Saturday, July 7, 2018

Postblogging Technology, May 1948, I: Jigging For Subtext

She just wants to be alone!

R_. C_.,
The Waldorf,
New York, New York,

Dear Father:

Here I am back in California, and you're off to the East again! I understand, though. A Celanese contract would be very sweet. Speaking of the industry, there is also some movement on newsprint pulp in Newfoundland. It is buried deep in my letter, but Labour is backing away from the stringent early limits on newsprint next year. Whether that means the syndicate can salvage the new Newfoundland pulp mill is another question. I'm just a simple flyboy, but it seems to me that a mainland site would be a better idea, anyway. 

Speaking of flying, I've been billeted at Arcanta, but I have a plane, so it is easy to get down to San Francisco. Ronnie and Miss K.'s apartment is nice, if cramped. I don't think Miss K. likes me very much. Well, I don't like her boyfriend, so it's sort-of mutual.

I'm also a little surprised that she has a boyfriend, but what do I know of the ways of the human heart? I would tell you a bit more about the Arcanta flying, but so far I'm less than impressed with the Navy's approach to things. Better runway lights are all very well, but I am aching to try out those British automatic-landing gadgets I read about. And the less said about Fido, the better.  

Your Son,

Strange question in 1948.

The Economist, 2 May 1948


"What Shall We Do To Be Saved?" The Economist is pleased that Parliament didn't blow up or whatever over Cripps' budget, especially because Labour members were more upset than Conservative, give or take Conservatives being upset all the time over everything Labour does. Does that mean everything's good? Not a bit of it! The budget is all about how everything will be be good some day, when the dollar shortage is over, and that's just silly. Yes, The Economist has to concede that the dollar shortage can't be a thing that Labour did, since Labour doesn't run the whole world. It's also true that the end of the current inflationary run-up will fix most of what's wrong. Nonetheless! Britain is exporting too little, and importing too much, and has been for a long time. And, in spite of the numbers that show that Britain imports food and exports machinery, and used to export coal back in the day when its imports and exports balanced, the problem isn't in agriculture or coal, but in manufacturing. For if only full technical efficiency were achieved, Britain would export even more! Instead, until the day that full technical efficiency is achieved, Britain should fix its problems by yelling at labour and management more, since they must be awful at their jobs, given that the editors of business newspapers can do them better. 

If that's too many words, perhaps I can summarise by saying that I'm back, and so is Crowther.

"The Sterling Area" Leading Articles in The Economist aren't signed, so I can't tell you that this one is by Geoff Crowther, but if it isn't, this parody has Fat Boy dead to right. After introducing the idea that there is "pressure on the Sterling Area," it goes on to explain the Sterling Area and sketch its history, before arriving, in the last paragraph, after something on the order of 5000 words, at the "news" that the Americans now think that Sterling Area policies should be revised somehow, as will be explained in a future installment. Thanks for reading!

I honestly can't believe The Economist's reputation as something worth reading survived Crowther, as opposed to being glumly consulted for interesting statistics.

"Freedom of Information" The Economic and Social Council of the United Nations has had a hard but productive working session in Geneva that has led it to conclude that freedom of information is a fundamental right, and that something should be done about damaging false news. Unfortunately, Russians are bad and censor news, while Americans are bad, and put pressure on countries that try to foster national news syndicates that compete with American firms. As a result, foreign correspondents sometimes have difficulty reporting the news, which is why Freedom of Information is hard. 

Notes of the Week

 "Goats and Nenni-Goats" If some of the 5000 words spent on explaining that the Sterling Area was a voluntary association of countries that pooled their foreign exchange could have been saved somehow, there might be room to explain what the "Nenni telegram" was, and why it is important that the Labour members who signed on to it might be expelled from the party, and what it has to do with "Saragat" and the "Hague idea of Western Union." But, alas, editors have to make choices.

"Problems for the TUC" The TUC is to have an inquiry into union restrictionism, which will take some time and perhaps produce some results, and has decided not to pitch a fit over profits, which is good for the Government.

"Hanging in the Lords" The House of Lords had a debate over capital punishment, which some people support because of rising crime and disorder, and others dislike, because of cruelty. Law Lord Oaksey, wants to bring back whipping and hard labour. 

"Teeth in the Brussels Treaty" The Brussels Treaty signatories have formed a Permanent Military Committee of defence ministers who are now rushing about putting "military precautions" in place. This is good, because events in Palestine and Berlin have everyone's teeth on edge, what with the Russians perhaps about to invade everyone and purge them. 

"Dalton Doctrine for Europe" Hugh Dalton thinks that the Western Union better be friendly to socialism, given that Britain is one of a number of socialistically-governed countries in it. The Economist frets that it also has "Rightist" governments, and that France and Germany might soon have very "Rightist" governments indeed, and what about them? "No friends on the Right" might prove to be as dangerous a slogan as "no enemies on the Left."

"Scandinavia and the West" The Scandinavians won't join the Western Union.

"Monopoly Bill Under Fire," "Electoral Reform" and "Motor Spirit Bill" cover two bills proceeding through Parliament. The Economist doesn't like the Monopoly Bill, because while it's against monopolies, it is also against anti-trust legislation. It likes the Boundary Commission and dislikes the Motor Spirit Bill because mean old policemen might put people in jail for having too much gasoline in their tanks, on the road or perhaps in their garages.

"Oil and the Palestine War" Haifa refinery distills 4 million tons of refined petroleum  per year, including 2.2 million tons of fuel oil, 700,000 tons of gas oil, 650,000 tons of gasoline, and 350,000 tons of kerosene. It is fed by an oil pipeline from Iraq, and has now ceased operations because the pipeline is blocked and the employees are having a civil war, which you might not have heard about.   This is especially annoying for the British, because they take 225,000 tons of the output, and the Haifa refinery is partially in the Sterling bloc. However, it will also affect the people of Palestine, which is definitely something to keep an eye on, and also there is a world wide shortage of refinery capacity, don't you know, and that might have implications somewhere, somehow, like for instance the American gas shortage that we don't have time to explain here. 

"Prodigal Son of the Pacific" Everyone now thinks that Japan is just fine, because of communism. 

"New Vice-President for China" The Koumintang Congress selected Li Tsung-jen as vice-president, showing that the reform faction is taking charge of deck-chair rearranging, as President Generalissimo Chiang noted on his way to a surprise lifeboat inspection.  

"Liberals in Conference" The Liberal Party had a conference, at which some resolutions were much too left wing for The Economist. An equally interesting note a bit later discusses a plan to increase the number of counties in Wales. 

"Higher Housing Target" The Government will soon announce an increased housing target from the 140,000 units approved by the House "some little time ago." Since the country still can't afford more timber imports, this must meant that either the Government is appeasing the building trades unions, local authorities and their "house-hungry electorates," or the industry, because the target cuts were too severe, and it is running out of work.  Having placed blame where blame belongs, The Economist gets around to telling us that the new target is 180,000 houses in the second-to-last sentence of the note, and that the minister hopes to reach 200,000 completed this year, and "break the back of the shortage," in the last sentence. Although I'm being a tiny bit unfair, in that the last sentence is three lines long,so that I could say "final paragraph."
Words can't express just how bad this editor is. Or, they can, but only if they go in a really long sentence at the very end of a long text that begins with a generalisation restating the title.
"London Traffic Congestion" Congestion continues to get worse, because while the staggered working hours scheme has seen 94,000 of 600,000 workers change their quitting times, 100,000 more insured workers are now employed in the City, and the 44 hour week has brought more salaried and shop workers' quitting time into the 4:30--5:30 band. One scheme for changing this is to have restaurants, theatres and cinemas shift their hours later, so that people going out for the evening don't have to venture onto the streets during peak traffic. 

Baron Brand signs himself "Brand,"  but I assume it is he. Check out the Wiki for some serious "persistence of the old regime" stuff.  Son of Viscount Hampden and a Cavendish, he married Nancy Astor's sister, and a daughter who married, consecutively, a Polk.

Lord Brand writes a very long letter about "D-Day for the Western Union" that basically boils down to the question of whether or not there should be a United States of Europe, how it should happen if it does happen, and how it shouldn't happen if it doesn't. The Editor responds in the same spirit. Aargh! G. D. N. Worswick, of Magdalen College, thinks that he might disagree with Harrod's finding that consumption is down 12% in Britain from 1938, rather than up, as the White Paper suggests, if he only had Harrod's calculations before him, which he doesn't. He therefore tries to reconstruct those calculations and show why they are wrong. The Editor explains that the calculations were omitted from the letter at The Economist's request. Lieutenant-Colonel Mervyn O'Gorman thinks that the reason that countries which have abolished capital punishment have lower murder rates is that the statistics are being fudged, although he expresses himself more sarcastically.


Documents on British Foreign Policy, 1919--39, First Series, Volume 1, 1919 and Second Series, Volume II, 1931 are out, and people are fighting over the editors' choices of which documents were included, and which weren't. A shorter notice is a nasty review of Bernard Newman's "egotistical and superficial" Baltic Background

From The Economist of 1848 The old time Economist shares racist stereotypes of the Irish and French for a few paragraphs, because the revolution is slow this week.

American Survey

"The Risk of Another Harding" If Stassen, Taft and Dewey deadlock the convention, a compromise candidate will be found, and the previous experience of "dark horse" Republican Presidential nominees is that they were terrible, and Harding was the worst and the last. The Economist thinks that it might be Governor Dwight Green of Illinois rather than Representative Martin, but ties them together through John L. Lewis and the Centralia mine disaster, somehow.

