palmer(?) writes about the paper’s project for slicing up East Africa into neat trusteeships, a process that incidentally involved Abyssinia giving up the Ogaden region and getting Eritrea in return. He suggests that the Abyssinians and Eritreans should probably be asked their opinion, first. 

The Co-operative Union (in the person of J. A. Hough) writes to correct a misstatement about the number of cooperative stores there are in England.

A Serving Officer thinks that the de-Nazification process is being BUNGLED. V. Humburger, of Prague, writes that German reconstruction will be impossible if steel production is held to the levels envisioned by the Russians. R. R. Hoare, of the Economic League, writes to point out that the Government “has not made its case” for steel nationalisation. A. Bryce Muir, of the Cotton Exchange, thinks that cotton buying was done better under the old Exchange than it will be done in the future under bulk-buying.

American Survey

“The State of the Union” By a Correspondent in Washington

Our Correspondent in Washington is a lady, and can hardly be expected to understand politics, so ACW is called in to tell the paper that between summer recess and the upcoming midterms, all bills not yet passed are unofficially dead. (I hope he gets paid twice as much as OCW for this!) Specifically, the OPA is all but dead, and action against strikes, also. Inflation is deemed to be raring at the bit, on the basis of the extravagant department store sales over Easter. (Everyone bought a hat, even if mine is the nicest.) In numerical terms, sales over the two-week period were up year over year 81 and 51%, respectively. Some people are buying stocks, and some are buying hats, but more  are buying refrigerators.) American opinion is also softening on credits. Eulogies for Lord Keynes are everywhere, and there are to be loans to France, Poland, and possibly Russia. And Butch LaGuardia is making news over the famine situation by making speeches in places like Climax,Minnesota.

Main street, Climax, Minnesota, by Tim Kiser c. 2007
“Over the American Hump” Our Correspondent in Colorado is vastly impressed that American airliners are now flying directly over the main heights of the Rockies, at 14,000ft. To make it possible, the Government has spent a million on radio ranges, and will spend as many more for night beacons. Also, many private planes are being ordered. Truly, aviation is the coming thing.

American Notes

“Loan Tangle” The paper seems genuinely worried that the Senate won’t vote for the British Loan, or that it won’t go through the House if it passes the Senate unchanged. The paper worries too much. It is also worried about the Russian credit, and it might have more of a case there.

“Lewis versus the US” John L. Lewis is a demon from the pits of Hell, sent to destroy America, soft coal, the mines, the CIO, and probably the world, too. The paper warns that he is probably going to get his comeuppance from the new Congress.

“Life-Lines for the OPA” The Senate might be backing away from letting the OPA die, after all. The National Union of Manufacturers admits that it has spent almost $400,000 lobbying to kill it, but the Senate is getting bags of letters in support, so it is a question of who pulls more weight in Congress, Big Business or their constituents. So the OPA is still doomed, the paper is saying.

“The Palestine Test”

All varieties of Palestinians are excitable, and those varieties of Palestinians who have relatives in America have excitable relatives.

“Outposts of America” Congress is getting more interested in securing air and sea bases around the world, in case WW II happens again.

“Boom in Life Insurance” From Our New York Correspondent

Booms and other sudden noises usually make ONYC hide under the bed in the back backroom , but this time he manages to maintain an upright posture in a sitting position. Lots of life insurance is being sold, is his point.

The World Overseas

“Independent Kurdistan” Should the mountainous knot between Turkey, Iran and Iraq become independent? Ignoring the Turks, Persians and Iraqis saying, together, “NO!” The paper takes a leisurely walk through the facts and suggests that they should.

“The French Zone –I” The French occupy a zone in Germany. Our correspondent thinks that it is going as well as can be expected, but notes that agriculture has not recovered sufficiently. Labour is short, but so are nitrates, at only 60% of demand, although this is still better than the American or British which are at 15 and 16%, respectively. The food ration is now 1070 calories per day.

