Friday, September 7, 2018

Postblogging Technology, July 1948, I: Democracy Through Boogie Woogie

Edit: I was going to hold off on fixing the title of this entry until I had the actual "Postblogging II" post done; but that would have required buckling down on getting it done this week, and overtime has made that look a bit ambitious. So look forward to something about early postwar radar in the next few days, and Postblogging II next week.

R_., C_.
The Oriental Club,

Dear Father:

Surprise! Here's the letter I told you that I'd never be able to write in between flying across the Atlantic and buying fall fashion by the gross. (Hope you don't mind the absence of Aviation. I hope that there's enough science, or possibly "science" in Fortune to more than make up for it! On the  other hand, I didn't have the time to find out that I didn't know the name of the President of the New York Stock Exchange, so "Oops" on that one.

You'll have heard from Reggie, so no need to go on for hours about the Berlin Blockade and the airlift. Reggie is not going to be flying in, as it has been decided that he is needed in Arcata. He'll be leaving his ship and escorting  his radar home to be installed in a less strategically vital hack. Bill and David are quite excited about flying over to Germany to do the job. I hope they don't mind "doing the "potato salad" a bit. (That's a joke.)

On the bright side, being just back from Europe gives me a certain cachet. I just wish I'd stopped in Paris, and not Wiesbaden and Frankfurt! Thank you for your package, by the way. Exquisitely chosen, and I can put on an "airplane set" look, even if I had precisely no time to shop.

Uncle George is very intrigued by your suggestion that, if a movie studio works in London, it might also work in Hong Kong. He is even talking about going out himself, which would be very good for him! (I'm worried that he is drinking too much.)

Yours Sincerely,

P.S. Please no atomic wars until Reggie has had a chance to see me in the red number.

Not a single fashion ad in this coverage, because Forties. 

Flight, 1 July 1948


. . . ActuallyBy RuthAS - Own work, CC BY 3.0,

It's really hard to make out the problem with the Tudor IV in 
Flight, but the DC-4 has slightly more  passenger capacity.
"Fly British" Flight supposes that the British taxpayer would be happy to "accept the reduced operating income expected from the Tudor IV" so that they can fly in a British plane, and not a Constellation or a Canadair-built DC-4, even though the larger dollar earnings of the North American planes would rapidly offset the dollar cost of buying them in the first place. Besides, it would bring jobs back to the British aviation industry. 

"Turbine Progress" Americans may or may not be catching up with British turbine progress, but Flight reminds us that they are building the Nene under license, and Britain is making rapid progress on turboprops. Flight has to go on and admit that recent problems with icing and the "inter-control of power output and airscrew pitch" are troubling, but will probably be solved soon by automatic jet pipe temperature control and such. 

"E. F. S. Display" The Empire Flying School has put on a display! This doesn't seem like very much to say, so on along the bottom of the article, Flight launches into the story of the flying school, beginning with the very important matter of its relationship with the Central Flying School and the Examining Wing, before moving on to the Development Wing, which includes the All-Weather Wing and the Research Wing. The All-Weather Wing is responsible for training for all-weather flying, in the interest of which it flies into turbulent cumulo-nimbus clouds to promote learning about training about flying into turbulent cumulo-nimbus clouds. I'm sorry. That's an awfully facetious way of saying that I'm not sure if the wing researches all-weather flying, or training about all-weather flying. (The Research Wing definitely researches training.)

In shorter news that is on the same page as this article, the British aviation insurance organisation is having a luncheon, there are three new marks of Vampires, including the Mk 5 low-altitude attack version with the Goblin 2 giving 3500lbs of static thrust and squared off wings; the Mark 6, which is a Mark 5 with a more powerful engine by 200lbs thrust; and the Mark 50, which is an export version for the Swedes, and which can carry a 100 gallon external fuel tank with full war load. Also, the Newbury Eon has finished 300 hours of flying, completing its "first stage of development," and is now a very satisfactory plane, notwithstanding the fact that it can't get off the ground with its advertised load of two passengers and 20lbs of luggage, which will soon be 100% solved with the new 145hp Gipsy Minor engine.

Here and There

"In the RPAF the Attacker was regarded as unsatisfactory,
due to frequent maintenance problems and a relatively high attrition rate."
 The Royal Navy has done some Meteor jet deck landing trials, and the USAF is sending 75 P-80s to Germany. Eleven very senior USAF men have come to Britain for a course at the Empire Radio School. HMS Bulwark has been launched in Belfast, where it is joining Eagle and Centaur in fitting out and Powerful, which is "in care and ordinary," Uncle George says. (Flight says that she is laid up.) I'm quoting your cousin because he makes the interesting point that all three of the carriers fitting out, are of the new and more powerful (imagine Uncle George waggling his eyebrows like Groucho Marx) Centaur-class, while Powerful is of the smaller Majestic-class. So what this story is actually saying is that the Fleet is taking on all the Centaurs, and couldn't give a toss for the leftover Majestics. Two persons have received life-saving awards for pulling people out of blazing aircraft. A Supermarine Attacker has crashed near Boscombe Down, killing pilot T. J. A. King-Joyce.

"Derby Display: Events to Please All in Well-Arranged Flying Programme" Crazy flying in a Miles Messenger, the Nene Lancastrian showing off the Jet Age, three Tiger Moths of the Reserve Flying School fly in formation. 

"'600' in Camp: The City of London Squadron at Work and Play" The RAAF auxiliary squadrons are off to camp for the second time since the war ended. The City of London Squadron has some very nice Spitfire 21s. 

Civil Aviation News

The largest fixed-wing aircraft ever operated by the US Navy.  The upper deck had "luxury accommodations" for 92, and a model of the original USS Constitution in a glass display case behind the spiral staircase leading down to the lower, cargo deck. Also, the engines overheated in flight so badly that the cooling gills were wired open. 
The first page is devoted to arcane airline stories. South African charter companies have been asked to stop acting like regularly-scheduled airlines on the London-Capetown route. They are upset, and it is a diplomatic to-do. The combined Scandinavian airlines are incorporating in Britain as SAS, there are developments in the field of the Baltic Charter  Air Market, which is some kind of pool, although the language is clear as mud. ". . . is determined to attain the same degree of mutual confidence and understanding between the various parties and compliance with established practice as already exists in shipping." What does that even mean? Sir Harold Whittingham, the director of medical services for BOAC, thinks that there needs to be some kind of agreement of understanding between the various parties, etc., etc., in regards to "Yellow Fever and Air Route Sanitation." Tasman Empire Airlines has procured four Short Solents. The Canadian government was asked in Parliament to establish factories to make British jet fighters in Canada, but says that the tooling coasts make that impractical. Trans-Ocean Airlines has asked for permission to fly American migrants to Brisbane from San Francisco via Guam, and to fly milk from Australia to Guam on the return leg. The Stratocruiser has now completed anti-icing test flying. 

"Boulton-Paul Balliol: First Airscrew-Turbine Powered Trainier in the World to Fly: Three-seat Trainer With Excellent Design for Maintenance" This looks like factory publicity, which seems like an odd resort, considering that this is probably going to be the first turboprop plane in service. So what if it is a trainer! It is a bit of an orphan, however, in that it has the Mamba, which is otherwise only going into the Apollo, which is well behind the Viscount. Uncle George also says that he has been told by friends that the Mamba is not performing nearly up to its power rating, and that 'Siddeley is focussing on the Double Mamba. The article is mainly devoted to the structure, since Maurice Smith did a flying article last week. Flight is surprisingly critical of the structure, which seems to it far too heavy and complicated for the job. Uncle George suggests that Boulton Paul might have gotten in a little over their head, as the Balliol is supposed to have a carrier landing variant, which the company has never gone in for, before.  

"Gloster E1/44: New Views of a British Nene-Powered Fighter Prototype" More pictures of the Gloster fighter that isn't going to be ordered. 

A month later, it's, like, "What
did I say?"
"Research Revelation: Exhibition of Current Activities at the National Physical Laboratory" If you feel like every article in every weekly is about that open house day at NPL in May, good news. This one is about an open house on 21 June! Flight was most interested in the high speed wind tunnels. Flight had some questions about boundary layer control, and was very impressed with Teddington's work on high-speed wing sections. The ones being investigated at Teddington are all thin-section, to retard the critical Mach number, but tend to stall at low lift coefficients, with premature stalling at the wing-tip sections, causing wing dropping, which is very embarrassing in landings. Nose suction (that is, boundary layer control) would fix this by delaying the stagnation point of airflow. Other interesting exhibits included test rigs for high speed bearings and "a system for detecting storm centres by radar." The radar set for detecting storms is basically like using your radio to detect storms, only with flashes on a cathode ray oscilloscope instead of blasts of static interrupting Jimmy. The former can apply radial loads of 10,000lbs and thrust loads of 15,000 at rotational speeds of up to 15,000rpm for bearings of 3" to 6" diameter, which is more load than this girl can take, I'll tell you that!

"Sporting Assembly: Visiting Aircraft from Seven European Countries Seen at Gatwick for the International Air Rally" The Royal Aero Club threw a party at Gatwick for people who own their own planes.

"ICAO Second Assembly" ICAO's second assembly made many worthy motions about international commercial aviation. In shorter news, the new Ambassador, with the Centaurus 661, operating 100/130 octane fuel, has a maximum auw of 35,458lbs, and has various figures of merit in a table to indicate that it really, truly, really can carry the advertised number of passengers the advertised number of miles from runways that really do exist in the world, cross Airspeed's heart, hope to die.