American Notes

"Troops for Palestine" The President mused about sending American troops abroad, presumably to police Palestine, and there was a backlash, so it won't happen, as fun as it would be to see green American conscripts policing Jews and Arabs. (Oy Inshallah!) Speaking of The Economist chewing over old news, there's also a long bit about Harold Stassen maybe being the GOP candidate, or the man to beat at the Convention, if he wins in Oregon and Ohio.

"Big Steel's Price Gesture" The Economist reads Big Steel's price rollback as --gasp-- a move to control inflation! It also sees the resistance to wage increases in the same light. Clearly it can't be heading off outside investment in Little Steel, or an attempt to, uhm, have more money.

"Defending Democracy at Bogota" The blowup in Bogota could not have happened at a better time for Secretary Marshall, since the deafening silence that greeted his announcement that the capital of the Export-Import Bank had been increased by $500 million shows that Latin America cares about development capital, not Communist infiltration, which is probably just an excuse for dictators to act like dictators. So a spot of supposed actual Communist trouble is just the thing. Also, the fact that the CIA kind of predicted it is good news for CIA men who happen to run Spanish-speaking agents. Though, knowing B., I can't help fearing the worst for our Latin American friends, at least if he manages to keep his job for more than a year or two.

"Salvaging the Merchant Marine" The Services are lobbying for money for shipbuilding. As noted, the industry, which hit a peak of 1.7 million workers during the war, was down to 250,000 last summer, and is now approaching 23,000. The services are hoping to goose it back up to 80,000--100,000 so that it can build enough ships to absorb the still-further increased subsidies Congress might want to vote on the pretext that it is bad if American troops and relief supplies are sent abroad under foreign flags. The Economist worries, but Uncle George points out that Congress has already pissed away a good $40 million in subsidies to less effect than the cabotage rules that keep the Hawaiian and Alaskan trades in American hands. (If there's another reason to have Alaska, he says, it hasn't been explained to him.)

The World Overseas

"Bizonia in the Marshall Plan" Reviving the German economy is the key goal of the Marshall Plan. So assured, the Germans ran out and wrote a plan under which they received 5 million tons of imported coal and 750,000 tons of semi-finished steel, and in return exported only 150,000 tons of scrap and 75,000 tons of steel. Britain promptly lost a gasket, or, as The Economist puts it, "This estimate was revised upon request." In the new version, Germany's trade deficit fell to only $1.6 billion, as scrap exports rose to 600,000t. Since this is a larger dollar deficit than is likely to be allowed the whole bizonal area, a third version was promulgated that pushed it down to $1.2 billion by doubling scrap exports to 1.2 million tons, while keeping food imports at the minimum $900 million level, and imports for industry were placed at $1 billion compared with $50 million (excluding oil) the year before. With the requisite steel, coal and cotton, Germany would then be able to hit its $790 million manufactured-goods export target. This seems to be where we are going. The Economist thinks that "the crazy German economic structure, with its labour reserves and its creaking administrative apparatus, may not be able to cope with it." There's also a long bit about the fight between Italy's socialists and communists that seems to be there to remind us that Communists are bad.

"Two Native Policies in South Africa" South Africa's 26 May 1948 general election will be fought on the issue of whether whites should be awful to Natives, or worse. "Natives" seems to include Cape Indians and Chinese. It's almost as though the word means something other than where the person was born. The United Party says that the National Party is proposing a slave state for all non-Europeans. The National Party accuses the United Party of wanting to give non-Europeans democratic rights some day. The Economist predicts a United Party victory, which is almost bad news, in that a Nationalist Party government would have to try to implement its ridiculously unworkable "apartheid" policy, which would quickly collapse.

The Business World

"The Capital Budget" Last year, The Economist tried to put together a "capital budget" that was either an honest attempt to establish whether the Government's investment programme that might have reached £1600 million would be inflationary; or a naked hit job on the housing programme, since the proles don't need rooms of their own if it means taxes and currency controls so stringent that one can't even fly over to Gstaad for a ski weekend at New Years. Either way, it was a very important crisis, and eventually there was a White Paper that proposed cuts in the capital budget that was all wrong, because it wanted to cut factories instead of apartment buildings. This year, the Chancellor has decided that since people won't save enough money to cut inflation, he will save it for them with a gigantic budget surplus, which is terrible because taxes. So it is important to try to reconstruct the capital budget for this year to prove that something (houses) has to give, leading to something something tax cuts.

That's this year. Since it is so hard to sort out what capital investment might be, and where it came from, estimates for 1946 and 1947 show great variation, and the highest ones imply that if everything goes as it has (apartment buildings), inflation will take off, leading to the end of civilisation.

However, thanks to the big giant budget surplus this year, all will be very well at expected levels of "private capital formation," which is to say, "savings," and so the capital investment cuts can be reversed, supplies of steel and so on permitting.

There follows a long note on a Commission that is looking into wholesale merchants in Britain that I forgot to take notes on before I cut two clips from. I hope it's not important!

Business Notes

The first two notes cover issues that have come up over the Special Contribution in the Finance Bill; foreign trusts and and expense claims.

"No Increase in Coal Prices?" The National Coal Board says that there will be no increase in coal prices unless they are necessary. The Economist detects something rotten smell wafting from the closed rooms where the financial statements are being drafted, all the worse because a recent decision to increase domestic coal supplies, when steelmakers still can't get enough hard coal suitable for making steel efficiently. This presumably shows political interference. A note on "Marshall Supplies" clocks in with the observation that nothing has been sorted out yet, and Britain probably won't get enough.

"World Shipbuilding at Peak?" The total amount of ship tonnage under construction is beginning to decrease, and so is Britain's share, to a mere 54.6%. The decline (24,000t from 2,138,374t) is so small that it probably just reflects delays in fitting out due to reduction in working hours (less overtime, I'm sure), but while orders haven't declined, planned starts for next quarter, have. This might reflect shortage of steel in part, but the main issue is shortage of electrical equipment, hence fitting out, as noted.

There are then bits about the Amalgamated Engineering Union's wage claims and South Africa's devaluation of the South African pound against gold, which seems to be an attempt to check the inflow of British capital due to buying all that gold, and the state of Vickers Group's financial reserves, which is important since it has to carry the company over to the next war. A note on Lancashire's (cotton) export task underlines how hard it will be to sell all of that cotton around the world, especially with the Japanese returning to the market. The gradual prewar contraction of the global cotton trade will continue, as foreign production increases.

Bits follow about foreign exchange controls in Germany and, related, the convening of multiple working groups on goods such as rubber and tin, precisely when the London Metals Exchange is set to re-open, and opinion in Malaya begins to rise over the non-payment of planters' and miners' war damage claims. It might be a bit early, The Economist thinks, to worry about a "tin surplus" when it is still holding at £500/ton. 
Say what you will about Time's politics. At least you can read an issue without wanting to crawl into bed with a bottle of White Horse whiskey. 

"Exchange for Foreign Travel" The ban on tourist travel outside the sterling area  has been lifted. Adult travellers can carry £75 outside the area, with £25 per dependent child. Business travellers will continue to apply at their banks for allocations, and special allowances for compassionate or educational travel are allowed. Travellers are warned that it is illegal to cash cheques and borrow money outside the sterling area or make other arrangements to obtain foreign currency. A note on the recent meeting of the National Dock Labour Corporation discusses efforts to get dockers to work harder now that they have achieved their lifelong dream of decasualisation. The Economist thinks that the industry should now get on with providing reasonable amenities. There is a note on how the "lamps ring" of lightbulb-producing companies is working now that exports are up and mass production equipment is a reasonable investment, and a look at the motor industry, which hit a new export record with 19,100 cars worth £5 million in March. Britain is now the largest exporter of passenger cars by number, if not value, but still lags behind the Americans on commercial vehicles. Production of 302,000 cars, against 341,000 in 1938, absorbed 250,000 workers against 220,000 and is absorbing 525,000 tons of steel a year, which means that a close eye needs to be kept on exports and receipts of foreign exchange to make sure that the industry is pulling its weight. 

Aviation Week, 3 May 1948

In its new format, this could easily be an embarrassment of riches, so I'm going to cover Aviation Week pretty quickly. 

The big story this week is new rules for aircraft procurement, which is made a little sad by the death of William S. Knudsen. 613 planes were delivered this week, as Congress nixes Forrestal's "mothball" plan: 70 Groups means 70 groups, especially when Forrestal's budget gives the Navy $7.9 billion to the Air Force's $7.3 and the Army's $7.2, enough for a mere 582,000 airmen. The Boeing strike is the third story, followed by an anodyne update on "helicopter progress," and word that the Curtiss Wright board might go to court to turn back the shareholders' revolt against Guy Vaughn.  (Lockheed shareholders are upset about a stock bonus plan.) Douglas has hinted that it is ending the DC-9 project, as jets will be along before it is ready for sale. The Avro jet engine is now in bench testing.

Aviation Week is impressed by the Athena, and reports that airlines are "puzzled" by the facilities question. CAB has issued a report justifying current fares on the grounds that the "Big Five" (American, Eastern, Northwest, TWA and United) carry most of the traffic and are doing fine. Newark airport is going to undertake a $50 million renovation, and there are signs that the air cargo rate war is coming to an end. It is reported that American airlines now have five times the lift capacity they offered at the beginning of WWII.

Editorial considers whether it is better to have a mobilisable (that is, "expansible") industry or a large mothball fleet. Predictably, Aviation Week comes down on the side of a "relatively small but well trained and equpped regular air force backed by a healthy and technically sound aircraft industry," which sounds reasonable until "small" is defined as 70 groups of 7000 active planes and 8100 reserves manned by almost 600,000 men.  

