I hope that this letter finds you peacefully at home in front of the fire on a rainy day in Vancouver, enjoying a book, a pipe and a glass.
As opposed to, say, writing angry letters to English acquaintances about the Star Leader tragedy, reminding everyone of how often you have predicted that Don Bennett was going to get someone killed. Or that it is unpatriotic for the English to be buying lumber in Russia. After all, it is not as though there is enough lumber to go around as it is. (Thank you, by the way.) Having just handed out lucky money at the junior Quons' wedding at the Benevolent Association Hall on my way back to ink the deal to build the rest of the houses in the lower corner, I now feel doubly a smuggler and a criminal.
I've included a sketch of the development layout. You'll notice a blank spot in the upper corner. Uncle George won't be sure until he has met with the surveyor and the civil engineer, but it looks as though the original exemption was slightly larger than the county authorised, and there will be room for two more quarter-acre lots there without building out into the draw. To make sure, we've borrowed an access road approach that has been successful elswhere, sort of a "thermometer bulb" arrangement in which traffic circulates at the bottom of a dead end road around a lamp standard. Developers give it a fancy French name that escapes me, although "Prospect Point" has been floated.I'm not sure why, as the new lots don't have a prospect at all, except possibly from the second-story dormers, and then it is of San Jose. I say that if they pay us extra, we should guarantee that there will be trees blocking the sightlines at the lower end of the road.
|Even a machinist can afford a half acre in Santa Clara County!"|
Your youngest is over the moon about "ace-ing" his mid-terms, although he refuses to say anything to you for fear of sounding as though he is back to boasting, and James has been bustling about the building chosen for Philco's new research laboratory. We tried to persuade the board to affiliate it with Santa Clara, but, unfortunately, Jesuits and all of that; they are building down in Orange County, instead.
Per your request, I have sent Wong Lee to Las Vegas to find out what has been happening with your shipments. As Uncle George feared, some of it is going into the Flamingo. We really have to deal with that man. He has been reluctant to order anything final because our contact on that side of things is so . . . irregular. But we've a lead on a most interesting connection now, via our noodlings about Yale. Via a --let's say, friend of a friend-- we have made touch with an American businessman (with NCR, yet, so Uncle George loves him!) who is in the old country, is cultivating the right connections, and has a need for secure arrangements should he be promoted back to Washington. There's a wife in the picture, you see, and she has to remain in the picture. (Just typing that makes me feel like a "madam," but it is the nature of the business.) If he can clear matters, we can finally close the book on the matter of respect that has detained us over that noxious musician and now the Flamingo.
Flight, 5 September 1946
“Combined Operations” Generals, admirals and air marshals get together at the School of Combined Operations and agree about how bad things used to be, how wonderful things will be if they get to fight WWII over again.
“Cheap Lightness” Like everyone else, the paper likes the Republic Seabee, but notes that it was only made so cheap and light through tooling and jigging for mass production, which is only possible in America, land of mass production.
“The F.A.I. Again” The International Aeronautical Federation is having its first meeting since the war. It will talk about important things, such as the conditions for international records.
“Another Order Goes to America” The paper is upset that BOAC has ordered six BoeingStrato-Cruisers, which seems to imply that the Tudor I is not suitable for the London-New York service after all, and the paper would like to know why the change of mind.
The Blackburn Firebrand IV exists more.
“Firefly Trainer: Dual-Pilot Version of Famous Fleet Fighter Developed for Advanced Training” Fairey builds odd-looking two-seater for Navy.
“World’s Fastest Air Race: Vampire Averages 427mph Over Three Laps of Lympne Course” The various air races in the recent air shows included one with a jet fighter going very fast. (And another with a Supermarine Walrus going very slow.) The Vampire was up against a Hawker Sea Fury, Supermarine Spitfire 22 and a DH Hornet I.
“Pyfo,” “The Goofer’s Platform” Aircraft carriers are crammed full of people who talk in a made-up language. Also, landing aircraft on carriers is hard and dangerous.
Here and There
The RAF is trucking a “Grand Slam” bomb around to parades to show how much it blew up Germans. Australians are flying high-value livestock around because the country is so big. Although the actual example is puppies to Singapore, which I am not sure proves anything. One Dr.[sic] J. T. Lowe, an air expert at the War Department, says in Air Affairs that in the future, troops will be transported in rocket transports that zoom through the atmosphere at 10,000 miles an hour to take over countries “briefly stunned” by atomic attacks. The United States, however, will be immune to this as long as it has air superiority over its own territory. The paper thinks this is confused, but what if we can use rockets to shoot down rockets? The squadron of Lancasters that spent the summer on a good will tour of the United States arrived back in England this week. Short Shetlands exist more, and are very large. A movie about Arnhem is to be shown in London and Ottawa on the anniversary of the battle. It will be a very special movie, and not like a regular movie at all. Because I think that would be crass? (Theirs is the Glory.)
Aries flies somewhere very fast. The Americans have been caught handing B-25s over to the Kuomintang. Howard Hughes is still convalescing. The Falkirk Rolling Mills, designed by the Government and operated for it by British Aluminum Company, has been bought by that firm and will make sheet and coiled aluminum for aircraft and “many other purposes.”
Captain Sam Saint, of American Airlines, points out that existing navigational radars are too imperfect to be “depended upon heavily” in airliner navigation. Some US naval bombers practicing in Lake Erie mistook a cabin cruiser for a target and sank it, although the owner survived. The Cowper factory in Olney, another MAP shadow factory, has been taken over by its agency, Lodge Plugs.
“Private Flying in France” Rich people in France also help their heirs inherit unexpectedly quickly. Three pages worth.
Douglas Fawcett, “Over the Alps” Switzerland plus a Hornet Moth equals a sporting effort at –well, actually, the author is 80, according to his biography, so Doctor Fawcett’s heirs will not be inheriting early. (Though he took a younger friend, so his heirs, etc. And a tip of the hat to the Swiss authorities for letting an eighty-year old pilot a plane through the mountains. Will no-one else think of the playboys-to-be?)
“Pressure-Pattern Flying: A Useful Method of Checking Navigation from Barometric Pressure Data” The Empire Air Navigation School is testing out this new method of using a barometric pressure map to check air navigation.