Sure is pretty.

"Helicopter Records: Fairey Gyrodyne Flies at 124mph." The Gyrodyne, which isn't really a helicopter, set a helicopter speed record, which isn't very fast, but faster than any real helicopter can fly, which is maybe why no-one is rushing to fly passengers in helicopters, apart from their being very small and very loud.


W. J. Abernethy is upset about all the delays private fliers suffer at the airport, and thinks that the problem might be solved if there were more RAF airfields turned over to civilian landings. Kenneth Hunt takes up the rest of the letters column with a discussion of a high octane kerosene that might make a satisfactory "safety fuel," by virtue of having a lower volatility than gasoline. He thinks that 100/130 grade, pressure-injected kerosene is possible right now, and that conceivably a higher-octane rated kerosene might come along before the piston engine's day is done. It would be more expensive, and planes would suffer a weight penalty, but, he explains at length, it would prevent many fires, and not just the ones that begin with fuel fires, because oil and other fires wouldn't be as likely to spread.

The Economist, 3 July 1948


London '48, not Berlin. Still shocking.

"The Siege of Berlin" Reggie says that he was shocked by his visit to Berlin. It's not that it is a city of rubble and broken dreams. (Histrionic, I know, but what else can you say when you watch someone lift stones off a broken hobbyhorse and bones.) It's that the capital of the Thousand Year Reich is so sordid. Templehof Airport, and apparently Gatow, too, has a turf field, and you have to fly in past smokestacks and tenements. The tenements are wreathed in coal smoke, and there is petty corruption everywhere. It would be hard to imagine that Berlin could still be buying bullion and jewelry for cigarettes (and now B-Marks), were the Russian soldiers not on the take. I hope they're ready to shift from trying to export every watch in Europe to the good old USA to bringing in coal, because that's the only way that Berlin makes it to the Wednesday after the first Tuesday in November.

In spite of frantic efforts to improve the airlift to bring in enough food to tide the city over until after the election, they're not flying at night; Reggie had Templehof to himself, which is just as well, because it took an hour to organise an unloading team, and five hours to unload his plane, which was at least better than the time it took to load it; although because they had to pack dried potatoes around the radar in the middle of his cargo deck, I can sympathise. By the way, do not use dehydrated potatoes to pack a radar installation. Dehydrated potatoes are not very good about staying in the sack. Someone needs to mention covers to Bill and David. The equipment works fine as long as the smoke stays in, but there's too much dirt for all of that exposed circuitry. Potato flakes aside.

So Reggie ended up staying three days so that he could go over to Gatow and the French field and talked about air traffic control. The flying in the American sector is old-fashioned Gooney Bird seat-of-the-pant stuff, basically just radar ranges. The Brits have Decca, or at least a wartime ersatz. (Not on their Goonies, obviously, but on the Lancastrians.) Since the Americans are not going to get that on the Skymasters, there's no point in worrying about it. We'll use some kind of GCA when it is in place, but hopefully with a new radar, which Reggie can tell  you more about, since half of MIT worked on it, to hear them tell. In the meantime, with aircraft from two "corridors" merging over Berlin airspace, the airfields are getting stacked to Angels Teen, as the pilots say. It's hard to imagine how they're going to cope come the fall fogs, which I hear are worse than London!

Oh, and as for what The Economist has to say, which is that, while the situation in Berlin is alarming, it needn't lead to war. Cross your finger! I saw our old friend Bill Draper ("he's in the army now!") on my way through, huddled with one of General Clay's aides, talking about something that sounded a lot like starting a war. The Economist hopes that the Russians will eventually reopen the road and rail links with Berlin, but admits that the Western Powers haven't done much to give themselves bargaining room. They have failed to secure guaranteed transit rights to their occupation areas in Berlin, and they have pushed the East-West confrontation to a climax, as the Russians see it, with currency reform. Bevan and Clay have both said that the Allies won't be pushed out of Berlin by anything short of war, which sounds bold and Palmerstonian, so I guess an Opium War is next, and look how that turned out! The question behind all the Palmerstonian resolve is whether Germans will put up with their relatives in Berlin being starved for the sake of showing Western resolve. There are two million people in the Allied occupation zone, so at first pass, they need 2000 tons of food a day, which is likely to end up being almost 300 Skymaster sorties daily, taking fuel and other needs into account. But The Economist is lowballing it. I was being facetious when I talked about coal coming through the blockade into the city. As permeable as the boundary between the occupation zones is, coal isn't going to be carried in by spivs and drones, packed under the overcoat with the French postcards and Swiss watches. If we fly it in, Berlin's needs might hit 10,000 tons  day, and although there just might be enough planes in the world if we ground civil aviation, there are not the airports. We must stand up to the Russians, The Economist says, and support the brave Berliners in their battle with communism.

It just has no idea how.

"Chip off the Eastern Bloc" The Economist is astonished that Jugoslavia has been expelled from the Cominterm  for not being Communist enough, when, in fact, it is the most Communist of all. It turns out that Jugoslavia and the Cominterm have been fighting since the spring. The Economist thinks that the Cominterm is wrong, that Jugoslavia is wrong, and that Communism is also wrong. It is also a touch suspicious, in that this seems like it might be good news. Perhaps Moscow is giving up on Trieste? Perhaps Tito and Dimitrov are about to forge an Eastern European Communist alliance that excludes Moscow? Perhaps Eastern Europeans are waking up to the fact that Russia is bad?

"Dollars --An American Problem" This is the second part of a two part article, and since no-one read the first part, The Economist begins by summarising it. There are two views of the dollar problem. The Americans believe that the world can and should move to a free exchange world in which everyone who holds an amount of any currency can exchange it for dollars, and use those dollars to buy American goods. Europeans do not believe that it will be possible to have free exchange, that is, that they will  hold enough dollars, at any point in the 1950s. This does not mean that Europe will never be self-supporting, that the ERF will fail. The European countries aren't short of money. They are short of "money." Americans think of dollars as money, and of Europeans, therefore, as either impoverished or misers. The problem is that we export more to the world than we import, and will until either America needs to import more (and manufactured goods will not make up the difference, tariff reduction notwithstanding), or the world develops alternative sources of the goods America provides. Oil cannot be a solution, since so much of the rest of the world's oil reserves are American-owned.

"Science and Planning" The Royal Society's Conference on Scientific Information is currently going on, and might seem like a worthy but highly specialised interest. But! Worldwide scientific progress relies on the publication and distribution of scientific articles in hundreds of periodicals controlled by the various scientific societies, which have grown up like so many bushes, and now might need to be disciplined and planned and nationalised, thinks J. D. Bernal, so that the vain inquiries of pure science can be subordinated to the needs  of progress. Perhaps this is what made German science so successful in the 1930s! Only it's not. Scientific inspiration will be choked out by all of this planning,  and we British, so The Economist says, shouldn't do it, lest we never achieve full technical efficiency.

"Cutting the Coat" The Economist supposes that taxation equal to 37% of national income cannot possibly be born, so one of the most important tasks of long-term economic policy is to cut taxes. ("Reduce the total of tax-financed expenditure.")

Based on a national income of ten billion pounds, these are the figures. I wonder if future ages will even believe that the expenditure burden of the British national debt fell between 1939 and 1948, due to lower tax rates and a sharp rise in the national income? On the other hand, the burden of defence and agriculture has grown from 17% to over 23%. Social insurance spending will soon rise sharply to cover the full costs of NHS and the Education Act. The Economist squints at the numbers and decides that if a 34% share of the national income is too much tax, 30% will be just fine. One might argue that since national income has been rising steadily, nothing need be done. Tut-tut, says The Economist. A substantial fall in national income is overdue, just around the corner, only a matter of time, pick your favourite cliche. The current strong economy and full employment must bring nemesis in the form of a business depression; or, alternatively, a rise in the national income might drive up the cost of living, and lead to demands for more this-and-that, including national expenditure. Therefore, the government has no choice but to immediately cut £750 million from the budget and use the savings to fund a tax cut. It will be a sacrifice, but the British people have shown they can take it! (The savings should come out of agriculture.)

Notes of the Week

The lead article says that the dockers' strike was pure economic vandalism, and something must be done. It is obviously unthinkable to ban the right to strike, says The Economist, before tiptoeing almost all the way to saying it. The final version of the British acceptance of the ERP will be put forward next week. The lunatic left is bad, no-one understands international finance, and the Americans are tactless and rude.

"July 5, 1948" The new social security scheme takes effect next week. It's nice, but impractical, and should probably be cancelled due to the dockers' strike.