Flight, 6 May 1948


"The Picture Takes Shape" It just obviously makes sense for the rearming European powers to use all British equipment, including "aircraft, power plants, armament and a host of other things."

"Flying and Fire Risks" Last week, F. R. Banks wrote that bringing back diesel engines for safety and economy was dumb, because diesels aren't actually that economical, and that the best way to prevent fiery crashes is to prevent crashes. Flight thinks the first bit is sound, but the last bit needs work, and reminds everyone that Standard Oil is working on a less-volatile "safety fuel," although it would require direct injection.

"Last of the Line" The last of 252 Avro Yorks has come out of Woodford this week. Flight reminds us that the York was designed, and the prototype built, very quickly, at a time when Avro was very busy with the Lancaster. Subsequent production was much slower than Chadwick hoped, but it is a very useful plane, and that is why many were eventually built.


"Exercise Red Lion" 97 (Strait Settlement) Squadron Bomber Command is in the middle of flying out to Singapore along with five Avro Yorks as an exercise in "despatching a completely self-contained heavy-bomber squadron, with its spares and ground staff, to the Far East."  Since there isn't much to say about this completely routine exercise, the rest of the article is a short history of the squadron, which, for example, went on a good will flight to Chile in November 1946.

"Gas Turbines for Land, Sea and Air" Power Jets (Research and Development) is working on same, and especially the difficult task of converting them to coal-burning, because there is coal in Britain, so it makes sense. (It does not make sense.) In related somewhat-silly news, the Export Exhibition is putting on a display of all the things that you can use light alloys for other than aircraft, which obviously doesn't include automobiles and whatnot, because why would that be news? So instead it has some builders up to show how to assemble an aluminum warehouse, which might be useful for the "ground nuts" scheme, as they haven't buildings in Africa, so far as anyone knows. I assume they grow aluminum out there, although obviously not in groundnut country, because then they couldn't grow groundnuts.

a literature search suggests that the coal-fired gas turbine has been someone's Holy Grail over the years, but actual examples are a bit sparser on the ground. 

"Norwegian Deliveries" The British delivered some De Havilland Vampires to Norway by air, which is a long flight for Vampires, making it news.

Here and There

 The Prime Minister was shown a model of the Brabazon's interior, which is very pretty, and some Canadians quite liked a "film televising unit" from Cinema Television, Ltd, which was shown at the recent British Industrial Fair. Some Italians claim to have made a new record, long-distance flight in a light aircraft. BSAA York Star Haze recently blew a tyre while touching down on a training run at Heathrow, which is what we call London Airport at the beginning of this paragraph. Captain Earnshaw took off again, circled the runway for four hours to burn off excess fuel, then diverted to land at Langley instead of London Airport, which is what we call Heathrow at the end of this paragraph. Four thousand boxes, consisting of 8 tons of lilies, have been flown by BOAC from Bermuda to America in the last two months, earning $81,000 for the sterling area. Thirty acres of St. David's Island, Bermuda, are in lilies.  Technicolor has won £7000 inventor's award for a process for filming model aircraft. Commander Steven's claim for the original idea was rejected, on the grounds that Technicolor had to improve on it. India is to receive 10 two-seat Spitfire trainers. B. H. Kerby, Press and Public Relations Officer to the Chloride Electric Storage Company, is emigrating to South Africa for family health reasons, and can be reached at the Johannesburg offices of Chloride Electric until he gains employment there. Eric Holgate, a director of Titanine for twenty-five years, has died. Bolton King, formerly of the Ministry of Supply Projectile Department, has been appointed Director of the Science Department of the British Council. The Institute of Transport has nice new digs, which is not a paragraph in Here and There, but rather an entire article. 

Civil Aviation News

Static tests of the cabin pressurisation of the Airspeed Ambassador continue. Southampton Airport's nationalisation was celebrated this week with a peevish speech by the long-term manager, who thinks that the government will BUNGLE it. TCA will soon replace its Lockheed Lodestars with DC-3s and its modified Lancasters with unpressurised North Stars, cutting the direct flight time Montreal--Vancouver by 5 hours to 14 westbound, 13 eastbound. Canada has increased VHF ground coverage, installed instrument landing systems at several airports, developed runways at Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary and Lethbridge, enlarged Saskatoon Airport, and is working on improving accommodation at airports. Private South African companies are having trouble competing with South African Airways. Lockheed reminds us that there are 130 Constellations in service with 13 airlines around the world, with another 139 on order. They have flown a cumulative 263,000 hours, February 1945 through March 1948. They have made 5400 Atlantic crossings, with three fatal accidents: two at Shannon and the Syrian crash. (Not counting a variety of accidents that don't count, including the one that got the plane grounded last year.) The MCA will be installing spark plug suppressors on all airport vehicles soon to prevent radio interference. The recent landing overshoot by a York carrying Harold Wilson, Preesident of the Board of Trade, has been traced to a brake cable snapping due to excessive wear caused by rubbing on steel rubbing blocks in the control column. Various new services are new or are increasing frequencies. The story about Los Angeles Airport getting FIDO in the fall is repeated. 

This is demented.

"American Jet Trainer: Versatility of Lockheed Shooting Star TF-80C: Armament Installed" Lockheed's new trainer variant of the P-80 has a new power plant, longer fuselage, bigger cockpit, and more air conditioning. It is versatile in that the armament allows for gunnery instruction, and the larger cockpit makes navigational training possible. Lockheed thinks that it will shave off 10--15% of the cost of training a new jet pilot.

"Carrier Air Group" The new Carrier Air Group  system, in which aircrew and maintenance staff rotate on and off aircraft carriers together, makes maintenance more efficient and is being implemented in one CAG that has Fireflies.
Probably the only air superiority aircraft ever converted for ASW work. I'm not sure whether or not that's a compliment.

Casual Commentary with Robert Carling, ". . . And Nothing but the Truth: Over-Optimistic dates and Weights: Propaganda as a Two-edged Sword: Lack of Technical Liaison" We need to stop fibbing about new aircraft designs. 

"The Irving-Bell 47B: A Two-Seater Helicopter with 'Sports Car' Characteristics" Irving-Bell has the European distribution rights of the Bell 47, and Jimmy Youell took Flight up for a spin. Youell kept his eyes glued on the revs counter, various temperature gauges and the control yoke, and was able to land in a straight vertical drop, just like any sports car driver. The Bell stabilising bar is very hard to explain, because no-one understands damped simple harmonic motion, and helicopter salesmen don't like explaining why helicopter rotors need stabilisers.

From All Quarters

Ronnie has been telling me about Flight's amateur hour layout for months, and here I am, dealing with the first "From All Quarters," and I have to admit that she's right. (Ronnie is always right. Even when she's wrong.) I have no idea why this is here. Anyway, G. Geoffrey Smith is doing a six-part series in The Autocar about gas turbines for road transport; Air Commodore Banks will give the first Louis Bleriot Memorial Lecture over in Paris this May. H. M. Kendall, "MBE, AFRAeS," is setting up as a free-lance test pilot at Redhill Airport. He has arranged for some kind of Ministry of Supply and ARB approval, and is particularly interested in sailplanes.

"British Industries Fair" Speaking of fair and not-fair, why should I have to cover an "Exhibitions" article in Flight. Don't we suffer enough from them in The Engineer?  On the other hand, if the ones in The Engineer were as short as the one in Flight, no-one would have to suffer, because there's no article!

"Aviation in Ceylon" People fly planes in Ceylon, and it is intended that Ceylon have an airline some day. 

"Small Cartridge Starters: Scaled-down Versions for Light Engines" Recently, in discussing the Fairey Trainer, Flight mentioned that it loved the small cartridge starter for its Gipsy 10 engine. Plessey, Co., was so pleased by the free publicity that it sent in an article to get more. Here it is! Since small cartridge starters act like large cartridge starters, and neither are very interesting, the news here is that Plessey is working on expanding its range to large road engines and other applications.


"Adsumdid" detects inconsistencies in the way that the Ministry treats flying hour totals under instruction in pilot training in regards to licensed instructors and non-licensed. Flight promises that it will all be cleared up soon. A. G. J. Brown is upset that there aren't any good light engines for ultralight aircraft in Britain, and hopes that suitable engines will be imported across the Iron Curtain soon. D. S. Stringthorpe was very rudely shoved by RAF Police at a recent Air Display. Banks' letter about aircraft diesels and safety makes the point that gas turbine engines can easily use a "safety" fuel, but it likely wouldn't be much cheaper than 100 octane. E. C. Rogers, General Secretary of the Society of Licensed Aircraft Engineers, has strong opinions about Aircraft Engineer licensing. J. G. Mathieson(!) disagrees with J. B. Matheson's(!) letter about how civil flying is extravagant and dangerous. On the contrary, he says. 

A late model Bell 47. The stabilising bar is particularly noticeable. By Peter Bakema - commons file, GFDL 1.2,

The Economist, 9 May 1948


"Ebb Tide?" It appears that the "ebb tide" has been reached in demand --that is, there are signs of disinflation (which is like deflation, only good). The Economist thinks that this is not surprising given the budget surplus and the likely decline in national debt this year, but notes that one sign of disinflation is "goods piling up in stores," specifically, textiles. This has led some to beat the Government over the head with the clothing ration. The Economist thinks that isn't fair, because it has more to do with change of fashion than anything else, and calling the recent relaxation the "rationing equivalent of a clearance sale" gets the point across. Some rationing may be relaxed. Lord Woolton proposed bread, sweets, leather, footwear and "building by enterprise," which The Economist thinks would be silly if Woolton meant what he said, and so provides an alternate gloss of a limited end to rationing that puts private building at a disadvantage to local authorities. "If the Government can bear to prove Lord Woolton right."
Woolton pie as recreated by Carolyn. 

