Sunday, October 13, 2019

Postblogging Technology, July 1949, I: A Gem of an Engine

R_. C_.,

Dear Father:

This reaches you from my almost luxurious pen, as I am now an "officer and a gentleman" on active duty, which I find to be very much less work than being an engineering student at the Institute. Ronnie, a working woman for the moment, cannot say the same, though I think that she is driven by as much ambition as anything else. I feel a bit of a failure to be driving her car, instead of mine. Perhaps I should try to win Uncle's approval harder? A nice new Jeep would be the pride of Livermore! 

Two ads with psychoanalyst gags equals a trend.
That thought is brought to mind this lazy morning by the afterglow of a dinner party at the Professor K.'s. Miss K. was there, and brought her beau of the summer, clearly on his way out. As for why he was at that point still Miss K.'s beau, well, your guess is as good as mine, and probably better than Uncle George's! (He has one thing on his mind!)  Anyway, it all worked out. For there I was, seething over the fat lip I was talked out of giving him in August, when he made the mistake of going on about  Levi-Strauss, psychoanalysis and "semiology." Ronnie proceeded to take him apart in the most low-key and politely hilarious way until I was about to crack up and he announced that he was coming down with something and departed leaving Miss K. to find her own way home. Yes, she was at dinner with her parents, but still! Honest, I think up to that point Ma and Pa K. liked him more than Miss K. did. 

So good food and a humiliation richly deserved and a long time coming. That's entertainment! Now if I can just wrap my head around Ronnie's explanation of "structuralisim."

Your Loving Son,

Precis of Aviation Week for the First Half of July, 1949

Congress is making a stink about a Reconstruction Finance Corporation loan guarantee to Northwestern to buy Stratocruisers. Ralph Damon is squelching rumours of a TWA-Northwestern merger.  Goodyear has a study out claiming that 18 "hypothetical modern dirigibles" could have handled the Berlin Airlift. Which, big deal, I have a study that proves that one hypothetical dirigible could have handled the 'Lift. Mine starts out by assuming that a dirigible is infinitely large, but that's about as reasonable as Goodyear's, which has the average dirigible making two trips a day. They took longer than that to moor sometimes!  Industry Observer  has stories about the Convair-Liner getting a turboprop makeover using a dual version of the Allison T-38, which is going into the XP5Y-1, Glenn L. Martin getting a big contact for its Gorgon ramjet missiles, Naval Ordnance getting a contract for the Zeus high altitude rocket, the RCAF and Trans-Canada replacing the Merlins on their DC-4s with Pratt and Whitney R-2800s.

The Air Force is studying heated bomb bays, which is all about the "package," inside scoop of the week, and there are various bits about high altitude jet fighter performance and climb. The Vampire can do it, the RAF says. The FJ-1 can't. The Air Force, like the Navy, is making a stink about the budget cuts, claiming that it will be down to a 48 group force if they go through. The Puerto Rico crash was caused by an overload and poor maintenance, and is bad news for nonskeds, which seem to be about as unsafe as everyone said they were. 

Republic is promising a better F-84, which is good news, because the current F-84 is bovine excrement of the male persuasion. The airlines have promised to buy more surplus Air Force DC-3s and DC-4s if Congress is nice to them. The total cost to industry of cancellations of F-87s, B-54s, B-45Cs, F-93s, RB-49s, C-125Bs, H-10 helicopters and F-84Cs isn't $326 million because the taxpayer is covering $42 million in sunk costs. 

There's a nice article about the delta wing, which is ideal for high speed flight while not sacrificing low speed stability, albeit at the cost of taking off and landing like a brick. Also one on "Magnesium as a Structural Material" that's basically a Dow ad and one on the latest administrative tricks for speeding overhauls. Letters has one from Harold Warden, for the props division at Curtiss-Wright, arguing that the recent prop reversals on Convair Liners are the fault of everyone else but Curtiss-Wright. Aviation Week surrenders. It was due to a "relay," even though American blamed the prop. Speaking of little Aviation Week boo-boos, G. R. McGregor writes from the offices of TCA to tear it a new one for printing the "P and W R-2800 for Merlins" rumour. 

Next week, we're onto the "Crisis in Naval Aviation." It's mostly about the topline budget cut, but the cancellation of United States is also important. It turns out that even Vinson was against it! Apparently it means an "artificial ceiling  on the technical development of Naval aircraft." Well, no, it means a "naval architectural ceiling on the inflation of carrier-capable aircraft's performance at the expense of engineering." If the only way you can get better planes to sea is by building ever more gigantic aircraft carriers, then you need to find a better way. Tellingly, AW goes on to notice that a recent Congressional hearing on antisubmarine warfare featured no Naval aviators at all. Grr! That's because the Naval aviators who could have contributed were patrol aviators, and who wants to hear from us about anything except bombing Moscow from the decks of the United States, at least after it manages to slip by the coastal batteries of Stalingrad! AW goes on to say that the "flying navy" is in a battle with the "reconstructed battleship admirals" who like submarines now. So where does the "fly navy" go? Not to patrol aviation! Perhaps it can take over tactical aviation from the Army? 

Oh, for Pete's sake. "Dear Stalin: Please arrange WWIII fought within fifty miles of nearest coast. Hugs and Kisses, Alameda."

Industrial Observer tells us this week that Avro is working on a  delta-wing supersonic fighter to be flown from the prone position[?], the talk being right now that the strange realm of supersonic interception is limited by the human frame, and pilots who lie in bed can do more, and also really enjoy a weekend morning. "The Sunday paper, a coffee, one B-29ski with bacon and orange juice on the side, please!"  The rest of the column is spent on news and gossip from the propeller industry, which is in the news, presumably because there are no new anonymous postcards from high school flying clubs around Ottawa. 

Say what you will about Northrop, their PR department is on the job. 

There's a whole story about the Navy looking at a turboprop carrier bomber with an auw of 65,000lbs, which is as much as the Midways can support. The report on the Winona crash is out. I've ranted below about the 2-0-2, which is found to be fatally flawed by stress corrosion in the high-strength 75ST aluminum used in its main wingspar. Martin is confident that the modified 2-0-2 is as good a choice as it was before the crash. So I guess it's time for Martin to move on to the 3-0-3! There's also a story about the USAF's search for an all-purpose fighter combining interception, all-weather and penetration. It's a magic plane! 50,000ft in five minutes, supersonic top speed, armament of air-to-air missiles with target homing devices, semi-automatic controls, radar such as the Hughes Lightweight,  afterburner power for emergencies, long range, durability. None of these are available right now. The interceptor job is currently held by the F-86, but will require improvements, perhaps through a delta wing configuration and light weight. The all-weather, where the F-83 is the current choice, similarly needs improvements, mostly more performance to carry an anti-bomber armament and the radar. The "penetration" job is mostly conceived in fighter-bomber role terms, and that job was left to any old crap back in the war, which tells you what the AF thinks of the F-88 and F-90. Clearly when there is one multi-role fighter to do all of this, it won't be crap. what it will be, I don't know. How does the AF expect to combine speed, climb, altitude and range  with a radar and all those missiles and guns in one package? Sorcery is my theory, and I'm sticking with it.

This week's technical article is on the ducted-fan engine, which is the version of the jet engine where most of the air is ducted around the core, with only a little drawn through and compressed, burned and turbine-ated. The idea is that it serves as reaction mass only, and that the engine is more efficient, at least at subsonic speeds.  There's also a production article on Douglas' "Super DC-3," which can carry up to 38 passengers at 243 mph at 12,000ft. Any interested owner can get a DC-3 or C-47 revamped for between $140,000 and $200,000 depending on the number of options taken. 

Ronnie is livid over the lead editorial for 11 July, which denounces a would-be nurse parachuting team that wanted to do a demonstration like those British flying nurses at an airshow in Connecticut. Apparently, men can do any damn thing in the air they want to, she says, but if women do it, it is "dangerous exhibitionism." I would agree but --it's dames jumping out of airplanes. (I'm in so much trouble!) 

Eddie Rickenbacker opened his mouth again, and UAL's "family plan" tickets are the latest happy surprise in the field of "people want to fly down to Miami/see Grandma cheap" front. 

A long article about the B-36 reveals that Flight's "Favonius" is actually a 'British engineer" named Harold Saxon. Asking around, the only guy who comes to anyone's mind is an American, a USAF hotshot pilot and wartime West Point (not engineering school) graduate named John Harold Saxon. They may not be the same guy, but a friend of a friend who knows the USAF Saxon says that they sound the same. So the "British" thing, is that he qualified for the RAeS while he was in Britain with the Air Force. 

