Saturday, January 12, 2019

Postblogging Technology, November 1948, I: "The Republican Party Versus the American People"

R_. C_,

Dear Father:

I. Cannot. Believe. I. Wrote. This!!!!!

I want to be dancing in the streets! Still! Please, please do not believe any stories you might have heard about persons of your acquaintance leading the sisters of her hall down to the Hoover House and shouting chanting "Give 'Em Hell, Harry," at the provost and the campus police until dawn was peaking over the horizon; Or that, perhaps, her tips suffered that morning because she hadn't slept a wink. Because that story would be untrue. Poetically untrue. (Which is the same, but opposite, of something being true, allowing for poetic license.) I'm going to go take a walk and try to calm down.

Back! Reggie is in a funk over the election results. He understands that the Wallace campaign could easily have led to a Republican win, but is still waffling over the argument he hears from his die-hard Wallacite friends, that a disastrous Dewey Administration would have led to a better, stronger America. 

Then I had the brilliant idea of talking about his post-graduation assignment, because there have been some very exciting prospects opening up. The patrol wing of the Navy is coming on strong right now, due to both the B-36 and the the super-carrier being in big trouble. I don't think anyone takes atom-bomb flying boats from submarine tenders seriously (see below before you roll your eyes), or for that matter the successful deck takeoff by a Neptune, which is obviously just a stunt. The point is, a turboprop flying boat and a turbocompound patrol aircraft both have exciting possibilities. Even more exciting, Reggie's old CO is managing the Navy's "special" Constellation programme. It's all very hush-hush, but Reggie figures that they are being set up for either radio snooping, maybe over the Black Sea, or for radar advance warning. "You can't use a radar to tell where your plane is, but they're pretty good for telling you where everyone else is." If that's what's up, Reggie is a shoe-in for the test flying, which will surely be out of Alameda. And, with any luck, I will be at Stanford Law. California here we come, again already!


Yours Sincerely,

Aviation reports (1 November) that the Air Force and Northrop cannot agree on what caused the B-35 prototype to crash last June, that Convair is working on a new flying boat for the Navy, the P5Y-1, that three top aviation men were killed in the Prestwick crash, which might have been caused by GCA being run by a training crew,  due to ILS being out of action. Then Parmentier's wing hit that high tension line, cutting the wire powering the runway lights, which is why Parmentier couldn't find it again. Not that he had time, as he had to put the plane down in a hurry due to it being on fire. R. E. Nicoll, of Handley Page, writes to compain about Aviation's coverage of the Hermes. The article suggests that the Hermes has flown, nad proven to have a high stall speed, like the Tudor. In fact, it has not flown, and Aviation just thinks it will have a high stall speed and heavy controls. John Anderson, of the Airline Flight Engineers Association, writes to explain why Flight Engineers are necessary. The 8 November issue points out that while the B-36 is a pig, it can deliver atom bombs practically anywhere in the northerh hemisphere from American soil, and carriers can't. Trans-Canadian is shifting from four-bladed propellers to three on its North Stars to address passenger noise complaints. The Navy's latest if-you-won't-fund-a-supercarrier-we-have-other-tricks is the P5Y-1 flying from a submarine tender. An experimental P-80 has flown on ramjets alone, the Northrop YB-49 has set a jet endurance record of 8 hours in the air. The Lincoln will be Britain's sole bomber until  English Electric, Bristol and a Handley-Page "flying wing" jet bomber appear. Canada's XC-100 jet fighter, about which you will have heard in the Vancouver papers, is described. Captain Henry Hession, USAF, writes to explain how ILS and GCA work, and says that from a radar opeator's point of view, GCA is incomparably superior, and automatic GCA is on its way. The Navy has a new, giant test rig. Charles R. Sisto is the pilot who half outside-looped an American Airlines DC-4 near Riley, New Mexico on 8 October 1947 the CAB has taken away his pilot's license. (Nov 15) Northrop can't use its thrust augmentor for de-icing because exhaust gas is corrosive.


Flight, 4 November 1948


This seems at variance with the Wikipedia received history
"Britain's Fighters" The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Supply, which is a real title, said last week that, if there were another war right now, the RAF would have to fly gobs and gobs of Spitfires. Everyone in the press is all upset about this, because Labour promised them an "all-jet force," which bestirs Flight to remember that it is non-political, and offer a defence of the Government. We still need Spitfires, it says. Not exactly stirring, I say, and it then moves on to the next part, where the Joint Parliamentary Secretary said that if the war were a "little further off," it would be fought with Nenes and Derwents. Flight is much more lively in defence of Ghosts and Goblins and Metro-Vicks, because they have a future, too, even though they are not Nenes and Derwents. (A Metro-Vick showed up at the door of the hall on Halloween night. All the girls loved the axial turbines on the costume, and the part where the intakes iced up was very, very scary!)  Flight ends up by complaining that, notwithstanding Vampires and Meteors and the upcoming Hawker and Supermarine swept-wing fighters, there needs to be more specialised night-and-all-weather fighters and "possibly, . . . other classes of fighters," about which there is to be an article following.

"Functional Overlapping" The airlines will all report heavy losses in the coming months, and, amongst other things, are shrinking their personnel. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Civil Aviation is hiring some fellows it shouldn't be hiring, because their functions overlap, and this is inefficient, which goes to show that full technical efficiency hasn't been achieved, and should be. 

"Carriers" It has been reported that the Admiralty has cancelled contracts for three light carriers. This is now denied, but the moral of the story is that various things need to be done to make carriers suitable for jet operations, and these justify going slow. For example, jets can't be lined up one behind the other, as they will melt each other with their jets. I asked Uncle George, and he has the gen from James, and drew me an illustration of an aircraft carrier with a "sophomore spread" on his cocktail napkin, but it is so secret that . . . I'm sorry, I was going to make a joke about how Uncle George doesn't eat his pimentos any more, but this is not a Milk of Magnesia ad,  and I realised that I was on my way to putting my foot in my mouth again. You'll have to guess what the joke would have been, which shouldn't be hard for a Dirty Old Man like you. 

"Air Support: Special Senior Course at S.L.A.W. Show New Equipment" Me am English write good! It turns out that the C.O.L.E.S.L.A.W (transliterate back to English if you want to enjoy my extremely humorous joke) is the School of Land/Air Warfare, and the special senior course involved Tempests, Meteor 4s and P-80s shooting up targets with their guns, Tempests skip bombing, Spitfires and a newly-arrived Vampire 5 bombing more, and later also firing rockets in all directions. A Firefly I, intended to deliver 16 60lb bombs amongst a group of derelict tanks, failed to arrive. Eight Lincolns, with Mosquito Pathfinders, dropped 8 500lb bombs and sixty-four practice 25lbers, while a flight of six B-29s showed off the new USAF technique of synchronised bombing, which nearly turned into a fiasco when the lead ship's electronics malfunctioned (what a shock, says your son! Literally. . . ) A flight of Mosquitoes which were to arrive under radar cover was cancelled when their compasses malfunctioned on the approach. Also not appearing in this show were an Attacker, Gloster E/1/44, DH108 and Hawker N.7/46. This being a bit disappointing, a P-80 and then the five "tans-Atlantic" Vampires whizzed by at high speed. Next day, there were paratrooper demonstrations, with a Valetta dropping dummies, and two Dakotas from the Transport Support Training Unit from Netheravon dropping 24 live paratroopers, a Halifax 12, a Hastings 24 out of its double door, and a Halifax delivered a 6 pounder antitank gun and its 6 crew. Tempests and a Firefly (at last!) showed up to low-drop bundles of pamphlets ("We have dropped paratroopers in your vicinity. Please lock up your liquor cabinets") and a 350lb container of supplies.
A Hoverfly showed up to demonstrate how casualties might be evacuated in the future, in plastic "blisters." A Lancaster was to drop six containers with delayed parachutes, but flew over without being able to see the ground, and returned to Farnborough with the supply containers undropped. A Halifax redeemed this by dropping one of the new Universal Freight Containers, which require six 42ft parachutes and air bags to take the landing shock. A Horsa delivered a jeep, 75mm gun, and trailer, and then was successfully snatched for the return trip by a Valetta. 

A fine time was had by all. 

Here and There

Air France is flying the whole cast of Lido to London for a television broadcast of their show in two Skymasters. 

Short Brothers has rearranged its board, with Admiral Slattery becoming sole managing director. BOAC's Canadair Fours will have full British instruments, including a Henry Hughes and Sons periscopic sextant replacing the astrodome, which will reduce leakage of cabin pressure. The YB-49 was able to remain airborne for thirty minutes and make 389mph and "between 35,000 and 40,000ft." US military aid under ERA will include planes and supporting equipment. Eric Jagerblom has formed a Swedish survey company, A/B Aeronautic. The US Navy expects to have 14,400 aircraft by July 1949, although this will require taking 3000 aircraft out of store. The Ministry of Supply has promised to remove the Shorts dispersal factory at Calgarth on the shores of Lake Windermere, as soon as possible. The Wright Flyer will replace the Spirit of St. Louis in the place of honour at the Smithsonian next month. 