"Unizonia in Japan" Aargh! Two pages! Most of which is a potted explanation for why the United States is the only occupying ally in Japan, and why a Japanese peace treaty is unlikely in the immediate future. Spotted through the middle is some nearly news about Lancashire's growing apprehensions about revived Japanese cotton trading, and, if you hold out for a few more paragraphs, the Korean/Communist rioting in Kobe and Osaka that was only contained by US occupation troops, as the Japanese lack enough police, and have no army, unlike the Italians. So if there is a peace treaty, and the Americans do withdraw their occupying forces, Japan will get a new army, is the implication. 

a long note from "a Parliamentary Correspondent" follows, explaining the way that the Labour government has handled occasional dissent from its backbench members. 
Unfortunately, Children of Men has had to be postponed due to prosperity. 

"Malthus Regained?" The Reverend Malthus used to say that the population would expand until everyone was living in each others' laps and eating Irish babies. Then, in the Thirties, it was belatedly noticed that the British population was falling, not rising, leading to the striking of a Royal Commission, whose 1944 report of course marked a sea change to "regaining" Malthus. Now, The Economist supposes, the issue is once again "overpopulation," and people are more like to see Britain as overpopulated, rather than under-, as for example in the various schemes to distribute 10 milllion Britons to the Commonwealth. The Economist seems to have come around to an Auntie Grace-like position, that the recent spike in population growth results from births shifted in time, although in its way of thinking, they are brought forward from the future, rather than forward from the Thirties. This being so, the current, projected gain will prove illusory, unless young families go on to have additional children, but that doesn't seem likely.  The returns from the first quarter of 1948 seem to show that the brief boom of 1947 is over, and that the birth rate is halfway back to the below-replacement level of 1938 already. But would that be a good thing? The Economist thinks not. The housing shortage and rationing show that Britain is overcrowded, and its cramped industrial towns would suffer horribly in an atomic war, but a population of 35 million would be far less capable of bearing the brunt of a long-running atomic war. An aging population with an increasing number of pensioners would be stiff and incapable of new projects. It would not be able to maintain capital equipment, present a shrinking market to businessmen and planners, and likely suffer from more, not less unemployment. "There are plenty of unchained devils abroad in the land of Britain, but not the particular devil invented by the Reverend Mr. Malthus."

"The Sterling Area --II" All sterling area countries pool their dollars in London and take sterling in exchange. Americans don't like this, because it might lead to them buying more stuff from sterling countries than would be their first choice, but the British also don't like it, as various foreign parts have built up large sterling surplusses, and now reasonably expect to spend them, when Britain would prefer to export any goods they could buy with their pounds sterling to the United States. Egypt has already left the sterling area with British blessings, and Palestine has been "extruded," but the sterling area might be wound up entirely if Britain is too "weak" to maintain it. 

Notes of the Week

The first page of notes is devoted to the "interim report" on Western Union talks, which has nothing to say, and British parliamentary politics. The push to reform the House of Lords might be losing steam! Oh no! Labour back bench MPs are revolting over something or other. And then on the second page we're treated to "wise counsel from the BMA," which is to do with the new National Health Service, ,"Canada's future role," which is about how Canada will have some kind of new role in foreign policy, and a story about India's new Governor-General, who  might or might not have something to do if India remains a dominion. 
Finally! "Policy on Palestine" reviews hints that the British might find additional troops for Palestine in line with the temporary increases this week, providing the Americans come through with policy "advances" of their own. American and British initiatives would take their place beside a hoped-for intervention by the armies of the Arab nations, which might be the only way to restore peace in Palestine. I'm not sure a bit about the "Third Force" in France justifies a paragraph. It seems like nothing more than a new way of highlighting that most politicians in France are neither Communist nor Gaullist, do not like either, and have effective control of the police and the prefectures, so that they can run the country, at least for now. Belgium is also having a crisis, but, for a change, one that has just blown up, rather than being a permanent feature, "change the headline, rerun the article" crisis, like France's. It appears that the Socialist minister of education in Spaak's coalition cabinet has run head on into the Belgian Catholic Church's desire to run education, and that Spaak has tried to rein him in, only to fracture Socialist unity and endanger his cabinet.

"Mr. Shinwell Does It Again" Emmanuel Shinwell has given an awful speech in Edinburgh that everyone hates, because the Coal Board is trying to close Wakewood Colliery in Nottinghamshire because it would cost £250,00 to keep it going for seven years, and most of the coal can be reached from adjacent collieries, making it a perfect example of the kind of pit that has to be closed to achieve full technical efficiency. The strike at Wakewood can be explained by the fact that the men don't want to move to new collieries. The Economist is understanding, but implacable. The Economist also still hates Hugh Dalton, as it reminds us in talking about the latest report from the Design for Freedom Committee, Dr. Peter Thorneycroft's "Design for Wages," which is a "pom pom gun aimed at public opinion." Wage increases lead to inflation, seems to be the gist of it. 

"Forward from Bogota" Why is this here? Oh, wait, because this is where all the platitudinous, say-nothing notes go. World Overseas will be a breeze to read this week! Anyway, the charter of the OAS has been approved, there are human rights in Latin America now, even for women. Everyone can agree on fighting anti-democratic infiltration, and those European colonies that still exist, will be allowed to keep existing. The agreement on economic cooperation emphasises technical matters and co-operation, but also the need for foreign investment capital, which will be protected from expropriation by reasonable means. The Economist frets that money will rush out of Europe to the Latin American oil fields. 

"Homes and Funds for DPs" The International Refugee Organisation reports that it has settled 192,000 displaced persons in the eight months of its existence, and that between 800,000 and 900,000 remain to be settled, of whom 630,000 are under the care of the IRO. Congress says American might take 100,000, subject to housing and other shortages, which makes The Economist cross, since Britain has taken 40,000 in the last twelve months and the United States just 12,000.

 More short bits cover something about how cooperatives can help reduce prices and promote disinflation, a statement in the House that Britain will allow in more newsprint this year, instead of perhaps cutting purchases from Canada and Newfoundland. Combined with the end of the drought that cut production in Scandinavia in 1947, this might mean thicker newspapers and more copies.  Another bit covers a Gallup poll that shows that a bare majority of Britons think of themselves as "middle class," vice "working class," that voters are shifting to Conservative from Labour postions mostly in the middle and upper classes, and that some among the lower classes are shifting to Liberal views. Whatever be the reality, the majority of the British think of themselves as middle class, and that is bad news for Labour. 

"Minding the Milkman's Business" The Government thought that it had reached the point where it could deregulate milk delivery, but now that the plan has been rolled out, most consumers still won't be able to pick their preferred milk delivery service, for lack, it seems, of labour, which raises questions about whether the "distributive sector" might need more hands. A similar planning process note goes on about a fellow in an English town who built a secondary home for his mother-in-law on his property, contrary to the Town and Country Planning Act, and now must tear it down, which is a sad state of affairs.

Letters to the Editor

Lord Brand writes that the Western Union must remain loose and vague and undefined, or it will come apart. The Economist disagrees. R. F. Harrod writes to explain the calculations which led him to conclude that home consumption is down 15% since 1938, and not up, as the White Paper says. While I can't comment in general, I notice that he has per-person production down as part of his calculation, and wasn't there a question of "fewer autos but heavier and more expensive autos" a few months ago? G. J. Ponsonby, of the London School of Economics, writes to argue that jitney cabs are a good thing. Well, actually, he is saying that "competitive busses . . . to cream off rush-hour traffic" are a fine idea, an opinion he manages to arrive at by completely ignoring wages, but what do I know, I'm just an engineering student who reads a newspaper now and then.

From The Economist of 1848 is upset that The Court is trying to "encourage British manufactures" by asking that all ladies who are honoured with invitations to Buckingham Palace should appear in British cloth, as this is an "exploded doctrine." 

American Survey

"Priorities for Economic Aid" The Latin American countries assembled at Bogota are upset that they will not get Marshall aid. The Economist explains why Europe is the first priority for aid. It is because it is highly advanced and heavily damaged, so that the aid can do the most good there. Latin America replies that the caloric intake of Latin Americans is lower than Europeans, and has always been lower. The Economist replies that if food is so important to them, they should try not being communists for a while. 

"Electoral Geography, II: The South" The South votes Democratic (except when The College Boy was on the ticket, when they took seven states, because they love them an insufferable, pompous twit down there), but Truman is all in for Civil Rights, and Eisenhower is mostly not against them. (Which is important in case the sky falls and the General suddenly becomes the Democratic candidate.) Everyone agrees that the GOP is the Party of Reaction, and so bad, but there's some hint that Stassen and Vandenberg might be less reactionary, and so might win some votes in the South, like Hoover. Meanwhile, the Byrd wing of the party is mooting a walkout by the southern Democrats, who would advance their own candidate, most likely Byrd. Unfortunately for them, fourth parties are supposedly even worse than third parties, so there is also the Tuck Bill, which would unbind electors and let them vote for anyone (not Truman). I seem to remember exactly the same notion being floated in 1944. 