The Economist, 2 July 1949


"1952 is Now" Britain has been preparing for 1952, when Marshall Aid would expire and it would have to live within its means, but the last three months show such a sharp drop in British dollar and gold reserves that "1952 is now," and that is why Sir Stafford is putting up such a big stink over the Intra-European Payments Scheme. Britain can't afford to send more hard currency to Europe, so it's either a fix to the scheme, or good-bye to European unity. The Economist is then well-launched on the general theme of British needing to work for a living and not just depend on American handouts. The Economist says that the basic problem is that goods across the whole sterling area are over-priced, so no-one's buying them. One might conclude that sterling is overvalued, but that would lead to devaluation, and then everyone would devalue, and it would be anarchy and chaos and the City would lose some money, also. Therefore the conclusion is that the British should pull up their shirt, tuck in their socks, bend to their last, stick to their furrow, achieve full technical efficiency, and, oh, by the way, take a cut in pay. A cut in pay is like an apple a day. It even rhymes!

I usually leave Gramma Grace's editing to Gramma,
but come on! -Beth.
"Inquest on the Press" I bet you forgot that the Royal Commission on the Press was sitting in a back room somewhere reading all of its submissions and putting together a Report. Two years ago, it was sent away to consider monopolies, sensationalism, influence and chains, which, of course, is an awful thing to charge a Royal Commission with, as opposed to looking into the National Union of Journalists, which is pretty suspiciously communistic, what with having "Union" right in its name. The Commission has concluded that everything is fine. The chains aren't too big, and right wing publishers don't exert undue influence so much as the journalists just toady up to keep their jobs, which is completely different and the journalists' fault, really. (Which reminds me of how after the election, it was pointed out that 70% of America's newspapers endorsed Dewey, and that is why all the journalists said that Dewey was going to win. They knew that that was what their bosses wanted to hear, and since there's a bandwagon effect in politics, it was just safer to get on board. No influence peddling to see here!)

In short, everything is fine. 

"A Year of Tito" Tito has been running Communism in one country, Tito-style, for a whole year now, and it's time to look back at everything he's accomplished in terms of giving Stalin heartburn and maybe even governing Jugoslavia if there's time left over from discussing how awful Stalin and Russian Communism are, and the fact that there is probably a purge coming in Russia. Which there isn't. But mark The Economist's words: something is coming, and soon, because Moscow is obsessed with having a port on the Mediterranean, and Jugoslavia and Greece are in the way. 

"More or Less Competition?" In this week's "As reported in Fortune," The Economist hears that Vincent Tewson of the TUC expressed heretical opinions about full technical efficiency. Specifically, he thinks that less competition would be good for British industry. Even though he has been to America and has seen American productivity (which is high), and American wages, which are also high, and should have seen the light. The Economist proceeds to explain at length about how competition promotes higher productivity (and so higher wages), and that while no-one would wish that Europe was like America, it should be more like America to achieve "a full competitive economy," actually The Economist does.

I'll give The Economist this. At least this summer's relief staff can write stories with topic sentences and facts while shouting about how English economic life is too sheltered and comfortable to produce the best possible product.

Notes of the Week

We lead off with a good yell at the National Union of Railwaymen for labour actioning too much for too much pay, and congratulating Prime Minister St. Laurent on his victory in the Canadian federal election, while reminding us that it isn't a real win, since there was vote splitting, and the Liberals only won almost 50% of the vote while the Conservatives got fully 30%. We're not told where the Conservatives sat vis-a-vis the CCF, which also took a beating as frightened Canadian progressives turned to the Liberals to save them from the ever-so-scary Tories. 

The General Gordon will continue to evacuate people from
 Shanghauntil returned to trooping service for the Korean War,
which just about sums things up. (Not actually named for
"Chinese" Gordon.) 
"'Delicacy' in China" On the one hand, Amethyst is still stuck up the Yangtse, and after the last fiasco, the Royal isn't going to try to liberate it out from under the guns of the People's Liberation Army any time soon. On the other hand, the Koumintang is still trying to blockade Shanghai, which amounts to random attacks on foreign shipping, and Britain can't have that. Although it can't just send in the gunboats because that might upset the Americans. The Americans have told the Koumintang that its blockade of Shanghai is "illegitimate," unless it is "effective." So they have to stop doing what they're doing, and do it harder! That would specifically mean attacking the British, who have sent out the fleet to make sure that British and other foreign shipping can continue to trade with Shanghai and Communist China. (Whom they, we are reminded, hate. But not enough to not trade with them.)

"Conservative Imperial Policy" If elected, a Conservative Party government would argle bargle  etc. One Fleet, One Flag, One Throne! 

"Shaping Road Transport" The Road Transport Commission has set up a separate board to run the busses, because it is too much trouble to run truck and busses from one office. Meanwhile, it continues to buy more and more truck companies so that one day it will own all the big ones and can "co-ordinate" everything.

"Strikes in Australia" Appalling. Working coal miners going out on strike for better wages and shorter hours. Irresponsible! Why, they must know that their demands will not be met, so it is just a "desire to make mischief," and was no doubt inspired by the Communists to embarrass the government. 

"Faint Hopes in Indonesia" The Dutch and the Republicans have reached a settlement over Jogjakarta. The Economist foresees the alarming prospect of Indonesian independence, and hopes that the Dutch colonial authorities resist the pressure coming from everywhere except The Economist and launch their "United States of Indonesia" anyway. Or else Communism will win. 

Two long notes on the latest form of the international trade union federation and the dismissal of the Local Government Boundary Commission seem not very relevant. Likewise an article about new rules that allow about half the civil service to participate in politics. 

"A Farmer's Warning" British food prices are too high compared with Europe and America because British farming lacks full technical efficiency, and not because the dollar is over-valued and Europe is still climbing out of a crater. In conclusion, something terrible is going to happen soon when prices come down to world levels, as they must, because of reasons too obvious to need explaining. Also, the Government is cutting its grant to UNICEF, which is unlike all the grants that the Government should be cutting, and isn't, in that it is a cut that the Government is making, and shouldn't. Obviously. Likewise Notes on the arbitration committee to set doctors' fees under National Healthy, and a bill improving regulation of Justices of the Peace are . . .something. Labour's fault?

"Bad to Worse in Prague" The Catholic clergy read out an anti-communist letter from their bishops in church last Sunday, just like Mit Brennender Sorge. The Communists responded by banning pastoral letters and clerical meetings, and The Economist supposes that it is about to arrest all the bishops, just like in Rumania. In the long run this will no doubt be bad for Communism.

"A Concatenation of Orchestras" At the recent Hastings Music Festival, Sir Thomas Beecham condemned the Arts Council for supporting "more orchestras than the government can afford." Although since he "played a leading part" in creating two of London's five orchestras, he's one to talk. Some say that there is a decline in concert-going due to alternative attractions, down from the war years, when it was that or go watch the bombing.  On the other hand, when the Philadelphia Orchestra can come over and play 28 concerts in 29 days and draw in 60,000 people in a month, thta's no failure. The real problem is that unions have put the performers' wages up too high, and so there have to be more concerts and fewer rehearsals, which is terrible for those who want to "lead, rather than follow, peoples' taste in music."

From The Economist of 1849

This feature has titles now, and my heart sank a bit when I read, "The Peers, the Citizens and the Jews" But the old Economist comes down on the right side of this one, scolding the House of Lords for rejecting a bill "admitting Jews to sit in Parliament" that would have enabled Baron Rothschild to take the seat he won in Chiltern Hundreds. Now he is going to stand again for the City of London and force the issue, and The Economist is endorsing him. Although with the strong implication that rich people should be in Parliament, because they are rich.

(Nice to use this unironically)


Andrew MacFadyean, President of the Liberal Party, writes to thank The Economist for saying nice things about its election platform and complain about vote splitting that keeps the Liberals from being the "natural governing party" (as they say up in Canada) that they deserve to be. Reverend Hall, Bishop of Hong Kong, writes to call for cool heads. J. Rusier, an "international lawyer" who lives in Spain, writes to explain that all forms of socialism, militarism and Fascism are basically the same, and horrible. Adrienne Lincoln writes that it is fine for the 267,000 Indo-Mauritians to be pro-Indian, but what about the 10,000 British inhabitants? What about them? S. Black, the Director if the Information Bureau of the Association of Optical Practitioners is very upset with The Economist over a recent comment about the price of spectacles and eye exams. Aldridge Caldwell of Tin, the magazine, writes to explain that a lower price of tin is not the solution to the oversupply problem, which is due to US Government controls. The Economist disagrees and calls for full technical efficiency in coal, and "some domestic readjustments to the economies of the tin producing countries." Pay cuts for all!