The Lockheed Constitution exists more.
|This is a very big plane. By W. T. Larkins at English Wikipedia, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7323437|
Civil Aviation News
Various persons have been added to the Ministry of Civil Aviation. Further details of the proposed A.W. 55 airscrew-turbine-powered transport are released. The third bulletin of the International Air Transport Association says that the Financial Committee of the IATA is considering changing PICAO statistical reporting forms for traffic and finance in order to appropriately amend them in order to save the work and money of airline operators. But now that they’ve spoiled all the good bits in Flight, I won’t have to buy the bulletin! Airwork (the company) is undergoing a “transition” from one thing to another thing. I think, from a government contractor to a civil contractor? A map shows all the paces that Pan-Am is authorised to serve.
|Having already quoted from the 2011/2012 TV series, Pan Am, here's the signature tune.|
Since IATA is bulletining, and PICAO is amending, it is only fair to mention that ICAN is meeting finally, as it is being absorbed into PICAO when PICAO loses its “Preliminary” and becomes ICAO. Acronyms!
Prestwick still exists.
The MilesMessenger exists more.
|By RuthAS - Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15094960|
“The Lockheed Servodyne” The paper needs another article, and so cuts a bit out of the Lockheed catalogue about its new Servodyne, which looks uncannily like a very large stationary bicycle. But is actually a highly accurate powered aircraft control using double-acting hydraulic jacks.
|Yes, it turns out, they did have stationary bikes in 1946.|
D. J. Strachan writes to thank the paper for publishing such accurate scale drawings (‘could centre the section within a couple of inches”) that he could lay out shop space for new types for which no other drawings were available, way out in India. H.E. Norman, who lives within two miles of London Airport and was an ROC during the war, writes with his opinions about what the airport’s ground observation layout should be, in part so that he can sleep at night. R. W. Clegg liked a recent article about amateur construction so much that he writes four paragraphs about regulations for building and flying private planes. Not a word about probate law. . .
The Economist, 7 September 1946
“The Army in Council” “All the army chiefs” (whatever that means) have dropped in to Camberly to have a conference, which will then forward recommendations to the Army Council, which, I am gathering, is on top of all the army chiefs. The paper has opinions about what those recommendations might be, and it dwells on “atomic artillery shells,” convoys and submarines before deciding that these are for the Cabinet (which, I gather, is on top of the Council which is on top of the conference).
Instead, it supposes that the issue will not be these matters at all, which it only mentioned because it wants to talk about them. Rather, it will be manpower. Britain, it announces, has never used its army properly, as a cadre for a mass-mobilisation army. I may not know what an Army Council is, but at least I’ve heard of the Territorial Army! Perhaps the paper doesn’t think that Territorials were much of a cadre? (And remembering watching the HKSA drill on Empire Day, I can see its point). The paper then supposes that the armed forces cannot have more than 750,000 men, and that the army cannot have more than 450,000, and from these it must prepare to receive all the conscripts when the balloon goes up, and this might be hard?
|Nothing wrong with the Hong Kong and Singapore Royal Artillery that being ten times larger wouldn't have fixed. But then Jardine, Matheson would have had to pay an income tax!|
The paper, however, doesn’t spend much time on that, as it has to move on to tank design, because it knows all about that, and so can conclude that when the Ministry of Supply can equip an “airborne armoured division,” it can relax and have a drink. And then something about demolishing all the barracks, because they are substandard, and you can’t read in bed? Am I reading this right? And the army should be given more cap badges? And “current affairs talks”? And should move away from old slogans such as “Learn a Trade” towards “trades training?” Admittedly, there’s a few paragraphs between those two points, so perhaps Geoffrey has forgotten that he said one before the other. Finally, he comes around to the main point: somehow, the army will retain more conscripts if it will just work them harder and give them more responsibility. Mr. Crowther, I think, is one of those bosses who is quite convinced that he works hard.
“Black Flags in India” India finally has an all-Indian cabinet. But the Moslem League is upset about it, and there were riots in Bombay, so the paper thinks that it is a disaster. The paper reminds us that sectarianism is common among primitive people, such as the inhabitants of the Sixteenth Century, or Ireland, and so the Indians can be forgiven, just as soon as they are all beaten, gassed and possibly shot. The paper then launches into a history of India since 1200 which completely refutes the Congress charge of “divide and rule,” without once mentioning it, lest some impressionable readers be a bit confused about how battles in 1565 are more relevant than communally-based local government in 1946. In conclusion, it is all Congress’ fault that it is all the Moslem League’s fault.
“Egypt’s Dilemma” The Anglo-Egyptian talks continue, because there is a “dilemma” gumming up the works. The dilemma is the Egyptians want the British out now, and the British are determined to stay so that they can defend Egypt from someone. Anyone, really. You know how you try to be sarcastic, and it looks like you're coming across straight, and you double down and try something so silly that it's obviously parody? That's this article, after the last one, which is clearly satire, but not so obvious that everyone twigged. In this one, the paper explains that it has been calculated that to “secure Egypt’s frontiers” would require an army of 1.5 million men. But with only 9 million men, most of them down with bilharzia, anklyostomiasis, hookworm or trachoma, the Egyptians cannot raise those 1.5 million men, and therefore must be dependent on Britain to supply those 1.5 milloin. Or 450,000? Oh, wait, this is after mobilisation, when Britain will, indeed, be able to spare 1.5 million men for Egypt. The paper goes on to suppose that Egypt cannot possibly tax enough to maintain all these soldiers, much less equip them for modern war; nor will it even be able to employ all the masses who cannot work because they are in the latrines all day because of the end of wartime prosperity. In conclusion, there is no conclusion, because the conclusion would be that the British must remain to defend an Egypt that does not really want to be defended. And which will collapse into social revolution momentarily, anyway.
“New Domesday Book” The paper is very pleased with the new National Farm Survey, as it is full of statistics. There are 290,000 farmers, of an average size of “only” 83 acres, only 80,000 exceeding 100. 490,000 people work in agriculture, most farms are “mixed,” heavy capital investment is needed, as is full technical efficiency (the farms are laid out wrong due to accidents of history, as well as the usual bits about farm machinery, utilities and land management.)
The paper advertises an air mail service to North America at a “small increase in cost.” While I am reluctant to put more money in Mr. Crowther’s pocket until he actually works for it, this sounds far better than having Mr. Bain radio-facsimile the Earl’s copy.