"Warsaw Manifesto" The Warsaw Manifesto was a bit of an embarrassment for Moscow, because it had to put itself officially behind Poland's new western frontiers, which upsets the Germans. On the other hand, they had to promise the Germans self-government, which upsets the non-Germans. To make the best of it, the Russians demanded that all occupation troops withdraw from Germany by next year, when the new German government takes power, which would mean British and American troops out of Europe, at which point no doubt the Communists would drive to the English Channel, etc. In other communistic news, the Russians are promoting the idea that Count Bernadotte is the "agent of Anglo-American imperialism," and that his partition plan is bad. Some Palestinian Jews agree, as much because they want the Negev Desert in the south of the country, currently cut off by the Egyptians. Practically, the radicals say that the long term consequence of the partition is, yes, "Anglo-American imperialism," as the British will continue to dominate Transjordan and its occupation zone on the right bank of the Jordan, while America will "dominate" Israel. There is also the question of the hundreds of thousands of Arabs terrorised out of their homes. Arab public opinion is unlikely to accept their permanent expatriation. In Israel, the Palmach has obeyed Ben-Gurion's orders to liquidate the Irgun, the radical militia, but The Economist expects that difficult economic times will soon bring social dissent. Refugees and social strife will probably "settle" Palestine (by unsettling it), and not windy questions of recognition and sovereignty. Also, the pro-Soviet Sneh group has been frozen out of fundraising in America. Had the Americans done that earlier, there would probably not have been "terrorism" to start with.

There follows a long bit about the Monopoly Bill before The Economist winds itself up to complain about being nice to colonials somewhere, and summer vacation, which leads to children running wild and forgetting their lessons.

"First Fortnight of Currency Reform" "The success of currency reform in the western zones of Germany in its initial economic purpose was devastatingly abrupt." Factory absenteeism fell from 15--20% to 2--3%, and jobseekers lined up at the heavy machinery and export industry factories. Goods appeared in shop windows everywhere, and farmers flocked the early morning roads on their way to the town to sell their produce, not sure exactly how they were supposed to, but game to earn deutschemarks for carrot bunches. It is now up to the Germans to spread the burden and tax effectively with a "difficult mixture of imagination and self-restraint."

Letters to the Editor

Audrey S. Eban, of Israel's Office of the Acting Representative to the United Nations writes to explain that a so-called moderate peace that excludes the Upper Galilee and the Negeb from Israel is a non-starter with "moderate" Jewish opinion. Israel holds both, is not going to be dislodged, and will not give them up diplomatically. O. Soetrisno writes that you shouldn't blame the Indonesian revolution on Communism when its leadership is actually anti-Communist, but that when the West opposes Communism and the struggle for national independence, there is a risk that it will drive them together.  R. J. Heathorn writes that since "scarcity is a relative concept," rationing is likely to be a permanent feature of the full-employment economy. Anthony Vickers, of Hydraulic Couplings Patents, Ltd., writes that he agrees with The Economist that more and more productive capital equipment should be installed. But when "a policy of economic restriction is again pursued, as before the war," what is the point of installing more efficient equipment? Why produce more, when more cannot be bought? Had prewar British policy been geared so that the full resources of the nation were used, instead of 80%, this would have "greatly increased the productive equipment of Britain."

From The Economist of 1848

I can't believe anyone read the editorial material material in this paper a hundred years ago. Not when there were second-rate Gothic novels, reprinted Church sermons, shopping flyers, jars of laudenum, and words hallucinated into window cracks to read. Writing without benefit of paragraph breaks, our editor complains that some people think that their MP should listen to them.

American Survey

"The Republican Ticket" "'The international bankers,' the Chicago Tribune complained last Friday, "have taken over the Republican Party for the third successive election." Honestly. If Chicago and the McCormicks didn't exist, The Economist would have to write news articles, instead of rehashing the Convention. The "Dewey Blitz" as a bit underhanded. The "vulgarity" of the Taft displays shouldn't obscure the fact that he is a fine fellow. Stassen is a fine fellow. Herbert Hoover is a fine fellow. You can say "Nostalgia for the Hooverian period" with a straight face. Governor Warren is a fine fellow. some Republicans don't like Dewey and won't vote for him.

"Monopolies and Movies" A correspondent in California gives the industry's response to the Supreme Court breaking up the studio system of theatre ownership. which Hollywood is still hopeful is no such thing, once various cases are reheard and the Department of Justice acts.

American Notes

"No Strike in Coal" The favourable judgment on the use of the royalty fund for miners' pensions ends the threat of a strike, and who can argue with $100/month at 62 for miners with twenty years in the mines? Also, the ongoing "surrender to the third round of wage increases" is almost complete, no strikes needed, good news for the Democrats.

"Half-Open Door for DPs" The House and Senate bills have been reconciled. The United States will take 204,000 of an originally proposed 400,000 DPs from the European camps, and the 15000 aliens already in the United States can stay, subject to individual approval by Congress. The restrictions in the Senate bill "that only lightly veiled anti-Jewish and anti-Catholic prejudice" have all survived, and the DP places will come out of future years' immigration quotas. The Economist thinks that the bill wouldn't have passed at all were it not for the shrinking agricultural labour force in the Midwest.

"Mr. Ploesser's Steel Surprise" Everyone is surprised that the Selective Service Act includes a provision to direct the steel industry and force it to accept defence orders. The clause was in all the draft draft bills because it has always beein in mobilisation bills, and no-one thought to strip it out, and now everyone is wondering wat to do about it now that it is law. Also, the Republicans have a stop-gap solution to the problem of farm price supports driving inflation, and the New York City Council has raised bus and subway ticket prices above the traditional nickel fare. PM has been taken over from Marshall Field by Barltey Crum and Joseph Barnes, both active in progressive politics, and will be renamed the New York Star. The value of American imports dropped by over $100 million in April, of exports by $20 million. Practically all commodities were hit by the import drops, cotton and coal by the export drop.

The World Overseas

"Berliners Carry On" The Economist's special correspondent in Berlin writes that based on his trips to AEG and Siemens (he doesn't name them, but those are the big electrical factories exporting via the British sector, says Reggie), that Berlin has the true "Blitz spirit." Also, the Russians are buying up Deutschemarks (sic!) at every gate, no doubt as a sinister plan to drive the currency out of the marketplace, and not at all a ploy to get their hands on American dollars.

Also, the elections in Finland are going badly for the Communists, and Australia has concluded a trade agreement with New Zealand, which was timely because it allows them to maximise their joint dollar earnings. In similar thrilling news of obvious developments explained at length, the Czechs and Poles are now engaged in "joint planning." Industrial co-operation! Exchanging scientific data!

The Business World

"Housing: Programs and Performance" The Economist disapproves! However, it has to concede that since the temporary housing program was run down, the ratio of homes started to homes completed has improved significantly. All the chaos and disorganisation of the temporary program turns out to have had an effect. Labour has not gone down as far as the White Paper promised, and is still far higher than before the war or "any cold calculation of Britain's economic resources and problems" would justify. So it's still too expensive, too inefficient, and still takes labour away from the export industries. Bad housing! Bad!

The section finishes off with a very long look at the work of a financial trustee.

Business Notes

Speaking of, the section launches off with a look at the money markets, before moving on to the bilateral agreement on the ERP. The British have to be good lads about promoting industry and efficiency and science all that sort of stuff, and do their best to make sure that British assets in the United States are used to generate dollars for imports rather than investments for future earnings. The Chancellor has reaffirmed his disinflationary policy against various pressures. The Economist warns sternly against "piecemeal relaxations" of rationing, or of export requirements that would trigger price and wage increases. It might seem reasonable to allow "frustrated exports" to be sold on the home market, but what if this encourages would-be exporters to not make the last effort to sell their wares internationally? However, it seems that some relaxation of the capital cuts is in order, given that Britain's net investment in 1947 was only £135 million, compared with £227 million in 1938.

"Inflation in China" Inflation in China is galloping, or rocketing, or pick your preferred metaphor. The plan to restore the silver standard, never actually practical due to lack of silver, has vanished from the discussion. Meanwhile, sources in Hong Kong and Manila report massive sales of gold into China.

"Quarter's Revenue Surplus" British tax revenues were much higher than expected this quarter, with the excise raising more than £130 million more than expected, income tax £23 million, and Excess Profits £16 million. Expenditures are down only slightly, well below the hoped-for £80 million, but revenue gains more than made up for it.

Stockbroking firms complaining about the new rules on commissions have something of a point. Coal miners should shut up and work harder. Some "frustrated exports" should be sold on the home markets, others should be punished. Wool prices are down, but the reserve price is up, which seems to be fine even though the wool exporters' association doesn't release any information that would let us judge. Sugar prices are down, trade with Chile is to be encouraged, the government has issued more export finance guarantees, the Ranke organisation has suffered a financial "setback" due to declining cinema-going. Cotton yarn production is at its highest level since the war.

Flight, 8 July 1948


  "A New Milestone" Flight can't leave it to last week's news article, and devotes the first leader to the Gyrodyne speed record. It is very exciting that the speed record was set so quickly after the first flight, which illustrates the potential of the type, as well as the hard work of Fairey and Alvis. Fast helicopters really are necessary before regular service is possible, since high wind speeds can make lower speeds, no speed at all.

"--And Older Ones" As far as I parse the leader, which I gave a very cursory look, new pictures of emerged of John Stringfellow's flyable, steam-powered aircraft model of 1848! 

"The Northolt Disaster" Just one tiny, inconsequential little story to get out of the way before moving on to the rest of the issue, and that is an incident that occurred at Northolt on 4 July, which was hardly anything, but requires a mention just as a courtesy to the remarkably small number of 39 people who were killed when a Douglas DC-6 of Scandinavian Airlines ascended into an RAF York in the next "stacking" layer above it, while attempting to divert to Amsterdam due to weather.  This probably shows that there is a problem with the current stacking system, just like all the passengers say all the time, but we shouldn't jump to conclusions or anything, but rather wait for the Inspector's report.