Civil Aviation News

IATA is to have meetings on Bermuda. The Scandinavian airlines are "retrenching" because of the effects of over-optimistic planning. Subsidies will be cut, employees suspended. Air France is introducing excursion flights to Glasgow. The Danes are thinking about opening up a service to the Faeroes. Since the RAF base at Vaagoe does not comply with international safety standards, they are surveying the islands looking for a better site. The accident to Halifax C VIII G-AIHU which occurred on 5 December 1947 and which also involved the summit of Cwm(!) Mountain  in a supporting role as the thing that did the crunching, was caused by a combination of terrible weather and the pilot (2000 hours, 580 of them night flying) trying to find his destination by low flying under the cloud base in a mountain range, although the Chief Inspector blasts poor radio practice. 

Frank Illingworth, "Antarctic and Navigation" Britain has an absolutely rock solid claim to vast tracts of the Antarctic which Chile and Argentina contest, because they are silly and excitable Latins. In the coming Antarctic summer, they will probably land parties within hailing distance of all seven British Antarctic research stations. Why all of this fuss? Certainly not resentment of high-handed British claims a world away from Britain!
Whales: The world has a lot to learn about these roly-poly, ocean-going
tubs of delicious margarine.
No! It is all down to the need for a chain of meteorological stations on the Antarctic continent which would give advance warnings of storms and make air and sea communications in the Southern Hemisphere safer. Also, those stations could do cosmic ray and radio transmission experiments. Also, South Africa and Australia might open up air communications by a South Polar route if the Middle East is closed to air transports. Also, there are thought to be vast oil deposits in Grahamland. [There are not.] There might also be volcanic ice-free areas deep within Antarctica suitable for air bases, such as bases for those South Polar air routes, making this vast, snowy land into a vitally important region for strategy, industry and civil aviation.
In case you were wondering where the comic books get this stuff. Zabu's so cute.

"Fighters: Some Considerations Affecting Design, Part I: Precis of a Talk Given to the Royal Aeronautical Society by H. F. King" The RAF generally prefers its fighters as close to multi-purpose as possible, but was embarrassed during the war by demands for highly specialised performance, most notably the high-altitude Welkin interceptor. Looking forward, specialised aircraft might included not only night and bad-weather capability, but also bomber-defence escort fighters like the American "parasite" design, or water landing, as in the Saro boat-fighter. Fast fighters need sweepback. The American F-86 has definitely broken the sound barrier in dive, and possibly in level flight as well, due to its 35 degree sweep. However, swept wings are having problems with tip stall, which is being answered by increasingly elaborate devices for keeping air masses from moving outwards on the wings. Hawker and Supermarine are developing sweptback versions of their new fighters. A more dramatic improvement would be those flying-wing like "all wing" ("delta") planes similar to the German Me 163, DH 108, or the new Martin-Baker proposal,which may be what is meant, since its wing planform is a Greek letter "delta." Sweptback wings have to be enormously strong, and heavy gauge skins have been tested and proven advantageous from an aerodynamic as well as structural viewpoint. The F-86, meanwhile, has a wing of "sandwich" material, while the "Vought Pirate" is made of Metallite, balsa between two sheets of metal. An experimental wing of magnesium-zirconium alloy has been tried out on an F-86. Supersonic fighters may eventually use unswept wings of low aspect ratio. Another problem has come up with finishes, with the P-80 showing dramatic degradation of performance after a rainstorm, due to raindrops pitting the paint job of the leading edge. Other P-80s showed latitudinal pitching at lower Mach numbers, while yet others of the same model remained stable until reaching higher Mach, then experienced nose-first pitching. This has been traced to differences in the wing surface finish. Aerodynamic fittings such as air brakes have shown good performance on jet fighters. For example, the F-86's fuselage brakes reduce its diving speed to a little more than 350mph. Undercarriage stowage is also a problem, with fuselages already too full to take them, and sweptback wings providing most of their available volume well behind the centre of gravity, leaving the undercarriage to compete with the auxiliary fuel tanks. 

"The Faster the Hotter" Airesearch Mfg, of Los Angeles, has released a dramatic graph showing the temperature rise in aircraft consequent on rising air speeds at various temperatures. A jet fighter, they point out, would have a cockpit temperature 165 degrees Fahrenheit higher than ambient were it not for Airesearch's air-cycle turbine, which weighs less than 16lbs but produces 4.2 "tons" of refrigeration. Because we measure refrigeration by the amount needed to melt one ton of ice at 32 degrees in 24 hours

"The Adour: New French High-efficiency Two-seater Sailplane" Very efficient. In shorter news, W/C R. Vaughan-Fowler[*], formerly of the RAF, more lately of Far East Aviation Company, most recently Senior Aerodrome Officer, India, wants everyone to know that he is still alive, living in Rajkot, and would like to hear from them. The Kaman K-190 utility helicopter with intermeshing blades is expected to get a provisional C. of A. this month. Aerodynamic testing of the Severn Bridge Tunnel concept will get under way this month in a wind tunnel, which makes it Flight-worthy news. There's an article later about a Czech sailplane (and the Zlin 26 trainer) that I am also going to skip.)  

"Pointing the Limit: A New Smiths Instrument to Show Actual and Maximum Air Speed" A gadget superimposes a maximum limiting speed on the indicated air speed dial. It's actually pretty clever, in that elaborate clockwork calculates the safe Mach number from input from altimeter, pressure-reading capsule and the IAS. The article even shows the math.

"The Light That Failed: Fog in the London Area Robs RNVR and R. Aux. A. F. Squadrons of Opportunity to Take Part in Territorial Review" Flight went out to West Malling to thrill to the takeoff of two Vampire-equipped squadrons which would do a fly by to celebrate the Territorial Review in Hyde Park, and was crushed when it was cancelled due to 200yds visibility over London.

"Technicians Relax: Highly Successful R.Ae.S. Conversazione at 'South Kensington'" The boys at the De Havilland Aeronautical Technical School built a replica of the Wright Flyer and took it down to South Kensington to present it to the Science Museum. Speeches were had, old days were reminisced about, home movies were shown, minks were worn by the wives of the men who turned their aviation enthusiasm into serious money. Everyone had fun; unlike, a little birdie (alright, Uncle George) tells me, at last Thursday's talk to the RAeS on "Some Developments in Aircraft Production," given by H. Smith, of Handley Page. If the rumours Uncle George relates are half way accurate, Sidney Camm got up in the discussions and called Frederick Handley Page a junkman. Take it for what it's worth; the story had to percolate across the Atlantic from one old gossip to another.


    "Inconvenienced" thinks that the airlines don't think of the passengers. L. F. Baynes takes deadly aim at Masefield's 18,000mph rocket airliners to anywhere on Earth. R. G. Huggett, which is a real name, points out that it would be better for nurses to arrive on the battlefield in helicopters than by parachute because then they won't arrive as casualties themselves; and, for a change, "Jimmy"complains about the training radios issued to the RAFVR and not the planes. Or hats.

The Economist, 6 November, 1948


"The Steel Bill" It being The Economist, and the Steel Bill being important, we have to lead with the Bill as tabled. I can't be moved to care. For now, the main objection to it is that it will lose Labour seats in the next General Election, and, for today, I say, so what? Ha! . . .

"Mr.Truman's Triumph" Even The Economist can't help cackling with glee over the election, and the egg on Dewey and Foster Dulles' face; but since it sternly reminds itself that it is the Business Paper of Retrenchment and Reform (but not actually Reform), it is against Democrats. The solution to that is to present the Democrats and Republicans as basically the same, give or take Taft-Hartley. And to the extent that they aren't, the Democrats actually show up pretty well, being anti-isolationist and anti-economy-running-amok. The Democrats are deemed preferable in that they believe in some measure of conscious management of the economy, and are in favour of low tariffs. I'm a little surprised that the GOP's ridiculous "tax cuts paid for by budget cuts, or, wait, those are hard, money for everybody plus tax cuts instead" don't come up as an issue. But subscribers to The Economist like tax cuts, so I'm not super surprised.

"No Policy in Germany" The actual American and British policy on Germany is to rebuild its economy and establish self-government, but they can't say that, so instead General Robertson recently said that he had no idea what the British official policy was, hence the title. France has a policy, which is to keep Germany down, but you don't fight in front of the children, or something like that.

"Almanach de Moskau" The old Almanach de Gotha was like a Burke's Peerage for Germany. There never used to be such a thing for revolutionary communism, because no-one knew where all these upstarts came from. But now the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee No. 5 has published one, so there is. This is worth a page-and-a-half because it shows that Communism is very well organised.

Notes of the Week

"Neros and Zeros" It was noted in the Commons this week that, in English, both "Nero" and "Zero" rhyme with "Hero," and therefore a "Land fit for Heroes" might be . .

"Mr. Strachey Sits on the Facts" The Minister of Food announced an increase in the sugar ration thanks to large purchases at a good price. The Economist is outraged because he said it wrong.

"The Fourth Republic Breathes Again" It turns out that Latins are not excitable this week. Specifically, the Communist strikes are over, and the Republic did not fall. Speaking of non-excitability, the Italians have begun laying off excess workers, full employment be darned, and Italy. too, has failed to fall. There might be a new, non-Communist trade union congress soon, but that's not exactly a social revolution!

