Thursday, August 11, 2016

Postblogging Technology, July 1946, I: Blinding White New Bread

General Delivery,

Dear Father:

Thanks for yours of last week. Uncle George has made arrangements at Prince Rupert. First special consignment will come on the river per your arrangement with Chief Richards from Boat Encampment. From there by road to the border. Pickup at the Nakusp safe house will be by a truck in smelter  livery although drivers will be your dacoits. I have forwarded your rough of the restaurant lease to our solictors in Vancouver, as it would be a shame if the Chews lost money on the cover venture due to excessive rent. 

You asked about our vacation. Uncle Henry has been thrusting a flying vacation down to Rio by Pan Am on us for months, but we have persuaded him that this would be far too much of a bus man's holiday after all the flying we have done during the war. Instead, I will be going on one of ours to Hongkong. James will join me there after the postmortem on the last bomb shot of the year. (This is a secret. The Americans are being a bit evasive about just how large their inventory of a-bombs is.) He apparently cannot be spared, as this will be the underwater shot, and everyone is very interested in the effects of the shock on machinery. One of the German cruisers with the finicky steam pipes will be in the target area, so potentially quite interesting with all the talk of high pressure steam.

So James and, in a late addition to the plan, your younges, will join me probably on the 11th, and we will  all see the old town before taking a more leisurely cruise home courtesy of Canadian Pacific. This will have us back in San Francisco in time to send the boy off to the Institute, and hover uselessly as "Miss V.C." moves back into her college residence. 

Speaking of your youngest, I had a rather nice compliment directed his way last week. The Engineer's youngest's step-brother up in the Bay area stopped by to pick up the Lincoln, which he had agreed to drive down to LA for his brother, who apparently feels some need to put on airs. (And, understandably, he is a little attached to the car he bought with his first acting job!) Your youngest, I suppose, knew that this day would come. I'm told that he was downright philosophical when James broke the news. However --the compliment! The step-brother said that Lincoln is running better than it did when his brother brought it to Des Moines in '39! I know that I have enjoyed driving it, and it is quite the let-down as I make the rounds of the dealerships in Lieutenant A's old Model T trying on the sad offerings of 1946. (Uncle George thinks I should bring a Rolls over, but that is far and away too ostentatious for me!) 

I will be bringing the twins with me to meet their grandfather, but Victoria is too young to travel, and we are leaving her with Judith. I am torn about this, as a mother should be, but I will be in no position to travel next year!


Flight, 4 July 1946
“And Tails You Lose” The Government is BUNGLING charter airlines.

“Prices and Passports” The cost of long-distance air travel is not excessive, as proven by the fact that a first-class fare on Queen Elizabeth will be £90, while the current single air fare is £93, at which point the only reason to take a boat is that you’re afraid of flying and the fuss over passports at the airport, which is why the paper hopes that we can get rid of this rubbish of passports and visas, and go back to letting anyone who looks like they deserve to travel, travel, while everyone else sneaks around in the holds of ships.
By Queen_Elizabethaa.JPG: Roland Godefroyderivative work: User:G-13114 - Queen_Elizabethaa.JPG, CC BY 3.0,

“At Farnborough”  The paper is put out that the unwashed masses of regular newspapers were invited to the Farnborough show and now have almost as much formerly top secret “gen” as the paper. Also, these tricycle undercarriages might be here to stay.

“Farnborough Display” the paper saw a Short Sturgeon. From Rolls-Royce came a Trent, complete with its new Rotol airscrew. Bristol showed a sectioned Centaurus and Hercules 230 engines, which will give 2500hp, “as soon as better fuels become available.” The Theseus was also shown. De Havilland had a Goblin and the new Gipsy Major, which was fitted with a “small, manually operated variable-pitch airscrew.” Alvis showed its 500hp Leonidas, and Blackburn its Cirrus Minor and Major. Metrovick had its F2 axial-flow gas turbine, and a model of the F3, with ducted-fan thrust augmentor. Napier had a sectioned Sabre VII. Saunders-Roe had models of a massive, six-engined flying boat, and a single-seat jet fighter flying boat, to use two of the Metro-Vick axial-flow units under the wing roots. 
Oh, sure, why not?

Handley Page showed a mock-up of the fuselage of the Hermes, and Miles a model ofo its M.52 experimental transonic research projectile. “A model showd it to have square-cut wings with no sweep-back, the design having been prepared before the results of German research became available.” There is also apparently a Vickers rocket-propelled transonic research rocket.

Various guns were shown, ranging from the Lewis Gun through the Mark V Hispano, which various oddities such as the 40mm Vickers “S” and Rolls-Royce guns. Hangar exhibits included the Bristol B.17 turret with twin Hispanos. There were gyro gun-sights, “carrier units,” and a smoke screen bomb, but it was not possible to “show the mechanism of the remotely controlled barbettes, each with two 20mm cannons, as fited to an experimental Lancaster . . . .” Radios, cameras, “speed-printing” units, a mobile decompression chamber, supply containers, and radios including a Consol unit were shown, as well as the A.S. 60 high-speed transport development of the Ambassador.
Vickers S gun mounted in Hawker Hurricane

Here and There

An Argentinian airline has ordered three Tudor IIs and three Yorks to compete over the same Atlantic route as British South American. The Aeronautical Engineers Association of Whitby has petitioned to be recognised as  a trade union. The XB-35 has had its first test flight, and the XB-36 exists some more. The paper is taken with the fact that the office equipment of the European and Cetnral Inland Transport organisation of Cooks was recently flown from London to Paris in three Ju52 trips. H. F. King has been given an OBE, although not for his articles, thankfully.

“High Altitude Research: German Decrompression Chambers: The Medical Aspect” The Germans built a decompression chamber for experimenting with the medical effects of low atmosphere. Pictures are included. 

“Cierva ‘Air Horse’” Cierva has built a helicopter with three rotors out on booms, driven by a Merlin XXI in the centre through two drives. It is for eliminating “pests,” which is a very cruel thing to say about helicopter pilots. “There is every prospect of success with this seemingly ambitious project,” the paper loyally says. The paper goes on to point out that the unusual use of the “Air Horse” justifies its unorthodox design. Specifically, it dumps all the pesticide quickly and then gets back to the ground again before any of its rapidly-spinning bits fails. Although the paper then goes on to speculate on scaled up versions that presumably will be expected to stay in the air for a longer time.
It's not that funny given that the W. 11 did crash, and did kill three men, but they really should have seen it coming. I think even Flight does.

Next, the paper scheduled a story about “Models in Britain,” but all the good ones got accreditation to Bikini along with Charm, so instead the paper had to run a bit about grown-up boys playing with toy planes.

B. J. Hurren, “Cairo Cameo: Suez Canal and Three-Dimensional Defence: Cyprus as an Aircraft Carrier: More Passengers by Air than Ship” Good old B.J, as I like to call him, is tired of starting articles about the Fleet Air Arm in the war by talking about things that happened in the 1920s until he only has a paragraph to fill. So off he goes to Egypt, where he can start with pyramids! But this can only distract him for so long, as he has been waiting for his airplane to leave for six hours now, and he is getting hot and bothered. So he wanders around his various points: atomic bombs can blow up the Canal; they can only come from Russia; Cyrpus is between Russia and the Canal, so Britain should keep it; Egyptians think that the English are obnoxiously racist; lots of airlines may be routed through Egypt in the future; people should invest in hotels in Cairo; Egyptians are likely to be impressed by giant factories; Cairo is nice, except for the squalid native quarters. Oops! There’s my plane! The End.