"Vampire Ventures: Jet Fighters of No. 54 Squadron Leave in Convoy for the New World" IN surely the most exciting and most significant RAF exercise of the postwar, 54 Squadron's DH Vampire 3s are to fly to Montreal to do a summer tour of Canada and America, via Stornoway, Iceland, Greenland and Labrador. A weather reconnaissance Mosquito will lead them, and two more with baggage that might be needed at the stops, with 2 Yorks following on behind. The Vampire 3s can carry 2 200 gallon drop tanks, bringing capacity up to 536 gallons. With drop tanks, maximum speed is 531mph, ceiling is 43,500ft, and the R/T range of the Vampires, which carry no Loran, is only 200 miles, which tells you something about their expected endurance. The flights can be made against wind speeds of up to 33 knots, so if it gets higher than that, the Vampires will have to abort pronto.

The listed range is 1220 miles, which I assume is calculated from 3 hours endurance.

"Hamble Heyday: Air Service Training Ltd. on Show: Varied Ground and Air Programme" a Sea Fury and a Meteor showed up, while an Eon glider didn't kill its pilot, hurray.

Here and There

Sir Frank Whittle is retiring from the RAF on health grounds, "which does not altogether come as a surprise." It is hoped that someone will find him a  nice sinecure in industry where he can scream at Royal Navy Engineering Branch officers and push starlets into pools. Air France has resumed the air link with Spain (Toulouse-Barcelona) that is the oldest in the world, albeit briefly interrupted for political reasons that hardly bear mentioning for a brief period between 1939 and 1945. In equally important news, Aer Lingus has lifted the ban on greyhound travel by air after the Dublin SPCA approved special crates. That modified B-29 that was to rebroadcast television signals back East is now flying. Sabena Airlines has a special, folding altar that Belgian missionaries can carry while flying between stopping points in the Congo, which seems like the punchline of some awful Conrad parody.

Civil Aviation News

Inevitable wiki link. Grace wasn't quite as quick to pick up on anti-Catholicism as anti-Semitism.
Flight wants you to know that the antique Air Italia airliners now landing in the British Isles, have British engines. British South American Airways reminds everyone that there are no grounds for misgivings about its Tudor IV Azores-Bermuda operations, which will be perfectly safe when they are resumed; the alternative Shannon-Gander route will be used when they are not. The Air Navigation Regulations Amendment Order (1948) is brought to our attention. The Northolt Disaster is briefly described, which, considering that it happened four days before the masthead date, is a lot more forgivable here than buried as the third leader. The Institution of Navigation had a dinner on 2 July, at which the Astronomer Royal and Admiral of the Fleet Sir John Cunningham were special guests. BSAA has formed a subsidiary in the West Indies, and BEA is continuing to extend its operations, apart from when it shrinks them. ICAO heard a proposal that it should formulate a fair, economical and uniform system for funding navigational facilities. New Zealand and Ireland want to extend this into a general investigation of the economics of air transport facilities. This is controversial, I suppose because everyone wants them, and expects everyone else to pay for them. The Canadian Federal Department of Mines has issued several air survey contracts to Photographic Survey Company, which is part of the Hunting Group. As of 5 July, all KLM Amsterdam-London services are being carried on DC-6s. A Dakota which will have flown 24,000 miles since its last return to its London-area home base, will soon return from Karachi with some lucky passengers. Various air services are being extended. The first BOAC Handley Page Hermes will be delivered in August. Qantas made its 50th return flight from Japan on 16 June. It flies Lancastrians on RAF contract, and has carried 861 passengers and 151,000lbs of troop mail. KLM has bought two more Constellations, bringing its fleet to 19, and Lockheed deliveries to 132, out of 152 aircraft on the production lines. European Air Transport's Mr. G. Marcello, reports that his company has flown as many Greeks as it can from Athens to Sydney, Australia, and has been offered as much as £600 in gold by would-be queue jumpers,  inspired by the recent "disturbed conditions" there.

Presumably they're getting out of town because they're afraid of being purged as communists, which makes the 
£600 in gold telling. Of what, we'll soon learn.

Obviously this is a pretty tasteless joke in hindsight, but Grace
either didn't know, or had forgotten about the crashes by the
time she edited these letters
Ann Douglas, "International Gliding Contests: The British Captain Discusses Training, Equipment and Prospects" Miss Douglas is the (nonflying) captain and team manager of the British team, which has gone over to Switzerland to not fly into mountains.

"Auster Trainer: A Useful Development of the AOP Mk. 6" There is a "desire" for an even simpler version of the Mk 6 for ab initio training, so Auster has gone out and produced the Mk 7, which is just like the Mk 6, except it has a dual control column and duplicated wheel brakes. "With the silencer-frame damper-cabin heater modifications, the Mk. 7 is relatively quiet." There is ample space in the back for an F. 24 camera or cable-laying equipment." In shorter news on this page, ICAO has adjusted the proportions that each Atlantic flying country has to pay towards the costs of the Iceland base.

"Theseus Endurance Test" The Bristol Theseus has completed 358 hours running. It is the first turboprop to do a "sealed" run test, and perhaps the target is a 500 hour run? The first Theseus engines will be delivered for the Hermes V shortly, and the icing problem is being very closely studied and will surely be solved soon.

If only they'd fixed the icing! By RuthAS - Own work, CC BY 3.0,

"BEA Crash Report" The report on the 6 January BEA Viking crash at Northolt is now out. The crash, in a ploughed field just short of the airfield, killed the pilot and injured eight other occupants. The Chief Inspector of Accident's report emphasises that the pilot, Captain W. H. Morton, had a record of making mistakes under SBA approach conditions, misreading signals and turning in the wrong direction. He had, however, been practicing diligently. On the night of the crash, the barometer reading had been falling steadily, and, during the five minutes that Morton spent "hugging" the airfield and trying to land, were not passed on to him. Possibly as a result, when he abandoned his attempts to make an SBA landing for a timed, visual approach, he overestimated his altitude, crashed through some trees, and died. Pilot error in not diverting to another airfield is the finding, with the possibility of altimeter error not discounted. In shorter news, the Chislea production line will be shut down for two months due to shortages of raw materials and components. Existing orders will not be affected.

"Eglington Excitement: Naval Aviation 'At Home' in Northern Ireland" The Fleet Air Arm had a flying display in northern Ireland.  Sea Furies, Fireflies and Barracudas were on the menu.


"Balliol at Bitteswell: Demonstration of Boulton Paul Trainer with A.S. Mamba Turboprop." Oh, dear. This many factory articles about the Balliol does not spell good news for the plane.

Group Captain P. H. Dunn, "Leadership in the RAF: Thoughts on Qualifications, Discipline and Promotion" Chasing starlets into the pool while grabbing their bathing suit bottoms with ice tongs and yelling, "Shark attack" will hardly ever get you promoted in the RAF. Above Flight Lieutenant. Squadron Leader, tops. Above that, you need to fly a Spitfire under a bridge, inverted. Okay, he didn't say anything of the sort, but he should have, as it would have made for a more interesting article, and been about as good a use of paper. In shorter news, Kodak is putting on  a display about the use of aerial photography in archaeology, and the Royal Commission on Invention has sorted out the patent rights for the Halifax's undercarriage and given a  £120,00 award to the company that used to be Messier, and isn't, any more. As a matter of interest, the directors of the new British Messier include  R. Verdon Smith, F. R. Banks, and H. G. Conway.

"Commonwealth Research" Co-operative Attack on Fundamental Problems" More on the research agreement between Britain and the dominions, notably the rocket range and associated wind tunnel in Australia. As he needs to say something nice about other dominions, he mentions gust sensing, which might be usefully researched by having experimental planes in all the dominions flying with sensors. 
In shorter news on this page, the chairman of Rolls-Royce said today that Merlin sales around the world brought in £5 million this year, and Lodge Plugs has a new service manual out. Page over is an ad for the Lodge plugs in the Alvis Leonides that powers the record-beating Gyrodyne.


T. D. Keegan, Licensed Pilot and Engineer, points out that while RAF demobilisation provided plenty of pilots and engineers for civil aviation in 1945, there will be no such bonanza in 1960, and there will be no pilots and engineers, and the airlines will have to hire garage mechanics, and there will be crash after crash. Instead, BOAC should start training boys right now. Roy Fedden writes with a "realistic view" of the diesel-engine-for-aircraft problem. He points out that a 300--4000hp aircraft diesel engine could be developed. It would be about 25% heavier than a gas engine for 25% less fuel consumption, with fuel costing about 25% less than high-octane petrol. This not being adequate to military needs, the work has not been done as of yet, and it would take about 8 years to get it into production, which is long after jet turbines will have come in, which is why it is not very realistic, and people should stop fussing about them. 