"Four Year Plan for France" The Organisation for European Economic Cooperation has assigned four years plans to all, for homework over the Armistice Day Weekend. France, being teacher's pet, has it in early. It is by Monnet, and calls for more exports, fewer imports, more business with non-dollar countries. The Economist is dubious, since it will require investing 25% of the national income, a level, which is a lot, and would have severe inflationary effects were it not paid for by American aid, which, being in dollars, can be used to buy stuff to soak up the money. I think that's what we're getting at. I'm not an economist!

"Changes in the Greek Government?" Take as read. The Economist thinks that parliamentary elections and a military government are both bad ideas, and that there should be a "non-party government of experts" who will carry out all the necessary administrative reforms.

Skipping over two notes on labour that belabour labour, "No Bonus for Overtime" covers Sir Stafford Cripps speaking against the proposal to make overtime pay tax-free. Britain is awash in overtime, and The Economist thinks that it is time to do something to discourage it, as opposed to making it even more attractive. My one problem with this is that the argument is that overtime is evil if it "extends working hours beyond optimum," but then The Economist moves on to extra-day working in the coal mines, which it is usually in favour of! This leaves the distinct impression that The Economist isn't so much against overtime as it is against overtime pay. 

There has evidently been an increase
in the newsprint allocation
"New Crisis in China" As long predicted, the Communists have taken Mukden and are preparing to advance south. The fall of Mukden and Truman's victory has led to the resignation of the Chinese Cabinet, which was awaiting a Dewey victory and a flood of American support. The obvious prediction is that the Communists will win, and soon, but The Economist spends some time going over possible ways that they won't.

Two leaders cover Arab reactions to the Israeli advances this week. The first criticises the Arabs for finding foreign scapegoats for the failures of their arms, while the second predicts trouble at home in Egypt and Iraq due to the public blaming their governments for the defeats.

"Distribution of Building Resources" It used to be that we did not know anything about how resources were being allocated to building work was being distributed around various uses, but the Ministry of Works has a summary report out that sheds some light. Unfortunately, it does not cover home building by private builders. An estimate shows that it might be as much as .£160 millions, which would be too much, explaining why the labour force in building keeps creeping up, although it has to be admitted that the new labour is going to industrial building.

"Motor Roads"  The new Roads Bill calls for more roads, including 1000 miles of motorways. The Economist approves, because it likes motorways, but calls for town planning to make commercial centres more accessible to road traffic, as well. The next leader develops this point, in discussing the most recent Survey of Wolverhampton, a town that is, we are told, often surveyed. The issue is new town planning, and specifically, where industry and new commercial development should go. Shops, it turns out, should to at the perimeter, on the road out of the new town, which seems like a set-up line. Industry should go nowhere, at least until they invent an invisibility ray.   

At the bottom of the longer notes are three that lead naturally to"Shorter Notes." The Catholic Uniate Church has been suppressed in the parts of former eastern Poland now under Russian rule, following traditional Russian policy, which is extraordinary considering that they're Communist now, instead of Tsarist; a survey of English country housewives shows that they are pretty much the same as town housewives; and The Daily Worker is changing its format to save costs, and is having some problems capitalising the changes due to idealism. Actual shorter notes include a bit about Michael Foot's criticisms of Churchill's criticisms of the Commonwealth, the Government's decision not to prosecute the German generals for war crimes, the ongoing dispute with Guatemala over British Honduras, the current bill for the Berlin Airlift, given as £2.3 million, and a halfways apology for implying that Sir John Stephenson, KBE, is a communist, since obviously he isn't.


Gunnar Myrdal demands, and receives an apology for the implication that he is personally publishing "unreliable" data about east European economies. Gordon Russell, of the Faculty of Royal Designers for Industry at the University of London is also upset at his press coverage, but does not get an apology. I'd tell you what he was upset about if I were only minded to sort out his letter. Sentences need subjects, people! Several correspondents have issues with the idea that a British passport provides protection around the world from this or that, for example, being charged with treason for working for the Nazis, or being rudely mistreated by Greek bank managers. (Bring on the gunboats!)

From The Economist of 1848 No, I didn't forget this feature. I'm just struggling to say something about this week's extract. Here goes: Public opinion is a force for good, and that's why there should be less of it. The Editor of Free Bulgaria writes to say that The Economist is being mean to Bulgaria. C. McKenzie Johnston probably has issues with The Economist having issues with the idea that Britain can be "self-supporting" by 1952, but makes his argument by picking nits over word choices, which doesn't help a bit. Gael Fain thinks that the British and Americans shouldn't be constantly encouraging France and Italy to "stabilise" their taxation, since that is impossible in inflation or hyperinflation. The real trick is to stop the inflation, and that might require "unstable" taxation.

American Survey

"Victory of the Forgotten Man" The American staff of The Economist have A LOT MORE TO SAY ABOUT TRUMAN!!!! First, the Democratic Party isn't actually on the verge of "breaking up." Actually, it now holds the Presidency, the House and the Senate, and is, if anything, more liberal than ever, with four Southern states defecting to Thurmond, and the loss of New York by 50,000 votes, due to Wallace voters, almost balancing out. (I read the verdict as being that it is important to keep New York in the Democratic column, while Dixiecrat states are more dispensable than thought. Which is not what The Economist  thinks! It says that Wallace's million votes shows that the third party dream is "dead for now.") 

On the GOP side, Dewey's defeat dooms his presidential ambitions. More importantly, looking ahead, the GOP's failure to take California exposes "the Warren myth," and dooms the Governor's Presidential ambitions. It is also bad news for California Progressive Republicans, and I can only imagine the dark cloud over Santa Clara! The strong swing in Congress might explain why 18 of 33 Congressmen who voted against the British loan went down to defeat, 14 of the 31 who voted for the Taft amendment reducing the Marshall aid package, and 8 of the 17 who voted against the recovery plan. It looks as though the results also told against those who voted for Taft-Hartley, although The Economist does not come through with  numbers, and against "isolationist" Senators. Those who hoped that the next Congress would relax on anti-trust and let the "basing point" case go, will also be disappointed. (If you turn to other sources, the count is 50 pro-Taft Hartley Congressmen defeated.) The Economist also points out that one of the most significant results is the "infusion of new blood" due to all the newcomers. Adlai Stevenson, the new Governor of Illinois, is a good example. 

"Cold War on the Waterfront" I assume that you don't need to hear what I can tell you about what The Economist thinks about the Maritime Strike. We will agree to disagree about Harry Bridges, and leave it at that. 

American Notes

"Mr. Truman and Wall Street" The Wednesday sell-off is deemed a minor and predictable response to the election. Business was hoping for modest gains from a GOP victory, notably tax relief, said to be "a spur for production and cure for inflation," as budgetary pressure from aid and rearmament limited room for manoeuvre. The Democrats favour "selective controls"that would have been scuppered had the GOP won anything on Tuesday. Now they haven't, so perhaps there will be some controls, but the thought is they might have been required, or perhaps something more "monetary" in lieu, anyway. The real reason for the sell-off is that the economy is going flat out with no more room for stock prices to go up. Next year will see either a "business retreat," which is what they are calling it now, or rearmament at a rate that requires mandatory controls. Either way, stocks down. 

"Towards a North Atlantic Pact" Talking about talking about the New Allies. 

"The Electricity Shortage" "The biggest issue on which President Truman fought his campaign in the west was the right of the Government to expand its production and distribution of electrical power." The Eightieth Congress tried to fight hydroelectric dams, precisely on the grounds that all of that electricity was government electricity. He won, so perhaps expect more hydroelectric in the long term. In the short term, dry weather is threatening California's electricity supply this winter, with more brown outs and load shedding to come in spite of an increase in generating capacity, mainly from new steam plants, of 2 million kWh to 5, because there are so many new consumers. 

Shasta Dam

The World Overseas

"Expansion of Dutch Industry" The Economist covers the picking-up-steam of the Dutch economy, notwithstanding the money hole that is Indonesia, where Dutch investments aren't expected to pay off for years, if ever. Still, there is simply not enough Dutch capital to cover the costs of all the new investment, as the target is 20% of national income. The Marshall Plan won't be enough, and the Dutch are hoping for American private investment. 

"Poland's Fears for its Frontiers" The Poles will be awfully hard to pry away from their Russian alliance as long as they are worried that Germany will get their new western territories back. True, the Russians took easternmost Poland, but the Poles definitely don't want that backwater back in return for the nice bits they got from Germany, since the Poles have "historic" claims on both.  

"Talks on South Schleswig" As one of those liberal arts majors who is always worrying about whether Mr. Shakespeare was actually a ham sandwich (because Bacon! I'll see myself out), I know all about Schleswig-Holstein, because there was a war about it in the Nineteenth Century, and Bismarck was involved, and oh, boy, was he a big deal in those days. It turns out that that was not the end of it! Holstein was cut off from Schleswig and put in the German state of Hanover, and so was South Schleswig, which is the part of Schleswig that is . . . south. It has a population of 800,000, many of whom speak Danish. Now, it also has 400,000  East German refugees, mainly from Prussia, who are said to be using their Teutonic efficiency to take over the public life of this sleepy land. Also, they  have a higher birth rate than the native Danes-who-are-Germans. Therefore, the Danes have a solution, or two solutions. The first is more rights for Danish people to be Danish --which I imagine involves eating soft cheese on butter cookies and wearing those cute linen hats that look like folded napkin, unless those are actually the Dutch. Second, South Schleswig should be severed from Hanover and made its own state, which will allow the Danes-who-are-Germans to run their own affairs, at least until they are outnumbered by the Prussians, which leads to the implicit third part of the solution, which is that the Prussians-who-are-not-Danes should bloody well leave and go somewhere else. This is not something that the Germans will do, but right now the British are running things, and the Danes are threatening to be quite cross and also refuse to ship their tinned butter to Britain. 