The New Argentinian Government” Argentinians are excitable.

The Business World

“The Plan for Steel” The paper is beside itself to hear about shiny new plant and major increases in capacity, less pleased to hear modest projections for exports.

“New South Wales” The new Special Development Area for South Wales may or may not transform the depressed area. In particular, since the new industries being fostered are all light industries, clearly they will employ women, leaving the men all out of work, but Government must speed up and strike while the iron is hot and produce prodigies of planning.

Business Notes

“Indifference to the Loan” The London stock market went up and down this week, and the paper wants to talk about the British loan. So since there wasn’t a clear trend, it supposes that the market was “indifferent” to the loan, and then proceeds to talk about “the weather setting fair” and the “exotic atmosphere.” Stock market reporters may not know what they’re talking about, but they sure know how to say it!

“Report on Ironfounding” More details on the proposed buildout of British ironmaking capacity under the Iron and steel Foundation’s new report.

The paper also talks about the end of 3% Government bonds, Excess Profit Tax terminal relief, the foreign capital market in Brazil, where there are new but not terribly onerous restrictions, an expansion of ICI, trouble at the Argentinian banks, the closing of the Liverpool Cotton Exchange (again), the American decision to help Germany by shipping it more of its surplus cotton, the Ministry of Labour Gazette’s review of international trade disputes in 1945, the revival of the coffee market, a pay raise for bus drivers, talk of a recovery in Chinese tea exports, so hard hit since the 1880s, and a suggestion of an international wool pool to smooth out fluctuations in the market, which has broken everyone’s heart so often over the years.

Aviation, May 1946

Down the Years in AVIATION’s Log

Twenty-five years ago, the Post Office reported that it had carried 80 million letters in the first three years of its operations, at the cost of $3 million and 23 pilots. An airmail service began in the Philippines, and a Miami-Washington servce. The Air Ministry appropriated $95 million for the RAF. Fifteen years ago, telegraph offices opened up air ticket agencies, de-icers were tested and NACA began construction of a seaplane tank. Ten years ago, the Bureau of Air Commercet ested the Hammond Y low cost plane, UAL started trans-continental DC-3 service, Vought built its first monoplane torpedo bomber, Howard Hughes and the Sikorsky S-43 both broke records.

Yet another would-be commuter plane.

Line Editorial James H. McGraw, Jr., thinks that “Housing Can Cost Too Much” He is worried that the emergency housing programme for veterans is apt to drive up costs, and threatens industrial construction. He thinks that more effective use of existing housing will alleviate some of the pressure. Fore example, some 2 million dwellings are vacant in the US, and many others can be divided. Besides, it is entirely mysterious that we have a plan to increase the amount of money available to buy housing when the demand has never been higher, and there is the money. Though some veterans need financial help, plenty don’t. The proposed 90—95% mortgages are a “positively dangerous.” The increase the odds of a boom-and-bust cycle of inflation. Meanwhile, simple reforms of building codes and union work restrictions could cut the cost of building by 25%. What is needed is an aggressive push to make more building material, and the push to move construction from industrial to residential is getting in the way of that. There is a crisis, but even in the war 3 to 4 million new dwellings were built each year, so this can continue.

Aviation Editorial

Leslie Neville thinks “U.S. –Third Rate Air Power” Compared to two other imaginary countries with larger air forces, America is third rate. That’s why it should spend more money on more planes. Oh, wait, they’re not imaginary. By some numbers that Leslie can lean on, the Russians and the British are spending more on air power. The Dutch, too, maybe. And Belgium! Even Belgium could overtake America if something isn’t done soon.

Peter G. Woolley, “There’s Real Business in That GI Flight Training Program” Why should colleges and universities and the Arthur Murray Dance Studio get all of that VA tuition money when your fly-by-night flying school can enroll lots of attractive young people, too!