Notes of the Week
“The ILP Refuses to Die” The ILP is the Independent Labour Party. Its existence annoys most people, but this is not making it go away, and it even won a by-election. The paper points its finger at Mr. McMillan and his “New Democratic Party” and laughs and laughs, because the Tories will have to have new policies to win in 1949, and not just depend on a split on the left. Because the ILP is not going away? Please help me, here.
“Closed Shop Demands” The London Passenger Transport Board’s decision in favour of a closed shop has “as expected” provoked other unions to ask for the same. The paper is upset at this violation of the principles of “democratic freedom.” The paper thinks that the Labour government should suddenly discover that “big” unions are horrible, and intervene. That could certainly happen!
“Food Conference Opens” Global Famine What’s Keeping It? The paper thinks that the FAO’s targets for world food production are “surprisingly high.” So are the “demands for food consumption.” The FAO thinks that there needs to be a World Food Board to stabilise prices, but the paper thinks that this will be terrible for Britain, as food prices will go up.
Then there are bits about Molotov in Moscow and the last pleas at Nuremberg, where a new myth is growing that the Wehrmacht was betrayed, this time not by a Marxist stab in the back, but by Hitler’s madness. In Greece, a probably fraudulent plebiscite has brought the king back for the third time; the paper doesn’t think it will go any better than the previous two times. In the Security Council, Mr. Gromyko is saying horrible things and being rude, while Parliament is debating an electoral commission to make parliamentary districts more equal. Farmers are attracted to the idea of a new marketing scheme. It also turns out that while the Civil Service is much expanded over its prewar size (695,000 versus 376,000 in 1938) it is much smaller than in 1943, and this points to both the government being too big, and to there being a recruitment problem. Finally, it asks whether the Government can afford to “freeze 300,000 more men and women than it did in 1938, especially when the birth rate is falling, and industrial output is of critical importance.”
|Apparently this is "working class youth improvising at skiffle?" British is so close to English that sometimes you think they're the same language. I am increasingly baffled by Geoffrey Crowther's intellectual reputation.|
“Where are the Women?” There are not enough employed women in the June manpower statistics for the paper’s taste, and they are in the wrong industries. Industries which cannot get enough women have “black prospects indeed.” If only there were some way for critical industries to attract more labour!
“Population Shift in Japan” In a spirit of liberal democracy, the new Japanese government has decided that there must be extensive de-urbanisation. Of a population expected to reach 80 millions in 1950, no more than 30 million may live in towns, and a great effort must be made to increase cultivated area from the current 15 million acres to 19, which will still leave Japan importing 20% of its rice, which must be paid for with exports, which also must pay for imported raw materials. Nevertheless, it falls far short of the British Commission’s recommendations, and the Japanese take great pleasure in mocking the British suggestions; the paper concludes that this is all MacArthur’s fault, because he is awful.
“Siamese Rice” Lord Killearn, the Special Commissioner for South-East Asia, wants to lean on Siam for the rice exports promised. The paper blames Chinese rice merchants, who have all sorts of evil motives, including a desire to send food to China, even though one might think that that last was a charitable impulse. (It is not. Chinese rice merchants are horrible, says the paper, which clearly does not need Chinese subscribers.) Anyway, short of increasing the price paid for rice, the world is at a loss as to what to do.
|Take it from a grocer. Thailand really is the rice capital of the world.|
“Trouble in Tripolitania” Anglophile Italians in Libya are upset at the British for not letting them run the country more. This, of course, “damages British prestige,” and, as a result, the local Berbers and Arabs are becoming more anti-British. The Russians have also permitted local elections in Saxony, and the Ensa is being wound up. The paper takes a moment to be snide about the talents of Ensa performers, British performers who did not want to tour, and the Government that refused to “put them in battledress.”
“The Economics of Coal” Peak production of bituminous coal in the United States was set in 1944 at 620 million tons. So far in 1946 it is 23% below that, and 17% below 1945. Company earnings were solid, but this masks grave concerns. For example, coal production hit 579 million tons as long ago as 1918, and while industrial production is up 213% since 1920, coal production is up only 9%. This shows that the industry has failed to grow with industry in general. Fuel oil and natural gas consumption, meanwhile, has grown rapidly. Reductions in the amount of coal needed per ton-mile or kilowatt-hour have been between 16 and 62%, and the real price of coal has been falling from 1890 to 1916, and subsequently rising, so that by 1945 it was 89% higher than in 1916. And while coal prices have been rising, natural gas prices, in particular, have been falling. This is largely because of the cost of loading and transport, which is not “elastic,” as that of natural gas is. The more coal is used, the more expensive it becomesby comparison with fuel oil and natural gas!
“The End of the Primaries” “The public reaction against the Truman Administration has firmly fastened [the Republican] Old Guard in the saddle.” Meanwhile, the Democrats seem to be moving leftwards, with many candidates opposed by the CIO being rejected.
“Past Labour Day” It is thought that the American labour force has risen just about as high as it can go, and so therefore any further rise in employment must mean a fall in productivity away from its current, post-war peak. Labour is upset at rising commodity prices, and there is now a freight car shortage. Wall Street continues to slump. Bad news, says the paper with a gleeful smile.
The paper is also pessimistic about the housing plan, where Wyatt has made some concessions to private builders, cotton, where there is a shortage leading to high prices which will somehow make things worse for American farmers, and coal. I’m not even sure what the problem is in coal, where output is up since the strike, and so are prices and wages. Also, the Army is allowing union drives at Oak Ridge, where the AFL and CIO are consequentially squabbling. American grain export targets have been raised, and restrictions on grain supplies for white bread and brewing reduced.
The World Overseas
“The Italian Economy” Everything is terrible.
“Sweden andInflation” Everything is terrible.
“Latin American Dilemma” Everything is. .. Oh, seriously! Italy’s problem is that it cannot afford to import grain, so people are starving, even if our correspondent cannot find them. (The question is whether official figures are really capturing the nation's grain production. If it is not, then Italy's hunger problem is much less serious than appears, although its government problem is a great deal worse.) Sweden’s problem is that a boom in industry, construction and wages is accompanied by rising wages, and a recent revaluation of the currency hasn’t resulted in any changes even though it happened weeks ago. At least these things belong in the newspaper, though. The issue in “Latin America” is that there have been some demonstrations in Argentina. An unthinkable development!