American Notes

A lead off note suffices to say that The Economist isn't writing Stassen off yet. Meanwhile, in Washington, Congress is hoping to adjourn on 15 June, just in time for the drama and excitement of the GOP Convention, and doesn't want to add to the excitement by accidentally agreeing on or doing anything about the defence of the West, which is necessary now because of Czechoslovakia, but not that necessary because of Italy. Defence of America, on the other hand, is a great idea, and Congress has expressed its displeasure with Secretary Forrestal's 66 group air force of mothballed planes, and demanded 70 groups of shiny new jet bombers that do not exist yet. Everyone seems to agree that there should be some kind of conscription that isn't universal military training, but it hasn't been sorted out just how it won't be UMT. 

"Interim Government" The GOP is so confident of victory in November that it has delayed reappointing the five members of the AEC, whose original terms are up in August. Taft still hates the "New Dealer" Lilienthal, and hopes that a new Republican president will appoint someone who isn't a New Dealer. 

(New Dealers.)

The President also wants his trade negotiating powers extended, and Congress is dragging its feet over that, as it allows Congress to pretend that it will reverse all the trade agreements for that much longer. (God help America if they follow up on pulling out of the new GATT agreement!) There's also a long survey on the state of civil rights, which has a bit of news (the Supreme Court has ruled the California Land Law unconstitutional, while a lower court judge has restored American citizenship to the internees at Tule Lake) and some interesting information. I knew that Jim Crow was pervasive, but did you know that only 600,000 of 5 million voting age Southern Coloureds can vote, between character, poll tax and literacy requirements?

"Channels for Export" The recent refusal by longshoremen to load freighters bound for the Soviet Union with strategic materials such as aircraft engines has provided Harold Stassen with a great platform and raised the question of the "channels" provided to the Administration to facilitate exports. It is now agreed that war-materials-y things should not go to the Soviet Union, but should go to the Western Union. 

The World Overseas

"Changes in Bizonia's Foreign Trade" Although there is a dizzy round of random scraps of information (Germany has a surplus of inferior cotton pieces made with American cotton imported under an occupation scheme which is attempting to get the Dutch to sell in Indonesia in return for Dutch agricultural exports, as the Dutch have nowhere else to sell their greens if they can't sell to Germany; German regular cotton makers are afraid of Japanese competition; German manufactured goods must sell at a heavy discount, while German pharmaceuticals are holding up, and more), the gist of it is that the Germans are revising their foreign exchange schemes to provide for more exports, ahead of comprehensive currency reform, which is coming soon, even though it will lead to a Russian tantrum. 

"The Future of Newfoundland" Newfoundland is going broke as a colony, and Britain would like to palm it off on Canada, if it can.

"Europe's Manpower" Europe is short 1.6 million working men.

The Business World

The section is devoted to stock market matters. As always, if the Earl cares what I think, I will write him, and the letter will be a complete waste of his time and  mine, just as my summary of this article would be a complete waste of yours.

Business Notes

Hardly more interesting. Talks in Belgium about tariffs, the AEU has refused more overtime, there are developments in the Uruguay rail scheme, which, if you will recall, was a way of dealing with holdings in Uruguayan rail companies, and has nothing to do with choo-choo trains, some comments about planning and unemployment, worries about saving, more stocks.

An Austin-Healey.  The Economist is making an important
point for a change.
"The Small Man in the Motor Industry" As recently as February, the Minister said that all firms in the auto industry had to hit their 75% export target or else lose their steel allocations, notwithstanding the fact that the smaller companies couldn't find the rest of the world with a map. Now that the industry as a whole has hit their targets on a flood of Austins, the Minister is a cool cat and says it's all fine. Problem is, the small-scale innovator still can hardly make his way in an industry that expects, for example, a £50,000 paid-up capital to be member of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders so as to be guaranteed to get into the exhibitions. As usual with a Crowther-edited article, at this point one backs into the point, which is that "Mr. Healey's" car wouldn't get into a show unless the Society decided to put it there on sufferance, which it presumably will, now, for no reason that needs explaining, although it might have something to do with Grantham Production's complaints of last year, which don't need explaining, either. 

"Miles Aircraft Investigation" Speaking of small innovators who never got a chance, the ongoing investigation of the company's final dividend and bonus payments is coming as a distinct shock to investors, who are worried that they will lose their payouts to assorted creditors without a shadow of a claim to any money except for having provided the components that Miles sold to make the money to make those payments. The Economist hopes that justice will prevail, and that all the dewy-eyed innocents who bought Miles stock will be properly compensated before the coverall-wearing brigade of (probably Irish) tradesmen. 

"Rubber Study" As near as I can make out, The Economist thinks that natural rubber can only compete with American synthetic rubber on price, so it would be good to see prices for Malayan and Indonesian rubber come down, but this will mean fully rehabilitating the rubber plantations and political stability in Southeast Asia. If that does come about, however, there will be a glut of rubber on the market and the price will come down, which would be . . . bad??? I must have misread this. 

Aviation Week, 10 May 1948

Aviation Week is upset about CAB's new rules for freight airlines. The lead story is that the Navy is "expanding plane strength to 14,500," which is a strange headline considering that the issue is the rapid exhaustion of its mothball reserves, which will have to be replaced by new aircraft delivered straight to mothballs. The Navy estimates that it needs 3300 planes to maintain its strength, and wants to procure 1500 planes in 1949, including 113 patrol planes, 20 transports, and some miscellaneous shipborne junk to keep the carrier boys happy. Howard Lilly's death in the Skystreak crash is reported, and a short obituary printed. CAB's latest hearings on air safety makes for a good follow up story. The 21 January Constellation crash at Boston is blamed on inadequate snow clearance. The plane caught fire, but crew and passengers were able to evacuate, and inadequate lighting was also a factor. An employment service census shows that there is no production labour shortage in the industry. 

Research and development "pods" are a different matter.

The CAB has recalled terrain clearance indicators, as tests show that they don't actually work. Railwayair will never live or die. Passenger revenues are at new highs, and there's signs that the "operator base" model of pooled independent aircraft maintenance firms supporting airlines is coming to an end. Airlines may want to bring their maintenance in-house. 

But because it was the British who did the work, we'll leave
it out of the history of technology, one Arthur C. Clarke
novel aside.
Editorial says that "The Big Problem is Still Weather." The Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics Special Committee Report No. 31 calls for, in so far as the electronic state of the art  makes it possible, a modernised, all-weather airways and traffic control system that "allows, for the first time, a real promise of reliable air operations regardless of weather conditions." Well,now that we know what is wanted, we'll get right on it! Sheesh.

Flight, 13 May 1948


"Complexity Problems" Airliners are getting more complex, In a talk to the Air Transport Meeting of the American Society of Automotive Engineers, L. R. Koepnick, chief engineer of TWA, pointed out this had more to do with the equipment that airlines specified on airliners than the basic designs, and that the points of failure had to do with accommodating that equipment to the structures (pushing wires, pipes and cables through holes) than the equipment itself. The second leader is also devoted to Koepnick's talk, and explains Lockheed's "what if" testing process and TWA's success in removing excessively complicated automatic equipment. 

"Future Air Strategy: Points from an Address in the USA by the Commandant of the RAF Staff College" Air Marshal Williams points out that the air force should help the army and navy and blow up the enemy. 

"Aircraft Complexity: The Growing Maze of the Operating Systems; Precis of a Paper Given by Mr. L. R. Koepnick to the Society of Automotive Engineers" I feel silly giving this a real title, since the precis is shorter than the two leaders. Koepnick wants more planning, so that space can be set aside for systems when the aircraft is designed, and more standardisation. (The anti-standardisation crowd keeps its head down, but there must be a lot of them.)

"Friendly Flames: The Blackbushe Fido on Test: For Emergency Use Only: Ministry Reserve Right of Investigation" . I guess it's Fido, not FIDO, now. Fido is only to be used when, during a suddent and widespread deterioration of the weather, an aircraft is past the point of no return and cannot land on an airfield outside the fog-effected area. The Minister reserves the right to investigate any use of Fido to determine whether its existence influenced the decision to make the flight in the first place. There will be no charge for a genuine emergency, but if the Minister so determines, the pilot or airline will be responsible for costs in the range of  £500 for the fifteen minute warmup period and £250 for each subsequent minute. It should take about three to four minutes for a properly positioned aircraft to land at Blackbushe, which must have a more efficient installation than Manston, as is expected to operate at half the cost, using the Haigill sub-surface system, which supplants the Hairpin system used during the war, and installed at Manston. The installation requires seven men to operate, two in the control station, where five Sulzer centrifugal pumps driven by a Ford V-8 engine supplies gasoline into the lines at 50lb/sq. inch, 450 gallons a minute.

"Tasman Troubles" Short and Harland have been criticised by the Commission of Inquiry into the recent near loss of the Sandringham ZK-AME, which lost power in one of its Pratt and Whitney engines but was able to return to base after lightening its load by jettisoning the luggage. The complaint is that Short did not provide a "complete type record," which, since the key fact is that there were no facts to "record," seems to be some kind of euphemism for not doing thorough airworthiness testing. because that would be expensive. Flight launches into elaborate excuses that prove that it is all New Zealand and Air Tasman's fault that Short delivered a plane that couldn't maintain altitude with 75% available power. 

A Sandringham, not a Hythe. By RuthAS - Own work, CC BY 3.0,

Here and There

Fred Weicke, "champion of the two-control aircraft and designer of the Ercoupe," has been appointed a professor in Texas A and M's Department of Aeronautical Engineering. Something about doing and teaching? The Board of Trade is to have an inspector examine the books at Miles Aircraft to find out if anyone did anything wrong when the company issued a stock prospectus and then paid a large stock dividend and executive bonus when the company was known to be failing. One of the 12 DC-6s recently delivered to KLM has broken its back in a practice landing. Two more Arctic weather stations are opening in the Canadian Far North. 