Andre Charriou, “New French Personal Planes Mark Revival of Tricolor Industry” You know how it seems that everyone in America is building their own private plane? Also in France! France is also getting its military and industrial aircraft production back in shape. For example, in the last eyar of the war, France made 777 military aircraft.

Raymond Hoadley, “Caution Lights on Airline Earnings” The earnings of the aviation sector are low, fragile, and will vanish like a dust clot in the wind of taxation. Also, invest more in aviation.
I hope no-one got paid for this.

Irving Stone, “Design Analysis of Republic Seabee” this is Republic’s new personal cabin cruiser flying boat. (“An all-metal four place amphibian.”) It is designed to be cheaply produced by automotive type tooling, with a run of 5000 planes hoped for. The design has been simplified wherever possible, aeronautics are designed for comfort (the wing is slotted, for example), and the cabin is designed for comfort.

Roy Healy, American Rocket Society, “V-2’s Power Plant Provides Key to future Rocketry” I thought we were done with technical articles about the V-2, but apparently it wasn’t as easy to do better than the Germans as was first believed.  Liquid oxygen/alcohol/peroxide rocket engines turn out to be quite complicated. Probably more complicated than it needs to be, as there have to be more efficient reactants than alcohol!

James L. Dooley, Project Engineer, Harvey Machine Co., “The Case for the Full-Pneumatic System” Pneumatics have the advantage of rapid action, the disadvantage that they’re not good for high load working, and variation with temperature. Dooley assures us that all of this has been fixed. Fine. Send someone else’s husband up in planes with pneumatic flaps, propellers, and undercarriages.

“Engineering Details of the Rolls-Royce Nene Turbojet” The paper steals material from Flight.

E. H. Heinemann, “Skyraider’s High Performance Stems from Pin-Point Designing,” Says the designer. Part II. He explains why the Skyraider lacks a bomb bay, and discusses the interaction of the dive brake with the controls for stability and controllability. If Douglas has fixed all of that, better than the elaborate gadgets on the Dornier dive-bombers, that’s something! Power boost is used for adequate control force.

The maintenance section describes the Marvel-Schebler Carburettor, of which I have never heard, and describes the Continental engine-trade in plan.

Sales & Service covers flight insurance, and has another article about how every town will want an airport, soon. R. H. Muehlberg describes cheap new runway reflectors.

“Northrop XB-35 Flying Wing Set for ‘Flight Tests” Northrop’ flying wing was adequately described in Flight.  I hope you have better things to do than see another summary, because I certainly do!

“Piper’s Low-Wing Skysedan Put Through Paces;” “North American Testing Navion nAll-Metal Personal Plane;” “Geodetic Structure Featured in Speedy Thalman Special;” “Lightweight G and A XR-9B is AAF’s Newest Copter” At least the last isn’t yet another entry in the overcrowded personal plane market, although it soon could be.

“British Proving Three Diverse New Crat” “Proving” Neville’s point, news of the British testing the exciting new Firefly IV, Reid and Sigrist Desford trainer, and Tudor 2.

Aviation News

The AAF is reorganising. Midway’s cold weather trials were a smashing success, with carrier aircraft starting 90% of the time. 20,000 surplus aircraft have now been sold. The Airports Bill is being hurried through Congress. Theo Wilson, the Minneapolis Honeywell representative with the robot planes for the Bikini test. gets his picture in the paper, but it is not nearly as nice as the one in your son's candids, which I am sending you under this cover. A picture of Douglas’ new research rocket, which can reach 43 miles, is shown. 

Ladd Haystead has disappeared, but Blaine Stubblefield is still working, and muses that the CAA and CAB are underfunded, and that atomic power probably won’t be used in aircraft any time soon, on account of atomic motors weighing many tons. A light diesel for aircraft, and a wooden propeller with a metal core. Worlddata is caught up on his Flight magazines through Christmas, it seems, although he does have one scoop I haven’t heard about, a buy of 72 DC-3s for BOASC.
Grace actually wrote Henry Luce to ask him what happened to Haystead in April, but has not heard back at this point. (The man is busy. Grace likes Luce more than she lets on, and their relationship will not break down  until 1948, and for the obvious reasons.