Civil Aviation

 BOAC’s Constellations restart its Atlantic service on Monday, 1 July. KLM will start a Holland-Buenos Aires service in July. Several charter airlines and airfields are now operational. Transcanada promises to continue to land at Prestwick on its flights from Montreal to London.  Several companies are running car hire services at London Airport and Northolt. The Meterological Service is in trouble in Parliament for “misleading the public.” American airlines lost money last year. Northwest Airlines has ordered forty Martin 303s. There might be an international airworthiness certificate in the future.

“The Navarro Naiad” Someone no-one has ever heard of proposes to build an amphibian of unusual design. He has a model!

“Fedden Engines” Roy Fedden proposes to develop an airscrew-turbine and Flat-Six engine, if people will just give him enough money. They will be very good engines, he promises!


R. J. Sullivan thinks that a decompression chamber would be ideal for treating respiratory complaints such as whooping cough. “A.E.O.” explains how speed and thrust are related. Several correspondents think “Indicator” knows what he is talking about. “SGT,” a sergeant-fitter of ten years experience, explains why the RAF is having difficulty retaining skilled tradesmen. It is because civilian work pays more. It is because the RAF is horrible to them! 

The Economist, 6 July 1946


“Warning from the West” This week, the paper reports, President and Congress failed to agree on price controls again. Next week, the House votes on the British loan. (Excuse me, the “British dollar credit.”) The paper thinks that it would be a mistake to think that the one was more important than the other, because both are important, and both will lead infallibly to disaster. “Unless the United States is willing to buy or lend as much as it sells, no international monetary system . . . can be expected to work. And unless the United States can achieve a reasonable degree of relief from the disastrous alternation of booms and slumps. . .” other countries will be forced to erect tariff barriers to protect them from American instability. If the OPA is abolished without some kind of price controls, there will be disaster. So there will be some kind of price controls until a new OPA act can be passed. In the meantime, America is having a boom. (The paper proceeds to pull out its copy of the June Fortune and reads from the article about the boom.)

 After the boom, of course, will come the bust, and unless something is done, it will be as bad as the boom was good. The dangers of inflation will recede, and give way to the “more permanent enemy of the American way of life, deflation.” At that point, since there are no other plans, America will lean on its exports, and so “export unemployment” to the rest of the world. The loan, meanwhile, means that Britain must “march in lockstep with the American economy.”

In other words, the fact that everything is going right at the moment means that everything will be een more horrible soon. Probably before 1950, specifically.

“Housing Decisions” The government is BUNGLING housing.

“Philippine Independence” Filipinos want to be independent, but, secretly, like other Latin Americans (which they really are) not that independent. The election, which saw the victory of the “Spanish-Tagalog”Roxas over the “Chinese-Visayan Osmena,” was influenced by the suspicion that Roxas is the preferred American candidate, and will be able to make a better trade deal.

“Russia’s Industrial Outlook” The fourth Five Year Plan continues to emphasise heavy industry above everything else, with a special focus on interior districts. It also promises a consumer good abundance, but, peering through the numbers, the paper discerns that projected output is of the order of one pair of shoes and three pairs of socks or stockings per person per year. The available industry cannot provide this cornucopia of light goods unless the east Saxon industries are incorporated in the economic plan, which may well be the Russian objective. Also, rehabilitation of the devastated regions continues slowly, and oil production is not projected to recover to its prewar levels until 1949, which explains Russian forwardness in Iran.

Notes of the Week

“Is Parliament Overworked?” The Government is moving much too quickly on the Labour Party election platform, and should slow down and let the MPs all have a breather, hopefully until after the next election brings the Tories back and saves the iron and steel industry from terrible, awful nationalisation.

“Better Results at Paris” Why, it looks as though we shall manage not to have WWIII over theItalian peace treaty. Russia will not get bases in Libya thanks to a Mandate, nor will Jugoslavia get Trieste and “virtual control of the Adriatic.” On the other hand, the Russians will probably now expect its allies to stop pushing so hard in eastern Europe.

“Rebellion in Palestine” Since the English are going to have to capitulate to American demands for hundred thousand Jews for Palestine, the paper thinks that it is nice to see that the British authorities have launched a series of raids against the Zionist underground, just to show them that the English are still the boss. As for the Arabs, who are flabbergasted that Britain will take a hundred thousand Poles, but no Jews, and instead foist them off on Palestine, perhaps some American money would sweeten their mood.

“The Polish Revolution” The Polish people have overwhelmingly approved the Government’s left-wing agenda in the recent “Three Times Yes Poll.” So the British and American loans and guarantees have been stopped.

The Broadcasting Decision” Is to put off any changes for another five years. In the mean time, the BBC can go on being the BBC, only with more money, thanks to the increasing number of licenses and rising license fees. The paper is pleased by the prospect of better programming, but would prefer to see unspecified changes.

“The Atom Tests” “Dressed in all the trappings of an exaggerated and sometimes frivolous publicity, the first Bikini atom bomb experiment has left rather the impression of a firework display which slightly misfired.” Also, the Navy probably faked the results somehow. Also more, the fate of battleships attacked by atomic bombs matters a lot less than the fate of cities!

“Appeasement in the Mines” The paper is appalled by the Government’s concession of a five day week and full pay public holidays, although happy that at least the extra week of annual vacations has been fought off. The paper admits that these are reasonable demands that should have been granted eventually, but, right now, in our current critical situation, with this severe shortage of mining labour, the right solution would have been to keep all the miners on the job forever.
I hope Mr. Crowther doesn’t have children.

“The Bread Ration Debated” The paper is very pleased that the Government is brave enough to embrace bread rationing, even though it will come back to haunt them in the general election. Yes, very brave, very necessary, look at the poor Germans, etc.
Household rationing. Source

“Disillusion in Italy” Italy has had a new government for a month, so it is probably time for those excitable Latins to be disillusioned with the world.

Bidault Calls an Economic Conference” Also excitably Latin, the French. (The rapid rise in food prices might have something to do with it.)

Friends of the Algerian Manifesto” An Algerian nationalist party made unexpected gains in the June elections. The paper thinks it might have something to do with the fact that actual Algerians can vote now. It cautions the French that actual Algerians might prefer not to be a French colony, and this new “AML” Party might turn into a pro-independence party, and independence for Algeria would be BAD.

“New Dutch Government” Speaking of countries which have had independence movements, let us move on to one where independence is GOOD. The Catholic Party is in power, and the Labour Party has agreed to join it in coalition rather than take the opposition benches with the Communists, as this might legitimate Communism, which would be bad. Now the new government can get on with the Indonesian problem, since independence there would be BAD. It is supposed that the Dutch attempt to scrape up pro-Dutch groups on the outer islands will enjoy very little support on Java, and so will fail, at which point the Dutch will have to think of something else to do.