In case you were worried about missing all the references to the Berlin Airlift in the first two weeks of the crisis, here it is. 
The Economist, 10 July 1948


"The Crown and the Commonwealth" The new Nationality Bill has blown up into a big to-do in Parliament, which The Economist explains at vast length, is all about abstractions about how the King of England is also the King of this and that, but not at the same time, or perhaps at the same time, so that being a subject of the King isn't necessarily being the subject of the King of Britain, or maybe it is.  I can't help but wonder what this has to do with cases. Take, just for one example, a resident of Jamaica taking out a patent in Britain. Right now, as a British subject, there is no problem. Under the Nationality Act, I think the situation right now is that he still can, but as a British subject, in Britain. So what are his rights in Jamaica? The same as now, I imagine, but shouldn't you actually make that clear, in an Act that is supposed to make things clear. Now, obviously, the solution is for Jamaica to be its own country, but even some Jamaicans might object to that if it meant losing their status as British subjects! It's a tangle, and perhaps I shouldn't even have been talking about Jamaica when the Hong Kong shipowner tangle is so much more pressing.

"Palestine: The Map and the Moment" The now-published Bernadotte plan calls for a co-dominium in Palestine, shared by Transjordan and the Jewish Authority. A border in the middle will cut up to give Israel western Galilee, and the Transjordan, the Negev. Liddah will be a free airport, Haifa a free port, and Jerusalem an Arab city with special protections for the Jewish population. The Jewish Agency will have full control of Jewish immigration for two years, after which Transjordan will have veto rights. The Economist is skeptical that any border can be drawn, and points out that the Jews are confident in their military superiority, if still short of tanks and artillery. The Arab nations may talk about settling things by force of arms and taking Tel Aviv, but they advanced so easily in May because they did so through friendly territory. Now, their lines of communications are vulnerable, and they would be better served by negotiating while their armies are intact. Jews point to Russian support for the original partition plan. The Economist just wants to make sure that the British don't get drawn back into the (expensive) fighting.

"The Need for Discrimination" The Economist explains why, given the persistent dollar shortage, America has to give up its principle of "non-discrimination." Countries outside the hard-currency area must be free to discriminate against nonessential American goods in order to conserve dollar earnings to buy important things, and if Americans don't like it, they should drop all their tariffs, (Which won't solve the problem) or approve an extension of the Bretton Woods "scarce currency clause" that is supposed to address the problem.

Notes of the Week

"ERP Debated" "One really cannot both demand a balanced external budget and be a mouthpiece for the Housewive's League."

Good thing housewives don't take The Economist, or you'd lose some readers, there, Mr. Crowther. The Tories think that ERP means that socialism has failed, while the more socialist socialists think that Americans are dumping commodities on foreign markets to keep prices high at home. More sensibly, R. Mackay argued for an economic free zone in the Western Union, able to look America in the eye, and notes that Russian export resources can do much more to replace American exports than so far.

(A European free trade zone! What could go wrong?)

"Beyond Berlin" "The time may come when Mr. Bevin will feel some gratitude to the Russians for raising the issue in Germany in the simple form that has now been grasped by the British public." That is, everyone agrees, Russians and the West, that Berliners should not starve, and that Berliners should not be victimised for their dependence on the West. (I guess that the second follows from the first, which the Russians have said.) Everyone is proud and relieved that the Western powers can do something that doesn't involve fighting, and the air operation is very exciting. The problem is that it can't go on indefinitely. The Economist estimates that it extends the period of diplomacy by three or four weeks. Practically, then, everything depends on whether Berlin's stockpiles would have held it through the first week of October. And that is very complicated because of coal and winter! Election! It is all about the election! As to what will come of diplomacy, the Russians want to bring Germany before the Council of Foreign Ministers again, so that's hopeful. On the other hand, it isn't obvious that Molotov has anything new to say. Is Germany to stay in the ERP, or leave it? Is Germany to get a united government that can remain non-Communist? How?

Forgotten prime minister.
"North Atlantic Pact" Reggie, perhaps because he is an international man of action, thinks that there is, already, effectively, a defensive alliance between the Sixteen Nations, so anything that comes out of the Canadian Secretary of State's speech and the current ambassadorial talks is just a formality.  But it could be a very important formality, and not just in Canada.

Latins (French) are excitable. Noticeably somehow getting on with things, but excitable. It really is going to come crashing down soon. Really! Bevan is awful because he says mean things about rich people, when, in fact, he is the mean person! The Cominterm was talking through its hat when it said that it was kicking Tito and the Jugoslavs out for not being Communist enough, when the actual reason is foreign policy. The Albanian Communists, who have joined with the Cominterm, are ridiculous. The main reason they hate the Jugoslav Communists is that so many Albanians live in the Kosovo-Metohija District of Jugoslavia, and are being mistreated. The Centre parties won the Finnish elections, we're told, again. A thirty minute programme on BBC Third gave the Russian point of view, which is terrible, and the BBC is terrible for allowing it to air. If the BBC would just give the half-hour show to various European newspapers instead of Pravda, everything would be alright.

As if the every-week-the-same-story about French politics weren't bad enough, The Economist follows up with a story about minerals under the Planning and Town and Country Acts. The Government must do some "hard thinking" about all the insurmountable objections to doing anything. Does anyone ever make fun of Mr. Crowther to his face? He doesn't seem like the kind of man who takes criticism well, though still an improvement over the last century.

"Democracy Dances" Japan is embracing democracy, and jazz dancing. If boogie-woogie spreads peace and Western values, then The Economist is willing to allow people to, as it were, get down, and, as an American might so eloquently put it, shake it on the floor. Indubitably, by Jove!

(Not Japan, but boogie-woogie.)

Rounding up some shorter notes, The Economist is gravely suspicious of Chifley's attempt to advance a deal on dollar sharing, thinking that Australia is trying to steal a march on the other Dominions. It has opinions about the Neglected Child Act and the new policy allowing civil servants to write for pay, and the first Ministry of Education report since 1938. In summary, there were as many teachers as in 1938 (188,000), but 500,000 fewer students due to the declining birth rate in the 1930s, 5 million against 5.5 million. However, the rise in birthrate during wartime and the raising of the school leaving age to 16 means that the number of students will rise to 6 million by 1952, and the supply of woman nursery school teachers will be gravely deficient, with most of the new classrooms being prefabricated huts due to the slow capital development programme. .

Letters to the Editor

W. A. Cooper writes to point out that The Economist's claim that taxing more than 25% of national income is dangerous is never proven in its articles on government expenditure. The Economist replies that 25% is just one number, and it has others. The important point is that the current level is past the danger point, whatever it might turn out to be, and so must be reduced to a lower number, whatever that might turn out to be. Dorothy Smith points out that some dentists deserve to be allowed to set higher fees, because they have nicer equipment, and, perhaps, are better dentists. H. L. Berlak points out that the accounting profession thinks that it is being ignored in attempts to define the rate of profit for income tax purposes. A. Bryce Muir points out that without the Lancashire Exchange, the world cotton market is about to collapse. H. de G. Laurie writes to point out that there won't be a coalition government in South Africa, because the Nationalists are confident of winning the next election. The Afrikaans population is growing faster than the English, and many English-speaking voters agree with the Nationalists on the race question, so the Nationalists will pick up the growing White vote. Also, recognition of Israel is a very popular and exciting policy that will not improve General Smuts' standing as much as he thinks it will.

From The Economist of 1848

It is hoped that as soon as the current political disturbances end, the French will begin to recover. After all, their industries and agriculturer are intact, and money has been hoarded, not destroyed. Credit will be restored, prosperity revived, and the only thing destroyed will be all those cranks who think that there is anything to do in a business panic except sit, starve, and wait for "confidence to be restored."

The forecast calls for economic recovery with a light sprinkling of Bonapartism; Farce with a trace of tragedy. 


The Economist didn't like C. M. Woodhouse's Apple of Discord, because it is too anti-communist, but it did like the part where he argued that Greece could only flourish as part of a larger Balkan federation. The Greeks, he points out, are very similar to other Balkan peoples, and either Communism or American political democracy will overcome national particularity soon. L. Dudley Stamp's The Land of Britain; Its Use and Misuse, is the first comprehensive survey of the use of every acre in Britain, or, perhaps, anywhere else. It doesn't go into the details, which are in 92 county reports; but he does show that the amount of land used for housing will probably have to rise from 5.5% to 10%. He finds that really first class agricultural land is only 4.1% of the total, and should be  jealously guarded from development. He thinks that the amount of arable should rise from the prewar 20% to 27.5%, which will be a decrease from current Government targets. Permanent grass should decline considerably from prewar, although the stock-carrying capacity could rise by 40%, allowing for improvements in rough grazing that The Economist thinks would be uneconomical if they were actually implemented. Reafforestation, however, has "exhilarating" possibilities. Two books about cartels, a League of Nations memorandum, and George W. Stocking and Myron W. Watkins, allow The Economist to suck its favourite thumb. The Economist loved Melvin Warren Reder's Studies in the Theory of Welfare Economics.

American Survey

"Congressional Balance Sheet" When President and Congress are of different parties, The Economist admits, the President seems ineffective and grumbling, Congress obstructive and disagreeable. Congress passes bills to annoy the President, while the President defies "the will of the people" by vetoing them. With that out of the way, The Economist notices that the Eightieth Congress is praising itself to the skies for restraining "extravagant and ill-advised Executive action," balancing the budget, cutting taxes, "sensible labour reform," etc. In reality, the Eightieth's only significant success was in foreign policy, and The Economist shakes its head at the punt on civil rights. The Republicans will "probably" get the Coloured vote, but have done nothing to deserve it.