The Business World
The recent international wool auctions might be construed as having gone well, so the paper spends a page and a half explaining why this is not actually the case. It is then on about “Cheap Money and ‘Unfunding.” I think I understand this. As the rate of interest in the market is lowered, something that the Chancellor of the Exchequer and Bank of England can cause to happen, the return on bonds falls. So whenever the Government rolls over wartime securities, it can secure a lower interest rate, and “unfund” the national debt, which is what the paper says instead of, oh, say, “the government saves money on interest.” From here it launches onto an arcane discussion of the way that money is held. And then it turns out that I am wrong, and that “unfunding” actually means “turning debt into money,” and that this will OF COURSE have bad effects. (Inflation, if you must know.)
Oh, Good Heavens. The lead note is about appointments to the Steel Board, and from there downhill to some fine-tuning of Bretton Woods, some banking news, an attempt to explain the sell-off on Wall Street, and finally some news that is actually vaguely applicable to the real world (a Rhodesian copper strike.) The Monthly Digest shows a falling off of deliveries of industrial products, mostly due to summer vacations, but also due to various shortages. There is a linseed oil shortage due to Argentina being almost the sole seller and unable to meet world needs, and the current stockpile of winter coal is 5.5 million tons lower than in July of 1945, suggesting that the final, October numbers will be “close to the minimum necessary.” This will not mean shortages severe enough to cause “widespread unemployment,” but a 3% loss of industrial output can be expected. The first anniversary of the rise in cocoa prices in West Africa has not led to disaster, although the proposed marketing board still does not exist. The Government is sending missions to East and West Africa to investigate oil seed production with an eye to increasing it.
|West African peanut stew. Recipe here.|
West African farmers need to be brought into the cash economy, perhaps by increased imports of consumer goods; while in east Africa changes in land tenure will be needed to resettle various group, leading to viable ground nut industries. Hides and skins are somewhat scarce. Wine imports, especially from the Empire, are up. They grow wine in the Empire? Where?
Yes, yes, there are many fine Australian wines, etc, etc.
Appended at the very end are the conclusions of the successful commission on shipboard radio navigation aids. Decca has won out, and the Americans are likely to manoeuvre for LORAN, perhaps meaning that ships will have to carry both, which will be inconvenient.
Flight, 12 September 1946
Eight pages of ads to leaf through before we reach the editorial material. The paper might be having trouble getting articles, but there is no shortage of advertisers.
“Export” The SBAC is having a show with the RAE at the Handley Page Airfield on the subject of “buy our planes with your Yankee dollars. They’re ever so fine!”
“Engine Reliability” The paper seems to be taking the crash of the Star Leader pretty casually. I know that you will be shaking the letter in frustration and muttering about how many people Don Bennett will be allowed to kill before he is fired, and this is one case where I hope that you are wrong. Anyway, the point seems to be that you cannot abuse your engines indefinitely, or your planes will fall out of the sky and kill 24 people or so.
“A Tentative Record?” In case you were wondering why the talk about the attempt on the speed record vanished from the paper last week, it is because it has been getting very difficult because of the weather, and this week, at last, an official trial at the disappointing-but-still-record-breaking speed of 616mph was turned in, and so the High Speed Flight is going to pack it in for the season if next weekend goes bad
The “Jet Spiteful” (E.10/44) exists, and only a mother could love it.
|The two-tone paint scheme cleans up the design very nicely.|
“Tomorrow’s Aircraft” The paper points out that the Brabazon I will be very big, that the Brabazon II will also be very big, and a flying boat, to boot, that the A.W. 55 will be aero-airscrew-turbino-engine-powered (Because it would be giving in to vulgar Americanisms to say “turboprop”!), that the Vickers V.C. 2 will be splendid, that the de Havilland type will be a flying wing, that Handley Page is still trying to push its trash out the door, and that Miles Aircraft is still promising to deliver the Marathon.
|In defence of the Brabazon scheme, Handley Page rescued the Marathon and the VC-2 turned into the Vickers Viscount, so 2/6!|
“The 1000mph M. 52” The Miles supersonic test plane that won’t be built has quite a nice model at the RAE display.
Here and There
Bristol is bringing out a 2 litre Frazer-Nash Bristol with a six-cylinder engine of 1,971 cubic inches with detachable aluminum cylinder head and overhead valves set at 90 degrees. The Autocar has quite a nice feature on it, so pick up the latest number of The Autocar today, wherever fine magazines are sold!
|Now that's "Britain can build it"!|
The WAAF is to have a not-a-beauty-pageant to pic out the “smartest and most representative airwoman” for recruiting posters. “Chief interest in the ‘Designs for the Future’ section of the ‘Britain Can Make It’ exhibition, opening in the Victoria and Albert Museum on September 24th, will doubtless be centred in Mr. Warnett Kennedy’s Space Ship. The designer of this futuristic aircraft is said to have been greatly influenced in his ideas on inter-planetary flight by the potentialities of atomic power. In the light of scientific progress to date, few people would be so rash” as to deny that we are going to spend our next summer vacation on Mars.
|Warnett Kennedy's space ship isn't coming up on Google images. But what the heck, this is. Devil Girl from Mars, if you were wondering.|
“Military Miscellany” A six page insert of “new and familiar types” shown at the Radlett show, including the military version of the Airspeed Ambassador, the Auster VI Gipsy Major VII, Blackburn Firebrand V, Bristol Brigand TF Mk I, De Havilland Mosquito 34 photo-recon type, General Aircraft Hamilcar X transport glider, Hawker Fury I and Sea Fury X, Heston AOP model, Saunders-Roe flying-boat jet fighter(!!) model, Short Sturgeon, Supermarine Seafang, possibly the E.10/44 Supermarine, and a model or drawing or some such of the S.14/44 amphibian flying boat withRolls-Royce Griffon engine and variable-incidence, fully slotted wing. Westland will finally show its Welkin, and there will be various trainers.
|OMG. The original design had a four-gun turret? I bet that whoever wrote that specification could explain the Blackburn Roc.|
“Civil Aircraft at the SBAC Show: wide Range of Types: Fir Airline, Charter and Private Ownership” Airspeed will show its Consul, Armstrong-Whitworth will have a model of its AW55, Auster will show off its small planes, Avro will show all of its Lancaster transports except the York, Bristol will show its 170, Cunliffe-Owen will have some nice models, including its Cierva helicopters, De Havilland will have a Dove, Handley Page will have junk, Miles will have glib promises and evasions, Percival will have its Merganser; Portsmouth Aviation will use its invitation to hover over the refreshments table, getting drunk and dumping whole trays of cheese and crackers into its suspiciously large pockets, Saunders-Roe will show a model of its giant flying boat, Short will give every Sunderland ever made its own class name, and Vickers will show a Viking.