“Operation Cuckoo?” On consultation, I find that “cuckoo” is the English name for the ku-chua bird, which the English think is remarkable for stealing nests. In this case, the British Army is evicting between 20 and 30,000 Germans from the limited habitable space in Hamburg to make room for army dependents, and the Germans are most upset, and are having a demonstration, where they sang various Nazi songs, which shows that if the British don’t treat the Germans better, the Nazis will be back in no time. There have been 126 hospital admissions for famine edema in Hamburg in ten days. . . (Also, the paper points out that the Army is also “reneging on promises” to return housing to assorted people in Britain.) It’s probably only because I am so sour about Mr. Crowther that I am imaging him, personally, not being able to get back into his house because some Colonel Blimp and his wife won’t leave. (If Colonel Blimp has a wife. All that time he spends in a Turkish bath wrapped in a towel and exercising. . . .)

Shorter Notes

Parliamentary questions bring out the poor treatment of German prisoners-of-war and interned civilians. Although treatment has been reasonable given current shortages, a lack of clothing and blankets led to a rise in the death rate in the coldest months, and crowding, a meagre diet and a low state of morale is still damaging health. It was not until March that everyone had a bath, and washing facilities are still inadequate. The paper wants an inquiry. In happier news, the London County Council has agreed to preserve the Regent’s Park terraces on the grounds of architectural distinction.

Seems nice. Source.

American Survey

“What Price Housing?” Now that Fortune has had at the Wyatt plan, I suppose the paper must follow suit. The paper repeats Fortune’s facts, with its own special brand of callousness. Apparently, the “housing shortage” only turned into a “Veteran’s Housing Crisis” because all of the newlywed wives want to move out of “their parental shelters.” Mr. Wyatt is a terrible grandstander who stole his plan from Chester Bowles, and the real problems are construction materials, labour, union and contractor featherbedding, and a shortage of builders willing to build to rent. Prices and rents must rise for the veterans to find permanent homes, and with the $6000 dollar homes of 1941 selling for $10,000 in some markets, that rise will be politically painful. An “administered boom” might not be preferable to a “free market boom.”

American Notes

“Inflation by Statute” The paper provides a bit more detail on the President’s veto of the new Federal Price Control Act, and the resulting time-limited enabling act pushed through Congress. The shutdowns of the Chicago Exchange last week show just how uncertain the market is. This part of the paper thinks that doing away with price controls probably won’t be catastrophic.

“Loan Debate Postponed” The paper again pretends to believe that the loan might not pass. This time, it is because of the “Zionist lobby.”

“Apathy in the Primaries” So far, the primaries have been very boring, except for Nebraska. The paper is hoping for something more lively in Minnesota, where Stassen has to win if he has any hope of being at the Convention in ’48 to be steamrollered by the Governor.

“Sherman vs. Hollywood” The Department of Commerce is getting ready to push antitrust action against the big studios, but the paper sees that as a bit of a last hurrah for the Department’s old antitrust activism, which it expects to diminish over the next few years.

The World Overseas

“Republican Italy” Italy is a republic, it may soon finally have a peace treaty, and it gets to keep Trieste. On the other hand, it is still being treated as a country cousin economically. The paper runs down the new cabinet, and throws in one bit of good news: the harvest is going to be good.
Free Territory of Trieste

“Castles in Eire” The paper’s Dublin correspondent weighs in with a bit about English visitors coming to enjoy a bit of the old Ireland and buy castles there as summer homes. The paper ODC that these new “landlords” are a good thing. Instead of extracting rents from the associated farms and exporting them from Ireland, they will have just the house, and import money to pay for new  (any) plumbing.

“Trade in Shanghai” Unfortunately, we are still spectators, noses pressed to the glass, etc. Although Father says that things are going well in Singapore, and there is now hope for Hong Kong, as Cousin Easton is now there, although he still wants to bring his wife from Canton. . . 

The Business World

“Wanted –A Base Metal Policy” The Government is BUNGLING zinc, copper, etc.

“Canadian Exchange Controls” Fearing that its current accounts deficit in US dollars would turn into  a flood with the beginning of the war, Canada imposed exchange controls. Now, a report (already mentioned by Time) shows how it all worked out. Swimmingly, the paper says, since Canada was able to lend a great deal of money to Britain while maintaining and increasing its gold reserves, and isn’t that the point? The paper is very impressed with this way of dealing with a trade deficit with the United States.
Hint, hint.

Business Notes

“Tap Holiday Again” Blah blather interest rates bonds offerings blah. “It is now seen to be an entirely rational pattern, based on the Daltonian version of the Keynesian interest rate theory.” I’ve read the whole thing, and all I get from it is that the Government will pay its way by printing pound notes, but this isn’t a bad thing, as grumpy old men say in their clubs, because of the “tap” of interest rates bonds blather blather. I am pretty sure that I would understand what was going on perfectly well if the paper would just explain it instead of using all of these metaphors that assume that I have been following the column for twenty years or more.

“Falling Expenditure” ON the other hand, it is perfectly clear that Government expenditures are falling faster than expected, and that revenues are surprisingly high. (A gain of £17 million against an anticipated decline of 123!

In other news, railway directors and stockholders turn out to be against nationalisation. Industry is still “distorted” by the war, with employment still low in textiles and high in metals and engineering. Oil production has risen from 270 million tons in 1938 to 372 million tons in 1945, says Shell, mainly on the strength of the Americans, and Shell’s retiring director takes the occasion to call for the end of the Petroleum Board and free trade in oil. The recent raise in seamen’s wages in the United States is a further indication that the Americans are not going to drive us off the seas tomorrow with overpriced, badly built ships sailed by men who would much rather be working in a factory in Los Angeles and going home to their families at night. (Possibly in their in-laws basements.) Argentina cannot sell its linseed oil, because America has an option on the rest of its production after the 10,000t sale to Russia, and America is not offering anywhere near the same price as Unrra negotiated for the Russians, who are eager to buy more at the same price because THE RUSSIANS ARE STARVING HELLO WHAT IN HEAVEN’ S NAME IS WRONG WITH YOU? 
Hmm, Linoleum tiles, or starving peasants? Tough call!

Wool auctions are resuming.

Flight, 11 July 1946


“Transonic Research by Rocket and Radar” Rockets, perhaps unmanned and radio-controlled, will make short work of transonic research.

“Transatlantic Service” The paper says what it said last week, again. (It also works in the promise that the Constellations will be joined by Tudor IIs early in the New Year.)

“No Room at the Inn” The Government is BUNGLING airport building.

The Dutch have bought some Fireflies.
The Firefly. Everything folds.

Maurice A. Smith, “Atlantic Journey: Impressions of a Constellation Proving Flight: To New York with BOAC” It’s been several pages since the paper pointed out that BOAC now flies Constellations from London Airport to La Guardia, so it is time to say it again some more again more. It turns out that it still can take a long time if the wind is against you, and be quite quick if it is with you. Weather cancellations are annoying, and so are airports and passports. The supercharger had to be disconnected on Saturday night on CAB orders, and it was very annoying that it took a full two-and-a-half hours from arrival at Victoria Terminal to takeoff at 10:00PM due to an unwarranted delay examining passports and such. 
Two-and-a-half hours. Unbelievable!

Takeoff, with its loud noise and dimming lights, was disconcerting, and Commander Smith really does not like the Constellation’s cabin lighting. Gander airport was memorable for the “blinding whiteness” of the new bread, and New York for the 65-minute wait for harried immigration officials, during which orange juice was served.
White bread's social signification has changed.