No, just kidding, I don't think tinned butter is in doubt, unlike Canadian bacon. However, since the British are ignoring the situation and waiting for it to go away, the Danes are contemplating having an even louder temper tantrum, and who knows where that could lead. 

. . . Did you know that Hollandaise sauce is actually quite easy to make? Uncle George likes it on his Eggs Benedict, which he orders with bacon, and asparagus, in season. I'm sure you know that, because Uncle George has probably been making that joke about "taking a pee" for sixty years. There's a lot of butter in Hollandaise sauce, and it could be Danish butter.  

The Business World

"The Steel Bill Examined" The Steel Bill will take over some steel businesses. For example, almost all tyres, wheels and axles; 60% of wire; and nearly three quarters of cold rolled strip is made by companies that will be nationalised. However, this will also bring a range of ancillary industries involved in everything from autos to engineering to fertiliser under the new Iron and Steel Corporation of Great Britain, which will, presumably, sell them off. The important question, then, is what the government will pay for the stocks, which is what this article is about. 

"Multiple Exchange Practices" A long article about chains of exchange by which one currency is converted to another, which apparently leads to all kinds of abuses and potential for profit. Someone should have told us! The IMF is trying to curtail the practice.

Business Notes

"Six Billions of Bank Deposits" I skip a note that rakes the Chancellor over the coals for being too satisfied with the state of things right now. His one concern is the lack of bank savings, which is holding back his disnflationary programme, and that is why The Economist storms in to say that six billions is not enough, and then explains why it is only six billions. 

The next note, about "The Struggle for Coal Production," is actually about the National Union of Mineworkers rejecting the Coal Board's proposal on the use of foreign labour in the mines. After that, The Economist is actually quite optimistic about the Cotton Board's efforts to achieve full technical efficiency in the Lancashire industry. More automatic looms are on the way!

Two notes on trade: First, some of the prices paid for Russian grain under the Anglo-Soviet Trade agreement are out, as part of preparations for the next one, and it seems that Britain may have paid too much of a premium over Chicago prices for the privilege of getting soft-currency grain from Russia. Second, the Tin Agreement has reached a later stage of being talked about. Trade figures suggest that the terms of trade are improving for Britain, as import prices rise more slowly and export prices rise more. 

"Shortage of Refractory Linings" Silica bricks and other refractory materials are short, and this is holding back the recovery of European steelmaking. British production is increasing rapidly, making Britain one of the continent's most important sources of quartzite, tamping mass and silica bricks, but recovery in Bizonia is crucial, and is under way. The 32,000t of coke oven bricks produced there last year was only enough to keep the existing Ruhr coke ovens operating, so not only are more needed there, but 12,000t of exports are hoped for next year. Quartzite production, at 75,000t per year, is also important, and is divided between the British and French zones. The key shortage here is labour, which is still inadequate in spite of the currency reform drawing labour back. The French Zone authorities are talking with the Italian government about bringing up more Italian workers, although quarrying equipment is needed, too. 

"Oil Dock for Big Tankers" The Port of Manchester is to build a new dock on the Ship Canal specifically to unload crude oil for the new Shell refinery at Stanlow. It will allow tankers of up to 30,000t to berth, and will require two-and-a-half millions of investment capital, as well as an entrance lock 800ft long and 100ft wide. The investment suggests that the trend to big tankers is permanent. 

There are notes on disagreements over film renting costs (that is, getting them into cinemas), news of more ECA loans, a bit about the ongoing, monthly recalculations of the exchange rate between sterling and franc issued by the French government, on stock exchange commissions, with brokers trying to delay the introduction of new agency rules, "mutual assistance among Trustee Saving Banks," which sounds very neighbourly, and changes to tea auctions. 

In matters that I deem to be more important to this newsletter, the current cost-plus arrangements for clothing production for the British market are to be abolished now that the ration can be raised. The Economist is pleased, because this will reward the more efficient manufacturers. And the National Union of Agricultural Workers is pushing for higher wages, which it is unlikely to get, and for shorter hours and more vacations, which it probably will. Ditto Post Office engineers. 

Flight, 11 November 1948


"Civil Aviation" Everyone should relax about the British airlines losing money; that is the way it is going to be for the next ten to twelve years. The public service makes up for it.

"Remembrance" It is thirty years since the World War ended. It's a long time, and a short time. Many people died, and we should be sad. And celebratory, at the same time. Wreathes were laid.

"An Anniversary" It is also the anniversary of the attack on Taranto by 21 Swordfish crew in two waves flying off Illustrious and making a 170 mile run to attack the Italian fleet at anchor in Taranto on the night of 10/11 November, mauling the Italian fleet for only (Ronnie makes a sad face) two lost aircraft.

"Wings Over Water: The Hook Hydrofin, a Marine Craft Which Needs the Understanding of Aircraft Technicians" Hydrofoils go very fast, and people have been building them for years, but they have remained a gadget because they only run on smooth water. Various solutions involving multiple foils and large dihedrals have been tried, to no avail. Mr. Christopher Hook is trying variable incidence, with a forward "jockey skid" to maintain constant displacement. It's all very aerodynamical, only water-dynamical (and, yes, I can see the "correct" translation right here in my well-thumbed English-Chinese Dictionary for Scientists and Engineers, and do not care, Pfhbbt! Now there's a character . . . )

Hook's files ended up in British archives, and terminate in 1956. That's all I know.

"Production for the US Air Force" The USAF has published contracts for 377 B-50s, although this is 347 B-50A, B and Ds, and 30 B-50Cs, which have Turbo-Compound engines and might be redesignated B-54s. Twenty-seven C-97 Stratofreighters have also been ordered from Boeing. A contract for 95 B-36s has gone to Consolidated-Vultee, and might be associated with an order for XF-85s. Douglas has an order for 28 C-24s, and Fairchild for another 127 C-119s. ("Another" because the C-119 is an upgraded C-82.) The Navy is ordering the Grumman SA-16 Albatross, so the USAF will go in for 32 to meet its landing-on-water planes requirement. 585 Lockheed P-80Cs and two-seat trainers join more than a 1000 of the earlier, and less powerful marks. 674 F-86s are placed at North American. 42 Northrop B-49s and B-35s have been ordered, and 409 F-84Cs to join 300 F-84As already delivered. Also, a little less than five hundred trainers from Ryan, North American and Convair.

"The Plastics Mark" The British Plastics Federation and British Standards Association have come up with a seal of approval, currently applying only to phenol-formaldehyde and urea-formaldehyde powders for  moulding. Licenses (to use the mark) have been issued to six firms, which now get to advertise themselves as the "plastics ring," and send thugs in ill-fitting suits around to anyone who "muscles" into their "turf" faster than The Economist can say "cartelisation."

Here and There

The "special mission" was an early AWACS application.,
 The Pathfinders had a nice ball at the Dorchester. Air Vice Marshall Bennett was there. Standard Oil of New Jersey is holding an international aviation petroleum conference at its Esso Training Centre in Elizabeth, New Jersey. The Special Branch has traced the pilots who flew the Beaufighter and Halifax out of Britain in September, and customs and emigration charges may be placed. G. H. Miles has joined Airspeed as assistant chief designer. The Berlin Airlift is said to be costing £185,000 a week. Armstrong Whitworth has developed a new combustion chamber design that will be produced under license in America, and which is being installed in the Mamba. SAAB has made a profit, and H. A. Kerry has joined Saunders Roe. The Lockheed works in Burbank has completed the first C-121 Constellation. This is an improved Constellation ordered for long range and "special" missions "by high Government officials," and has an increased maximum all up takeoff weight of 105,000lbs. 

Civil Aviation News

More on the BOAC cuts, which include the public relations director, administrative director, Secretary (who is combined with the Solicitor). Two directors will serve part-time at a pay cut from £100/year to 500, and one Director is demoted while remaining on the Board. This will be some consolation to the 450 staff to be reduced in the Middle East alone. ICAO has some new board members, the Baltic Exchange is still trying to drum up interest in its charter airline clearing-board-market thing, Sabena showed a profit, North American has been cleared to fly its 2-0-2s after some wing reinforcement to address possible premature structural fatigue due to extreme stresses in violent weather conditions. The French Air Charter Exchange is having difficulty exchanging, as so many aircraft are involved in the Berlin Airlift, although it is finding work for planes in the Spain-to-Britain fruit-lift. American municipal airports are showing strong revenue growth. The United States has almost completed plans to take over and mobilise airlines in national emergencies. The French SE 2010 has been announced. It is a proposed four-engined long distance airliner for Atlantic work with four Wasp Major R-4360s. The Fuad Al Awad International Land and Marine Airport on Lake Mariut outside Alexandria has an artificial basin 3000 yards long and 2500 yards wide. 