American Notes

"Democrats in Distress" The Democrats go into convention next week with the President as their standard-bearer, in spite of a last-minute attempt to draft General Eisenhower, led by James Roosevelt. Hmm. Well, that sounds like James Roosevelt! (At least after someone convinced him that Tarzan isn't real.) The platform committee is confident that it can find a way to bridge the gap on civil rights (an invisible ink clause?), but all the reasonable people think that the Southern delegates won't vote for Truman. The problem is, who will they vote for? Certainly not Justice Douglas! Meanwhile, the Dewey-Warren ticket has New York and California sewed up, so that's the ballgame. Unless the Eightieth is blamed for inflation, in which case he's in trouble; but Dewey is going to campaign on foreign policy. Right now, that means waving the bloody shirt over Palestine and China; if that works, there may be a French and German bloody shirt to follow.

There follow two notes on labour law, and one on anti-trust. The steel industry's "captive" coal mines, which represent 10% of the nation's soft coal mines, have tried to pull out of Lewis' pension settlement and have opened up a new front, arguing that the union shop provision in the contract is a violation of the Taft-Hartley act. This is likely to be rolled up in all of the other court challenges.  The anti-trust story is deemed to be Congress cozying up to its favourite friend, small business.

"Segregation Without Discrimination" Philip Randolph, of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, has launched a League for Non-Violent Disobedience Against Military Segregation demanding that the President issue an order desegregating the Armed Forces by 16 August, on the grounds that there is no anti-segregation clause in the new draft bill, which comes into effect then. The Economist believes that Randolph's "bargain with patriotism" is not supported by Negroes. There is sentiment in favour of anti-segregation, but the Army Secretary says that segregation, as practiced in the Army, is not discriminatory, but rather anti-discriminatory. (Since Negroes will only flourish in separate society.) The Economist thinks that Southerners would have a better argument if their opposition to the Education Bill didn't show that they were a great deal more interested in discriminating than segregating.

The World Overseas

"Peasants Under Tito" Not content to leave it to a short note, The Economist  launches into a full inquiry into land reform and peasant policy in Jugoslavia. The policy is to be nice to peasants, who represent 70% of the population and the majority of Jugoslavia's export potential. The five year plan calls for industrialisation, but that cannot happen too quickly in a country that is 50% illiterate.

"Pakistan's Prospects" Pakistan has a balanced federal budget, although several states show deficits. It is short of raw materials and tax revenues, and needs foreign capital, which won't be forthcoming at the current tax rate. Right after this is yet another article on the Communist defeat in Finland.

"Political Trials in Portugal" Portugal might be small and irrelevant, but that doesn't make its government any nicer. A military court this week sentenced various military and civilian revels implicated in the alleged 10 April 1947 "plot" against Salazar, who allegedly included the President. The Economist thinks that Salazar would have ignored the whole thing, and was buffaloed into the trials by his police and his Minister of war, Santos Costa. Thus, the real point of the trial was to find the President innocent, and the other "conspirators" guilty of a minor bit of (actually, non-) conspiring. Clear as mud!

The Business World

"Housebuilding Costs" As threatened last week, the Government's increased target of 200,000 homes next year instead of 140,000 is provoking measured retaliation, in the form of a long inquiry into the costs of housebuilding. Which are TOO  HIGH!!! Up 20%!

A thousand square feet.
. . . Although costs have come down as the industry has shaken out from its postwar expansion. Which is all very well, except that productivity per head has decreased disgracefully. This isn't just because the workers are lazy ("diminution of effort"), although they are very lazy. It is also because the new houses are extravagant. Before the war, a three bedroom house was 740--850 square feet super, while now it is 950, super, at a minimum, or sometimes 1000 square feet. The Economist thinks that prewar homes were already quite enough better than historical homes, and that if house sizes keep on going up, the country must live within its  means, etc., etc. (People will have to pay the full rent, because they wanted bigger homes, and now they've got them!)

"The New Oil Refineries" It used to be that oil refineries were built near the oilfields. Now, they are to be built in Britain. "What considerations brought about the change?" The Economist points out that the heavy cost of transportation and the use of substantial amounts of fuel to run the refineries together make it more practical to refine oil near the oilfields and ship the final product. Also, countries like Venezuela understandably want the refineries at home. The problem is that the United States has stopped exporting, and is actually making inroads on Caribbean output. The world will have to rely on Middle Eastern oil, and new refineries will have to be built somewhere. The oil companies do not like the idea of investing in the Middle East, and prefer European refineries, which will be built with Middle Eastern crude oil in mind, but with the ability to refine American or Latin American oil if necessary. This flexibility in dealing with different oil grades comes at a price; in a normal trading world, this price would not be paid, as the oil would be refined at source, by dedicated refineries; but the world is no longer normal, and this scheme will save dollars at the expense of the domestic market. The new refineries, on the Thames, at Llandarcy, and at least one other place, will have a capacity of 6.25 million tons a year, up from just 450,000 in 1947, and will reach 3 million as early as the end of next year, with the new Fawley refinery, when complete, doing 6 million tons a year by itself.

Fortunately for its reputation(?), The Economist stops just short of telling the industry that it is making a mistake. By Peter Facey, CC BY-SA 2.0,

Enough steel has already been allocated for half the programme. Refinery cost is estimated at £2000--2500 per ton of output, and operating costs at $12,000--15,000 per ton-day. If these numbers are correct, current cost estimates are low, steel will be short, and even the full programme might not be enough to meet rising home demand.

  Business Notes

"Gold and Silver Reserves" From now on, the Government will aim to hold, oh, say, five hundred millions of gold and silver to defend the pound on world markets. It's hard to be precise, because no-one knows anything about anything. (Mainly, the exact amount of ERP aid this year.) On the same, continued, the ERA agreement provides for stockpile purchasing of a few commodities, such as rubber, tin and wool. The problem (as always) is the provision assumes a world surplus to be bought up cheap, to provide a strategic reserve and support the industry. But there is, as yet, no surplus; and by the time there is, the Russians may be active on the world rubber and wool markets.

There follow some financial bits and complaints that the speakers at the UMW are far too socialistic, before going on about steel prices and subsidies. (The Minister scolded the Iron and Steel Federation, pointing out that the effect of government policy is a subsidy of about 20 shillings per ton, although this is wrapped up in freight rates and coal exports and I don't know what. The Economist rushes to the defence of the industry, using the Minister's detailed report, which shows that, after Australian steel, which benefits from low iron ore and coal prices, British steel is very competitive, and that the best British steel producers are reaching American price levels. There is also a thumbsuck on film quotas, which have been set at 45% British. The industry seems to be right to say that it can fill 45% of screen time with British productions, but that includes a backlog, and it has not proven that it can maintain this rate without "loss of quality," which leaves The Economist wondering whether the quota should not be reduced, since it might be politically impossible to reduce it later.  "Surrender now, in case we can't, later."

South Africa is to have capital controls to check the influx of sterling area hot money. Too late, The Economist thinks, as the Nationalist victory has already scared it away. The Governor of the Bank of Greece is in town to talk with the Treasury and the Bank of England. He admits that the drachma has lost a third of its purchasing power in 1947, but stoutly denies that this is because of inflation, even though circulation is up 80%. After all, the Greek budget is being shored up by American military aid, and that is being paid in gold. Although the amount of gold in circulation has also risen alarmingly. So I guess that's your explanation for people waving gold at airlines to get to Australia.

Church of the Evangelos, Perth, Australia. 

"No Preference for Tin Ore" The Malayan preferential export duty on tin ore, amounting to £61/ton on tin ore exported for refining to locations other than the Straits Settlement (but not Singapore, now that Singapore is Singapore and not the Straits Settlement), Australia and the United Kingdom, is gone under the GATT agreement. This will allow the Americans to "sweeten" low grade Bolivian ore with high-grade Malayan after current contracts run out at the end of the year. That is, as long as the British cannot show that the Texas refinery isn't being subsidised b the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. Arguably, however, the ERA supersedes the GATT anti-subsidy provision. Also, the spot price of rubber is at an all-time high.

"Falling Property Values" The price of a four-to-six bedroom modern house in or around London has fallen from between £4,750 and £9000 to about £500 less. The peak price of London homes might have been about three times the prewar value, and is now down to about twice; and the volume of sales is also down, perhaps about 10% of business, say real estate agents. Leases that have reverted to the landlord are being re-let at between 75% to 100% more than the pre-war value.

"The Problem with Trade Policy" It might seem reasonable to delay the full provisions of GATT by a year, but it isn't because other countries might get cold feet, take all of the concessions America has made already, and not return the favour.

"What is the Sterling Area?" The sterling area is all of the countries that fix their money's exchange rates into pounds sterling, as they used to do into gold, before Britain withdrew from the gold standard in 1931. The only real change since gold standard days is that there are exchange controls limiting exchange for dollars, and to make this practical, the sterling area runs a central dollar pool, and to make that practical, excessive withdrawals have to be avoided, which is hard when Britain now owes $11 billion to the rest of the sterling area. They would, obviously, like to charge their imports on the debt, but if that were to happen, Britain would be unable to earn American dollars.

"ECA and sterling" Meanwhile, Washington sees the sterling area shading over into Imperial Preference, which it Does Not Like. The ECA might be supposed to be an alternative to the sterling area, which carries the risk of forcing the British out of the ECA. It would be better, Fortune thinks, to merge the two.