“Viking Visits the Norse” A Vickers Viking was shown around Norway. Now that’s a plane with room for loot and captives!

Here and There

SBAC is going to have a show! The first Vickers Vikings in Argentina consist of a “Vickers Vanguard!” 
No, not this Vanguard.

Lt. Colonel C. A. Hart, for the Directorate of Military Survey, gave a talk to the Royal Society’s Scientific Conference at Oxford, where he explained that they used radar to survey the Far East because they hadn’t bothered to do it before the war because it was all just Wog-Land. Sir Frederick Handley Page has appealed for an endowment to provide for a headquarters of the institute of Transport in London. So far, £40,000 of the needed £100,000 has been pledged. Sir Ben Lockspeiser is pictured, showing off an Athodyd proposal.

“Transonic Research: Details of the Vickers Rocket-Propelled Model for Investigating Sonic Speed Flight” Based on a 0.3 scale version of the Miles M.52,
Miles M.52 with Power Jets W.2/700

the Vickers rocket is a light steel cylindrical shell with nose and tail cones, a wooden wing, tailplane and fins. It is 11.83ft long, 19” diameter, 8.1ft span. It is a hydrazine-water/hydrogen-peroxide rocket, like the Me163, and will be launched from a specially modified Mosquito, and is expected to reach Mach 1.3 before the fuel is exhausted. A six-channel telemetering transmitter allows the flight to be monitored from the ground. Future models of the 18 proposed will have swept-back wings, butterfly wings, swept-back tailplanes, etc.

“Notes from Farnborough: Further Observations on Developments Shown at RAE” The press was shown the Hawker Fury I, with Napier VII, which the paper is sure is faster than the American “special” Thunderbolt claimed to have exceeded 500mph in level flight. The Martin Baker F18/39 was also shown, and the Bristol Brigand, as well as fourteen assorted models of various planes. The Supermarine Spiteful XIV seems to be a bit of a disappointment, and various annular intakes for jet engines were shown.

Short Sturgeon

In shorter news, Frederick Koolhoven has died, and the first Bristol Wayfarer dispatched to South America had to be ditched after going off course due to a radio compass error and spending 15 ½ hours in the air. It sounds as though the crew is fine, however.

N. D. Ryder, “Handling Air Cargoes: Saving Time on the Ground is the Basic Requirement: Some of the Problems Involved: Special Equipment” Like forklifts and trucks! At least it beats having to beg an article from B. J. Hurren. And it is interesting to hear just how difficult cargo handing is on some planes. The DC-3’s high door necessitates scissor-lift platforms for loading, and a chute for unloading. The DC-6 and Constellation both have under-passenger cabin cargo holds with head room of 36”, and cargo is dragged in and out by loading crews on their hands and knees! A modification, involving monorals running the length of the compartments, with special containers, has recently been implemented by the airlines for both aircraft. This is why level fuselages, front-loading doors, etc., are so attractive on the Fairchild Packet, Miles Aerovan and Bristol Freighter.

Civil Aviation

BOAC’s New York Terminal at La Guardia is almost complete, while construction continues at Idlewild. De Havilland Doves and Short Sandringhams have been delivered.  Aer Lingus has taken over Eire-England routes. The Government is still BUNGLING charter airlines. Parliament has swung into some vigorous talking about talking about civil aviation with its latest Civil Aviation Debate. The Anglo-Italian agreement, cabotage, and Irish routes came under discussion.

“Approach by Ground Control: The G.C. A. System Described: ‘Search’ and ‘Precision’ Indicators: Talking the Pilot Down” The same subject, again. Although there’s a nice picture of the GCA ground crew’s van, which has lots of shiny instruments that are paying us a dividend! Actually, the whole arrangement serves as a vindication for Uncle George, with its radio beacons and radars and radios. Who would have though in 1939 that all of these gadgets were necessary for just nipping over to New York?
Very shiny dieselpunk.


P. J. Croft is upset that runway controllers have to be over 25, as he is 23 ½. Various people think that Training Command’s complaints about not being included in the Victory Fly-past are sour grapes. E. G. Smart thinks that the Government has been BUNGLING Heathrow and airliners for a very long time.

The Economist, 13 July 1946


“The Eastern Question at Paris” Last week, it was the western question! This week we are –giving a history lesson, in the style of Flight. Apparently, Russians have differed from the English, the French, and presumably the Icelanders and the Portuguese and the Moroccans about the great questions of the east, such as who cares about Serbia, and why is Bulgaria named after a fat person, and is it possible to talk about the Turkish straits without someone saying something off-coloour. Hopefully, all of this will be settled in Paris this summer. (And by “hopefully,” the paper means, “It really didn’t have anything to talk about, so here is what my encyclopedia says happened in 1878.”)
See all the bits Russia has annexed? You could be next! From Fortune, which is why it is in colour.

“The Climate of Work” The first in a several part study of industrial relations. It concludes that there is a bad climate in the British factory, which is really everyone’s fault, but mostly labour’s. If only British workers were hard workers like Americans, or could be shot for not fulfilling their quotas, as in Russia. The paper calls for vast and cloudy, unspecified administrative and management changes.

“Palestine Dilemma” It turns out that there are no easy answers on whether there should be a Jewish state, an Arab state, or both, or neither in Palestine. Also, Americans are quite obnoxious about it. So while there is no solution obvious for Jews, Arabs and Americans, it might seem that there is one for the English, getting out. But the English cannot leave until everyone is satisfied.

“Outlook for the Colonies” Speaking of places the English cannot possibly leave until everything is perfect. . . At least we can all agree that the problems are the low productivity of the native and the difficulties of their incomprehensible local politics.

Notes of the Week

“Germany is Under Discussion” When the foreign ministers meet to discuss whether we are to have WWIII or not, they will also talk about talking about Germany. Molotov does say that the Ruhr cannot be detached from Germany, so at least there is progress of a kind, since the French will never be able to get the Ruhr free state through, now.

“Vetoes and Procedures” The United Nations is to talk about talking about talking about itself. Although it is agreed that Russia vetoes too much.

Tsaldaris inLondon” Greeks are excitable!

“Pressure of Business” Parliament is meeting very frequently to get all the Government’s bills through.

“Negotiations with Egypt” The next stage of negotiations coincide with British withdrawals, which the paper hopes that the Egyptians will take as shows of goodwill, rather than weakness. When the Egyptian position is that the British should get out, and the british position is that we should get out a little, but not too much. . .

“Potsdam and Austria” Something about German property in Austria being subject to Russian reparations demands.

“China Waits” Unrra won’t distribute relief supplies in China on account of corruption, and Washington is withholding the export credit until the civil war is sorted out.

“Indonesian Deadlock” Philippine independence has inspired Indonesian envy. Soekarno is rising at the expense of Sjrahir, as have Tan Malakki and Soebardjo. The Indonesian press is talking about “purges” of the “radicals” of both the left and pro-Dutch right.
Instead of worthy but boring fathers of Indonesian independence, the stilt dancers of Soebjardo's native Karawang Regency. By en:user:Chezumar -, CC BY-SA 3.0,

“Conservative Policy” The Conservatives had their annual party meeting and had some talks from Anthony Eden. The paper thinks that the Tories are BUNGLING being in opposition.