"Italian Freighter" The P. 512 is a development of the AL. 12P cargo glider built by Aeronautica Lombardia during the later war years, and is improved with two Alvis Leonides engines. It is another high-wing monoplane with fixed undercarriage and swinging-nose cargo hatch, and is mostly wood, like most gliders. 

H. F. King, "Fighters," Continued. King is going to discuss powerplants and armament in this installment. The turbojet/turboprop combination has now been abandoned. The axial plant is the wave of the future. Single fuselage-mounted axials are ideal for general-purpose fighters and interceptors. Vertically-launched jet fighters (that take off from their tail, I think) are an "imminent" prospect. Rocket assist will give even more power than the greater-than-1:1 thrust to weight ratio of these prospective fighters. Afterburning and water-methanol injection may increase performance. The latter, involving setting the spent fuel on fire, may involved afterburning in the tail pipe, but also auxiliary burners. Two axial engines mounted on the centre line would be ideal for "penetration" and night-and-bad-weather fighters. Ramjets have so far been experimental, but might come in for supersonic fighters.  Right now, bolder designs are being held back by the problem of ducting air flow through the various obstructions in the fuselage. Virtually any ducting would seem to be inferior to straight-through, as in the wing-mounted engines of the Meteor and Me 262, or the wing-root mountings of the Goblin, although Hawker's "bifurcated duct" seems promising, as it gives lots of tankage space fore and aft(?) of the Nene turbojet. Cabin and cockpit arrangements are vital for fighters, and jettisonable canopies, crew sections, ejector seats, ribbon parachutes and "bale out" oxygen equipment are "the order of the day." With more power and better design by the day, the "gs" the fighter pilots are pulling are incredible, up to 11.38g! On the other hand, not much is coming with armaments. The British like their four Hispano standard, even keeping them in the wing in the case of the Attacker, while Americans have an attachment to the .50 akin to their love of the Kentucky rifle. Heretically, the US Navy adopted a German 15mm gun with good characteristics. Experiments with air-to-air rockets continue, and the air-to-air guided missile is the coming thing. The "robots" people are working on automatic firing, which is easy, abut accurate, which is hard, since the automatic firing circuit has to be designed to shoot at the right time to give the right lead, which will involved lots of ticklish little electrical circuits if they fine cams and shafts are too heavy. It is proving a challenge to persuade high speed fighters to drop bombs, as the fittings that arm and release the bombs have a way of snagging on the sound barrier. A Vampire being ferried to India recently made a 960 mile stage, close to the aircraft's 1145 mile range with 530 gallon long range tanks. 

"Turbine Cooler Unit: Airborne Refrigerating Plant for Cabin Atmosphere Conditioning" The leader mentioned that jet fighters can be up to 160 degrees hotter than outside, as they are heated by rushing through the air so fast. So they need cooling! Refrigerating the pilot of a "hot ship" is more challenging than ice cream. Airesearch is doing it in Los Angeles, and that is where we get our 15lb unit with "2 tons" of refrigeration capability. But a British firm is doing it, too. The turbine that cools the air is described, and its efficiency sketched in detail. In shorter news on this page, Flight went down to the Rolls Royce developmental flight unit at Hucknall and watched Tudors, Dart-Wellingtons, Derwent-Meteors, Merlin-Hornets, Griffon-Fireflies, Eagle-Wyverns, Trent-meteors, Dart-Lancasters, Avon-Lancastrians, Nene-Lancastrians and a just-plain Lancaster with the new Griffons ordered for the Shackleton replacing its Merlins in the internal positions. No  idea why that doesn't make it a Griffon-Lancaster!

"H. and C. Mod. Convair: Thrust, Cooling and Heating from an Exhaust System" The Convair 240 has a thrust-augmentation system that basically uses some of the exhaust for jet thrust assist, the improvement on exhaust stubs being that the exhaust gas is put through a heat exchanger and the actual reaction mass is atmospheric air drawn in aft of the engine. Convair is excited about it, while unnamed critics think that it isn't all that. Convair wants us to know that the augmentors are also being tapped for air intake and cabin heating, while turbines in the augmentor stream provide cooling. 

"Internal Combustion Turbines: Six Lectures by Staff of the National Gas Establishment" The Institution of Mechanical Engineers has put on and published six lectures by the staff, as in the title, disclosing the results of their work. Flight summarises the summaries. There is a lot of room for improving gas turbines when you get down to the finicky details of reduced-load running, turbine cooling, reheat, blade loading, and such! 


A. H. Shirvall thinks that existing aircraft carriers have been very conservatively designed, and that new conceptions are needed. R. E. Wootton thinks that the mysterious lines around a Vampire's wing in a recent Flight photograph are, indeed, shockwaves. Flight is peeved that Frank Beswick, MP, is peeved at its column calling for unspecified savings in all of that Ministry waste. He mentions cuts in advertising as one possible economy, and how do you like them apples? Flight doesn't like them at all. It is the Press' job to call for unspecified cuts in unspecified waste; it is the politician's job to figure out what the Press was talking about, and do it. A. R. Weyl believes that the world is against basic science. J. Noel Jackson has a very detailed proposal for flying operating theatres, which he has been shopping around for several years, and which he thinks are better than parachuting nurses. Eric Starling wonders why the airscrews of malfunctioning engines cannot be made to free-wheel than windmill. John S. Webb writes to point out that the current Fokker F.24 is the second of that designation, the first being a proposed nosewheel monoplane airliner contemporary with the DC-5 and Flamingo, which was not completed because of the war, but which would have been a ground-breaking aircraft in many ways. 

The Economist, 13 November 1948


"Votes and Votaries" Just because Truman won in America doesn't mean that Labour will win in '50. Sad, but true --if we let it!!!  

"Crisis in China" The Communist advance leads The Economist to explain why everything is terrible. The Chinese Communists may be uniquely identified with peasant revolts and demands for agrarian reforms, but his is only an accident of history. Actually, they are committed Marxist-Leninists, irrevocably committed to world revolution in solidarity with Russia and the eastern European regimes. In power, they will form a solid, Communist bloc, and threaten the spread of communism around East and Southeast Asia. The anti-Americanism that is supposedly provoked solely by American support for the Koumintang will be revealed to be doctrinaire hostility to the West and to capitalism. It is to be hoped that some modest American pressure will lead the Koumintang to open their government to various dissenting voices and encourage modest agrarian reform, as such decisive measures might(?) stop the Communists dead in their tracks. 

"Latter-Day Luddites" The Trade Union Congress' report on productivity, and the recent dockers' strike at Butler's Wharf, Bermondsey, which was against labour-saving machinery[!], shows that the Luddites are riding high again.They are wrong. If only ships could bring more things in, Britons would be better off, and that requires faster clearances from the wharfs, and therefore losing your job is good for you. Various people who hate machinery for silly reasons are silly. American workers love labour saving machinery, which is why their productivity is so high. (Except Caesar Petrillo, who is silly.) They understand that labour saving machinery improves productivity, which leads to higher wages. They like higher wages, not higher skills, and that is why they are not held back by the spider's web of stagnation that has held back British industry. Etc, etc., for another entire page. 
By Oosoom - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

"Uno Discusses Greece" The situation in Greece is very serious, which is why Uno is discussing it, over the resistance of the "Slavic bloc." The Greek government thinks that it should be addressed with more troops and equipment, while Uno wants to send inspectors to make sure that the troops fight communists, and not non-Greeks. The Economist also comes very close to suggesting tht the real way to fix it is to make nice to Tito, which seems far too simple and painless to work.

Notes of the Week

"Western Defence and European Doubts" The Western Union defence pact is moving forward smoothly, but that's not a story, so let's talk about the French being worried about the Germans, instead. There's a similar note on Civil Defence, to the effect that everything is going smoothly so far, but that's not a story, so let's talk about how the  Bill gets "administration" wrong.

"Steel and Coal to the Germans" The French are upset that new arrangements over the Ruhr "hand it back to the Germans," while the Germans consider them "annexation." This seems a bit much, considering that the Germans are going to be allowed to run the Ruhr, including its industry. (So if the Germans want to nationalise the Ruhr steel companies, they can.) That said, the International Authority will have some kind of control across the borders so that the Ruhr-Lorraine-Luxembourg iron-and-steel region can be administered as the single entity that it, economically, is. If the French and Germans can stop fighting.

"Dog Days in Paris" Paris is a big city, and can have Dog Days about many things at the same time, but these particular Dog Days are about the failure of the Big Powers to agree over Berlin during the Uno Assembly.  Speaking of Uno, the next three notes are about Israel, Palestine, Arab refugees, and Uno's failure to solve the entire problem with the kind of diplomatic coup de main that it obviously has in it, if it would just try. At least now I have an equal and opposite reaction to conjure up against Grace's monumental cynicism. "Neither a useless talk shop nor yet a Prussian government for the world." Not the neatest slogan, but one we can all live with. 

"Scrapping the Controls" Britain has abolished controls on a number of things. That means that while most aren't very interesting, because they are industrial goods, boots and shoes have been derationed!! I'm sorry, I know you'll be disappointed at all of this stereotypical girlishness, but I don't care. Phbbt! (My favourite character ever!) Also, thermos flasks, because this is important in Britain right now. The Economist does find ways that this is being done wrong, including controls meant to make sure that there are goods available on the home market, because controls prevent you from knowing what the actual demand is, and demoralising news that this won't lead to mass layoffs at the Ministry, showing that the civil service is too big and bloated forever.