Fortune, May 1946


“Let Them Eat Grass?” The paper joins the panic. Of course, it is May, and time to worry that “there won’t be enough to eat,” just as it is, every year, but this year is special, because there really isn’t enough wheat, and people will all die rather than eat potatoes, unless we scold them more.

“Bunk and Billions” Chester Bowles put a 200 billion dollar challenge before the country this week, asking it to consume as much in peace as in war. The bunk is in the comparison with a prewar “GNP” of $71 billion, because this is not actually a GNP number. Thus, Mr. Bowles greatly exaggerates the amount of increase, and thus the burden of consumption. But, yes, the American economy is in good shape. Productivity per man hour has risen at 3% per year for several decades now, and the pay of a day’s labour has risen by the same amount (50%, cumulatively). It is possible, the paper’s Charles R. Walker suggests, that after reconversion, the rate of increase will rise, and Mr. Bowle’s optimism will be (sort of) justified.

“And the Truth Will Drive You Mad” When we finally learn the secrets of diplomacy of the last fifteen years, it will turn out that communists are awful.


“The Great Food Scandal” America is welshing on its promise to feed the world. Drought and typhoons in the Pacific, war in Europe, have added up to a deficit in wheat and rice production; half a billion need food, and by food one means grain, since meat is a luxury the world cannot afford. We are again reminded of an estimated shortfall, here of 5 million tons, and the Administration is blamed for making excuses while the world starves. Even China, where prospects have improved enormously, will see famine by next spring.

I was wondering earlier exactly how Europeans are eating, and here is the paper to tell me. Italians have a ration that works out to 1550 calories per day, and the country produced only 2/3s of a normal wheat crop due to drought, but it looks like the domestic food supply is not well controlled, and Italians are excitable. It is not even clear that Italians are going hungry, although there is a lot of maldistribution, as the flourishing black market shows. “Festoons of hams, plateaus of eggs, daisy chains of sausages, washtubs of aspics, schools of lobsters are common sights in food stores.” “Almost everybody in Rome is in the food business in a limited way.” But the poor and DPs are suffering.

France is in better shape, with an official ration of 1800 calories an even more active black market. Distribution is inequitable, however, and the paper spent a long time in the best parts of Paris prowling around for stories about bad behaviour. Again, it is the poor who suffer. Germany, technically the worst off, with the lowest rations, is seeing food riots and the attraction of communism. (Exactly why, with the Red Army billeted on Germany to keep their mouths out of Russia is not clear to me, but I guess anything to frighten some Americans with Reds that might be under their beds.) The best ration in Germany is in the American zone, at 1550 calories per day, supplemented by “200 to 300 calories of unrationed foods, garden produce, etc.” (If it's unrationed, how is it rationed?) German children look “extraordinarily well,” and the girls over fifteen are actually overweight. The paper then proceeds to be awful. The British zone is worst off, because the British cannot be sure of receiving any grain at all in May and June, and have cut the ration in advance to 1010 calories a day, with a  possible further cut to 700 later in the spring. The French are in a similar situation. Overall, since Germany normally imports a third of its requirements, the situation is looking dismal, the paper says.

“What Price Control: Congress Should Temporarily Renew OPA’s Power in Order to Give It Time to Get Out of Business” That’s what the paper thinks. It also notes that price controls have produced no end of problems in the last few years. (The trains of rotten eggs come to mind, here, but the paper’s example is mispriced timber, which has led to a shortage of construction limber. Also, even where quantity of a product has not suffered, quality often has. Modern jelly beans are square, and the rayons on the market right now are second-rate. This proves that the OPA must go, but not right away.