“The Cost of Living Index” The way that the cost of living is calculated in Britain is not very good, statistically speaking, but replacing it with a more accurate index would show that the cost of living is up 40—50% rather than 30%, and since the cost of living is attached to many wage settlements, would lead to rising wages, and the end of the world.

“Milk Lessons from America” Milk is good for children and the most important product of English agriculture. The paper notes that American east-coast dairy farms are much more productive than English. This goes to show that the English dairy industry has to achieve full technical efficiency. (Mainly by using specially-bred milkers.)

“Rehabilitation of Vagrants” During the war, vagrants all but disappeared. Now they are back, albeit in small numbers –this might be related to full employment he paper supposes. This has inspired new work on rehabilitating vagrants. The paper supposes that there is need for “sterner measures” against the “hard core of intractables,” and that they would probably appreciate some good old fashioned neglect more than all the attention from Good Samaritans.

The Mexican elections will change nothing, Belgium has no government again, and the Government is BUNGLING the rehabilitation of played-out mines.

American Survey

“The End of Price Control” The day before H.R. 6020, the bill to extend the powers of the OPA, was to be voted on in the House, Chester Bowles resigned in protest at the “booby trap amendment” introduced by Senators Taft and Wherry, and Representative Crawford (R., Michigan), in line with the interests of the National Association of Manufacturers. This led the President to veto it, and the last minute emergency extension is only for two weeks, so the lapse of the OPA’s power at the end of the month will probably lead to the end of price controls by the end of the month.

It is supposed that strikes will be kept at bay if wages keep pace with the cost of living, so that this particular drag on the economy (apparently greatly overestimated, anyway, when the total hours worked are counted up, and the high profile strikes ignored) could be held in check by price controls. It is also feared, or suggested that the “pent up demand” is far less than is sometimes supposed, as 60% of all liquid assets are held by the top 30% of income earners, who have everything they could ever possibly want, and so will just hold onto the money, anyway, so that only between $5 and 6.7 billion of $81—107 billion of private savings might be in play.

Meanwhile, production is coming along. Cars are still well short of the 405,000 monthly of 1941, but vacuum cleaners, washing machines, gas ranges, water heaters and automobile tyres are all coming along. Freight car loadings have reached 85% of the March 1945 peak, when war production was going full blast. I guess the conclusion is that inflation may not be that great, as the NAM is saying.
This montage is supposed to show how General Tires has strayed from its core competencies  has diversified, but there's some high tech  circa 1946 tire (tyre) making happening on the bottom right.

American Notes

“Stassen or Bricker?” Neither! Stassen has won in Minnesota, as he had to do. The paper thinks that Bricker is a cinch to win the nomination –except that Taft is making a name for himself. He is as conservative as Bricker, more conversant with national affairs, and is a solid opponent of the President. The paper also likes Vandenberg –my eyes are rolling.

“The Labour Vote” The Republicans are sure that the President has lost the labour vote, and that the midterms will see a heavy swing to the GOP. The paper is not so sure that Labour is willing to vote against its own interest.

“Output and Controls” Bill, veto, interim powers, resistance to interim powers in the Senate. Interim powers maybe maybe not, check in week next. And after that forever.

“The Loan in the House” It will be another week of waiting.

“Budget Curbs in Congress” The new budget proposal has been discovered to contain a rider, introduced by the Dixie Democrats, requiring the President to approve any increase in the national debt, with the concurrence of both houses of Congress. Critics say that this will put a heavy burden on the Administration in ordinary times, and be a disaster during national emergencies. The Dixie Democrats just say that debt is bad.

For the fourth consecutive year, the Department of Agriculture is aiming for a wheat crop above 1000 million bushels, with acreage set at 71,700,000. This is above the optimum level for soil conservation, but has been set with an eye to export requirements.

The World Overseas

“Greek Reconstruction Problems” Greek agriculture is primitive, but the crops are expected to be good. The rest of its economy is industrial, and very small, and practically prostrate, because Greeks are excitable, and because of transportation difficulties.
When the Germans invaded in 1940, the Greeks had to immobilise one of their two national railways to have enough line to withdraw their rollling stock ahead of the German advance. This isn't a picture from that era, unfortunately. It is from this very nice Pinterest account, though.

“The Fourth Estate” French trade unions are too powerful.

The Business World

“London’s Transport Problems” Is that it needs to raise fares, and probably can’t raise them enough to recover its tender financial position, caused by the war.

“Natural v. Synthetic Rubber” Before the war, the paper says, natural rubber was “our” most profitable export. The world’s total production capacity seems to be about 4.5 to 4.8 million tons, including the American, Russian and European synthetic industries. Three-fifths to two-thirds of natural rubber production is by native shareholders, which makes the calculation of the cost of rubber production a bit nonsensical. Most of it will be marked down as “nil,” even though there may well be “several hundred thousand tons of native rubber at 1d/lb delivered at Singapore.” Rehabilitation costs for estates have yet to be estimated, and wages for workers will have to go up, with the result that natural rubber will probably run around 8-9 cents US/lb at American ports. The cost of synthetic rubber being 14—20 cents/lb, the main hope of the synthetic industry is that the Americans will subsidise it for strategic reasons.

Business Notes

“The Tap Closes” The “operation” to reduce the interest the Government pays on the national debt by issuing new debt at lower interest rates is over.

Canada has revalued its dollar at parity with the American. Britain, with considerable Canadian dollar credit, will not be affected. The Coal Nationalisation Bill has passed, with various amendments, some of which Mr. Shinwell resisted, and others which the paper supported, so it is feeling very full of itself, for a change. Britain’s overseas deficit is shrinking, Mr. Dalton says. Britain’s coal reserves have been estimated again. There is enough for at least a hundred years, but good seams keep being exhausted, and the price will continue to rise.

“Shipbuilding Costs” Costs continue to rise, even as the yards work to capacity. There are now 1.665 million tons of shipping under construction in English yards, while 2.735 million tons lie in the yards waiting for reconversion. Meanwhile, the labour force has fallen from 272,300 to 227,000, mainly as a result of women leaving, but not entirely, and the yards are having increased difficulties finding apprentices for the skilled trades. The price for a notional 7,500 ton ship has risen from £24 to 26 8s over the last six months, and by 97% since 1939. This falls far short of the 360% increase from June 1914 to June 1919, but we have also not see the price crash that followed then, and hopefully won’t. Still, it is worth remembering that in 1920, just before all the cancellations, a labour force of 330,000 was working on 3.709 million tons of new construction plus reconversion. That is, about 11 tons per worker, compared with 7 tons today. While this is because the industry contracted too much in the 1930s to accommodate this production, nevertheless it is also because the English worker is soft, disobedient, truculent, lazy and probably smells bad.
Still a lot more productive than American shipyard workers, Geoff. 

“Anglo-Russian Trade” The paper hopes there will be some, and especially that the English can get their hands on some Russian non-ferrous metals. You will no doubt be hoping that their plywood and pulp is held back a little longer.

“Black Lists to Go” The Black Lists of the economic warfare days are going. English manufacturers will finally be able to meet all those Portuguese buds for advanced radar sets, aeroengines, high explosives, etc.