H. C. Dent's Secondary Education for All and C. G. Stillman and R. Castle Cleary's The Modern School lead The Economist to contemplate the future of education. Dent points out that if there is to be secondary education for all, it can't be conducted on grammar school principles for all students. One idea is a large school of perhaps 1200 students, combining "grammar," "technical" and "modern" programmes. The Ministry prefers separate schools. Dent has some opinions about how this might be done, and The Economist likes them, but hasn't space to explain them. Stillman and Cleary are architects, and have ideas about what schools should look like. These are also interesting, although irrelevant if we don't know what the proper school should look like in the first place. Roy Lewis and Angus Maude have The English Middle Classes out. The Economist liked it, but can't explain why other than that it is well-written. Nicholas Mansergh's The Coming of the First World War  gets a "good book, but . . . " Mainly, 250 pages is hardly enough to do forty years, and it is unimpressed with Mansergh's treatment of Britain, Belgium and Germany, which is apparently a thorny matter. (It turns out that the Germans thought they had to invade Belgium to beat France, and that the British had guaranteed Belgian neutrality, and either the Germans thought that the British were sending signals that they would tolerate some German funny business, or else the Germans didn't care what the British did, because they expected to win quickly. Mansergh is in the first camp, The Economist's reviewer is in the second. L. Albert Hahn has The Economics of Illusion, which is about money. Or "monetary theory," which is something that economists worry about. He is a critic of Keynes, who, if I read this right, thinks that demand is critical, or I guess the share of demand that can actually do something is? I say that because the Keynesians say and that by reducing the interest rate, you increase the amount of money (because people borrow more, which is sort of making new money), and then more is spent. Hahn thinks that we need to consider costs, and claims to deserve credit because he thought of the good stuff in Keynes, first. At this point the review goes off the rails, because if I'm supposed to intuit what "costs" are, then I am a miserable failure of a mere electrical-aeronautical engineer. Something I can grasp surfaces a bit later when the reviewer tells us that Hahn tries to prove that "thrift" can never cause a trading depression. I get that, but that's because I've heard, like everyone has heard, that Keynes thinks that savings can be bad, and this usually causes people who don't think about these things to sputter and carry on. Professor Hahn is smart, and does think about these things, so his defence of thrift is more credible, but, The Economist says, wrong. On the other hand, what he has to say about "light hearted supporters of continuous deficit financing" and the "passivity of the balance of payment of some countries" happens to agree with what The Economist thinks, and so that is fine. 

Now it is off to two reviews of Soviet studies, Soviet Studies, published at the University of Glasgow, and Bulletins on Soviet Economic Development, from the University of Birmingham. They have lots of articles about many things, especially the first one, because it is more general. 

In conclusion, The Economist needs better book reviewers. Or, on the basis of this week's column, more than one. 

American Survey

"Science and Welfare" President Truman's speech in Little Rock on underdeveloped areas "who for centuries have known nothing but exploitation and poverty, and whose economic life is still primitive" is not about Arkansas (cue snare drum!) bur rather about all those backward parts of the world that Point Four is about. He is explaining to the Midwest that Africa has it bad, and if American doesn't help them, the Soviets will. What he is also saying is that the main benefit to those backward places will come from American know-how, and not so much trade reform. The scientific method can fix everything! Take atomic fission, for example; yes, it could cause the destruction of human civilisation, but, on the other hand, isotopes cure cancer and maybe there will be cheap electricity thanks to atomic power one day. After all, if Superman can beat atom bombs and death rays, anyone can. (Yes, The Economist says that that is what the President means to say.)
Science makes welfare possible. To see how all this works you have only to consider how the amount of work done on American farms by mechanical means has increased from 27% to 98% in the last half century. Also, mining, textiles and some other things that American Survey will be talking about all summer, fair warning given.

"The Call for Public Works" Some people say that since there is a recession on, there should be a public works effort and some deficit financing, but while all of that is well and good, The Economist's American office read an article in May that said that it doesn't actually work that well in practice because it takes a while to spend the money, so there you go. Probably shouldn't.

American Notes

"Fourth Point by Installments" President Truman has asked Congress for $45 million to transfer American know-how by funding various existing agencies, public and private, with a demonstrated knowledge of "show-how."

Later, there will be a billion dollars in loan guarantees, unless Congress decides that they threaten free enterprise.

"Cherries and Clothespegs" You can tell that Europe is still sick in spite of Marshall Plan aid because European exports to America are falling as American prices fall, in spite of which various American producers want protection, including Oregon cheery growers and whoever makes clothespegs. And since they can't get that protection through subsidised purchases via the European Recovery Programme, duties on European imports will have to do. It's a crazy old world.

"Teachers Take the Test"  Now that the NEA has banned Communist teachers and is thinking about banning Communist books, HUAC has climbed on the bandwagon by demanding that 107 colleges send in their reading lists for scrutiny of potentially Communistic readings. Some people think this is going just a bit too far, including Phi Beta Kappa and Yale, which hastens to reassure everyone that it won't employ Communists, but doesn't like loyalty oaths. Harvard has taken the bold step of refusing to fire Dr. Shapley even though a rich alumni, Mr. Ober, has asked for it.  Mr. Ober turns out to be Edgar Ober of 3M (I can say that because I know where I can get a copy of Who's Who, unlike The Economist). Mr. Ober is upset at Dr. Shapley[!] for turning out to meetings opposing Mr. Ober's proposed "anti-subversive law" in Maryland. Even as a Progressive, I have to admit that Mr. Ober has a point. Dr. Shapley has quite a mouth on him, and he was wrong on galaxies!

Also, wage negotiations aren't going very well, and The Economist gives its account of the compromise on Taft-Hartley, otherwise known as the "Truman Surrenders" Bill. Don't look at me, I voted for Wallace! Also, it turns out that the five Congressmen who flew over to the Moral Rearmament Assembly meeting in Switzerland have an excuse. It's focussing on anti-Communist propaganda now. Why, General MacArthur even let a Japanese delegation visit. Nothing like seeing some Japanese anti-Communist crusaders discussing Moral Rearmament!

The World Overseas

"Italy's Precarious Recovery" It is very satisfying to The Economist to finally be able to return to "European Country X is DOOMED by Bad Economic Choices" articles. Yes, doing one on Italy is like shooting fish in a barrel, but hopefully France is next week.

"Ten Year Plan for the Congo: Routes of Strategy and Trade" The Economist's Brussels correspondent wants everyone to forget about the bad old days when people actually read that awful Joseph Conrad chap, and get with the bright new future of the Congo, which is in the middle of Africa, and so bound to be its crossroads. That is why the Belgians are building and extending several railways and putting steamships on the river and the Great Lakes. An even more exciting development is motor roads from one place to another. Sooner or later, these will be hooked up, and the Congo will be a crossroads in the sense that you will be able to cross it. In the meantime, the Congo exports £60 million a year, all through Belgium, which definitely helps Belgium with its balance of trade, and the Congo with not getting its hands cut off with jungle knives. Did you know that the average elevation of the Congo basin is 1000ft? I didn't! I guess that explains why you can't take an ocean-going ship up the Congo River to its source, which is something I hadn't even thought about before.

"Surveying the Amazon" Unesco has created something called the International Institute of the Hylean Amazon, which is responsible for making this "wet desert" "bloom like a rose." But it has been four whole years now, and nothing has happened. Some say that  goes to show that Unesco is useless, and so shouldn't even get the money it is getting. Hold on, The Economist says, it is really only enough time for some surveying, writes a British scientist attached to the Institute's laboratory in Manaos, the sleepy town 900 miles up the river that is the  Institute, and everyone else's base of operations. The potential is vast, and Britain shouldn't cut its funding even though the Latin American republics won't put in their share.

"Uno and the Backwards Areas" Details of the Uno side of the Fourth Point effort to help the backwards areas are given.

The Business World

"European Payments Compromise?" Obviously this is a big deal for European governments. Call me a naive young optimist, but I tend to take it for granted that there will be a compromise solution that allows business to carry on, and that that is good enough for us. I suppose I should go through the article with a fine tooth comb in case there is a hidden clause that will allow Europeans to get their money into bullion and on to America again, as with the silver thing last year, but I'm out of patience.

"Profits --True and Untrue" As you're aware, in both America and Britain, there is pressure to modify depreciation payments to the benefit of business. This will apparently encourage investment and fend off problems later. In the meantime, the way that depreciation is handled has an impact on profits. I am going to go out on a limb here before I start reading and predict that The Economist will say that they make profits look too big. Ah ha! It turns out that the decision last year to double the "initial allowance"for capital investment is effectively a £2 billion loan for capital investment, which is not nearly enough, and also increases uncertainty because it might not go on. Anyway, industry doesn't need money for capital investment so much as it needs capital goods to buy. So, instead, the money goes to reduce existing capital depreciation. English Steel and another company actually list it as such, but the rest of industry doesn't, which means that it inflates profits (ha!) and the example of English Steel even shows how much. (A lot.)

Business Notes

"The Dollar Crisis" The crisis is less crisis-y this week, since Sir Stafford's tantrum has encouraged the Rest of Europe to give way on the Intra-European Payments scheme. However, even though the fall in British dollar and gold reserves may have fallen, and we don't anyway know what these numbers are, really, we know that any fall is getting closer to the day when Britain runs out and everything comes to an End. Therefore it is good that the British Ambassador in Washington has just returned home in the company of the Secretary of the Treasury, which everyone thinks will lead to "action on the pound."

That's code for devaluation, word to the wise. By the way, the next note is "1947 and Now," and compares this summer to the retreat from convertibility in August of 1947. Gilt-edged stocks were down then, and they're down now, is the point.