"Comparator," "Beneficent Bigness: Some Views on British and American Transport Trends" "Comparator" concedes that Avro and BSAA's continuing defence of the tail-draggers is ridiculous, and that "Facing Facts" is right that the Constellation is a very nice plane. That said, he will stick up for the Ambassador against the 2-0-2, and points out that, as nice as the Republic Rainbow is, it can't compete on economic terms. The Stratocruiser is a nice plane, but will probably be delivered a year late, while Constellations and DC-6s go right on earning money. It's also a big old tub, which works for a freighter, but maybe not an airliner, and anyway 4 3500hp engines means 14000hp, and a takeoff lb/bhp of much more than 10-11 is asking for trouble under tropical conditions.
It's also not a particularly safe tub, although that's a generic problem with planes of its generation. An impressive number of accidents were caused by engine and propeller problems, so Comparator is right! 
 As for the Constitution and the XC-99, any suggestion that they might be serious airliners is going to have you saying, "Are you kidding me?" This leads to a final digression on terrible American landing gear design, which has no time for British-style levered suspension and articulated landing gear. Finally, it seems as though the only way to make the Atlantic pay is with a hundred-seater. The American claim that 50 seaters can achieve a higher load factor, overlook the fact that flying in a Brabazon will be nicer and safer, and planes will get bigger, anyway. 

Foreign Service Intelligence

It is reported that the Boeing B-52 will be the largest airplane in the world, and will have turboprops. Martin and Consolidated tenders to the same proposal have been cancelled. Belgium has published a ten year plan to renew their air force. Sweden is doing airplane things. America is still thinking about planning to expand its air force. 

"Transports for Peace and War: A Hastings and Hermes Menage: Deliveries from Radlett" The Hastings and Hermes are descended from the Halifax and have Bristol Civil Hercules engines. BOAC is ordering 25 of the latest version of the Hermes, the IVB, and Qantas might order it for the Tasman run. The Hermes V will have the Theseus engine and cruise at 350mph, and Hastings will replace Yorks as the RAF VIP transports in 24 (Commonwealth) Squadron and later the King's Flight. Some statistics of the Hermes' likely performance are provided, but no explanation why a Hercules-powered airliner is coming out now

Civil Aviation News

The "Western Union" has added air cooperation to the list of things that it will talk about talking about in later talks about talking. Lord Nathan says that there is a ten year plan of hangar building at London Airport, by the end of which all BOAC and most BSAA and BEA aircraft maintenance work will be consolidated there from Filton and Dorval, providing more work for British maintenance engineers, efficiencies and dollar savings. Pan-American's 1947 report says that overseas flying is good and that American tourism provides the world with dollar credits. Some BOAC people are going to Teheran to help the Iranians with their new Doves. Brazil is ordering one hundred altimeter setting instruments from Square D's Kollsman Instrument Division. These are ground instruments that send out a constant barometric reading by radio that can automatically adjust aircraft altimeters. From now on, all aircraft with an auw of more than 80,000lbs will have to carry a flight engineer. British Commonwealth Pacific's Sydney-Vancouver service is now operating, so there is an "All-Red" round-the-world service. It is expected that more people will cross the Atlantic by air than by sea this year. Kirkwall (Hatston) airport has been closed for urgent maintenance. Air France service through Palestine has been diverted to Cairo because of the situation there. 

Marconi Instrument Landing System equipment is being installed at Jersey, which has high summer traffic. They will include a VHF signal for precise horizontal approach and vertical guidance provided by a duplicate guide path transmitter on UHF. Three marker beacons will give distances on final approach, and a VHF direction-finding device, capable of remote operation by telephone at a distance of 30 miles, is included. I have no idea what that last bit means. Can the telephone control not go through exchanges? Maybe the "telephone lines" are telephone cable strung directly from the airport to the beacon, with 30 miles the maximum impedance loss. 

"The Art of the Aviation Engine: Precis of the First Louis Bleriot Lecture, by Rod Banks" Banks begins with what he thinks is the most important difference between turbine and internal combustion engines at the moment, engine life. At this point, the major American civil radials are hitting anywhere between 3000 and 12000 hours of useful life, with up to 3000 hours between major overhauls. This is about where we are with mainline locomotive steam and diesel engines, and is all the more impressive given the increase in output power from 35hp to 3500 in forty years, although of course the 3500hp engines aren't lasting 3000 hours between overhauls. 

In terms of development, right now, it takes between four and five years to develop an internal combustion engine, and turbine engines, even the most complex, axial-compressor types, will not take that long in the future. In British industrial practice, a V-12 like the Merlin takes 3000 hours, a 14-cylinder, sleeve-valve radial like the Hercules, 3300, and the Sabre, 3500 hours to produce. Jet turbines absorb fewer labour hours, but are  more expensive in terms of cost per unit weight. A prototype might cost between £15/pound. However, testing and calibration equipment for gas turbine engines is much more expensive than for piston engines, in part due to the 11,000 degree gas getting out. State subsidies are necessary for jet turbine research, and, if thoroughly tested, there should be no reason that jet turbines are not giving their full potential power immediately on delivery, instead of being steadily developed over many years. 

"Keeping in Touch: Two British Two-Channel VHF Equipment for Light Aircraft" At the request of Southend Airport, E. K. Cole ("Ekco") has manufactured a light VHF set that includes a set for the Southend tower and one in each of the Southend Municipal Flying Club's Austers. The ground unit consists of two crystal-controlled VHF transmitters, two high-gain receivers, a control panel and two power units for the tower, a "very compact" transmitter/receiver for the aircraft, measuirng 13"x6"x4 1/2" and weighing "no more than 12lbs," not including the control unit, junction box, mounting tray, microphone, headset, and screened cable. It contains sixteen valves and a rectifier arranged in two transmission chains. Range is likely to be about 20 miles, or, optimistically, 66. The receiver is trainable for DF purposes, with two pole antennae. Ekco is very pleased with its engineering, and points out that twenty ground installations would cover the whole of England with a two-frequency VHF coverage. I find it  hard to believe that British municipal airports don't already have VHF coverage. There are also short bits on the new Napier Cowling Fastener and a "stethoscopic" device ("Workshop ASDIC" from the Capac Company) for measuring surface finish that consists of a polished, free rotating ball on a sound-transmitting tether. You listen on one end as you run the ball over the surface, and you don't  hear anything from a fully polished surface, and you hear a lot from a rough one. There's also a calibrated chart to put numbers to the adjectives.


W. Reginald Dainty writes to ask whether anyone has calculated the change in factors of safety due to the (very small) variation in the force of gravity between the Poles and the Equator. "No Longer Quite So Broke" is pleased that his earlier letter has led to him getting full pay at his post in the RAFVR, and apologises to all offended. E. L. Mole, Group Captain, Chairman, Design Sub-Committee, Ultra Light Aircraft Association, writes to correct any misapprehension that fine new British light aircraft engines will not be available soon, as long as some public-spirited benefactor pays to actually manufacture them, since there's no money to be made from them. "77" thinks that the RAFVR needs a different kind of plane from the one it has


"How Well Managed Is Defence?" The armed forces used to be a headquarters and a cadre, intended for expansion during wartime. During WWII, that expanded military was run by elite managers, who all resigned, joined industry, and subscribed to Fortune the day after Nagasaki (Hi, Readers!) The second-raters left, somehow turned twelve billion a year and warehouses of stockpiled supplies into an "unloaded gun." Now, the armed forces is a top-heavy, bureaucratic nest of feather-bedders. Something Must Be Done.

"Formula for Stabilisation" The country doesn't need total military mobilisation, so it does not  need total economic mobilisation, with all the planning that implies. (Bah! Planning!) Instead, it needs some kind of limited economic controls that would allow the armed forces to buy lots of guns without provoking inflation. After all, if the Russians were clever, they would

Maintain just the amount of tension in international affairs that would force us to keep on increasing our military budget and incurring deficits, but just a little less than the tension that would force us to take the measures that would check the resulting inflation. The basic strategy for the moment, as our article argues, is to restrain civilian spending. If military spending continues high or increases, taxes, and not alone income taxes, must go up. (The recent tax reduction is not a happy precedent.) Public works will have to be cut, there must be an end to overgenerous writing of mortgages by the federal government for private home building, and bank borrowing, including consumer credit, should be restricted. The only way to have military production when civilian spending is high is to make room for it by reducing the spending.

"Pacts, Federations, Unions" A United States of Europe would be wonderful, but it can't happen as long as the countries of Western Europe are economically sovereign, with their own currencies, and their own national arms industries.

"Reckless Economy" Fortune thought that the one-third cut at the Bureau of Labour Statistics that Congress voted last year was terrible, but held its tongue because it didn't want to argue against the economy drive. This year's cut by another 38% is a bridge too far. Senator Taft appeared before the Senate Appropriations Committee to argue for the cuts to be reversed, so it is okay for Fortune to come out alongside the New York Times against "throwing away the compass," "smashing the barometer," and "jettisoning the direction finder." Unless you've slapped on a Wright engine and a Hamilton Standard screw and merrily flown away from the factory without even bothering to do an engine-stopped test. In that case, you should probably just jettison everything and head into the setting sun, because you can't miss Australia (just look for the continent with kangaroos), and your passengers can only tread water so long.