“Uncontrolled Bullion Prices” Something about the expiry of the OPA making it possible for Mexico to sell gold at $41/oz. It is being bought by the Middle East with US dollars, much to the satisfaction of Mexicans and Middle Easterners and to the chagrin of the paper, which points out how irresponsible the Mexicans are being, and how there will be a reckoning once they're brought firmly into the World Bank.    

Aviation, July 1946

Down the Years in AVIATION’s Log

Twenty five years ago, The Aeronautical Journal advocated large bombers with no external wing bracing. The Navy’s bombing tests on obsolete battleships continued.

Airliner Engineering Corporation built an airliner weighing 8600lbs, seating 30 passengers. Packard built a V-12 capable of delivering full power at 6000ft. Sadi Lecointe set a 220mph record with a Hispano-engined Nieuport, Lts. Macready and Langham one of 34,150ft with a Moss-supercharged engine. Fifteen years ago, a Packard Diesel-engined Bellanca, flown by W. Lees and F. A. Brossy, broke a “non-refuelling record” by flying 84hr 48 minutes,

while French Lts Paris and Gonard  set the seaplane record at 36hrs, 48min, covering 3230 miles. Frank Hawks flies Paris-London-Berlin-Paris in 7hr 31min. C. W. A. Scott flies Australia-England in 20 days 3 hours, and the Dornier DoX flew across the Atlantic at 100mph, while the Air Corps made 35,000 flying hours without an accident, and NACA opened a new wind tunnel. Kellett, Pitcairn and Buhl all produced autogiros. Ten years ago, North American’s Pacific Coast factory started producing, UAL passed the 100 million miles flown mark, the Navy order 191 new planes and the Army 77.
The Dornier Do X. 

The Line Editorial is missing this month, but Leslie Neville’s editorial for the paper is “So . . . Don’t Write Off Piston Engine Development.” “It is still too early to think of discarding reciprocating engine development, which must continue side-by-side with the work on gas turbine design until the sphere of each type is more clearly defined, and every possible combination is considered and tried in specific airplane designs.”
You guys take all the time you need. No hurry. If you're lucky, the De Havilland Comet will start falling out of the sky before it takes all your sales.

Kenneth R. MacDonald, Manger, Aviation department, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, “Soldier Beware” Veterans returning to peacetime life and looking for work in aviation should realise that there are far more ex-airmen than aviation jobs. Also, it is likely to be more boring and businesslike than you expect. Also, if you worked with fabric and wood as a rigger, your skills are not likely to be applicable.

Illustrated: boring people with boring jobs at an airport. Not a stock photo. I swear!

George M. Galster, Latin American Analyst, “Will Gliders Close South America’s Transport Gap?” No. Of course not. I hope this isn’t the standard of Latin America analyzing in the Latin America analysis business!
A bit racist? A bit racist.

Willis L. Nye, “Why Not Check Lists for Private Pilots?” If we could only get private pilots to do checklists before flight, they might find and replace that faulty bit before it is too late, and then the industry will make more sales!

“War Baby Flight School Becomes Focal Servicing Base” The AAF built a training base, Hawthorne Field, at Orangeburg, N.C. After the war, it didn’t need it, and operator Beverly Howard took it over for Hawthorne Airmotive, and he is sure to be rich and famous soon.
In case you're wondering what they do at an "operating base."

Paul H. Stanley, Chief Engineer, Autogiro Company of America, “Practical Engineering of Rotary Wing Aircraft” Stanley spends three pages explaining how autogiros work, before reaching helicopters, where he discusses Focke and Weir developments, before moving on to the exciting future of the gyrodyne, with the actual Sikorsky and Bell helicopters briefly mentioned in passing along the way. Boring! He then throws in the mathematics of stressing “hub-driven rotors” at great length. Making rotors capable of lifting heavy, fast helicopters will be hard!

V. S. Kupelian, Project Engineer, Goodyear Aircraft Corp, “Positive Action Lube System for Goodyear F2G” Goodyear built a version of the Corsair. It had positive lubrication.

“Supersonic Plane and Jet Bombers Revealed by Army” The Northrop XP-79 exists more. The Bell XS-1 is the American Army’s entry into the supersonic test plane race.
Apparently we're steering straight for controversy here. 

Jet bombers under development include the North American XB-45, Consolidated Vultee XB-46, Boeing XB-47, Martin XB-48, Northrop XB-49. Other jet fighters under development are the North American XP-86 and Curtiss-Wright XP-87. General Curtis Lemay also revealed an appropriation request for a six-hundred-million-dollar Air Force Research Centre to take over some of NACA’s work, and for rocket and jet aircraft proving fields. Vannevar Bush thinks that the money should be spent on more scientists than Air Force things, but that the money should be spent, regardless.
Not the prettiest view, but also not the last we're going to see of the Sabre around here! By Kowloonese at the English language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0,

“British Airliner Pressurisation Inaugurated on Tudor I” The paper reads Flight.

R. E. Maier, Plastics Division, Chemical Department, E. I. du Pont de Nemours Corp, “See promise in Low-Density Core for Aircraft Laminate Components” Aircraft should use more plastics. Plastics are light, and reasonably strong, and available in extruded shapes to any dimensions required. They can be laminated to form stronger pieces, and machined with simple woodworking tools.

“Roller Mounted Maps Expedite Position Finding” The American version is a “simplified chart holder,” while the British version is a map on a roller, a “self-contained unit” for assisting passengers in following the aircraft’s flight. I am pretty sure we’ve heard of both before.

K. R. Jackman, Chief Test Engineer, Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corp, San Diego, “Aircraft Acoustical Problems and possible Solutions, Part 1” Now that the war is over, we can notice that aircraft are extremely loud, and that people who live near airports are upset about it, while passengers are discouraged. A 2200hp engine in each wing is equivalent to flying between two locomotives! “Few of us would expect to read a magazine comfortably and in extreme quiet in a room adjacent to a railroad track and separated from it by a wall composed of 0.030 inch aluminum sheeting and some fluff on rather flimsy uprights.” Jackman provides a discussion of sound abatement, and more importantly for the moment, also of frequencies of particular concern, since initial abatement measures should focus on the most obnoxious parts of the total sound spectrum.

Charles A. Parker, “Keep That Overhead Under Your Thumb, Part VI of a Series,” Charlie Parker, of Robinson Aviation, continues to explain how to run a business, but with planes involved.

“Tagging the Bases: Emphasis on Service Pays Off, Rounding /reports Show”

Raymond L. Hoadley, “Profits Balanced by Reconversion Costs, Part 1” Reconversion and reseach and development are draining the coffers of Fairchild, Beech, Glenn L. Martin and Curtiss-Wright, and some of these firms may not stay in the civilian market.

“New Accuracies Attained with Radio Altimeters” Radio altimeters are those simple radars that just ping off the ground and give an altitude reading. Bell Telephone has two new, FM models out, and each one is better than the other.

Doman-FrazierReveals New ‘Copter Projects” Doman-Frazier, now currently not making one helicopter, will in the future not make two more helicopters. Unless people give it money, in which case it will make all three, and they will be the best helicopters ever.

“Improved Funk Two-Placer Goes into Production” Funk Aircraft, of Coffeyville, Kansas, will soon have an even better plane out than the one it has now.

“Speedy C.A. 15 Fighter Built in Australia” The CA-15 Boomerang exists more. This is such old news that I can’t even bring myself to make fun of the name anymore!