“Britain’s Latest Military and Civil Aircraft” Given all those ads at the head, it is not enough to repeat these details once. A third time will give the advertisers their money’s worth. Though, to be fair, there are new mentions of the Hornet, Spearfish, Firefly, Vampire, Meteor, Lincoln and Martin Baker M.B.V.
“Turbines at the Show: Synoptic Survey of Current British jet and Turbine/Airscrew Power Units on Exhibition” All the turbine engines that already exist are mentioned.
“Piston Engines Displayed: General Review of the Reciprocating-Type Engines Exhibited” I was leafing through old volumes of the paper at the university the other day in a vain attempt to find out when work on the Kestrel started, and there are pages from my childhood that look exactly like this, mainly because the only engines deemed worthy of mention on the first page are assorted Cirrus and Alvis types. (Well, there’s a Centaurus at the bottom, so only almost.) The point seems well-taken, though. Someone might still buy a Bristol radial and put it in an airliner, if they can get over the costs of fitting out a repair shop to deal with sleeve valves; but the window is rapidly closing, leaving the only market for new piston engines as small types for light duties.
“Radio and Radar Demonstrations” The Ministry of Civil Aviation is putting on demonstrations for PICAO delegates.
In shorter news, there is to be a British Air Charter Association, and the trade unions are fighting over who gets to represent ground engineers. The TUC is displeased with the Amalgamated Engineers’ Union, but what else is new?
“Flight’s Camera at Folkestone” The paper’s society photographer was at the Folkestone air show to take pictures of the airminded, with occasional diversions into something a bit more fashionable.
|Wing Commander Kendall had a good war as a photographic interpreter. I have no idea what's on with the wife, who looks a great deal younger, but there's hordes of Kendalls in the RAF nowadays, so I'm going to be optimistic.|
“Exhibitors at Radlett: Complete Alphabetical Guide to Nearly 200 Show Stands Where Ordinary and Associate Members of the SBAC Display Their Products” I had, of course, completely summarised this entire article for you, but then little Jay-Jay ate it. What a terrible little boy he is! Now you will never know about Desoutter’s latest, the “Mighty Atom.”
The Economist, 14 September 1946
“Another 1929?” Two weeks’ worth of declines on Wall Street have naturally led people to worry that another Great Depression is at hand. American commentators say that this is ridiculous, since stocks have not been bought with borrowed money, that, on the contrary, the country has never been so debt free. The paper replies that since stocks have fallen so sharply, the fact that prices have not been inflated by ignorant investors means that it is even more serious. The paper supposes that the moment of reckoning, when the American consumer cannot consume any more, must be near at hand. When they do stop spending, and resume saving, the factories will close, the workforce will be thrown into unemployment, and the “interesting question” of whether they can be quickly shifted to more remunerative work will finally be asked. The paper supposes that the current fall is an advanced warning of this, so more like the decline in the stock market in the spring of 1929 than the one in the autumn of 1929. It will be September of 1947 when the world’s economy collapses. Possibly.
“World Food Plans” The FAO continues to talk about a “World Food Bank” to stabilise prices and combat hunger. The paper peers into its crystal ball and foresees a combination of unsellable food surpluses and global famine in poor countries which cannot afford food. Then everything will be horrible.
“Public Health” The Chief Medical Officer of the Ministry of Health has a report out On the State of Health During the Six War Years. It was surprisingly good, mainly due to the fortunate avoidance of all sorts of epidemics which could have occurred. Now, the paper can look forward to the national health insurance initiative and see that the Government is facing a “colossal task.”
“Germany Faces the Winter” Germany is in for a hard winter due to the shortage of food and coal. Various financial and administrative reforms are needed, and public opinion should stop complaining about Germany getting food aid. Also, the Zone authorities ought to see about paying German coal miners more to increase production.
Notes of the Week
“Mr. Byrnes in Stuttgart” Mr. Byrnes gave a nice speech about how America is going to make sure that Germany does not remain in the poorhouse of Europe.
At the Uno, there has been talk about whether Greece is awful, mainly having to do with its territorial claims against Albania, and about the lack of accommodation in Paris. The current talks about the Palestine situation continue to lack Palestinians.
“Squatter’s‘Hubris’” London squatters have launched an “obviously preconceived and large-scale attack on luxury flats in Kensington.”[pdf] The paper is appalled, and thinks that “the people” will support any efforts the Government makes against the squatters. Although at the same time, thousands of families of squatters should not be moved, as they have effectively resolved some serious problems by finding themselves accommodations.
|Squatters move their furniture into the Duchess of Bedford House, Campden Hill, Kensington, 1946. Source" randompottins.blogspot.|
In labour news, the closed shop controversy continues and has become linked to talk of sector-wide bargaining, while the paper hopes for a “new spirit in the mines” and for a cabinet shuffle, although that would be Labour news, not labour.
“The Chinese Civil War” The paper makes the point that it is not an issue of fronts and territories controlled as which side the various bodies of troops turn out to be on. The paper is also concerned about talk of an autonomous communist state in northern Manchuria, a “Chinese Azerbaijan,” as it were.
"I have no children to sell/Only this flower drum on my back" --traditionallly attributed to the first emperor of Ming.
“No Industrial Revolution Yet” Mr. Baruch’s report to the United Nations underlines that there is no immediate prospect of atomic power for all yet. Atomic power faces such a large capital cost that it is very difficult to finance. Any future atomic power projects will depend very heavily on the rate of interest. If coal prices remain high, atomic power will gradually replace it. If full technical efficiency ends the malaise in coal, it will not. (Oil is not in the picture, as the world’s supply of oil is too limited.)