Speaking of dreary and long-running stories (devaluation is coming and won't be any worse than reversing convertability), the Lords have amended the steel bill and sent it back to the Commons, and the Argentine Trade Agreement has been signed, with some provisions that unruffle American feathers.

"A New Export Effort" In order to pay for all of that Argentinian food, the UK will have to supply Argentina with massive amounts of petroleum products in particular and pay more for meat at a cost to be passed on to the consumer.

In financial news, don't hold gas stocks, Mr. J. B. Braithwaite is the new chairman of the Stock Exchange Council, Iran has ended the British Bank of Iran and the Middle East's monopoly, and is forcing all foreign banks operating in Iran to support its central bank. The Chinese Communists look to be about to do something about Chinese banks, which is not that big a deal because the Koumintang had already muscled in on Chinese banking, and the Communists are just taking over where the Gitmo and the Soongs had already gone. South Africa is moving ahead with its plan to sell "fabricated" gold at "premium" prices.

"Redeployment in the Cotton Commission" The Cotton Commission's report shows that it did a lot of things last year and made a million pounds of profit.

"Fuel for Jet Aircraft" Mr. Erroll asked in the House why there were experiments in having jets burn gasoline instead of kerosene, and whether this is linked to the "growing shortage of kerosene, which farmers are compelled to use because of the tax on petrol." The point is to use the most widely available fuel for economy, and in America gasoline is that, which is why Americans are experimenting with it, which everyone thinks is alarming, since gasoline burns. "Jet aircraft burning kerosene are known to crash at 200mph without catching fire," which is good, because, right now, jet aircraft crash a lot. The Economist then does a pretty good job of listing all the reasons that kerosene is better than gasoline as a jet fuel. For example, it is denser, and doesn't vapourise at high altitudes. In conclusion, the gas tax should probably be extended to kerosene.

"Chocolate Economics" The British Cocoa and Chocolate Company and Cadbury Brothers have a booklet out that explains the candy shortage. It's not chocolate that's short, it is full-cream milk; but the price of cocoa and of labour is up, and that's a factor in the threefold increase in price since 1938. Also, Ministry controls are bad. Also, the BBC and the film trade are fighting over the conditions under which the BBC will be allowed to show movies, and the Colonial Office will be having a meeting with the British South Africa Company and Northern Rhodesia over the "Chartered's" mineral rights now that the proposal to tax its royalties has been withdrawn.

Flight, 7 July 1949


By RuthAS - Own work, CC BY 3.0,
"Fighting Equipment" You shouldn't get too excited about new jet fighter prototypes because they probably aren't that good, really. Britain will have good bombers in five or ten years, Flight promises. In the meantime, don't worry your pretty little heads about jet bomber raids until a two-seater comes along because of navigation. On the same note, Britain should get right along with an American-style all weather fighter, because they are the cat's meow. 

"'FOIL' Completed: Patterns of Activity in Phases II and III: Accounts by Flight Staff in the Air and on the Ground" "Naturally enough, the full scale of benefit will not be assessable until all the records, reports and tactical analyses have been fully resolved: nevertheless, there is immediate reward in having given the Auxiliaries and Territorials a refreshing breath of operational air." 

 So I just want everyone to know that I read this for you. Kind of. FOIL was this summer's RAF exercise. Bombers pretend bombed RAF airfields while fighters pretend intercepted bombers. Just like every year. Some USAF Superforts were roped in, so that's nice. Some Vampires pretend bombed, even though they are usually pretend fighters. Well, I mean, they'd be real fighters if they could catch a Sabre, but they can't, so "pretend." Just to highlight that, some of the Vampires were intercepted by Meteors. Lincolns and Mosquitoes pretend bombed the Rolls Royce Derby works with target marking, just like in 1943, attacking from 15,000 to 20,000ft, and Lancasters were seen next night. Some B-29s had a high altitude fight with RAF Meteors and 36th Fighter Group P-80s.  On the third day, Vampires pretend bombed at low altitude instead of high, were intercepted by Meteors and P-80s, and there was a running battle until the Vampires ran out of gas and had to land at Horsham St. Faith, where they were refuelled and allowed to return to base after a stiff lecture on the evils of communism. A PR Spitfire was intercepted by a Meteor at 38,000ft in the afternoon, but proved hard to shoot down, Flight points out, showing how low span-loading is important to effective high altitude interceptions. Thirty Wellingtons were seen in the late afternoon, flying over Norwich so that antique dealers could get a good appraisal before they bombed the London docks from 17,000ft while seven squadrons of fighters, including Dutch Meteors, tried to intercept them.

Superforts attacked on Friday at 24,000ft and had a rousing fight with Meteors, and Hornets and Ansons, which is at least excusable on grounds that it let the AAF have a go. After midnight on Saturday, as assorted light bombers raided airfields, the Main Force put in a marked attack on the Royal Victoria Docks. I imagine with searchlights and the roar of Merlins overhead and all that Battle of Britain stuff, followed by a Sunday noon attack on Uxbridge by B-29s flying right over London at 20,000ft. 

The Docks. By Romazur - Own work,
CC BY-SA 3.0,
Meanwhile, all Flight correspondents who can write a sentence were at the airfields. One did a run from the Dutch coast in in a Lincoln (with Packard Merlins, interesting enough), climbing from cruising height at 2700rpms giving 400--500ft/min at 140kts to 20,500ft to attack the Royal Albert Docks lock gate. I guess the moral of the story is that it's just as well the Germans couldn't hit the broad side of a barn in 1940, or they could have done some real damage, just like Bomber Command is going to pretend to do. There was a pretend interception by a Mosquito, and quite exciting corkscrew evasion, which the correspondent doesn't usually get to experience on an airliner. The blast furnaces at Scunthorpe were briefly mistaken for a target indicator light. After bombing, the Lincoln had to fly out over the North Sea for an hour before coming back to base, just to be fair until they move Russia somewhere more convenient to East Anglia, and then back to the ground for bacon and eggs. The fighter airfields were steadily annoyed by Hornet low-level attacks, but had good success intercepting Ansons, B-29s, Wellingtons and wandering DC-6s. No-one went up with the night fighters and you can't see what they're doing, but the ground crews worked very hard and many interceptions were reported. 

Here and There

Gertrude Moran went to Croydon to christen an Airspeed Consul (which is what we call Oxfords that have been sent down) of Airspan Travel. It will be the Gorgeous Gussie. The Brabazon is doing some testing, which is an enormous job because it is very, very big, you know. Handley Page expects to have its Mamba-powered Marathon ready for Farnborough. Three Mambas gives a total power of 2020 shp, so the problem will be the usual one of the engines wanting to tow the airframe along faster than it wants to go, and the airframe digging in its heels and ruining the turboprops' performance due to not being able to get the exhaust thrust going.) Pan American has put Admiral Towers on its board. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is opening on 9 July. Flight is very sanctimonious about the latest volume of US Army Air Forces in WWII, which says that American air-to-air kill claims were grossly exaggerated in 1943. Hydro-Aire of Burbank has a full-time British representative. 

Maurice F. Allward, "Wheel Brakes: Their Design, Development and Use, Part I: Construction of the Expanding-diameter Types" In the old days, there were no brakes, and then there were car-style shoe brakes, and then in 1927 Palmer Tyre put the Palmer Aero Wheel Brake on the market. In a masterpiece of technical writing, Allward begins with a detailed discussion of the "annular blocks" in their "castellated channels" before finally letting slip that they rub against a drum, or, in other words, that this first aircraft wheel brake was the first drum type, only now being replaced by the disc brake. Goodyear's double disc "controlled by hydraulic pressure" came shortly afterwards. The Germans were still using shoe brakes in WWII of the twin-shoe type, which are very annoying due to the need to balance the braking effort between the two shoes. (Except when they used drums.) This can be improved on by having two leading brakes, a phrase that has me scratching my head, since they can't both be ahead of each other, so that means that "leading" means something else. Just what, it would be too boring for words to say. I'm supposed to know these details from kicking wheels at airports, but the truth is that I know disc brakes, auto brakes and (of course!) motorcycle brakes, and not "twin shoe" designs, "interesting" or not. Drum brakes, we're again reminded, are "expanding tube" brakes, because what Allward cares about is the precise way that the drum is gripped by the friction element, and not the boring details of the drum itself. Except that's what all us pilots care about, on account of drums going red-hot, expanding, distorting, fading, and, in general, wrapping us around trees. (Which we don't like.) So he has to say a bit about that. A recent Palmer type has a sort-of-spinner with magnesium flanges that act as a centrifugal blower to cool the drum, which is very neat but tricky foundry practice. THE END. (The editor is sure to tell us that in the next two parts they will crack down and make Maurice talk about the brakes they put on aircraft someone besides amateurs care about.)

I guess we don't blame Ann Douglas for all the dead gliders, because next up is a long article about training glider pilots by same, followed by pictures of the Brabazon, which, just to remind you, is very, very big, and then of the City of New York's new police helicopter, which isn't big or new, but America.