"How Many Shall Inherit?" Since the Napoleonic wars, world concern over population has moved from Malthusian fears of death through hunger to alarm over falling birth rates to "race suicide," to, now, a revival of Malthusianism. The State Department now says that the world population rose by 175 million from 1936 to 1946, and hit 2.25 billion in that year. R. R. Kuzcynski thought that the world could support four times this number. In spite of genocide and massive casualties amongst civilians, WWII has not really dented population increase; global increase "wiped out the losses of Stalingrad in a fortnight."

In population terms, there are three "worlds." The first is North America, Europe and Australasia, where birth and death rates are low and population is increasing slowly. This accounts for about a fifth of the world's population. The "second world" includes eastern and southern Europe, Russia and Japan, with high but declining birth and death rates. Because mortality rates are still falling, these countries have many years of rapid population growth in them. In the "third world," only the death rate is declining, and a vast increase is in prospect, and famine stalks the land.

"Crisis in the Air" The airlines are in trouble, and there is no shame in using the air mail subsidy to keep them in business, as the alternative is a substantial cut in service.

"Creative Destruction" This is the process by which "capitalism jettisons enterprises" it no longer needs, according to Professor Joseph Schumpeter. when TV comes in, radio makers have to give way,  like surrey manufacturers and stern-wheel steamboats before them. The recent troubles of the ball-point pen and bubble-gum industries, which exploded after the war and are now seeing huge losses, are an example. On the other hand, the bicycle industry is a classic example of one that went through a terrible slump and creative destruction fifty years ago, but this year made 2.7 million bicycles --the most ever. Which shows . . . something. That Fortune thinks that bicycles are nice and bubble gum is disgusting?


Everyone else has talked about Jewkes' Ordeal by Planning, so why not the back pages at Fortune, which are at the front? Besides planning being bad in general (Jewkes can hardly wait for the Monnet Plan to fail so that he can learn to say "I told you so" in French), Britain made three specific mistakes: overvaluing the pound, trying to go back to the prewar standard of living too soon, and overinvestment, especially in houses. Planned economies will just end up crashing world trade, which must go back to free exchange and open markets.

Chase Kirkland's Men, Cities and Transportation is "a splendid history of nineteenth-century New England transportation." Navigations, then toll roads, then railroads. a four-mile tunnel through Hoosac Mountain, "the Great Bore," cost $29 million and 136 lives, took 17 years
Any comparison between the twenty-four year hysteria over the Hoosac Tunnel and any other public transportation infrastructure is purely coincidental. The ones that have been built are fine; the ones that we're thinking about building are terrible.

and left the contractor to assert that the best way to dig a hole through a mountain was to wall up a dozen lawyers on one side, and a good fee at the other. In the end, Boston could not compete with New York as the port of entry for the country because it was further away.

Brief notes include a textbook on money by Albert Gailord Hart, perfect for the Fortune reader who has been talking about it for years and is feeling vaguely guilty about not knowing what he was talking about.  the government has decided to issue its report on Economic Indicators, May 1948 as a book. Accounting professor George E. Lent explains The Impact of the Undistributed Profits Tax, which was an attempt to address the "maturation" of the economy during the Depression by shifting corporate income from savings to consumption, but didn't. Beardsley Ruml's "Five Problems for the Committee for Economic Development" isn't a book, but a speech, but they are perfectly good questions about the burden of armaments, the relationship of competition to technology, and the problem of developing underdeveloped countries. Lord Acton's political essays have been reprinted. Fortune loves them. Maurice Lee's Appraisal of the Pacific Northwest suggests that economic growth in Washington and Oregon isn't a flash in the pan. Luther Gulick's Administrative Reflections on World War II is just some gas, as you would say. Well, you would say "flatulence," but without a Mid-Atlantic accent, I can't pull that off with a straight face.

Fortune's Wheel

 Executive Forecast says that, overall, the economy has never been better, except for building business inventories. Several correspondents think that Fortune is paying far too much attention to dubious schemes for converting natural gas into petroleum, and far too little into just burning natural gas instead of petroleum. Others are not. For example, the House Armed Services Committee, which is still in charge of steel (because of war!) is making natural gas pipelines a top priority for steel. On the other hand, the National Coal Association is throwing a fit. Some correspondents are now interested in the dry cleaning business. One is glad to hear that the Fuller house has been scuppered, while another wants to know where he can get a franchise to market them.

The lead article is about anti-trust law. The antitrust part is fascinating, although not so much to us.

"The Big Gulf Gamble" In the last three and a half years, two and a half million acres of seabed in the Gulf of Mexico has been staked by wildcatters. There is roughly one salt dome every forty square miles on the Louisiana continental shelf, and they have just about all now been staked. The total value of the leases is $26 million, and each drilling operation might cost $2 million, three times the cost on land, and in the actual drilling, only three holes have been drilled, of which only one is producing. And while they are "wildcatters," they are very large wildcatters.

Between the exhaustion of onshore oil provinces, the steady rise of the price of of oil from $1.25 to $3, and the "unanticipated demand," the incentives keep on mounting. Geologist E. L. DeGolyer thinks that there may be 10,5 billion barrels of oil under salt domes of the Texas and Louisiana coast. The Federal government is keen to assert its authority over the continental shelf under the Tidelands claim. This has been going on with California for fifty years, leading the states to argue that they have one hundred and fifty years of precedent that they own the continental shelf. Before the Supreme Court could stick its oar in, last month, an Act of Congress granted the shelf to the states, but the President is likely to veto the act. Meanwhile, the operators continue on merrily. Besides the California precedent, on-land drilling in the Louisiana bayous is already almost like open water wildcatting, with the exception that it is hard to exactly fix a location offshore. I notice that some wildcatters are using Loran; they are all  also using dynamite to illuminate their seismographs, which has the fishermen livid. The wildcatters have been operating illegally in Texas waters, simply ignoring the no-exploding-the-trout-and-shrimp rules. Texas has done what Texas does, which is surrender to the wildcatters and repeal the law, gumbo or no gumbo.

And by "wildcatters" one means Stanolind and Philips Petroleum, since it takes large firms to keep up with all of the eyewatering details of the big new drilling platforms, the largest of which is 206 by 110ft, and accommodates a 54-man crew. (This is because they are trying "directional drilling," to avoid just having one, possibly dry, borehole after all that work. The Californians have pioneered the use of slanted holes to get around restrictions on the number of drilling piers they're allowed to build, and the idea seems to have application here. Speaking of which, I wonder what happened to the guy who was going to use slanted drilling to put water mains under cities?)

There is also the problem of transporting oil. Pipelines from the drilling platforms make sense, but require nearly infallible blowout valves. The recent eruption of oil from the Canadian Leduc play is a reminder of what can happen when the oil gets loose, and the Tidelands trouble was started by oil on the water, twenty years ago.

An extended discussion of the Tidelands dispute ends the article, with the suggestion that if the Federal Government does take over tideland oil, it could also create a strategic reserve of seabed for future drilling.

"Renovation in NAM" The National Association of Manufacturers is yet another big business lobby pressure group that has a hard time telling "America" and "the GOP" apart. I'd tell you more, but I've already put up with reading The Economist for you.

"GM Diesel: General Motors Shows Its Versatility by Leading the Belated Arrival of Diesel Power on the Highways and Railways" GM will sell about a quarter of a billion dollars worth of diesel engines in 1948, compared with $10 million in 1938, and none in 1928. This is part of an impressive wartime growth from total sales of $15 million in 1938 to nearly a billion in 1944, with a postwar slump, and back up to $750 million in 1948. GM is now the largest diesel producer in the world, and has routed the old locomotive monopolists, Baldwin and American, to take 60% of the railroad business last year.
That would make a pretty short article, so Fortune goes on to explain how "Diesel" (quotation marks for all the Brits who go mad when they see "Diesel" for "heavy oil") engines work. It then explains that it was actually GE that got into the business. The railways wanted a cheap engine to run on long, poorly provided branch lines with no expensive water towers, and started using gas-engined railcars, which proved to need better transmissions than the industry could produce. GE put in an electrical transmission, which was fine except that it completely failed to solve the problem. By the 1920s, Electro-Motive had taken over the business and got the gas-electric railcars to work, more or less. Meanwhile, the branch line problem was spreading to main lines. In 1933, Budd came to Electro-Motive with a proposal for a locomotive based on the diesel-electric engine going into the US Navy's submarines, leading first to the gas-powered City of Salem (it's complicated) and the first actual diesel-electric, Burlington Northern's Zephyr of 1933. GM gets into the picture, a fleet of diesel-electrics running the intercontinental routes at high speeds, thanks to being able to run 500miles between stops and dynamic braking, emerges. E-M becomes one of GM's most valuable sub-divisions during the war, when it went into submarine machinery on a big scale, preparing the way for a modern market of standardised diesel-electric locomotives.

A massive class of  WWI-era submarines, completion of the S-boats dragged into the Twenties, allowing the USN to experiment with diesel-electric in three boats. The alternative is a geared transmission, which has never really taken off in railroading due to hammering. Which leads one to wonder whether the industry tail was wagging the Navy dog. 

I suspect that the article oversells diesel-electric. It's no doubt better than steam, but if it were that much better than steam --more efficient and half the cost-- no-one would be building steam engines anywhere. But that's a quibble, perhaps explained by the next part, which dwells on how strange it is that the American diesel didn't take off in the Thirties, given its advantages in marine and stationary power-plant operations. (Uncle George gives that a big raspberry. It's the vibrations! No, it's the poor fuel consumption in acceleration! No, it's the excess weight! I'm not sure how acceleration applies in stationary power plants. Ramp up? I should ask him next week, if I remember, which I won't.)