"Airy Confusion" The Economist is vastly pleased with the new air traffic control system, developed from the Berlin Airlift, which has "virtually eliminated delays in landing aircraft at Northolt," and deeply disappointed by the engineers' strike at BEA, but also thinks that the airlines had it coming thanks to the way that they handled rationalisation and austerity. Moving on from that, it is pointed out that since air travel must be nationalised so that vital services can be maintained, it is pretty silly to complain that flying uneconomical services is a waste of money. This, it points out, will only be more obvious when the Brabazon starts flying, since there is no way that it can be economical, but The Economist is looking forward to London-New York nonstop, so someone better find the money! So if you wondered, dear soon-to-be-father-in-law, how the Brabazon is still alive, it is because the Geoffrey Crowthers of the world like it.

Just to come up for air at the end of a long summary of a not-so-long Note, I cast my bleary eyes back to the top and come up with the gobsmacking observation that Flight has somehow missed the revolutionary new air traffic control procedures that have transformed flying out of Northolt. Things are moving pretty quickly, and all thanks to Karl Marx and his fan club!

"The French Elections" I would explain what actually happened, but I would be accused of just repeating Le Monde. The Economist's take is that the outcome of the national municipal elections is not the Gaullist landslide it seems, and there is not likely to be a new Assembly election any time soon, but it is a "disastrous weakening of the Third Force." Phbbt, again. This is no Truman versus Dewey. Everyone knew this was coming. Italy, meanwhile, is "holding the line," as workers are laid off in the midst of growing output, although not growing nearly enough, with 1.2 million unemployed envisioned by 1952, a deadweight that cannot be addressed through emigration or public works.

The moral of the story is that if you look at the figures
too often, all you see is noise.
"Rasher of Bacon" If you were paying attention to my light-hearted discussion of South Schelswig for the South Schleswigers, you already know that bacon is back on ration in Britain due to "a shortfall in Canadian supplies." The Ministry of Food, it is concluded, did things as wrong as the Canadians, and now it emerges that it was also insufficiently forward with the Danes, and also the Poles, Jugoslavs and Hungarians, none of whom have brought from afar the bacon. There is still hope for the Poles, however. Bacon for Breslau!

Also up, down and possibly round about, the housing figures.

Stonington Island
"New Phase in the Antarctic" If an exciting war can be started over control of "Grahamsland," it may well be that it involves the Dominions and even the United States on our side, which seems hardly fair, and sure to discourage the South Americans from playing at all, which might be why the Americans are proposing a "codominium." Because they think that a war over the Antarctic would be silly, which shows what they know. Besides, it probably won't be a war, just competitive base building followed by skirmishing and then a war. And poo (or Phbbt!) on The Economist for daring to call this "one of the silliest international disputes of this century"!!!

Shorter Notes

The Admiralty Prize Court has determined that £4 million will be distributed to the Navy and Royal marines in prize money from the late war, and  £1.25 million to the RAF, which is very disappointing, as there will be "fewer grand pianos to grace the parlours of fewer 'Crowns and Anchors or 'Admiral Benbows.'" A number of notes follow on injustices done to potential war pensioners and private landlords by Government and the courts. Just if you were wondering.

Letters to the Editor

Harold Butler writes to point out that it is pretty silly to dismiss the American elections on the grounds that Republican and Democrat are pretty much alike, when they are clearly not, as even American Survey said. The editor, still peevish from all those Short Notes, replies that that is not what was meant, only what was said. J. G. Smyth, Brigadier, writes to defend Churchill of the charge of being unkind to the Commonwealth, when the real unkindness was to deprive it of British rule in the first place. Brigadier Smyth and The Economist seem to agree that that is what Churchill said, if not in so many words. They just disagree on whether or not it was colossally silly. R. A. Baker objects to any proportional reduction of armaments between East and West when the Russians have so many more armaments. Andrew Tessier agrees with everyone who thinks that there are too many pen-pushers and not enough productive workers these days. E. B. Palmer doesn't understand what The Economist is on about concerning the "desired future capacity of the steel industry" under nationalisation. Steel production rose historically at 1.75% annually from 1913 to 1929, and by 3.25% annually from 1929 to 1939; and if in the future an increase of 2.5% per year is taken as reasonable, by 1952 the desired home consumption will be 13.75 million tons, exports 5 million, and domestic capacity 19 million tons. The Economist supposes that this is too high on grounds that it represents peak demand, but, as Palmer points out, at full employment, we don't expect much falling off from peak demand. Prewar figures seem to reflect cartelisation and restriction of supply to maintain prices, which we are surely done with. Nationalisation may not be defensible on these grounds alone, Palmer says, but if private enterprise won't bear the risk, the Government must.


Robert Sherwood's book on I fall asleep now. On the other hand, the first volume of supplemental documents to Count Ciano's diary is out in Italian, backing up a barn-burning account of Europe in an age of barn-burning. At least, parts of it are; notably Chamberlain's inglorious performanceThe Economist isn't very happy with Sartre's Portrait of the Anti-Semite, because it fails to take account of the fact that Jews are awful, which is like fumbling in your own end zone, if you ask me. The Common Law of England, "By a K.C.", is delightful.

American Survey

We have to live without The Economist of 1848 this week.

"The Man and His Mandate"  Truman is triumphant, owing his mandate to himself, and himself alone. His campaign ensured that the New Deal is no longer an innovation to be defended, but a status quo to be, perhaps, attacked. Social security, education, welfare; full employment; cooperation between government, business and labour; conservation of natural resources; and internationalism are the new normal of the American liberal tradition inherited from Wilson and the two Roosevelts. He is the farmer's man, the happy go-lucky Cold Warrior of peace, the man who will stand up to Wall Street by raising the minimum wage, introducing an excess profits tax, goosing anti-trust activity, repealing Taft-Hartley and strengthening the Wagner Act, and bringing in, with the help of the 81st Congress, the selective price controls the 80th denied him. He will have a new civil rights programme and continue foreign aid. Hurrah! Or, a man's reach must exceed his grasp. Whichever.

American Notes

"After the Earthquake" "The deflation of the public opinion polls is undoubtedly one of the results that has given most pleasure." That said, Wilson's margin over Dewey is the smallest since 1916, at a little over 2 million, when the old time Republicans like Harding, Coolidge and Hoover never polled less than a 6 million vote advantage. Truman's 305 electoral votes, as against Dewey's 189, belie his carrying Ohio by 18,000 (and losing New York by 40,000). One way of looking at it is that without the Dixiecrats and Wallace, Truman would have cruised to a crushing, old-style victory. Another is that defections on the right and left freed him to go his own way and win at all. Also note the low turnout, which  normally advantages the GOP candidate.

Another cut at the third party vote shows the Dixiecrats gained the Republicans not a single southern state, and the fact that Truman outpolled Thurmond four to one in the South shows the power of partisan politics, in contrast to the defection of six Southern states from Al Smith's Democrats in 1928. Wallace, meanwhile, carried away New York to the GOP column, as we know, and would probably have cost the Democrats Illinois, had the courts allowed him on the ballot there. In California, Wallace's 178,000 votes reduced Truman's margin over Dewey and Warren to 32,000 votes.

Dewey deems his defeat to be due to overconfidence, but Russell Davenport (a Willkie man, to be sure) says that it comes down to "The Republican Party versus the American people." The scale of the Chicago Tribune's defeat goes far beyond that idiotic "Dewey Beats Truman" headline, as the GOP lost its Congressional delegation and the statehouse in Illinois. In fact, some are saying that there was an up-ballot effect, with strong Democratic candidates for Congress and Governor carrying Truman to victory. The next note surveys local initiative outcomes, with liquor advancing in Kansas and labour retreating in Massachusetts, and so on forever, which I am not going to summarise.

Speaking of "Dewey Defeats Truman," the American section carries a remarkable story in the 20 November issue that begins with reading the rest of that paper, which in its ongoing editions through the night had far more fantastic material than just the headline. The first edition had Dewey winning,to be sure. A few hours later, the next update had Dewey and Warren not merely winning, but sweeping the country and the House, and Brooks and Greene being returned in Illinois. Meanwhile, on the page opposite, early returns, with one-fifth of the votes counted, saw the Democratic candidates leading for Governor and Senate, and three Republican Congressmen threatened, while the President was 120,000 votes ahead with a third of the Chicago votes counted. Yes, cities are pro-Democrat, hand people were talking about the "Republican part of the evening," but a comparison of the results with 1944 would have shown the Presidential election to be a toss up, and Stevenson and Douglas had margins justifying calling them victors already, whatever happened downstate.