Civil Aviation News

Some Percival Princes are around and about on demonstration flights, which goes to show that there will soon be Princes everywhere. Sir Miles Thomas has taken over Sir Harold Hartley at BOAC. Braniff is using JATO bottles to explode its DC-3s aloft at La Paz, conveniently located 13,400ft above sea level so that the Gooney Birds only have to dive 4000ft or so to get to cruising height. The Chief Inspector of Accidents' report on the 1948 Proctor crash on takeoff from Kingstown Airfield, Carlisle, concludes that the Proctor, with three passengers aboard, crested the Kingstown runway 600yds into the takeoff run. From there, the runway slopes down 150yds to the trees (Kingstown Airfield is not licensed!) The pilot throttled back when he crested, but couldn't stop the plane from crashing into an adjoining field. It turns out that the field was soft and muddy, with tufts of grass up to 12" high, and that the plane's tyres were sinking 4" into the mud at the crest of the slope, so no wonder. The Chief Inspector thinks that the pilot was an idiot. The pilot disagrees. Aerradio reminds everyone that more and more airlines and airports are using its services, and that it is making enormous amounts of money and will continue to license local subsidiaries. Sky Merchant, the DC-4 set up as a flying show room of industry, is in London on its way to Europe and Africa for the summer. The opening of Livingston Airport in Northern Rhodesia has been delayed due to the pavement not paving properly. Samples of local paving have been flown to London to find out what's what. RAE's Horizon-Bar lighting system for airfield approaches is going to be manufactured by GEC, and the lights are very briefly described. BOAC's refurbished 21-seat Yorks are much swankier than the old Yorks, which is nice but COME ON! Weston Aircraft in Oshawa, Ontario, is to be the Canadian distributor of the Hiller Helicopter. De Havilland is closing its factory in Witney at the end of July because the supply of refurnishable WWII planes is running low. Qantas' Japan-Sydney and Japan-Hong Kong services have been banished to a backwater island for its Philippines refuelling stop so that  the Philippine national airline can get its Manila-Sydney service going. 


J. P. G. thinks that the Ministry of Civil Aviation has it in for the charter airlines. Michael Crosley explains why tricycle undercarriages make deck landings safer. R. G. J. Nash, a "private collector," has some very detailed observations about what a national Museum of Early Aircraft would have to do. J. Lankester Parker has some thoughts about flying boats and the water in the name of hashing over Aurora some more. Sometimes it is better to take off down wind, and sometimes upwind! J. D. Drowning describes observation kites, back in the old days. They would sit, 1500ft in the air, while passengers were carried to and fro in boxes on cables. He thinks that this "very pleasant occupation" is due for a revival. I think he might have hit his head. 

'Favonius" seems to have a bylined column, American Notebook, or, at least, that's how I'll treat it. "Some Caterpillars Fly" is this article, and it is mostly about helicopters, although there is a shot of that experimental Dowty-style caterpillar landing gear,  most recently seen on a B-50. This one is the biggest of its type, with more than three times the ground-contact area of the B-29's double-wheel system, allowing the B-50 to fly from ever so many more airfields, although not yet aircraft carriers, dash it all. (I'm sure that with enough JATOs, takeoff distance won't be a problem.) "Favonius" thinks that the British are a bunch of daft dodo so-and-so's for being so down-at-mouth about caterpillar landing gears, which are, in America, "out of the cocoon and in the air." Meanwhile the giant Hughes twin-jet, heavy lift helicopter, with its 136ft rotor with ramjets in the tip, powered by twin Allison J-35s in the hull on either side of the cargo heist, is not the coming thing, as the predicted 4000hp is "cheerfully optimistic." A conventional torque compensating rotor  is included on the tail, which "Favonius" thinks must be there solely to kill a few surplus ground crew given that twin-rotors are supposed to be naturally torque balanced. (It's for yaw control, dimwit.) The giant helicopter supposed to lift 20,000lbs of either cargo, or 100 passengers who don't mind perching on a crane hook.
What he's on about. As often with "Favonius," it is stupid. 

The Navy has had another go at the House Armed Services Committee, which has now agreed to get out and really kick the B-36's tyres and look behind the sunshades and open up the glove compartment and maybe take the seats out and just generally find out what's what about what. Floyd Odlum is what's what, "Favonius" gleefully concludes. The American taxpayer is writing him an enormous cheque that should rightfully go to Northrop, because President Truman is awful. Convair's Model 7002 transonic delta-wing research plane has been accepted by the USAF as a the XF-92. I think the chances of the "X" being knocked off are between "slim" and "damn-all,"  
John Harold Saxon, possibly also known as "Favonius" and creator
of "Supply Side Algebra." 
but this does give the Air Force a delta-wing to play with. "Favonius" is dubious that the pilots will find it easy to get the hang of landing a delta, and therefore leaps ahead to the variable-incidence wing, telling us that he has a proof that it should rotate "the fuselage nose section," and not the "wing on the rear fuselage." Then it is off to Lockheed field in Burbank to see the Constellation, which has grown some enormous humps to hold radar masts. There's more radar forward, and plenty of radio masts too, and Lockheed says that it doesn't materially affect performance, about which "Favonius" is skeptical, but I'm not. Drag doesn't matter very much when you're already walking. Northrop's XF-89 is the latest testbed of their full-span double split-flap, a.k.a. "deceleron," previously seen on the Black Widow, their solution to hauling up a speeding night fighter so that it can shoot the bomber it has been chasing, instead of flying right by it. Fortunately, these ones are power-boosted so that they can be used by someone besides Captain Marvel, and attached to jet engines powerful enough to shove them through the air. We hope.

"Solvents by Shell: Industrial Chemicals from a Vast New British Plant" Up to now, most British industrial chemicals have been made from either coal or fermented molasses. In the future, they will be made from oil, and the need for a British petrochemical industry has led to giant plants like Shell's Stanlow, where thermal crackers with reactors and convertors practice fractionation, hydrogenation, polymerisation, synthesis and distillation in very automatic and centrally controllable ways that are very obviously relevant to aviation according to this nice pamphlet received at Flight offices in the same mail delivery this renewed"D notice."

Flight, 14 July 1949


"The Navy in the Air" Oh, well, that doesn't sound good. Imagine how hard it will be on the hulls when they land --Oh, no, it's actually about the Navy's planes. Well, that's good! The Navy was very upset that the Air Force got all that publicity for FOIL, so it decided to invite the Western Union and have VERITY. Flight was very upset with VERITY because there were no jet fighters on the carriers, which is strange considering all the experience that the US Navy has "amassed" with its jet fighters. Since our experience of jets onboard is that they're somewhere between useless and a menace, I actually have more confidence in the English admirals now. Then it is on about new "A.S." weapons and the aircraft to carry them. There I'm a bit less optimistic given that they were carrying sonar buoys around (oops, I hope those aren't still secret!) on Fireflies. 

"Seaborne Turboprops" Fortunately, there is the Westland Wyvern strike aircraft, operating the Double Mamba in one version. Flight is pleased by that, upset that there is no sign of a British version of the Skynight. That is, a Sea Hornet replacement, which it thinks Britain should take the lead on with all of its experience in flexible decks. I think that experience was mainly to the effect that flexible decks are silly and no solution to the jets-can't-go-around problem. 

"Truth in Action: Closing Stages of Four-Power Fleet Exercise VERITY as Seen from the Air" Flight has an absolutely terrible "article" about VERITY that is basically about the two(!!) correspondents it put in the field, one with a Dutch squadron aboard Theseus, the other with Bomber Command. That ain't a lot of coverage of a 60 ship regatta playing pretend war with three RAF Commands. Implacable was joined by Victorious in Blue Force, with Theseus and Arromanches as the air component of White Force. Coastal Command didn't bring any ships, but got to take part anyway, under Air Marshal Baker, with Hopps under him to do the actual work, and 15th Carrier Air Group participated from ashore to bulk out the naval plane types, since they couldn't run an even more gigantic carrier force without scraping up everyone who has ever worn a silly British sailor-man's hat to play Let's Pretend. (Not to dwell on this or anything, but that's almost 5000 with the Fleet to get three carriers at sea. That's a lot when there's all those stout lads off giving alternate stern looks at Communists and Koumintang.)

(The Flight story really is awful.)

All of this, by the way, is from The Economist, on account of Flight's story being so awful. It's from the 16 July issue, so don't worry, I won't be repeating myself.

Flight's correspond got to fly along with the Dutch in a Sea Fury/Firefly strike on some minesweepers out of Weymouth, which were technically part of White Force. After they got what was coming to them good and proper. He went up again and played War in the Pacific, attacking Blue Force  with twelve Sea Furies and twelve Fireflies. Another Flight correspondent bombed the fleet in Lincolns guided in by recently installed H2S4A radar sets, which I think takes the RAF joke about H2S being called that "because it stinks" way past funny o'clock. It's better than the previous Mk 3A, Flight says, and gives super clear PPI screens, which can be set to one of for scales of 1-in-250,000 to 1 in 2 million at the flick of a switch, corresponding to the scale of the maps carried. Keen! The PPI even shows the bomb aiming point, so all the bombardier has to do is push the button when the plane track crosses the square. On the way back, the new landing procedure where planes are lined up in "gate position" according to ETA was in effect, and in spite of a ceiling of 800ft, the whole squadron was landed within thirty minutes.