“Bread Upon the Waters” The paper finally gets the kind of news it likes about the state of the harvest, as six weeks of wind and gales may have greatly reduced the harvest and posthumously justified the introduction of bread rationing. A labour shortage is also affecting the harvest, and so does a significant reduction in the amount of land in tillage compared with temporary grass, which the Government is going to remedy in the new year, by regulation if necessary. The weather has also ruined the first family vacation season in seven years, and led to speculation that the Bikini tests had something to do with it. The paper wonders if the climate is changing. After all, the average temperature in London has been rising since 1850, and one might suppose that ancient civilisation was hardly possible if it was as dry in Egypt and Greece as it is today. All in all, it concludes, English weather is good for the English soul.
|"The incomparable Dejah Thoris of Barsoom" [as portrayed by Lynn Collins of Earth, eons less advanced in the inevitable progression of worlds from their Venusian state of humidity, jungle, and savagery to their end state of Martian aridity, canals, and decadence.] Look, an astronomer made this stuff up. How can it not be good science? Okay, never mind. Let's just keep on subsituting racial-panic displacing narratives for science until the biosphere boils away.|
“Safety in the Air” The British South American and two Air France disasters raise the usual question: is air travel safe? Well, first of all, my father-in-law says that it is certainly not going to be safe if you let a bastard like Bennett run your airline. The paper ends the section by talking about training the civil service and apologising for confusing one Bulgarian with another.
|"Bennett was not a popular leader: a personally difficult and naturally aloof man, he earned a great deal of respect from his crews but little affection."|
G. G. Eastwood, of the Printing and Kindred Trades Profession writes on the subject of liberty and the unions, to the effect that the unions’ demand for a forty-hour week is a demand for less hours, and not for more overtime. The paper cannot resist replying that a forty-hour week is just impossible, and so it is a demand for more money, that is, for overtime for the last five hours, which must be worked. Two authors think that unions are terrible, and W. N. Leak, of Dingle House, Winsford, Cheshire, is of the fresh and novel opinion that it will all lead to Russian-style totalitarianism. E. H. Dean, of the Technical College, Coventry, is most upset at Mr. Stone’s letter, which implies that “permanent inflation” is permissible if it can only be accurately measured. It is not, Mr. Dean thinks. Inflation is a tax on saves, and must never, ever be allowed.
“Competition at Sea” An American Correspondent shows that the American merchant marine pays its seamen too much, and so cannot be competitive, and suggests that it is in large part the unions fault. There follows a shorter note on the AFL mariners’ strike which has now broken out.
“Against Big Business” Secretary Wallace “stands at the back” of a new movement to invigorate American antitrust action, which the paper thinks has hardly accomplished anything over the previous sixty years.
“The Shadow of 1948” Mr. Roosevelt casts a shadow forward, and the 1948 Presidential election casts it backwards, but they are both the same shadow, because President Truman is not President Roosevelt. Also, Governor Dewey may be the candidate in 1948.
“Manpower and the Army” Selective Service will have to take up 185,000 men to maintain the Army at 1.2 million, because volunteering has dropped off so far. This is not surprising given the high employment rate, but has led to demands for a reduction in unemployment insurance, because there are still 1.2 million men registered as unemployed, and 1.8 million veterans receiving the 52-20 benefits.
“Construction for Prosperity” Speaking of 2.2 million men unemployed for some reason, the question of whether construction “can reinforce business activity” has come up. America needs 10 million homes, but building them might prove difficult. As near as I can tell from the article, apart from shortages of skilled labour and construction material, there is the question of the lag between effective demand and actual construction, which acts to discourage investment. (Since by the time the house is built, there might be a new Great Depression, etc.)
How odd. On the one hand, in spite of very high employment, unemployment insurance rolls are high, too. On the other, in spite of high demand, there is far too little new home construction being registered. This is in part due to the diversion of scarce building materials onto the black market, where, presumably, it is all being used to build resorts in Las Vegas. A lot of resorts. But what other possible explanation could there be? In unrelated news, we finally have contractors working on eight of the house lots in the bottom corner. (Up from five, but the surveyor's report shows that the original McKay exemption was rather larger than allowed!!!)
|This isn't what I went to Google Images for, but whatever. Lloyd Alter posted this image of a 1946 "Airform" house by California architect Wallace Neff on treehugger.com in 2008.|
“Inquest on WPB” The Mead Committee is hearing testimony on who was more awful during the war, the War Production Board or the War Mobilisation Board; the Army or the New Deal.
Shorter notes include comment on the “irresponsible press” predicting war before Christmas, even as The New Yorker prints an entire special issue on the effects of the Hiroshima bombing; the rapid rise in the price of meat; and suggestions that the primary victories of Senators Bilbo and McKellar be disallowed on grounds of interference with the vote in he first case and overspending in the second. Unfortunately, it is not clear that the Corrupt Practices Act applies to party primaries as well as elections.
The Business World
“Still Dearer Transport” Rail traffic is down on the war, leading to a deficit in receipts, leading to an application for higher rates.
“Farm Machinery” Full technical efficiency, etc. Though, to its credit, the paper declines to take the opportunity to call for combine-harvesters on all English farms (and so also larger farms), and instead insists on the extension of utilities to all farms.
“Wall Street –and London” I merge two notes into one, as the point is the same. The markets are down, and no-one knows why, which allows the writer to speculate on whether Mr. Molotov or Mr. Dalton might be the cause. The writer is very much in the paper’s style, since he is not-at-all-hoping-on-the-contrary-quite-alarmed that the American sell off might be the beginning of the great American Depression of 1946/1947/What’s Keeping It?
“Prodding the Small Saver –And Bribing the Large” Since the trick of combining two notes separated by a dash worked so well above, I will do it again. The point is that the cheap money policy requires prodding/bribing, as determined by the size of the savings. I suppose that the paper might conclude that it will all end in tears if I read the rest of it.
There follows a couple of bits that get the traditional “Latins are excitable” summary. (Argentinian talks, a new Anglo-French trade agreement, a revaluation of the franc to check inflation.) Also devaluing, the Turks. Anglo-Russian trade is advancing, especially with a very large English purchase of softwood in Russia. No, I do not know what is wrong with your wood, considering that I don’t think that Russia is in the sterling area any more than Canada. Something about the Steel Board, then about manpower which is basically filling space. Bank investments have declined, and the Hudson’s Bay Company showed good profits on the strength of its Canadian department stores. Tin output in Malaya and the Netherlands East Indies has recovered surprisingly well (same as rubber production; it turns out that it didn’t all go to Hell when left to Asiatic devices!) and an upcoming global price conference may provide relief to industry, although not Bolivian miners. The English wool textiles sector has conceded some wage increases.