How did this embarrassment happen? It is easy to blame the editorial staff of the Tribune for humouring Colonel McCormick, but the widespread failure of reporters to put ears to the ground and fingers to the wind (pick your metaphor) is a bit mortifying.  65% of the daily press, and 78% of circulation, was pro-Dewey, and "The wish, in this campaign, became father to the news," with reporters telling their papers what their publishers wanted to hear. Worse, there is more blame to take for the Dewey campaign's "team of Svengalis." In New York, it was common knowledge that there was continuous pressure on the press from Albany to "toe [the Dewey] line." Reporters who went against it were even removed at the Governor's "request." "There was every reason to believe that, once in office, the President would have been unforgiving and ruthless in his treatment of publishers who failed to take the hint and rid themselves of such impediments to such blackmail." "Responsible" might easily have become "amenable," and "free" might have become "taking out on the weak the irritation which it is impolitic to display against the strong."

Wow. I've been hearing that reporters don't like Dewey very much for months now; but now that the gloves are off, the gloves are off!

The World Overseas

"The Agrarian Crisis in Hungary" Hungary is having an agrarian reform that is causing a political crisis.

"End of the Honeymoon in South Africa" South Africa's Nationalist government has introduced strict controls on luxury imports, responding to the end of the "extraordinary inflow of capital from the sterling area" that began in 1946 and halted at the same time as the election. This has led to inflation, to the mines losing labour, and to new mines facing a lack of capital investment, for some reason. The nation's gold reserve is shrinking, so is output.  The reintroduction of white bread will cost the country £5 million, and a bond issue at 2.5% failed, and had to be reissued at 3.25%. 

Crammed up past a boring note about the FAO annual conference is a blistering letter from Switzerland to the effect that it doesn't need Europe, because it is doing fine on its own, due entirely to the natural virtues and hard work of good, honest Swiss.

The Business World

 "The Contest Over Steel"  I think we need a new tag: "Arguing about talking about steel"? 

"Bonfire of Controls?" More about the very large number of controls dismantled by Harold Wilson "on the eve of Guy Fawkes Day." Some items, notably radios and radio industry equipment, have been partially decontrolled to make it easier for industry to meet home market demand (as long as enough of the kind that foreigners want are being produced for export, the industry can produce enough of other kinds of radios that British people want to buy), something that The Economist has already laboured over with the intent of proving that it has been done wrong, since with controls you cannot tell what domestic demand actually is, so how can you produce enough to meet the demand that you don't know what it is. 

I'm sure it will all end in tears. 

Business Notes

"Priority in Productivity" Britain must achieve full technical efficiency or wither away and die the moment the ERA ends. Sir Stafford Cripps says so, and he is never wrong, except when he allows that it slightly sometimes might not be so. The TUC is also having an output drive, but it is probably doing it wrong. There is much more about steel shares valuation, then a note about how South Africa is suffering the consequences of "government by procrastination" under Smuts and then Malan. Which is to say, The Economist goes what's already been said in World Overseas. Shiftless gold miners are getting their justly deserved comeuppance for buying one American radio too many with all that money the world sent them to dig more mines. Speaking of shiftlessness and comeuppance or not, the government is set to loan money to the film industry via the National Film Finance Corporation.

"Sterling Trade with Japan" The trade agreement with Japan allows for managed trade to a total of £55 million in the one year life of the agreement. The Export-Import Bank Report shows that it is doing worthy things, the motor industry is exporting more, wages continue to rise, more for men than for women, the world sugar crop is a record size, beet as well as cane. The Faeroe Islands have, as expected, left the sterling area. The jute allocation has been cut, and probably will not be made up until the Indian government allows the export of Pakistani jute through Calcutta. The price of American lead and zinc is up. The savings bill is very complicated and needs much discussion. 

Now comes the ticklish part where I don't discuss the back end of the month, even though that's where The Economist covers the Government's Four Year Plan [trove link, maybe unstable?]. Hopefully, we'll get some mention in Time, and return to the subject in December. In the meantime, I should mention the alarmist 20 November 1948 article, "How Much Food Can Britain Grow?" Before the report, the Government's policy was to allow British agricultural output to gradually fall back near 1938 levels. Now, it is committed to hitting a level of perhaps 50% more food. At the same time, it has had to put off the existing livestock targets, although in its defence it takes a while to build up livestock. Can this be done? The Economist thinks not. It might match wartime targets, but wartime totals were hit thanks to the Dunkirk Spirit. Four million more acres in production, and a "preposterous 400,000 acres of linseed" means possible overcropping, and there is probably not the labour and machinery for all that ploughing. On the other hand, the increased livestock targets mean that silage and ley rotations can be further expanded from wartime levels. In the end, The Economist approves, subject to everyone understanding that it thinks that the government is doing it wrong. 

Fortune, November 1948

Business Roundup

Is the economy in trouble? In spite of the stock market swoon, we have no idea as November ends. Department store sales are up and the installment credit tightening seems to have only reduced the price of used cars. Alan Temple, of the National City Bank, thinks that the economy is "in balance." Inventory may be up, and prices down, but the country is ready to enjoy "plenty." The railroads might be seeking yet another rate increase, but train loadings are falling compared with road loadings, so who needs a choo-choo train? John L. Lewis might be talking strike again, but when Phillips put the price of its crude up 35 cents a barrel, no major company followed. The steel industry was at 98.5% capacity, and would hit a peacetime record of 88 million tons by the end of the year, it is predicted. And yet even that will not be enough, and the steelmakers seem set to defy the Government allocation agreements that might not be doing very much, anyway. Antitrust is going to go on a tear, and the ECA is working so well to lubricate inter-European trade that American fruit, tobacco, textiles, citrus and cotton producers are demanding relief at the loss of markets. 

The defence build-up has produced a "Strange Half-World of War," in which GE might estimate that 15% of its business is going to defence, just because it has to produce a number, but most of that is for things that it doesn't and can't build yet. It has at least a thousand of its "biggest brains" working on making the things the Pentagon wants, real, and how do  you account for that? It is the same story at Cutler-Hammer, where it has a small aircraft relay business that somehow absorbs about ten percent of its engineers and laboratory people. Dick Brumby, who started a business in Atlanta producing metal beverage cases for Coca-Cola, shows the other side, as he complains bitterly about Government steel and aluminum allocations for defence that are choking off his business. Suddenly, the nation needs more aircraft engineers. Northrop, which had 650 on payroll at the war peak, now has 1400. Is there overinvestment on productive capacity? It is not clear, because it is being built for the America that is to come, not the America that exists now.

 Banking isn't doing so hot, though, and neither are the airlines, but the new high-compression Oldsmobile engine is still on the way. There's a fight between Seatrain and West Indies fruit-shipping interlopers over the Cuba ferry business. Kaiser Permanente Metals, Enterprise Productions and Avco are making profits. There's a freeze on new television station applications, because the FCC is overwhelmed, but TV set production keeps increasing, with 2 million perhaps being sold in 1948 if the supply of tubes holds. Ferguson will start producing tractors in Detroit on 11 October. American Sugar Refining's methanol-based "dry cleaning" method for removing char from sugar will probably be approved by the FDA, and will be used to produce industrial sugar, since it will be too brown for consumer sale. Cerametal Corporation of Los Angeles calls its new tiles, with coloure "baked in," the first innovation in the product since the Middle Ages. Gruens plans to be the first company to make complete watch movements in America in seventy years in its new Cincinnati plant. 

First frontal nudity in an ad around here
since 1939 numbers of The Aeroplane. 
The Fortune Survey

This month's survey looks back at the New Deal, since it is now history. "[E]ven if Mr. Truman is re-elected, his Administration can hardly be described as the New Deal." People are generally for it, with reservations. They admire Roosevelt more than his Administration, and are convinced that "Depressions are made by men, and can be ended by men," even though critics are not likely to admit that the New Deal, or Roosevelt, helped. People think that the New Deal erred too much in taking freedoms away, but can't think of specific examples of where less regulation might be in order.

"The Berlin Airlift"

The Air Force says that it is costing $100/ton to move goods to Berlin. Rolls Royce delivery to the poor house can't go on forever. "Some day, it will have to be rolled up like thread on a spool." In the meantime, American airmen have, "in the process of trying to salvage a seemingly bankrupt political situation, . . . have burst, as through a transonic barrier, into a wholly new logistical realm." For General Tunner, who is running the Airlift according to the procedures worked out on the Hump, this is nothing new or revolutionary. This potential has been waiting to be called upon for four years. Well, if so, no-one knew it! The story of the expansion of the airlift is told, Luce press style, in vignettes. H. P. Lacomb, who taught himself the unique trade of cutting heavy construction equipment apart with a welding torch for air shipment, and then reconstructing it at the other side, was vaguely recalled by those who knew him, tracked down at the airfield where he was doing "an obscure job," and brought to Germany to Lacombise the equipment needed to build a concrete runway for Tempelhof and then at Tegel in the French sector. Fortune then concedes that the Lift has involved the work of "dozens of such ingenious Lacombes, obscure men with an unequaled flair for making mechanical things work." Most of whom, however, are just keeping the planes flying. The initial target of 4000t/day was 500 tons to support the garrison, and then for the 2.5 million Germans in the Western sector, with no coal or industrial raw materials. 4500 tons/day allowed Berliners "a few briquettes a day." Even more was needed, and with the British aiming for 1500t/day, Americans had to find 2500 to 3000 t/day. Bad weather implied enough lift to push through the minimum daily requirement in the worst weather.