Everything was super-secret because U-2258/Rolland Morillot
was out and about testing out ASW tactics and no-one wants
to give the Commies any funny ideas. Although in retrospect
it's amazing that this is secret and H2S4A is in the press.
So, all together, footling around in aircraft-carrying boats turned into a fine exercise in the latest in heavy bomber operations, and probably anti-submarine, plus minesweeping and Coastal Forces doing something. What gets me is that Ronnie took me to lunch with Uncle George down at the Benevolent on Wednesday (dim sum!) and I was joking about how there were only three aircraft carriers with the fleet, it takes 5000 sailors to put three aircraft carriers at sea. That's a lot of sailors for the single exercise when the whole Royal Navy has only 145,000 men, women and National Service apes for everything

Here and There

Australia's first Vampire has completed its flight tests. The captain of the Stratocruiser that turned back to London said that he was very anxious that he couldn't feather the prop, but when it fell off, everything went back to normal. Flight reminds us, the Wright brothers patented "mechanical brains," including a pivoting vane and a pendulum, to take over the task of operating the elevator, rudder and wing warping controls from the pilot. Here and There is allowed to mention that the English Electric A.1 jet bomber is to be called the "Canberra," and that it has two Rolls-Royce Avon engines. It is reported that it will be built in Australia under llicense. The bomber or the engine or both? A test Republic F-84 has been modified with flush side air inlets in place of the nose inlet as part of a test of a night and all-weather variant with a radar in a solid nose. It is reported to lead to improvements in climb with affecting stability.  The Kaman demonstration twin-rotor helicopter has carried more than 1000 passengers in its tour of American bases. The designer of the Hook Hydrofin has put out a speed challenge to all other marine craft owners. This is for the Pobjoy-powered version. The Jetex 330 rocket-powered version has its own "concurrent" challenge. Thirty de Havilland Beavers have now been delivered to export customers. Rediffusion has changed its name to Redifon. 
Australia is spending  £36 million in the next five years on "new-type bombs" and rockets. Forty years ago,

Civil Aviation News

Ajax, one of BOAC's new Argonauts, has returned from a gruelling thirty day proving tour that took it as far as Tokyo and a thorough series of landing and takeoff trials from Kai Tek(!!!) Scottish Aviatio's managing director, D. F. McIntyre, showed up at hearings on the Ministry's compulsory purchase of Prestwick Airport to complain that it was unfair and the Ministry was doing it wrong. The Chief Inspector's report on the DC-3 accident at Bovingdon back in May of 1946 is out at last. Bovingdon Airport control was found to have neglected to tell the pilot that the cloud cover had lowered from 400ft (itself too low for the approach the pilot adopted) to 300 and then 200ft. Consequently he ran into some woods a half mile from the airport while flying on instruments. Residents are upset that the Minister of Civil Aviation is applying for the power to order the demolition of over-height buildings within four miles of one of the London-area airports. Various services and airports are becoming more frequent and profitable. One participant in the Berlin Air Lift carried amazing amounts of cargo in a huge number of sorties. BSAA is a tiny, tiny little operation for all the fuss.


Flight decides to bring its backpage back to review Crusade in Europe, which it liked, because it mentions the air a lot; and Vision Ahead, by Air Commodore Huskinson, which it liked, because it was about his work in developing bombs, and didn't make too much of his blinding in the Blitz. Stiff upper lip, old chap!

The Plane That No-One Cared About. A RuthAS picture.
"Hermes Trials" The Hermes IV will begin trials quite soon. Someone, somewhere, is slightly disappointed that "promises of early delivery" were "somewhat optimistic," but not Flight! Flight is very excited by the first British postwar airliner.

"Prototype Portraiture" You know what other plane premiered this month? The Hawker Type 1054, a dashing swept wing plane with a near-bubble canopy. Flight has some air-to-air photos, which it pats itself on the back over, with extra pats for test pilot, Squadron Leader Wade, as the stall speed of the prototype and the maximum speed of the photo plane are nearly the same.

"Four in Hand" Since Flight's photographer was out and about, anyway, he took some pictures of Meteors in formation, too.

"Astronomical Navigation: Eight Papers by Specialists in the Art" This is a summary report of papers recently given at a special session of the Institute of Navigation, which is fully covered in the Proceedings of the Institute, which has already showed up at the Doe. Papers on general considerations by Parker and Jessell were heard. Parker says that we should aim for a 95% fix giving a ten mile error, while Jessell points out that increasing speed is the main problem for astrogators. Sadler has no time for altitude-azimuth almanacs apart from sun tables, as their algorithms don't offer any more speed or accuracy than existing methods. Everitt wanted to talk about his new position protractor, while Genty has an altitude-azimuth sextant that uses a twin-star sighting (one reference, either Polaris or Beta Hydra Mae; one "star of opportunity"), and, sigh, a special altitude-azimuth table which is reduced to geographical coordinates by simple subtraction operations defined by the star sightings. Bastien described the theoretical requirements of an instrument that could observe latitude and longitude simultaneously. Frank Chichester was kind enough to make time on his schedule to write and present an article asking for more accuracy, because of the effects of wind on short distances, and more attention to the height of the aircraft ("vertical datum.") Several discussants went town the rabbit hole over gyroscope accuracy, followed by some blither from Wing Commander Anderson who expressed the usual opinion of the blithering class by asking for a big table of Looking Your Location Up Based on Some Star You Probably Recognise That Is Also Very Small and Easy To Look Up Things In. Good Luck!

By Adam Jones from Kelowna, BC, Canada -
World War Two-Era Soviet Fighter Monument -
Zaporozhye - Ukraine - 01, CC BY-SA 2.0,
"Lavochkin's Latest" The Swedes have been giving tours of the La-11 that recently crash-landed there. It's the usual Russian thing, a tubby radial (ASh-82 14 cylinder two-row giving 1850hp) with three synchronised 20mm firing through the cowling. Construction is all metal and its has FW190-style exhaust stubs. Split-trailing edge flaps with auxiliary surfaces and a larger-than-previous tailplane helps the pilots die less. From the sounds of things, it still has a pretty high wing loading, and speed should be significantly higher than the 400mph cited by the Swedes. Flight thinks that the Sea Fury would eat it up, which is probably true, but, you know, Flight. Air Marshal Gossage has died.

There were air rallies and races here and there.

Maurice F. Allward, "Wheel Brakes: Their Development, Design and Use: Disc Brakes: Lining Materials: The Future --Advance of Reversible-airscrew and Other Systems" Unfortunately, it is hard to describe disc brakes in a way that leaves the reader completely puzzled, which makes them very boring to write about. Doing his best to repel readers, Allward instead spends almost a page piling on the point that discs are better than drums for handling frictional heating, and will be better if they are bigger, thicker, and more in the windstream. Finally he gets to the brake pads. Since these are hidden, there are some mechanisms that aren't immediately obvious, so it's fun to describe them in a completely baffling way by spending most of your time on how the piston clearance can be set with a screw so that the hydraulic header tank takes up the slack as the pad wears by allowing more hydraulic fluid into the pipes. That's why it doesn't have to be constantly adjusted.  Multi-disc breaks have more grip, but heat up faster. Some attempts have been made to charge the brakes with fluid drawn off the undercarriage shock absorbers, which in 1934 trials reduced stopping distances up to 25%, but which can lead to leaks from the shocks, which are awful. While with ever-larger aircraft, you want to do something about the brakes, which are barely keeping up, reversible pitch seems more promising, at least until wild props start chopping into the fuselage mid-flight instead of politely dropping off. Tricycle undercarriages allow bigger brakes, which compensates for the loss of braking from nose up attitude. Double flaps can do some of the same thing as reversible props, and recently small planes in the United States have experimented with a "harpoon," while the Germans introduced a braking parachute now used in the B-47. People are also talking about arresting wires on runways again, and front-facing RATOs.


"News of the Hughes" The Spruce Goose has been permanently docked in Los Angeles harbour, where it will get its own hangar and dry dock cradle. Hughes is planning a very long testing programme, and will fly it again someday when Hamilton Standard comes up with proper propeller blades and monkeys become uncles.


G. P. Watson has corrections for the deck-landing article. The McDonnell Phantom in the photo is taking off, not landing. W. J. Smith still doesn't know what that plane he saw in 1908 or 1908 was, and hopes a reader can tell him. Gareth Jones is very sad that the Beaufighter they used to test close-cowled radials is being scrapped. Franz Selinger points out that the BV-222 preceded the Sandringham as a double-decked airliner. John Roberts writes from Belfast to correct an error in an article about the hats of the Citizen Air Force, RAAF.