"Monopoly by Price Cutting" Du Pont is the latest firm up before the Department of Justice for trying to drive out competition, in this case by cutting prices on cellophane. Du Pont says that it is able to sell cellophane so cheap because it is just so wonderful, and Fortune agrees. Sales of cellophane over the last 25 years have increased from nothing to 25 million pounds! The price has dropped from $2.65/lb to 42 cents! Leave Du Pont alone, you monsters!

"Ships and Security"  Congress has rejected Marshall's request to transfer 500 war-built ships to the sixteen nations because, as much as these ships would save on dollars, transferring them would build up foreign merchant fleets at the expense of the American shipping lines that would spring into action the moment that the time was ripe. Even Fortune finds that a bit much. Also, national defence.

"Rationed Charity" Fortune neatly argues its way to the position that the 15% of income limit on charitable donations is not only strangling charities in America, but not nearly enough for rich philanthropists. It should be raised. Fortune assures us that this would never lead to tax evasion, perish the thought.

"Havana to Washington" Fortune thinks that there has been too much talking about talking about international trade liberalisation. 

Source: Darwination Scans; Gorgeous George
"Blond or Beardless" Television seems to be having an unfortunate effect on politics. Blonds show up well on the screen, but a handsome brunette like Tom Dewey "seems to have recently emerged from the jungle after a beardless week." In the future, politicians who are not blond, gray or beardless will need to put on makeup to go on TV. This lesson comes at the same time that the "flubs" of early television fade away. Scenery no longer falls on actors; people are learning not to sneak a nip from their flask while sitting in televised audiences; Hatpin Mary is kept well away from the microphone. If television rally is as important an invention as the wheel, as some say, this change in American manners will be as important as the atom bomb and the conquest of the boll weevil. 

Books and Ideas

The eighth President of the United States. Young and Mimddleton
appear to  have committed authoring while Black.
"The Throttlebottom Tradition" Klyde Young[!?] and Lamar Middleton's book about American vice-presidents, Heirs Apparent, is a "useful and disturbing book" that ought to be in every hotel room in Piladelphia for the GOP convention. It is sloppily written and carelessly edited, but "the authors' talents are adequate to the depressing task they have set themselves." They also, incidentally, dig up some dirt. Martin Van Buren was thought to have been the natural son of Aaron Burr; Richard Johnson kept Negro mistresses in his house on E Street; Millard Fillmore declined an honorary degree from Oxford on the grounds that "his learning was too limited;" Andrew Johnson was "drunk as a boiled owl" at his own inauguration; When Rutherford Hayes was told that William Wheeler would be his vice-presidential candidate, he asked, "Who is Wheeler?" Some Vice-Presidents have been of presidential stature, but, of them, only Theodore Roosevelt ascended to the Presidency. They have a very low opinion of Coolidge, although they have a surprisingly(!!!) high opinion of Garner and Wallace, and are non-committal on Truman. They offer no analysis of the office, only point out how many mediocrities ascend to the Vice-Presidency; and with Truman and Vandenberg both being 64, and MacArthur 68, it is reasonable to worry. Of six Vice-Presidents to ascend to the Presidency, only two were deemed worthy of renomination by their own party, and a party that won't renominate its President is basically conceding the election.

 "Electric Embarrassment" The New Deal had a swingeing fight with the utility companies, which led to the Twentieth Century Fund commissioning a study that produced a report that could only be published after the war. Electric Power and Government is obsolete and embarrassing, and should be buried, since the scholars had no idea that the business cycle would turn from surplusses to shortages. 

"Grump Town" Shields McIlwaine's Memphis Down in Dixie is the third city-regional study in the Society in America series. Fortune didn't like it, but can't be bothered to say why. 

"Whales" Stanford University's Whaling and Whale Oil During and After World War II, prepared by Karl Brandt, is concise, factual, and, "in its own way, fascinating." Ninety-five percent of whale oil comes from the Antarctic, and, thanks to advances in deodorisation and hydrogenation, it is increasingly used in a variety of industrial processes. Britain and Germany are the world's leading consumers, taking 60% of production, while Norway and Britain are the biggest producers. The war, which gave the whales a valuable breathing space, drove the price of whale oil from £13/ton in 1939 to about £100, and one of Britain's newest whalers, the Balaena, carries three aircraft and a crew of 444 men. The hunt is so vigorous that the open season and total Antarctic catch must be limited by international convention, and in spite of that, more ships are being built. Over Australian objections, Japan was allowed to resume whaling last year, saving, MacArthur's headquarters report, $100 million in occupation costs, as the Japanese ate the equivalent of 40,000 tons of whale meat last year. "Tasting like coarse beef," whale meat is eaten in Europe, too, but has not made inroads in America. 

Brief notes cover L. R. Boulware's book about fixing employee morale at General Electric; E. Wight Bakke's call for management and labour leaders to find more effective principles of human relations; Professor Ronald Shuman's "abstract and often platitudinous" Management of Men; Maurice Milligan's "erratically organised" history of the Pendergast machine; Henry Stinson's memoirs; David McCord Wight's[*] attempt to define the "Middle Way" between capitalism and socialism; Thomas Bailey's history of American public opinion of foreign policy; and Future's "review of the decade 1945--55 in imaginary retrospect." In Future's 1955, clothing is still rationed, agriculture is "all but socialised," and highbrows vacation at "Cultura, a Butlin-like camp whose slogan is 'Cultura disposes of all your neuroses.'" Readers who find the predictions unwelcome should notice that they are also unrealistic. For example, Future thinks that money will be "stable" over the next decade.

Fortune's Wheel

Walker Evans is a Great American Photographer who sometimes takes pictures for Fortune, but this month, he gets a pictorial article devoted to his collection of vintage postcards, as, because he is an Artist, they must be Art. (I shouldn't be writing this while sitting besides Ronnie, because if I say that out loud, I get a fierce shoulder punch. Ow!) Also brilliant visual artists who bring us the news, Fortune-style, with striking images, are Max Gschwind and Frank Bello, who created the model of the Fischer-Tropsch process for synthesising gasoline from natural gas, which is just the perfect illustration of the mighty American synthesis industry. Walter Levy, Fortune writer and "oil strategist," prepared for writing this month's article on the American stand on oil by working for the British Ministry of Economic Warfare, writing an article for Fortune in 1941, and researching the German oil industry for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the occupation authorities in Austria, and Socony-Vacuum, before showing up at Fortune again.

 Correspondents enjoyed the article on poker and  hated the one on the Pennsylvania Railroad. 

"Something Less Than Total" When American mobilised in 1941, the economy was so under capacity that it was possible to imagine a $50 billion dollar defence programme without cutting consumer spending at all. That is not the case in 1947. There is no slack. America's GNP was running at $247 billion in the fourth quarter of 1947, and it was all spoken for. Domestic spending on consumption and investment ran to $200 billion. Foreign aid is a rounding error.
There are 61 million men and women in America's labour force, and under normal conditions the labour force increases by 1 million each year; withdrawing half a million under conscription would cut this increase by half. (What?) To increase production, plants are left to trying to recall the men and women who left the labour force after V-J Day. The only relief in sight is the failure of grain and meat prices to rise as expected due to good weather and good harvests. The real shortages are in steel, oil and power. Shortages of tungsten, chromium and manganese will restrain increases in domestic steel production, and since they come from assorted parts of the world that have to be persuaded that exporting strategic materials to the United States, it is possible that America will have to be nice to Turkey, the Philippines, South America, China, South Africa and even Russia, ironically enough. (The Russians are uneager to export manganese to America if it won't pay for it with machinery.) As for energy, the country's capacity is 65 megawatts, but we are down to 5% reserves, and there are brownouts in California, particularly because of aluminum production. Oil is short, and Fortune nimbly jumps on The Economist's bandwagon by announcing that the housing boom is depraved, mortgage guarantees being right up there with opium dens and pool halls. Besides getting rid of these and bringing the housing boom to a screeching halt, Fortune favours higher prices for steel and electricity (choking off the almost equally depraved boom in electrical appliances) and consumption taxes. Those might be deemed suicidal in an election year, but they are the right thing to do, and the President is a Democrat. Oh, wait, didn't mean to write that down. With only 7% of the world's population on 6% of its land area, it will take every effort to restore the economic strength of Europe, remain strong at home and stop the Russian advance, but this is our task as freemen.

"Television! Boom"  This is television's year. When this article was being written, there were twenty television stations on the air in seventeen cities, and by the time it is at the press, there will be another three, compared with 1600 commercial radio stations --New York city alone has twenty-five. Most television is awful, depending on outside pickups of sporting events and "ancient flickers featuring Hoot Gibson, Ben Turpin, Big Boy Williams, and other heroes of that kidney."

Most people have never even seen a television, and probably each one that exists has five viewers. It is not clear how television will be paid for; The College Boy, as Secretary of Commerce, thought that nothing would kill commercial radio faster than direct advertising, and thought that some kind of subscription service was the only way forward. People are saying the same thing now, and one expert is talking about "Phonevision," in which people would somehow order first-run movies, delivered by television, over the phone. In the mean time, even if we haven't sorted out who will pay for it, televisions are in mass production so that the 90% who have never seen, much less owned one, can look forward to the tellie.

So this pretty much covers off the industry. Televisions (and broadcasting equipment) are being produced at an ever-increasing rate. The major source of programming is sports and old movies. Hollywood is trying to figure out how to get reasonably new movies onto the small screen while still making money at the cinema. The industry benefits from networks. Although there are no true national networks yet, national sports make the advantages obvious, and the networks that will be national just as soon as pesky little details of engineering are sorted out, already exist. Big networks work together with big advertisers naturally, so direct advertising may well be able to fund the industry. The fact that Hoover says that it can't is probably proof that it can, because he is wrong about everything.