Much of the rest of the article is based on an interview with General Tunner. It's not the kind of in-the-cabin coverage you get from Flight, but it has some interesting things to say about the air control situation. For example, the repeated Yak-Dak episodes have a lot to do with the fact that the Tempelhof air stream takes as sharp turn right in front of a Russian Air Force base. In theory, all of the air streams are safe in their own corridors, but overcast can lead to a frightening convergence, with close encounters guaranteed by the presence of 200 tons per hour of cargo movement, thirty landings and takeoffs an hour, a movement every two minutes from the two airfields. Tempelhof can easily take an aircraft every four minutes --in good weather. The 7000 ton lift achieved on Air Force Day involved sending 6650 American and 244 British planes into Berlin in one day. However, it can take sixteen to twenty minutes to get a  plane into LaGuardia in overcast, and that rate would spell disaster for the Airlift. By streamlining the GCA and ILS procedures, Berlin gets this down by 75% --but this is still not enough. 3.8 minutes might be possible. That would be. Another way of increasing efficiency would be newer planes. The improvement from the Dakota to the C-54 is from 1934 to !939. A new cargo plane would revolutionise things. A cloud on the horizon is that, in spite of huge maintenance efforts, a backlog of deferred maintenance is building up and will lead to depreciation.

"The Dollar Shortage"

Fortune explains the dollar shortage. It's a myth. Sure, Barbara Ward of The Economist may say that it is real and incurable until Europe can stand on its own feet and "erect discriminatory barriers against American goods," but Henry Hazlitt says it is just a matter of price, and if trade were adjusted to price, all would be well. (Except for American farmers going naked and Europeans starving.) But that won't happen, because with "fiscal rectitude," all will be well. I've heard that lecture before! As for French inflation, that could be cured by kissing the Third Force good by and welcoming General de Gaulle. Because if there is one thing that populist dictators are known for, it is fiscal rectitude. 

Following on this is a long article by Thomas Phelps that boils down to telling us that the Wall Street swoon shows that a business depression is on the way. 

"Whose Mistakes at Nashua?" The sudden announcement that Textron was closing its Nashua, New Hampshire mills, with the loss of 3500 jobs is a serious business error, since Textron's Royal Little had just got into Nashua in 1946 with a neatly-funded acquisition that almost immediately came u against losses, hard as those were for anyone to rack up in 1946/7. In June of last year, Textron had to announce cost-saving measures, and ran head on into its union. And the New England GOP, although the Luce press isn't going to spell that out, even when it brings Senator Tobey onto the scene. Little wants tax relief, it is all the union and mill management's fault, and if tax relief isn't forthcoming, Nashua will survive the closing of its mills by finding new industries to fill the buildings. 

The next article tries to explain why Eastern Airlines is the only American airline making money, the one after it why New Orleans is taking business away from competing ports, which seems to come down to a sales job.

Kurt Bloch, "Boom and Defence: What Has Prosperity Done to Our National Preparedness" It is sometimes said that America would be in trouble if there were another war, because there is simply not the slack in the economy that there was in 1948. The opposite argument is also made, because full employment has expanded the work force and consumers have everything they want, making it easier to shift production over to defence. The plants may have vanished, but the skilled workers have remained. Even when the town is washed away by flood, as at Vanport, they do not disappear, which seems a bit insensitive to me, considering. The Navy is afraid of the Russian Schnorkel submarine, but there is far more shipping for them to sink, 70 million tons versus 58 million in 1939, faster and more economical, too. Too many targets doesn't seem to me like a solution to the Russian submarine problem, any more than wiping out all the non-segregated housing in Oregon is going to allow for the old Kaiser workforce to hang around. Stockpiles of strategic materials are building up, and with so much steel and lumber going to housing, and petroleum to cars, rationing would free up enormous supplies of both. Although there is just not as much oil to spare as in WWII, especially with the Russians threatening the Iranian and Middle Eastern oil fields. This is why it pays to cozy up to Mexico. Nonferrous metal supplies are being held back by failure to develop supplies. For example, Rhodesian copper is crippled by lack of rolling stock on the newly nationalised Rhodesian railways, but the British steel needed to build it up is being invested in the groundnuts scheme instead. Similarly, America should move to encourage Australian lead and zinc production, and squelch the Far Eastern tin and smelter interests attempts to manage against a glut by buying up surplus production and stockpiling. it. In other words, American needs to squelch the peanut play! Metal "plays" in other countries should be encouraged. America should develop more electrical power by encouraging both private and public water power. However, Alcoa is working on a natural-gas fired aluminum plant, which suggests that the preparedness drive should lead to a reevaluation of natural gas. If natural gas can be utilised at the point of output, should it really be shipped hundreds or even thousands of miles through saboteur-vulnerable pipelines? Also, full technical efficiency in agriculture can free up labour for making more guns.

 "The Engineers of Energy: M. W. Kellogg, a Mighty Engineer of Oil Refineries, Moves Towards Volume Chemicals and Atomic Power for Industry" Kellogg is owned by Pullman, and has been busy building up fluid-catalyst oil refineries.

This has meant getting into pipes, pressure vessels and heat exchangers. It has been involved in continuous flow processes. This experience made it attractive to Pullman, which bought it out from its founding leadership, which was approaching retirement age together at the end of the war. The article then comes back around to Kellogg's work with Standard of New Jersey to build and develop the "big cat" cracking refineries, and its associated toluene and butadiene plants, followed by the famous K-25 gaseous separation plant at Oak Ridge. Now, with America reaching its limits for catalytic refineries, it is looking at atomic power as the next frontier of expansion, apart from silly little businesses like "Solexol," for fractionating and refining edible oils.  

"The Bankers" America has bankers! They can afford very nice suits. Many are balding. Their buildings are nice. Their business is important enough for a long article in Fortune. I don't care.

"The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe No. 1 Railroad" The Santa Fe is perhaps the most successful railroad in America, and runs through some very beautiful country. It has the highest ton-miles per train hour count in the country due to going into diesels early, although not as a pioneer. Diesel was particularly well-suited to the Santa Fe, since its New Mexico and Arizona lines stretched hundreds of  miles without good water. forcing it to ship millions of gallons in tanker cars at a cost of 40 cents per thousand gallons, when a big steam engine evaporates 15,000 gallons in a hundred miles. 
Classic Santa Fe scenery, best seen from the windows of The Superchief, and not ElCapitan. 
The Santa Fe also likes diesels for their low-speed power, perfect for climbing slopes, and their low maintenance, which also requires much less workshop space than heavy steam engine repairs. Unfortunately, the steep rise in diesel oil prices is getting in the way. 

Most of the article, however, is about the business side of things. Santa Fe is making more money because it  has streamlined operations, and it wants everyone to know that it can keep on beating seaborne competition via the Panama Canal. 

"Beautiful Factories" An article about beautiful factory designs. Unlike the banking or Santa Fe articles, I'm giving this one a slight treatment not because it is irrelevant, but because there is just so much beautiful industrial design in this letter already.

 . . . Almost a pass. Wow. 

John Chamberlain, "The Businessman in Fiction" American novelists like to treat businessmen as villains, and it is terrible. But (long article follows), Ayn Rand is writing a business novel to follow up her architecture novel, and she will set things right. 

"Hydraulic Accumulators" Hydraulic accumulators are like batteries for hydraulic systems. So whereas pump-operated hydraulic systems are like ac systems, accumulator-driven ones are like dc, except that they both work by "longitudinal pressure waves," to quote my brainy fiance. It's nice to have an article about how hydraulics work, although it is a century late and a million dollars short on Aviation. More importantly, it is a long advertisement for Greer Hydraulics' new accumulator design. I'm sure it is a very nice design, and accumulators aren't going anywhere, being just the thing for intermittent uses (like a neatly sketched bulldozer starter), but they are also not the distant research frontier of tomorrow. In fact, this article, like the Kellogg one, reads depressingly like one of the ones that Flight and Aviation get for free. If Fortune can't fill its pages, maybe a business downturn is on the way? Alternatively, editorial may have had to dig deep to replace pages and pages of spiked stories about the Dewey transition. Ha! I am going to go with that!!

Where is the argument for having a battery and an accumulator?

Sumner Slichter's The American Economy: Its Problems and Prospects, reveals him to be the last bull. He believes that, in America's "laboristic society," wages are in the driving seat and will keep prices up. Business cycle depressions can be fought with deficits, public works, unemployment insurance funds, tax reforms, and other measures if needed. Instead of worrying about the business cycle, Americans should focus on increasing their imports.

Walter Bagehot, Physics and Politics. John Kenneth Galbraith really likes this book, which is why he reviews a reissue eighty years after its first, Victorian(!) publication. By an editor of The Economist, no less, so he is in no danger of being forgotten. Isn't there a single living author worth a Fortune review who isn't a lizard?

A review of Individualism and Economic Order tells us about the kinds of books that lizards would write, if they knew someone at the University of Chicago press.  And by telling you that F. A. Hayek is a lizard, I've done a better job of reviewing this "book" than Fortune. (It's a collection of his after-dinner speeches.)

A short review of the National Industrial Conference Board's Executive Compensation in Thirty-Nine Industries establishes that American business management is a bargain, as it is so under-paid it can barely afford its subscription to Fortune. B. J. Kidd's Women Never Go Broke explains that women always want to work, because they can meet men at work. 
The dust jacket is pink, because of course it is.

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