“Percival Three-Seater is New RAF Trainer” Speaking of old news. . .


“Sideslips” tells illustrative, if not hilarious, stories about the pilot who had to fly on instruments for four hours on a clear day because “he lost the railroad 300 miles back,” the pilot who flew home to his newlywed through no-visibility conditions, the B-29 crew which lost an engine, which then came back on, throwing its airscrew, which then smashed the next screw in, which threw fragments that gashed the fuselage, at the same time that the plane lost right rudder control. Also, it makes fun of a ”slick” that describes the P-38 as having “twin tail, twin engines, twin fuselages,” and advertising copy that describes a “rocket jet powered vacuum cleaner.”
I'm constantly amazed at how many typewriter and other office machinery ads run in Fortune. There seems to be this whole culture of secretaries reading Fortune. IIs that why it's so much nicer than Time? 

Aviation News

The Veterans Administration is setting a ceiling of $20/hour for instrument training in GI-Bill funded schools. The Air Force is talking about talking about its governance. The Navy is working on high speed ramjets. Experiments on swivel-wheel landing gears continue. Now that the AAF has tested a V-2, it is time for the Army, AAF and Navy to argue over who gets what rocket-related blowing-people-up business. Liquid-fueled rockets might have a future as aircraft weapons. The first radar-equipped civilian air traffic control tower has been unveiled by CAB in Indianapolis. The new AAF budget is down a lot year over year, but R&D spending is maintained at the same level. Allison is now taking the lead in aero-engine manufacture, and wartime production efficiencies are vanishing with postwar contracts. 1682 aircraft were manufacture in April, 148 were “military ships.” Caltech is testing airfoils with rockets, and the Department of Commerce has issued a report on turbine alloys. The Vought XF5U-1 “Skimmer” has a top speed of 425mph and a low speed of 40, finally beating the “speed range bogie,” thanks to its unconventional, buried-engine design. IATA has determined that North Atlantic fare cuts are needed. Airline and manufacturing losses continue to mount.

The aerodynamics of this unlikely claim are discussed at Wikipedia.

The Washington Windsock

A Supreme Court decision awarding damages to a farmer who lost chickens due to noise of a low-flying aircraft doesn’t change the law that the Feds are in charge up there, and you can’t have an injunction against low-flying, although you can be awarded damages. “The British claim their Rolls-Royce Nene is the world’s most powerful . . . American engineers fear English will arrive here one day with first jet or turbine transport aircraft.” Talking about talking about Railseaair continues. It might be ten to fifteen years before the Russians give up on this whole “national sovereignty” thing and just allow American airlines to fly into their airports willy-nilly.

Not to worry. If they go in for their De Havilland materials science tricks, they might end up making such a hash of it that the industry doesn't come back to composites until the 787.

Worlddata by Vista

It is reported that the British are shifting to all jet power plants, with new engines for the Brabazon and Saunders-Roe giant liners, the Hermes, Tudor II, and new Miles transport. The RAF is working on the DH Swallow, the Ghost now hits 5000lb thrust, and the Nene will soon attack the world speed record of 606mph. France is also “sparing no efforts to regain her former position in world aviation.” Mostly with American planes, but French ones are coming on. The Miles M.63B jet mailplane exists more.

Fortune, July 1946


For a Free Democratic Russia” Russia is communist, and that’s bad, Americans agree in the latest "Fortune Survey."

“Mr. Wyatt Builds His Castle” Mr. Blanding’s Dream Home turns into a bit of a nightmare, what with all the complications and his own confusion. The same is true of the Wyatt Plan! Linoleum is short due to lack of Argentinian linseed oil, two key gypsum plants remain shut because the Government won’t release their ore boats, a builder in Brooklyn is building only 400 units instead of a 1000 due to shortage of prefabricated houses, and many of the ones he does build are completing without radiators and pipes. Other contractors are going short on electrical supplies, cinder blocks and hardwood for flooring.

“Good Trade-Unionism” Trade unions used to be good, you know, back in the old days. Nowadays they’ve gone too far, and all those strikes are counterproductive.

Because who needs skilled tradespeople, right? These things probably grow on a tree somewhere.

“Back to What Convention” The paper notices that while Uncle Henry used to promise that the Kaiser-Frazier cars would embody all sorts of new technology, such as front-wheel drive, they will now be “conventional” cars. The paper objects. What kind of “convention” are we talking about? Too many fenders, grills, “bulbous bows, overhanging sterns”? Will they be terrible cars? The paper says that the automobile makers should work harder on achieving a true and simple style.

The Fortune Survey

The paper asks: WWIII, or not? The answer is, WWIII. Interestingly, the better-educated the respondents, the more likely they are to think that the Russians are spreading world communism, that it is bad news, and that they have fellow travellers in America in radio, Government, education, and that America should broadcast radio programmes to Russia to counter Communist propaganda, so that America and Russia can be friends again. After WWIII.

“The U.S. Foreign Service” If we are to avoid WWIII (or win it?) we will need a much more “potent” foreign service. The paper’s foreign correspondents supply many, many stories about how it is not “potent” right now. And a joke about the foreign-service office who was recalled to Washington for a special tour "drafting replies to the telegraphs I’ve been sending for the last three months.” Also, some of our political ambassadors are not very good.

“Morris Motors Ltd,” Protected by protection, Morris is humming along, but protection has led to the English mostly making small cars, which is bad, because small is bad. Or is it that bad is small?
Maybe they use short models for these ads?

Also, Lord Nuffield is the “Henry Ford of Britain.” But his workers can’t afford cars, so he’s not, really.
"Meanwhile, in the Third World," etc. 

“U.S. Debt, 1946” The US debt reached the “fantastic level of $279 billion this February.” New Deal deficits, usually on the order of $3 billion or so, gradually raised the national debt to $45 billion, WWII added $203 billion. It has now stopped growing, and actually shrunk by $10 billion since February. While further reductions in the next fiscal year are likely, there is no realistic prospect of the debt falling below $200 billion in the next generation. Fortunately, national debt does not have to be paid off; America has been in debt since 1837, Britain since the Napoleonic Wars, but with interest payments of $5 billion, or 3.3% of national income, and this is a lot. It is not a “net loss” to the economy, since the payments come back as taxes and spending, but it might feed inflation. The 30 to 40% increase in the cost of living is due in no small part to the increase in the money supply, and the national debt is the main source of all this money sloshing about. The paper explains how this happens, mainly through the creation of new bank deposits, against which the banks can lend money –the main way in which this newly created money reaches the economy and stimulates inflation.
What to do? The paper urges the running of a Federal surplus, which will be used to buy back bank-held debt, and shrink their deposits, reducing the money supply.
"With any luck, we'll be back to secular stagnation by 1950!"

“Government economists who are the first to cry for public deficits in time of depression should be the first to advocate surpluses in time of boom.” This will not solve the potential inflationary effects of the Victory and other savings bonds issued during the war, but Professor Henry Simons of the University of Chicago proposes replacing them with consoles, and eliminating government bonds for the public entirely. His scheme would allow the Government to control the money supply by buying consoles at a premium in a Depression, and selling them during a boom.