The Economist, 9 July 1949


The only possible explanation is that British industry has become
far less efficient in the last ten years.
"Terminus or Turning Point" Sir Stafford didn't announce devaluation on Wednesday, which is a shame because the front page had been cleared away for him. The outlines of the crisis are becoming more clear. The dollar deficit rose from £87 million in the first quarter to £157 million in the second. One possible conclusion is that the pound is overvalued and the problems of the whole rest of the world are just a great coincidence. Another is that the dollar is undervalued, but that can't be the explanation, because the Americans aren't going to revalue. A third is that the world doesn't believe that Labour has a solution, so, really, it is all Labour's fault even though The Economist takes no stance on whether it is wrong or right, only that the real solution is austerity and wage cuts. Another austere thing would be to let interest rates rise. And since austerity is good, that would be a good thing. Also, the Government should admit that it was wrong about everything. Whoops! Looks like The Economist does have a position!

"Razor Edge in Japan" The Dodge Mission of the winter told Tokyo that America had had enough, and that it had to start deflating by taxing more, cutting spending and reducing subsidies. In compensation, America agreed to get it its old world markets and to fix the exchange rate at 350 yen to the dollar. The advance of Communism in the Japanese trade unions and the general dissatisfaction with austerity means that there will be civil unrest. Will Communism triumph? Only if Japan's export drive fails, but since it looks like it is failing, don't look now, but Mao is coming if the Americans don't.

"The Future of Charity" Private charity is probably doomed because of socialism. On the other hand, there is a lot of money in private charities, and otherwise out there in the form of dormant bank deposits. For example, there are 30,000 educational trusts for funding scholarships, and because they don't pay taxes, no-one is quite clear how much money is in them. Some of them are "frivolous," the Nuffield Foundation finds. The Nuffield Foundation's study has led to a plan to bring everything to order with a Common Good Fund, which which socialise private charity.

"Chatham House" Chatham House is a place in London where assorted highbrows go to hear talks and use the library. It also publishes worthy pamphlets, and is thirty years old, which reminds The Economist that it is very old, and so this is an occasion to look back at all the good things that Chatham House has done, for example its annual survey of international affairs. [Snore.] And perhaps someone should give it more money, as it hasn't enough already.

Notes of the Week

"Sick Man of Europe" Who is the sick man of Europe? Not Britain, says Sir Stafford. It's all down to the American recession. On the contrary, says Dean Acheson. It is all about full technical efficiency! Various "doctors" have various remedies to try in between pulse-and-temperature taking sessions.

Speaking of how British living standards are down due to, well, something, there is trouble on the docks, the railwaymen are holding off settling, and the miners are still holding fast to a no-strike policy.

George Dimitrov has died, and the Belgian elections were indecisive, which is making the settlement of the "Royal Question" difficult. This appears to be an argument over whether Chicken a la King is better than a king-sized burger. Oh, no, wait, it's about King Leopold III. Can I do my [snore] joke yet, or do I have to wait another couple paragraphs for it to be fresh again?

"New London Railways?" The London Plan Working Party is proposing several new subways, which everyone thinks is very tone deaf considering that we're waiting for new austerity proposals, but come on now, it has to happen sometime, and at least they've dropped the idea of putting Charing Cross underground and across the river.

"Defence in the Air" The aeronautical ferment has hit The Economist, which turned out for FOIL and is quite pleased that the Vampire pretend bombers were being intercepted towards the end of the Exercise. As a potential bomb-deliverer, I am really not sure what I think of that! Where do we go if, if even for a moment, we decide that the bomber won't get through? Isn't that a license to throw a WWIII and see who turns up? (The Marines, that's who!)

"Masters of the German Economy"  The government of the Federal Republic of Germany will form in the fall, and although the Americans will still have a large share of the say over it, various worthy European institutions will --I don't care, [snore.] The next article expands on this by pointing out that the Allies' power cripples the Bonn government, which will lose the respect of the German people, and this should be rethought. I guess we're not worried about the Germans (or Japanese) starting WWIII any more! Also, there have been talks on East-West trade that haven't got very far, no doubt due to Communists being bad.

"Facts Please, Mr. Bevan" The same subject, continued. Yes, Aneurin Bevan isn't strictly a communist, and he was talking about how housing costs aren't up nearly as much as the Conservatives' cooked figures suggest, but he didn't source the facts he used, so he is a very bad person.

"Drought and Harvest" It is hot and dry in Britain (and Spain) so far this summer, which is bad for the grass and bad for milk, which is why milk rationing is back on. Also, water is short in many places and there has even been "the outbreak of a certain amount of disease." This shows that there needs to be improvements in water supplies, and also that Government planning development is bad and wrong.

"A Shadow on Education"  Educational spending is 5% of the budget. The Economist agrees that this is not too high, and that education spending is good, but troubling trends towards increasing spending show that it might actually be too much with the gathering financial clouds, etc. The long negotiations with local authorities no doubt indicates a "hard core of disagreement," so further gathering clouds. The Economist is also disappointed with the Uno's World Economic Report, but mainly because it doesn't say anything, and not because of anything  it actually says.  Also, there is a bit of a political crisis going on in Turkey, but unlike the political crisis that is always just about to overtake France, this one is probably going to be just fine. Also, the ILO is going to start sending out technical experts to spread know-how, the Russians have agreed to return all Austrian assets under the peace treaty except some specified oil and shipping assets taken as war booty, and the Ministry of Health and the Department of Health for Scotland are "at last" making arrangements to use the tuberculosis vaccine as a protection against tuberculosis in certain patients at high risk. 

From The Economist of 1849

"The State of the Nation" is a discussion of Disraeli's address to the Commons on the state of the nation, arguing against free trade. He is wrong and silly and wrong, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer routed him on the facts in a most satisfactory manner. The nation  has passed through the crisis that began in 1848, all is well again, and extending a debate on "the state of the nation" can only lead to "making buoyant and radiant many saving truths."


A. R. Low writes from his desk at the House of Commons to explain how the Conservative Imperial policy combines a complete federal union of all of the dominions with their complete independence and sovereignty, and imperial preference in the sterling area with free trade with the world. B. K. Sandwell, of Toronto, explains that Albert Coates, in his letter, wan't arguing against "miscegenation," but against mixed marriage. Banning mixed marriages has no effect on "miscegenation." Nuremberg-style laws imposing legal penalties for sex between "biologically opposed orders" is what is needed, although, Spadwell adds, if it is really God's plan to prevent "miscegenation," the easiest way to do it would be for Europeans to leave Africa. Viajero wrties from the Pall Mall Club with various hints about vacation travel in Spain. For example, your passport is held at the local police station, so if you want to travel before 11, you have to make special arrangements to get it back, and there is no guaranteed that they will work out. Arthur Whitaker writes to say that British business would love to have more competition, but it can't, because demand exceeds supply, which is controlled by the Government's control on raw materials.


Well, be careful what you wish for, because W. K. Hancock and M. M. Gowing's British War Economy, which is Volume I of the History of the Second World War, United Kingdom Civil Series, gets a full page review. If seriousness is measured by length, well, here is seriousness. If it is measured by actual things said about the book, well, you know, keep on trying, The Economist! It's excuse is that there are too many facts to summarise, before summarising it as "too little and too late." I thought we won?

David Low, "the favourite cartoonist of the Left-Centre intelligentsia of England," has Years of Wrath: A Cartoon History, 1932--1945. Low-is-a-nice-man BUT this is thirteen years of being wrong about Russia and  Conservative premiers. D. Caradog Jones' Social Surveys is bad because it does social surveys wrong. I guess. I have no idea. "Thirty Years On" is the frightfully clever title of the review of Orwell's 1984.  It's a pretty solid review with lots of detail, a discussion of the plot, and everything. As with the Mansergh review last week, there's one good review per column, and why it's 1984 and not the official history of the British economy in WWII is  just one of those mysteries of life.

Oh, wait, no it's not. It's because Orwell says mean things about socialists. 

American Survey

"Communism on Trial" The Economist's position on the three Communist trials (Smith Act actions in New York: and the Coplon and Hiss trials, of course) is that they are an American tradition going back to something to do with the French Revolution. Americans are always worried about foreign influence. This applies especially to the Smith Act trial. Everyone can agree that Communism is awful in general and that these Communists are awful in particular without thinking that the trial is a good idea.

"Volstead Transformed" Andrew Volstead died two years ago, so it is timely to mention him leading off an article that is the usual bicycle around the facts (there was Prohibition, Prohibition was repealed, there used to be dry states, there aren't any more, there are more dry counties than there used to be, "some" people want to bring Prohibition back, there is more interest these days --no proof here-- in "salvaging" alcoholics) before finally stopping at some facts that justify the pedal. The American dstillling industry is worried about bad publicity and is funding studies on alcoholism in the work place and treatments.

American Notes

"Taft Triumphant" The Economist takes a victory dance around Senator Taft, who proves once again that the will of the electorate, clearly expressed, is no match for the two party system. Or if you think I'm being too melodramatic, just have a look at the tiny little amendments to Taft-Hartley the Administration was willing to go to the mat for. Maybe if Democratic voters turn out again in 1950, they'll finally get a repeal of the "slave labour act!"  Also, coal miners are working without a contract instead of striking because there's just too much coal above ground.