Aviation, September 1946
Down the Years in AVIATION’s Log
Twenty-five years ago, Dirigible R-38 crashed in England, killing 44 crew members. The first crop dusting by a plane (Troy, Ohio) was deemed a success. The Australian air mail was introduced. Glenn Martin brought out a high lift wing. General Mitchell said that the entire US Atlantic Fleet could be destroyed by a single attack from the air. Fifteen years ago, a Chicago wholesaler outfitted a Ford Trimotor as an airborne grocery sampling room. Sikorsky brought out its first S-40; there were 1178 airfields in the US, up 260 from the year before; a Wright-engined Bellanca made the 4999-mile flight from New York to Istanbul in 49 hours, 19 minutes, breaking the distance record by 87 miles. Meanwhile, Frank Hawks flew Mystery Travel Air New York-Havana and return in 17h 3 minutes elapsed time. Ten years ago, China National Airlines bought some S-43s; TWA announced a 2.5 million dollar recapitalisation programme; Harold Neumann won the Shell Trophy at the National Air Races, flying his Menasco-Folkerts Special at 2243mph,
|Maybe it's because you say this|
James H. McGraw. Jr, celebrates Labour Day 1946 by urging “Time for Wise Union Leadership.” During the war, dramatic increases in labour productivity accompanied rising wages, and wise union leadership still aims for increasing productivity, as for example Walter Reuther and Philip Morris of the CIO; but since the war, too many unions have aimed for wage increases without regard for productivity, and this can only end badly. Labour must end its featherbedding and other productivity-reducing practices. Then output per man hour can go up, and so can wages –without increases in prices.
Editorial –“America Sets the Pattern to Pioneer the Supersonic”
Leslie E. Neville introduces Jack Woollams’ article about the Bell XS-1, and notes just how difficult and expensive supersonic research is likely to be, a point underlined by Mr. Woollams’ tragic death before the paper went to press, albeit in a P-39, and not a supersonic research type.
Jack Woollams, “How We Are Preparing to Reach Supersonic Speeds” The Bell XS-1 is a rocket powered aircraft, as nearly conventionally designed as possible, and as small as possible with regards to the demands of the flight. It will be lifted to 30,000ft by a B-29, from whence it is released for its trial flights. Woollam believes that he will achieve supersonic speeds when it becomes possible for the XS-1 to reach 60,000ft. Right now, it is still doing trials at 35,000 to 40,000ft.
After this there follows a complete waste of paper in the form of a debate on whether surface carriers should be allowed in air transportation.
“Though Nature Hides the Flat-Top, Radar ‘Homes’ Its Planes” A navy writer describes the way that radar is used to guide carrier aircraft back to their home ships. To be more clear, it is actually a controlled approach system that will bring the planes down on the carriers even at night, rather than a more generalised air-traffic control system, and uses a microwave radar of the same wavelength as the new bomb-aiming radar.
Raymond Hoadly, “We’re Losing Our Export Markets” Exports are being BUNGLED. It’s all because the British have sent a Vickers Viking to South America. Well just wait until those excitable Latins see a Bristol Freighter being loaded with a very small car!
Edward E. Thorp, “Inspection and Servicing of Light-Amphibian Hydraulics”.
Frank R. Brine, “Deft Dealers Make Air Shows Pay” Air Shows are where you show planes. People who want to buy airplanes come to air shows. Good dealers try to make use of this opportunity to sell planes. Bad dealers probably step on their toes and make crude passes at their wives.
David B. Thurston, Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation, “Estimating Plane Performance Via Comparison Method” I didn’t mention it, but the Thorpe article above is about the Seabee’s gear, so this is sort of a Grumman number. As near as I can tell, the article, which is long and has tables and graphs, is about how similar planes ought to have similar performances? I would probably know more , but I skipped to the end, saw a conclusion, that a twin-engined plane requires either low power loading or low wing loading if single-engine performance is required, and was too underwhelmed to go back over it.
James Montagne, “Avro Interests Start Canadian Production” Avro has taken over the Maldon works where the Government-owned Victory Aircraft used to build Lancasters and might have built Lincolns.
Paul H. Stanley, “Practical Engineering of Rotary Wing Aircraft” Mr. Stanley, of American Cierva, continues to explain why Cierva designs are better than those actually-existing helicopters that are available from real manufacturers.
K. R. Jackman, “Aircraft ‘Acoustical Problems and Possible Solutions, Part III” By far the most important technical series currently running in the paper is back for another installment.
Shorter articles describe how the C-47’s radio has been redesigned for a single operator, the new Kellett 10-place transport helicopter that doesn’t exist yet, the proposed Aero-Flight all-metal tandem two-seater, a small pusher transport being “readied” by Baumann; and the Miles Marathon,DH Chipmunk, Short Sealand and Handley Page Hastings are noted to exist more. Kaiser-Fleetwing tells the world about its YPQ-12A radio controlled robot bomber, XBQ-2A pilotless bomber, and XA-39 pointless fighter.
|Having a trend in the 1940s must have been a lot like trying to pilot a canoe while a messy drunk tried to board it without permission. A messy drunk named Henry Kaiser. On the other hand, Kaiser Permanente.|
The article about conning prospective student pilots continues.
Sideslips is so bored that it makes fun of Harold Ickes for banning low flying over national parks, and The Aeroplane for correcting someone American on the subject of which airline first served frozen food to passengers.
General Arnold told Congress that better electronics are indispensable to successful guided missiles. A dump of information on Army research programmes included an automatic rocket launcher, guided bombs for attacking German submarine pens, flying tanks (actually glider-tanks), and a “rocket hydrobomb” which travelled at 70mph below the surface. The Navy wants us to know that some Mcdonnell FD-1 Phantoms have gone to sea. The War Assets Administration has revamped its sales policies, and military unification failed to go through Congress before adjournment. The XB-36, Edo XOSE-1 and Curtiss SC-2 Seahawk exist more. While Arnold told Congress about electronics, General Everett Hughes dropped by to tell Congress that the Army is working hard on better missiles than the V-2. Only 66 military aircraft were accepted by the two services in June, in spite of the vast amount of money being spent on air appropriations. Someone could squint at that and conclude that the American people aren’t getting their money’s worth. The CAB’s action on non-scheduled airlines might be seen as being bad for veteran war pilots finding work with the charter lines. The Cierva W-9 exists more.