"Great Merchant Adventurer: Harrison and Crossfields Makes Money on Anything, All Over the World"

 But mainly it makes money on rubber in Indonesia and Malaya, where it runs.

rubber plantations, much to the disgust of Malayan smallholders, who, Fortune points out, could probably produce just as much rubber, just as efficiently, as the plantations, if they just had had the proper support starting from when rubber was introduced into Malaya in 1879.Instead, the smallholder is paying five to six times as much as he used to for rice and cotton goods, and, under the Rubber Agreement, cannot plant new trees. While he can replace old ones, he cannot rip them out and replace them with newer, higher-yielding variants without losing the income. The estates can absorb the loss, the smallholder cannot, and since the Dutch wouldn't enforce the Agreement (or couldn't), the Indonesian industry has been growing at the expense of the Malayan. Today, between the estates' need for rehabilitation after the Japanese occupation, the threat of synthetic rubber, and the higher yield of the new tree breeds, the industry is clouded with uncertainty, the smallholder is in a parlous position, and people are less inclined to pay the management fees charged by merchant adventurers like Harrison and Crossfields, suggesting that maybe they don't need to get 2.5% when a suspicious amount of the added value they bring to the operation lies in being White. Who knows where it will lead?

Communism. It will lead to Communism.
"Report from Indonesia" Everyone wants to know when this whole Indonesian war of independence will end, and they can get back to making money off plantations in Java. The Dutch, who made 20% of their money from trading with the NEI and 20% from trading with Germany, are condemned to be a poor people if they can't own the East Indies, especially compared with Belgium. Which means that unless the Dutch keep Indonesia, the Benelux Agreement will fall apart (obviously?) and, I'll add, since this whole thing seems to be piling one cloud castle of pure hysteria on another, so will western Europe. And the world. The solar system? Probably. The galaxy? Possibly. Since the Dutch have given up on exploitation, and only abuse the locals just a tiny bit, which they deserve to do, anyway, because the weather is so awful, and are only really resented by the Malay middle class, who are a bunch of strivers and just awful, it would all be fine if the Japanese had not been so gauche as to ruin Dutch prestige by running them out of Indonesia with a few spare tanks. Now, the Dutch are ready to mop up the Republicans and restore the Netherlands East Indies just as soon as the Russians and the Indians and the Australians and other assorted mother hens stand aside. Only they won't, because the Indonesians do deserve independence, as long as they're not actually independent, so that the Dutch can go on making money.

"Elegant Bell and Howell: Its Quality Product, Fancily Priced, is a Luxurious Necessity for Movie Amateurs" Chicago's Bell and Howell makes film cameras for the home market. 285,000 amateur cinematographers (it says here) use the "precision-made shutters of Bell and Howell movie cameras." It has been charging more than its rivals for forty years, and it must know what it is doing, considering that it pays a dividend --about 5% more, as I eyeball the price ranges. That actually doesn't seem like a lot to make a fuss about! And for that they guarantee not only superior quality, but "what you see is what you get" ease of use, so that every man can be Alfred Hitchcock. But not woman, because Mr. Hitchcock has a certain reputation. I hear, no need to name names. Howell claims that its home cameras use the same principle of shot stabilisation as its professional cameras, and that it is the only company that gives the metal parts an optical finish. Fortune is extremely skeptical.

All of Fortune's articles this week seem a bit tawdry, except maybe the Malaya one, and this is no exception, since it is in honour of Bell and Howell, fully-automatic, Foton line, which launches next  month, so this is kind of an advertising feature. I guess it salves the magazine's conscience that it points out so often that Bell and Howell products might not be worth the surcharge. On the other hand, there is their revolutionary new "T-Stop" lens calibration system, and their four-leaf, all-metal focal plane shutter, about which "some professional cameramen are skeptical." Bell and Howell is also working on a portable wire-recording machine, and are working on a way to superimpose sound electronically on an ordinary exposed 8mm film(!) Home movie talkies!  And business for our tape-recording sideline!

"A Fast Comer in Farm Machinery: Davis Manufacturing of Kansas[?] Challenges A Tough Industry With a New Line of Multipurpose Farm Tools: Wise Eastern Money Has Moved In"

Chuck Davis is a 33-year old businessman who has a fast-growing agricultural machinery manufacturing operation in Wichita, Kansas. "The Davis principle is that a farm tool should equal a factory machine tool."

Two views of their all-purpose harvester/feed mill/pickup/chopper. The attraction of an all-purpose farm "machine tool" is pretty obvious, since a special-purpose tool is out of use for 50 weeks of the year, and some of Henry Luce's friends were willing to put up a million or so on the new factory, in spite of the industry's reputation for orphaned brands. Their tractor is a "radical design,"

 and they are constantly fighting a shortage in raw materials. The factory has "a frenzied sound, an overcrowded, disorderly look." But that's an illusion! Buy shares! Analysts were amazed when the cramped factory turned out $900,000 in product in April, realising $70,000 net. Analysts think that this is because of the boom, and that the company will crash in normal times, but analysts are wrong. Buy shares!

"The Business Suit: A Short and Possibly Tactless Essay on the Costuming of American Enterprise" I loved this article, even though I know you don't care. So I won't write about it, and pooh to  you.

The problem as I see it:
No black turtleneck.

"Photometric: A Man of Zeal Brings a Striking New Idea to Men's Clothing" Henry Booth of Amalgamated Textiles, Ltd., a grandson of the founder of the Salvation Army, is trying to use carefully calibrated photographic measurements to bring the costs of ready-to-wear to the fashion of made-to-measure. "A foolproof, automatic camera developed by Eastman Kodak" takes "about five minutes" to take the measurements, which are then fed into the PhotoMetric Calculator, and used to determine which of 500 pre-measured suits are right for the customer. Various of Henry Luce's friends have put a lot of money into it, although not as much as into Davis Farm Machinery, since Mr. Booth has been savvy enough to go with a licensing angle. Retailers will license the PhotoMetric camera for a "nominal rental charge plus a percentage of the gross," while the calculator will be rented to clothing factories for a modest price amounting to amortisation plus reasonable profit. In the end, the main benefit may be felt by the made-to-measure industry, which is failing for lack of apprenticeships, it having become used to relying on immigrant labour before the Johnson-Reed Act. No tailors: no made-to-order.

In spite of the impression one might get, Mr. Booth, it turns out, got into textiles as a stockjobber, and is so rich that he hardly needs to bother with the business. It's just some kind of hobby or something. Buy licenses!

Shorts and Faces

According to his biography, McDonnell was born in Denver, raised in Little Rock, and graduated from Princeton. I'm sure there's a perfectly innocuous explanation for how he won all those Navy contracts without building a plane that worked prior to the Banshee, or, arguably, the F-101. 
"Jet-plane Propellant" is a very long (for this feature) article about James Smith McDonnell, of McDonnell Aircraft of St. Louis, which is one of those strange American aviation companies that is huge and up-and-coming in spite of not manufacturing any actual aircraft in the war. It did exist, apparently, and is up to 60 acres, 4000 people, and ggross sales of $7.5 million in the first half of 1948, but what it was doing in the War, who knows? (An experimental jet contract, it turns out.) It was no Johnny-Come-Lately, mind, although its early history might not bear close examination, since its first plane was a Flying Flea-imitation called the Doodlebug that was even worse than a regular Flying Flea, somehow. So he made the Phantom, and also Fairchild AT-21s as a subcontractor, and then the Banshee, and now the XP-88, and the top-secret "parasite fighter," and a "flying motorcycle" for the Air Force--McDonnell knows fleas!

The next feature covers Pan-Americans'new adventure in Latin American hotels. It is partnering with Intercontinental Hotels, Ltd, which has a Waldorf Astoria connection. Next, for a real Henry Luce-sort-of-issue (as if the bit about business suits didn't give it away), a long story about golf clubs, where "the golden days seem to be waning." Then there is a bit about the recent liquidation of New York's Continental Bank to Chemical Bank, which earned the shareholders $5/share more than its $10/share valuation. That was far more money than the shareholders could expect to realise from anemic dividends, and a warning to other banks conducting themselves with similar lethargy, says Ejmil Schram, who, obviously, is someone to take seriously. (I have no idea who it is, and am trying to finish this without a run to the public library for a dip into Who's Who.) But Emil Schram might be wrong about how all the banks are going to go the same way, since hardly any are. Perhaps it is because the FDIC is worried that America might end up with too few banks, and this would be bad for democracy. Next there is a long bit about "Fritos by Doolin," which seems like an odd choice considering that he was just in the feature not too long ago, but then it leads off with the observation that the reader has probably just encountered Fritos at a party, where "reader" means Henry Luce just encountered Fritos at a party, I am guessing. Or I'm just playing along with Uncle George's joke about Shorts and Faces being the place where Fortune butters up people for Luce. 

. . . Or states, since the last short is about Arizona's "relocate your business to our state" campaign. What about Santa Clara County? It has a campaign, too! Oh, who am I kidding? What kind of business would relocate to the Santa Clara sticks? San Jose should be glad it has FMC!

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