“One Man’s Meat May Become His Competitor’s Poison: Samuel Slotkin’s Hygrade Food Products: Up From Nowhere During the War” The paper profiles Slotkin and his meat packing company at truly extraordinary length. It’s a family business, too, so even less reason for me to care.
Sam is 61 in this picture, and lived to see 80. The "Hygrade" trademark belongs to Sara Lee now

“Aluminum Reborn” The aluminum industry of 1939 has not so much developed into the industry of 1946 as been absorbed by it. That’s because it is just so much bigger now. It increased in output seven-fold, changed its geography, its technology, its economics and its markets. Also, the FTC broke up Alcoa. Or did it? Reynolds may or may not be able to compete with Alcoa, which, after all, has its own hydroelectric power plants, giving it access to 496,000 cheap kw hours for producing aluminum. And what about laterite? Will it transform the industry? On the other  hand, what if Detroit goes in for aluminum cars? They say gas will hit 40 cents a gallon with new taxes. Crossley is already marketing an all-aluminum car, and Ford is said to have a prototype of its own. If aluminum takes off in cars, so will aluminum consumption in America. Would this be enough to save Reynolds and make rom for Uncle Henry? Perhaps.
The Reynolds Company's Aluminaut, of 1964, was "the world's first all-aluminum submarine since WWII's Type 21," and is best known for recovering a lost atomic bomb in 1966. What? What? Why did I not know this?, 

“The Stewardship of Sewell Avery” Montgomery Ward’s president gets a very long profile, and also a portrait that is much more dignified than the one of him being carried out of his office in his chair. He is famous for turning Montgomery-Ward around in 1931, although critics say that he did so mainly by inflating the size of its liabilities and then riding the recovery. He is also noted for taking the company’s department stores “high end.” Avery reminds his circle that "merchandising" is a noble calling. What he doesn’t believe in is unions, and he thinks he won his fight with the Administration, since he his plants back, and his profits are secure, and someone had to make a stand. Most of the back end of the profile dwells on his disastrous mishandling of the management side, and the numerous senior executives who have Montgomery-Ward in the past five years. I think some of them are telling tales to the paper. As the paper points out, Avery has basically been in charge of every business he has been involved in since he was 21(!) and apparently, people in Chicago (and not just people he fired) are saying that he is the “greatest living argument for compulsory retirement at age 65.”

Compare and contrast with Sam, above.

Dr. A. K. Solomon, “The Physics of the Bomb” A very long article on the physics of the atomic bomb that pretty much says exactly what Aviation said, eight nonths ago.

It does add, however, that the plutonium, and probably power-making piles, will also produce unstable isotopes of (mainly) existing elements, which can be used therapeutically, as in that recent story of the doctor who used radioactive iodine to treat thyroid cancer. Other medical applications will follow with free, unhampered research, assisted by universities, industry and Government. Well, I can see why “longhair” physicists would think so, anyway. Otherwise, the day of the "longhair" is over, since we all know that atom bombs work.

William L. Clayton, “Why This Peace Should Work” Clayton points out that this is the second time in his lifetime that the world has tried to make a peace. He is hopeful that it will work this time, because America is not isolationist any more, and because finances have been settled. Lend-Lease was not a repayable loan, and the world needs American financing to rebuild. Arrangements for reconstruction and building loans have been made through Bretton Woods, and the IMF possesses the wherewithal to stabilise foreign exchanges, and the United Nations gives everyone a place to talk about talking about talking.

“Fly Fishing” Is something that you do, and I am cutting this article out and and sending it along to you. It has very pretty plates. I am not sure what they are doing in the paper, but they are very pretty.

“Freight by Air” As the paper points out, air freight was basically a stunt before the war. Now it is an industry. It is an industry that doesn’t really know what it Is doing, but it is an industry. Freight rates have fallen by a quarter with new planes and pilots, and they’re giving away C-47s. Air Cargo, INc., estimates market of 14 million ton miles atd 17 cents a ton-mile, Edward Warner 60.  This range is on top of no-one really having a handle on costs. Maintenance is the main culprit, although regulation is potentially a problem. If you have a choice about which plane you should buy, the C-54 is best for big fields, the Fairchild Packet for small ones.