Worlddata –by “Vista”
“Vista” notices that American negotiations for air landing rights under the “Fifth Freedom” provisions of the Chicago Agreement have proven disastrous. It turns out that its negotiating partners want something in return!
Fortune, September 1946
“What Do They Mean, Enterprise?” The Republican Party is always telling the American voter that it is the party of “free” enterprise. But what would that really mean? This issue of the paper profiles the late Henry Simons, a professor at the University of Chicago who used to argue that a successful system of free enterprise actually took hard work on the government’s part to ensure competitive conditions and regulate the boom-and-bust cycle. Looking at recent developments in Congress, the paper says, Republican leaders could stand to pay attention. The paper then takes Bob Taft out into the alley bats him to death with a baseball bat labelled "tariffs," thrusts the bloody instrument into Dick Byrd’s hands and makes a quick escape through Congress, naming names as it goes. The paper has opinions about who should be the GOP nominee in 1948, and it is not Taft.
“A New Start in Germany” Merging the American and British zones is big news, but it is boring, administrative news, and I do not need to read two series of leaders followed by substantive articles about it.
“Reconversion, U.Ss. Style” Rich Americans are celebrating like it is 1929. Needless to say what comes next! (And this was written before the stock market crash!)
This weeks Fortune Survey is about the “battle of the sexes” at work. The survey shows that it is not as bad as all that, with the exception that attitudes held by both men and women hold women back at work.
“The Politburo” Russia isn’t just run on Comrade Stalin’s say so. It actually has a “Politburo” of fourteen members. The paper explains who they are, what they do, and what kind of table they sit around. (Green baize.)
“Revolution in Rayon: A Continuous Process for Viscous Yarn, Spurned by the Competition, Has Made High Profits and History for Cleveland’s Industrial Rayon Corporation” Hiram Rivitz, of Cleveland’s IRC, has made a lot of money.
There is some question as to how much the patent was actually worth in the early days. Presumably, there is some reason that Courtauld didn’t license it in the United States, for example
|Fortune seems to be grossly simplifying the task of producing commercial rayon thread. Here is a glam shot of someone supervising thread warping at the Courtauld's works, from this awesome collection of archival photographs.|
, and it may be that the license fee was too high in the early days, when the main advantage was a reduction in manpower, and Industrial Rayon was mainly known for cheap, spool-run thread.
“The Armed Forces: After the Greatest Rout in Military History, the U.S. Has a Surplus of Weapons, 2.2. Million ‘Bodies,’ And a Two-Year Job of Training and Reorganisation” The idea that the rapid draw down of the army’s strength was a “rout” has been around –did I pick it up in Time? I’m not quite sure what the point is.
“Fowler McCormick: Self-Made Man” Fowler McCormick is the grandson of John D. Rockefeller and Cyrus McCormick. He is the chairman of the family company, International Harvester, and by all accounts a somewhat eccentric former companion of Dr. Jung and an aficionado of exotic Oriental religions. (You know, the kind that actual Orientals are entirely unaware of.) If the “self-made man” thing isn’t completely a joke, it refers to a stunt in which Fowler worked in the company incognito for a few years before being made chairman.
|The special look of a man who has never learned to shave himself. His father, Harold, has recently shown up in these pages directly as the husband of Ganna Walska, and indirectly much earlier as one of the recipients of Serge Voronoff's animal endocrine transplant operations.|
“The Testament of Henry Simon” Henry Simon is introduced with a quote from his “devastating critique” of the Beveridge Plan. He really didn’t like socialism, it turns out. Rather, he was a “libertarian,” whatever that means. He thought that capitalism was best, but only if monopolies were controlled, and monetary policy were effective in checking booms and deflations. He hated the New Deal, and believed that monetary reform would have sufficed to bring America back from the Crash. Government should aim to keep prices stable (or increasing at a low and predictable rate), rather than aim at keeping unemployment low, or, indeed, at any target whatsoever. Instead of public works spending to counter business depressions, it would be just as easy for the government to cut taxes without cutting spending. He thought government borrowing wrong, and hence his proposal for a system that consisted solely of dollars and “consols.” He was hostile to trade-unionism as a particularly pernicious kind of monopoly, liked the British Empire, and died before he could tell us what he thought of the peace.
“Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company” The paper puffs the P and O.
“Thrust” The paper’s enthusiasm for aviation is charming, but we’ve heard all this before. Pistons, then turboprops, then ramjets, then rockets. Faster and higher, to the stars and beyond!
|They're talking about spaceships. In Fortune. In 1946.|
“Jet Propulsion” The U.S. Is Behind” True!
“57 Street” The paper describes New York’s art market, which is headquartered on 57th Street. This is a much longer and more detail-rich article then the one about jet engines, and I spent a lot more time on it. Unfortunately, there’s not much reason for me to tell you about it here!
|So the reading room for UBC's old technical and business journals is also its Fine Arts Library. True fact!|
Shorts and Faces
Douglas Leigh[!], the “Boy Sign King,” bought three blimps from the Navy with the idea of using them as aerial billboards, only to discover that they were expensive to operate. However, he managed to sell his space, and is now on the market for 13 more. The SEC is taking aim at the highly irregular business of the sale of American Engineering, Inc. Clifford Pascoe’s line of business in Artek-Pascoe Finnish-designed furniture is doing very well. So is Motty Eitington’s fur business.
The Farm Column
Ladd Haystead asks whether farmers can afford their new machines. Farmers do not actually use their bright, shiny new equipment very much. For example, an average Iowa tractor plow is only operated for 16 days in the year, and a regular tractor, the most intensively used, 79 days. Keeping capital costs down requires being efficient in machinery purchases. Tractor attachments make more sense than specialised equipment, with a manure spreader the current best seller. As a result, manufacturers insist that tractors will have to be redesigned to make them sturdier –and more expensive. One new attachment worth noting is a kind of forklift, used, for example, to stack pallets of fruit boxes in the California orchards. Hmm. . . Allis-Chalmers and Massey-Ferguson have both hit on another way of selling tractors, by making them more comfortable.
|I guess this is where the nitride-case-hardened transmission gears come in.|
Westinghouse is trying to “cartelise” Mexican electrical engineering through its relationship with Industria Electrica de Mexico. Foreign bonds are selling well on Wall Street, including Japanese, German and Imperial Russian(!) bonds. The Middle East is entering a business recession, and there is good money in selling used cars in Britain.