“Medicine from the Earth” Penicillin, streptomycin, and the other antibiotics now in development were discovered in the dirt. (Well, where is there more bacteria than in the dirt?) It has been noted that where heavy doses of penicillin are prescribed, penicillin-resistant staphylococcal bacteria soon emerge. “Staph” infections can be quite serious, so to fight this rise in penicillin-resistant bacteria, medical science is looking for new antibiotics, and they are looking at the dirt. The paper points out that bacteriologists have been looking for “antibiotics” in the soil for a century now, and Pasteur thought he had one, pyocyanase, but it was not until Fleming’s discovery of penicillin that the long-theorised “anti-biotics” that have maintained the balance of life in the soil since the Archaeozoic times 3 billion years ago were found in a form that could be turned into medicine. It was the Oxford Group, working with Fleming’s decade-old discovery, which finally cracked the problem of extracting penicillin from its culture medium in 1940—1 so that they could test it in humans. Realising that large-scale production of penicillin in war-torn Britain would be impossible, they included it in the 1941 release of British scientifici secrets to the United States, where it was soon put into mass production. 21 billion Oxford units were produced in 1943, 1633 billion units in 1944, and, in 1945, thanks to the discovery of a new strain of penicillin-producing bacteria, 7,000 billion units in 1945. Yet even that was not enough, especially after the discover of the oral form, which takes five times as much penicillin as the injected form to reach the bloodstream in adequate amounts. Last January, the CAB had to put penicillin back on the restricted list, and it is only this summer that it has come off, allowing for exports.

Mass producing penicillin circa 1946.

Yet there remained many “Gram-negative bacteria,” including tuberculosis, tularemia and meningitis and the late 1943 discovery of Streptomycin by Selman Waksman, of the New Jersey Agricultural Experimental Station at Rutgers, offered hope against these ancient scourges. Public demand for a cure for tuberculosis soon reached a “hysterical” pitch, and, last month, the CAB put streptomycin on allocation. Unfortunately, treating even 300 tuberculosis patients with the massive amount of streptomycin needed would exhaust the nation’s supply of only 30,000 grams a month. Merck, which will have $3,500,000 plants operational in Rahway, New Jersey and Elkton, Virginia by the end of the year, will triple production, by which time we may even know if streptomycin actually is a cure for tuberculosis, since the long-term dosages require build up bacterial resistance.
Now we have news of Bacitracin, which may be even more effective than penicillin. However, there is also ominous news, and the “tide may have turned.” Besides bacterial resistance, new analysis shows that penicillin is not a single, homogenous chemical, but rather contains several variant forms, of which one, at least, Penicillin K,. seems largely ineffective –and it is “K” which is produced in larger quantities with the new mass production methods. This means that mass-produced penicillin may be less effective than doctors realise, and that may patients may not be getting large enough doses. Government wartime security regulations, which prevented the research from reaching doctors, may be to blame.
So the end of the penicillin era may be in sight, streptomycin may never fulfill its promise, and we should go on studying dirt for new forms of antibiotics, and re-evaluating the old sulfa drugs.

“Red Star Rising” Russia is a very large country which is always getting bigger, because it is annexing its neighbours. It is communist, made peace with the Nazis once, and is interested in promoting world revolution, which is bad for  non-communist countries.

“General Tire on the Loose: Lusty Bill O’Neill Has Plumped His Conservative Company Into a Hubbub of Growth and Diversification” It makes tires, hospital beds, blimps, Jato units, rockets, and, of course, tires.

“Charles Luckman: At 37, A Self-Trained Soap Salesman Assumes the Presidency of British-Owned Lux, Rinso, Lifebuoy and Pepsodent” That is, of Lever Brothers’ American brands, which also include Lipton’s Tea and /Chicken Noodle Soup.

“Mass: Precision: Symmetry: Striking Patterns Unconsciously Achieved in the Manufacture of Small Objects: Captured in Seven Photographs by Ezra Stoller”

“Postscript: The Aothecary’s Art” Apothecaries are old time medicine. The paper points its finger and gently mocks.

“Adam Smith: The Patron Saint of Freedom in Enterprise and Trade Has Been Badly Misinterpreted: It is Time to Reconsider What He Really Said” Adam Smith was an old-time Scottish economics writer. Surprisingly, he was actually a Professor of philosophy at Edinburgh University, and had strong opinions about morality. His doctrine of “laissez-faire” was actually a rebellion against the “mercantilism” of his day, and perhaps the pendulum has swung too far, etc. For example, there should be tariffs to protect strategic industries and against rich nations which might otherwise be made too powerful in war.

There's been a definite drop in the number of these ads since the end of the cost-price contract with fixed advertising budget as part of the "cost." (This also explains how the librarians can now lift bound volumes of Aviation.) Some people seem to be true believers, however. This ad ran in Forrtune, too. 

Shorts and Faces

The paper is impressed with Gimbel pens, but not to the extent of wanting to go to one of Mr. Gimbel’s parties. Milton Reynolds is another matter entirely. By the way, everyone is suing everybody over the ball-point pen patents. It is as though you can’t trust a self-proclaimed inventor any more!

John S. Bugas is the new Vice-President in charge of industrial relations at Ford, and is a worthy sort, but not the go-to-his-party sort of worthy. Likewise, Jack Keeshin, of the interstate trucking company. The paper notices that this “pressurisation” stuff is a lot harder than it looks. It is also excited by the three-wheeled Motorette, launched by three young Curtiss-Wright men who might be party-worthy some day. 

Henry Justi, of Philadelphia, makes false teeth, now using acrylic plastics, and is making money in his crusade against porcelain teeth. Unfortunately, he is 82 [92?], rather too old for parties.

This John Bugas seems to have been a fairly colourful figure. And if being a Ford crony isn't enough to earn you half of Wyoming, what is?

The Farm Column

Ladd Haystead notes that the number of farms with electricity have risen from 11% in 1935 to 50% today, which is solid progress. Unfortunately, pressure water systems lag behind, at 37%,and so has sewage. Farmers are conservative, but there is some sense that electricity is underselling its promise. Electrifying farm work only goes so far, and the rest of demand comes from household consumption. Electric motors are not very useful for field work, and tractors can be substituted. But electricity can also supply pressure water, invaluable in dairy operations for cleaning, and statistics show that the general assistance electricity supplies frees farmers up to plant more crops and so make more money. Electric welders, which seemed to promise convenient repairs, have been “knocking the transformers off the poles.” On the other hand, the home freezer may take off, and they would need that domestic electricity, promoting it to a much higher priority.

Business Abroad

While the United States is “driving through the automotive age,” Europe has reverted to the bicycle era, and Russia hasn’t even reached it. The Five Year Plan visualises the production f 1.8 million bicycles in 1950 for 202 million soviet Russian citizens. That is why it is trains, foot and animal cart for Russians, still. British credits to France are inadequate, but the most the British can afford until the American loan comes through. The paper notices an odd business, the 75 big diesel trucks of the Netherlands-Czechoslovakia line, which belongs to the Netherlands Railways, but operates in lieu of trains, which have still not started running on this route. Switzerland is open to tourists, and hopes that America will start granting passports again. Mrs. Shipley, of the State Department, says no. No passports for tourists yet, because there is just not the transport yet. Generals MacArthur and McNarney have become advocates for Japanese and German exports, respectively, as the best cure for “disease and unrest” in their fiefdoms.

…And no book section means that I will make my lunch date, after all!

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