"Celanese Corp." Celanese is the largest manufacturer of rayon, and also produces other chemicals. It is now aiming to get into wood pulp, says the article. Considering that I'm writing you in New York again, I assume that you don't have to be told any such thing.

So I will pass lightly over the review of the technical side of the industry and the financing.

"Machines without men," Fortune breathlessly announces. In contrast to all of those high-tech, modern industrial processes that advertise how labour-intensive they are.
Herbert Hoover's capture of the Republican Party is very
hard to explain. Anyone catch the story about Martin Van
Buren being the natural son of Aaron Burr? I knew there
was something off about that man! Burr is linked
to George Croghan via the Prevosts, by the way. 
Gustav Stolper, "Germany's Biological Destruction" Few Americans know, we are told, that by 1980, the total population of Germans, including the ones in the Russian zone, will be no more than 40 million. The German population is now predominantly women and the elderly, with just 29 million men and 37 million females, and the men are mostly young or old. The lack of manpower will be the greatest hindrance to German recovery, notably in coal mining. Germany need not be "held down." Unless something is done, it won't be able to get up. The cold hard facts are that the population of Germany on 29/10/46 was 66 million, of which 1.1 million were POWS, DPs and internees. This population was 8.4% larger than in 1939, but that was not due to natural increase, which ordinarily adds 350,000 Germans a year, but rather expulsions. Wartime increase was cancelled out by war losses, estimated at 2.85 million. This seems unsatisfactorily low, so a bit later Stolper reports that the Russians said that they had 3.2 million POWs on 4/05/1945, and, in March of last year, when pressed, said that they held only 850,000. Given one thing or another, the others must obviously have all died in the Russian camps, and those who returned were so cruelly treated that they are all useless. Civilians suffer from hunger, and disease. The death rate in occupied Berlin is three times the birth rate, infant mortality rates have soared to 70.9 per thousand, compared with New York's 27.8. Due to the shortage of men, Germany will have a far less vigorous baby boom in the years to come, which is why the German population circa 1980 will be below 40 million, or worse than that.

Okay, now draw a deep breath. How much would it surprise you that Stolper is Herbert Hoover's main adviser on matters German?

"That Daffy Grey Market" The gray market was a very strange affair in which some people made money and others didn't. Now it is on its way out.

"A Business of Their Own" Bill Fowler and Frank Graham were in the Navy together, and founded a hardware store when they came out. Their store has a coffee room under the basement stairs.  This counts as news.

"Main Street Looking North From Courthouse Square" The Walker Evans postcard photo-essay begins here. I asked Ronnie if I could ignore it, and she just rolled her eyes and muttered something about "kitsch." Where did Uncle George find this dictionary? What nameless Shanghai literati took the time to come up with a translation of "kitschy?" Will the Communists shoot him, or make him Minister of People's Culture?

"Boiling Oil" America is having an oil crisis, which isn't surprising, considering that the country has been down to its last ten years of oil reserves for a good twenty five years now. Congress is calling for an end to oil exports, tariffs, synthetic oil, or, something, because something must be done. The facts are that the United States is now consuming 5,440,000 barrels a day, 12% more than in the wartime peak. The oil industry had expected peace to bring a cut in oil production. In reality, consumption would be even higher were there the supply. Last year, the US produced 1.85 billion barrels, 52% more than was consumed just ten years ago, and very nearly more than the whole world was consuming in 1938. The problem is that refining capacity has only risen by 9% since 1943, and the winter colder and longer than usual. In spite of that, fuel oil production fell only "half of 1 percent" short of demand. The industry is spending $6 billion on refining and $13 billion counting all capital expenditures in exploration, drilling, and distribution, in spite of it taking twice as long to get a refinery into production as it used to take. As of 1947, the world's proven reserve of crude oil was 67 billion barrels, 82% of it in the Middle East, the southwestern US, the Caribbean and South America. The Middle East has 26 billion barrels, the United States 21.5 billion. Russia's proven reserve is 7.5 billion barrels. "Proven reserves" and actual reserves are obviously quite different or we would have run out of oil long ago. The Middle East is estimated to have 100 billion barrels in areas that have already been explored, with more, probably far more, left to be discovered.
Recently, we have reached the point where America imports more oil than it exports. This has been heralded as a new strategic age, but this is misleading. It also imported more in 1940 than it exported, the difference being that it was Mexico, not the Middle East that provided the oil. The current shortage may be looked at as reflecting troubles in the Middle East that have cut production and exports there, but it is more profitable to understand it as a problem of investment. Bringing American production up by 2 million barrels a day would call for expensive exploration and development, and it is simply not economical to spend that money in America when Middle Eastern oil is so  much cheaper. Import tariffs or direct subsidies could be employed. The question is whether they are strategically necessary, even in a high-consumption jet age.

"Synthetics: The Great Oil Reserve" I'm not sure I see it. If exploring for oil eats up capital better invested in the Middle East, factories to produce oil out of gas and coal are even more implausible.

In the interest of versimiltude, I should probably spend a bit more time on this article, but I grew up on thumbsuckers about artificial petroleum, and so did you. Ain't gonna happen.

Although, to be fair, shale oil is included, and that's going to come to something.

"The Untamed Capitalist of Luzon" John William Hausserman is an Ohio-born businessman who went to the Philippines as a second lieutenant, fought in the war and then the insurrection, stayed on as a Judge Advocate of the Provost Guard, and then somehow popped up as a gold miner. He lifts in New Richmond, Ohio, where his gold mining company has a very small office, and where he owns the bank and a very nice house, on account of the gold business pretty much runs itself, leaving Judge Hausserman to spend his time on the telephone harassing the Kiwanis Club.

Shorts and Faces

Alfred Vanderbilt gets the whole of the first page, because he is a Vanderbilt, and he is the President of the Jockey Club, and because it is Triple Crown time. (If you don't follow it, the Triple Crown is a series of horse races. If a single horse wins all three, it is one of the great horses of all time, and gets to spend the rest of its time relaxing in a paddock and doing what comes naturally. I mentioned this to Ronnie, and she reasonably pointed out that I'm a terrible racer, because I an't bear to hear the engines overrev. "You'd probably spend the entire race pulled over on the side looking for the source of that pinging sound," she says. "Pings are no joke in large engines," I protest, and she just looks at me like I've proved her point. But they aren't! Detonation isn't just bad for the cylinders. It tells you that there is something wrong with fuel distribution!

Vanderbilt also publishes Young American, because he thinks One World is a good idea.

The next short is about Stein, Hall, which is a New York import/exporters of things like rubber, gums, essential oils, starches, "etc."

"What is Worth What?" Industrious Berliners are producing bread with a mixture of wheat flour and ground horse-chestnuts, which grow in profusion around the city. The bread is flat, as horse-chestnut flour lacks gluten, but is high in fats, which is very "interesting" to malnourished Berliners. The shells are processed to produce saponin, an ingredient in anti-worm medicine, important since 600,000 Berliners have worms. Another unlikely product is rancid fish, which can be steamed under pressure to produce the raw material for soapmaking, protein for baby food, and "fish spread," for bread, which is also combined with horse-chestnut flour. Germans also recycle American occupation garbage, and pickle salvaged nails in acid to remove tarnish for resale. "What is a nail worth if you can get it? What is a mark worth, when you come to that? What is worth what, or what is worth anything today in this so-called city of Berlin?"

"Calculated Risk" Statistical Quality Control started at Western Electric, and consists of randomly sampling products, which cuts the number of rejections by half. "Unh-hunh," say skeptical consumers. "Yes, it does work," say the statisticians, who spend a lot of time drawing marbles from bins to show that their methods have rigour. They can't believe they can't convince people; people are too polite to point out that the problem is that they might be fibbing about whether the exact same methods are applied to marbles as to grenades. There's a feature about Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry, next.

"Dirty Work at the Cleaners" The $1 billion US dry-cleaning industry is in a tizzy about a machine so small that it can be installed in a neighbourhood store, leading increasing numbers of the industry's 17,500 little businessmen to do their own cleaning instead of farming it out to the wholesale firms. The wholesalers' grip on the industry was not based on "mass production," but rather flammability. Petroleum solvents are explosive, and the fire marshal frowned on the store on the corner operating open gasoline baths. The new "synthetic unit," which uses a non-inflammable, chlorinated hydrocarbon is uneconomical compared with the traditional, but allows "personalised" service. 8000 new, independent small businesses have sprung up to provide this service. In response, the wholesalers are looking at revising zoning laws to protect "health and welfare . . and the morals of any neighbourhood." They argue that chlorinated hydrocarbons are toxic and a health hazard, but the small businessmen object that this is only true if they are carelessly handled, and they wouldn't do that. 

"What Became of the Fuller House?"

Fortune embarrassed itself a few years ago by giving Buckminster Fuller's aluminum house some publicity. This led to massive advanced sales, a contract with Beechcraft to produce it, and several stock offerings. The problem is that mass production of aluminum stampings is enormously expensive, and the stock offerings were nowhere near enough to cover manufacture. Wall Street was strangely cool on the idea of mass producing the house for the American market, even after the original, suspended aluminum floor was replaced with a concrete pad (cozy!) and eventually all the engineers left, long after the company had parted ways with Fuller, and it was down to a few corporate officers still trying to drum up business. The two actually built have now found homes, and that's the end of the story.

Holy crap, man. You know, it probably was your fault. Good thing Liberty Mutual will cover the costs, instead of giving you the stern lecture you deserve!

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