Fortune is very bullish on the C-82. The article has lots of charts about the air freight business that I think we can pass over.

“Karl Marx: Life and Ideas of the Rebel Whose ‘Ism,’ Interpreted by Stalin, Helps Nurture Soviet Policy” The paper explains who Karl Marx is, just in case you haven’t heard. I wonder if his grandchildren get royalties from his book?

Books and Ideas

The big book this week is Jobs and Markets: How to PreventInflation and Depression in the Transition, by the Committee for Economic Development (McGraw-Hill). The Committee believes that the “how” is by controlling “the supply of money.” Ass when The Economist blathers about this, “money” includes bonds, and the “supply” is controlled by things like requiring banks to hold government bonds against their reserve requirements. Anyway, technical details aside, by these means the Committee expects government to be able to check inflation and prevent deflation, and this (price stabilisation), the committee believes to be the true aim of national financial management, and not full employment.

Julian Bach, America’s Germany America is NOT BUNGLING de-Nazification.
Christopher Burney, Dungeon Democracy Buchenwald was odd as well as awful, and the Germans won’t be able to govern themselves without going all Nazi for another forty years.

Edmund Silberner, The Problem of War in Nineteenth Century Economic Thought Nineteenth Century economists had thoughts about war.

Shepard Clough, A Century of American Life Insurance Not to spoil the surprise, but I have bought copies for everyone for Christmas.

Malcolm Bingay, Detroit is My Home Town and this book is a featured Fortune review for some reason.

Aldous Huxley, Science, Liberty and Peace Are three things that go together in various combinations to various effect.

Fortune Faces

The paper wants to be invited to the parties of John F Wharton, Herman W. Steinkraus and Samuel Dillon Jackson.

Fortune Shorts
The paper starts with stock market advice, noting that leverage stocks have done well in recent years, before moving on to “12,000 Banks and 56 Gypsies.” This is a brief investigation of general finance companies, which are --doing well? Why must people write about the banking business as though in a secret code only the initiates can penetrate. Yes, yes, ironic coming from me, but still! Also, there might be a boom in palladium, “platinum’s younger sister,” for jewelry. I suppose anything is possible, but it is mainly palladium producers who are hoping that. The metal is otherwise mainly used as a catalyst in chemical engineering.

Business Abroad

The English are still irritated and disappointed by their lot, although Sir Stafford has recently increased the clothing allowance. This isn’t all charity, because exports, which were at the annual rate of £720 million last year, are coming along at a 800 million rate this year, which should at least end the growth in the debt to India. Foreign earnings are up to £170 million, 90% of 1938, and the merchant fleet may earn £200 million this year, three times the prewar. (Our numbers are right in line. Uncle George will be crushed that it is not all down to the fine job of managing done by the family!) The overall trade deficit will now be significantly smaller than the forecast 750 million.

“Elusive Whales”Last year’s cut in the British fat ration was due to a bad first postwarwhaling season. Six Norwegian and three British factory ships took only a quarter of the planned 135,000 tons of whale oil. Whalers blame poor weather, a constant in Southern Hemisphere food-related news this year. It is hoped that the herd had a good chance to replenish during the war years and will support a heavy yield. In the interests of conservation, the British are hoping to hold the fleet to 20 factory ships and 160 catchers.

“Russia’s Disappearing Sugar Bowl” Russia is short of sugar. Actually, it was always short of sugar, but now it is shorter, due to the sugar beet fields in Ukraine being run over by tanks during the war. An increased harvest is hoped for in 1946, but this will depend on labour and machinery, and thus on Red /Army demobilisation.

Also, Rumania has black markets, the Dutch diamond industry is recovering, and Pocket Books has launched their business in Argentina.

Airlines! Call me! I have ideas!

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