"Economy by Proxy" Last year's $8 billion surplus has turned into a $1.8 billion deficit, and the Senate can't agree on budget cuts at home, so it is pushing for either the President to do something, or for cuts to foreign aid, except to the Koumintang. Which isn't getting any money, but should, say some Senators, who are, on the other hand, willing to cut a $150 million aid package for Korea until the situation "crystallises." In conclusion, the President should be made to cut spending, driving the economy even further into recession, because the Senate can't do it, and the result would be a Democratic President being defeated in 1952 rather than Republican senators being defeated in 1950. Sounds good!

"Housing --the Fair Deal's First Swallow" The Administration finally got something through Congress, although the public housing provisions only passed 209--204, with 64 Democrats voting against and 24 Republicans voting for, which shows that it is actually a triumph for Senator Taft. It's also a triumph for the 62% of Americans who favour government housing, and the slum clearance that  has been going on since 1937. It is a defeat for the real estate lobby and its cries of "socialism," but a modest one, with only 810,000 new government homes compared with the 926,000 started by private industry in 1948.

"The Hero's Reward" It being noted that, in the last forty years, armed forces enlisted pay has gone up 400%, but generals' pay only 10%, the House decided to put the pay of senior ranks up to the level that "they might expect to earn for equally responsible work in civilian life," and lower ranks hardly anything. But everyone was against this and now the final version of the new pay bill gives lower ranks more and higher ranks less and saves 25% of the original $400 million cost of the bill. So now the generals are upset and it will be up to the next session of Congress to stop "the drift of the best officers into industry." Meanwhile, $65 billion will go to veterans over the next fifty years in the form of pensions for the over-65s, and Representative Rankin has a demagogic dream of adding in $5000 now for a house on the grounds that it would be a good fix for the recession, although even the $2.8 billion to be paid next year, mainly the dividend on the National Service Life Insurance policies, will be a nice pump primer.

The World Overseas

"Prosperity for the Prairies" The Prairie provinces have always been poor sisters of Confederation, but now they've found oil in Alberta, which Imperial always figured it would find, and finally did, back in '47. There might be a billion barrels down there, and they're pumping 55,000 barrels a day, even with half the wells stopped, because there's no pipeline from Edmonton to the refinery in Regina. A 16" pipe will be laid by 1950, at which point the question is, "What then?" The Alberta field can produce far more than the prairie provinces can burn, and Canada will need export markets. The natural place to look is down south, which might well cover Canada's trade deficit with America. On the other hand, prices in America are down, so maybe the pipeline is just a pipe dream. Also there is natural gas, which might go by pipeline to British Columbia, Washington State or Winnipeg. Also again, there is coal, of which Alberta has a lot, which it can hardly sell, it being a long, overland haul to markets. The Alberta government has been trying to attract coal-using industries to Edmonton, but that brings up the next section, which is "Gateway to the North." Albertans like looking to the North, via the Peace River and to the Athabaska tar-sands, which have as much oil as all outdoors, only impossible to crack free of heavy-oil fractions wrapped in sand. Also, Saskatchewan has uranium. I'm a little surprised that there's nothing here about Social Credit's old dream of uniting Alberta coal with Arctic iron ore via a railroad down the Peace River, which was a vision of the old Alaska Highway/Canol Road days. Perhaps uranium is just more exciting. Or the North is exciting, unless someone invites you to live there. At which point, kiss the tanning plant in Edmonton good-bye, cheap coal or not.

"Oil in Italy"An oil strike at Cortemaggiore "possibly heralds an Oil Age in the Po Valley," or maybe a political football crossed with a stock scandal. The Cortemaggiore exploratory well might yield 160,000 tons in 1953, about 2% of Italy's annual requirements, so for the moment the natural gas the well also blew up s more important than the oil.

"New Tariffs and Old Troubles" The ITO talks are being roiled by the American recession, with much concern that the Americans will withdraw from GATT, build a wall around their country, and cause the complete collapse of international trade. I forget. Can American farmers still vote?

"Confusion in Chile" Chile is a very long and thin country and is very democratic. It has a Socialist party, which the Communists have been trying to infiltrate. There have been strikes. And action against the Communists, but, on the other hand, the 1949 elections were corrupt. Some say that Chile should get a man like Juan Peron. Not that this would be a good thing, but it would be impossible to resist if there were only some irresistable man like Juan Peron. In conclusion, Communism is bad, and that's why we can't have socialism, because it might lead to Juan Peron, which is also bad.

"Ten Year Plan for the Congo: Meat and Metals for Europe" Congo is held back by two things: Lack of land and labour. The labour problem is that a population of 11 million only frees up 750,000 for mining and "other European enterprises." "It seems certain that no great increase in labour supplies can be contemplated without undue prejudicce to village and tribal life, and hence to racial fecundity." Clearly this is an indictment of Congolese agriculture as much as anything, so while a 2% increase in copper production is contemplated in the Marshall Plan period, a doubling of coffee and edible oil production, a fivefold increase in rubber production is contemplated, and a tenfold increase in bananas. Wait. These are cash crops. So what about "racial fecundity"?

The Belgians think that for this there has to happen, there must be education, organisation and land redistribution. But for that, there must be investment. Private industry, the Belgians say, must come up with half of a planned £285 million, which, it is hoped, will be raised in Belgium. Also, there is enormous potential for timber. Overall, the Congo's future is bright, and "ten years is a short time in the history of Africa."

The Business World

"The Ebbing Reserves" Sir Stafford's statement on the fall of Britain's dollar and gold reserve is reviewed. He is not nearly alarmist enough. It is a "grave" concern, and not a crisis, and, in particular, The Economist is disappointed with the lack of immediate extreme austerity, with only talk of perhaps rationing some American products. The problems are, in order: first, a fall in sterling-area raw material sales to America; second, a much less significant setback in British manufactured exports to the United States, which are down 14% below the last quarter of 1948; third, a marked increase in Brittain's loss of gold to the OEEC countries, mainly in the form of payments to Belgium and Switzerland, which is what the intra-European payments thing is about. Fourth, there is some complicated mischief arising from South African gold. So that's how the dollar deficit came to double, not counting losses due to the Canadian credit and delays in the ERA payments that will come back later. The Government hopes that American demand for sterling area goods will recover soon, and that things will get back on course. The Economist prefers to imagine 12% unemployment and starving people in the streets.

Or devaluation. But you're not allowed to talk about that until it happens.

"Gas Turbines for Industry, I: How Gas Turbines Work" I' have said before that I'm actually pretty  happy with the summer help The Economist has hired this year. You will have noticed that I'm still pretty disgusted with their politics, and their stupid insistence that somehow cutting British wages is the solution to the dollar crisis. Even in those stories, though, it is pretty notable that they can get to the point and deliver a story that makes sense. That wasn't my experience last year! But the main reason I like the whole summer run to the point that I thought about ditching Fortune is that it has lots of articles like this coming in the next month or so. (The advantage of reading a month's worth of issues!)

It isn't that this article is particularly good on the technology side. This isn't Engineering! But it is helpful on the policy side. We hear, of course, that the Gas Turbine Development Committee is worried that "other countries" will take up gas turbines for industry faster than the British, who will lose a march by worrying about jet bombers too much. We hear that engineers are worried that they will have to build a prototype jet turbine for whatever application in power generation, water supply or what have you they have in mind, and then after three years of design and toolroom work, will end up with a prototype that doesn't run economically. That said, in industrial use, where you don't have to worry about hanging it in high speed air off a wing spar, a gas turbine is a compressor plus a combustion chamber plus a turbine plus a heat exchanger, if any. Each component can be designed separately. What matters is that you're getting power out of the turbine after the compressor is taken care of. This question of the actual residual power has already come up with turboprops in connection with the expected exhaust thrust, not that the article mentions them, and is going to be crucial to getting economical power out of the Frankenstein-style industrial turbines it imagines. It then spends rather a lot of time on the closed cycle turbine and Nimonic. The former seems like one way of getting around some of the operational limits of the gas turbine, while the latter offers the promise the the sustained high temperature operation required of an efficient continuous combustion engine can be achieved through metallurgical magic.

The now-forgotten turbojet bubble of the Fifties. 

Put it another way, insofar as The Economist is an investor's magazine, it is singling out Henry Wiggins and Escher Wyse as good investments. If put on the spot, I would disagree and plump for Pratt and Whitney and (with reservations) Armstrong Siddeley, because of their backgrounds in power generation as well as aeroengines. In A.S.'s case, though, it is inherited from Metrovick and I'm not sure how well the organisation will sustain it. So I guess, in the end, I'm saying that there is no British champion for ground installation power plants? That seems pessimistic.

Business Notes

The head of Notes is dominated by the European payments settlement and the way it deals with the Belgian problem, carefully not mentioning uranium, presumably because the British need some now for their own atom bombs, and no-one is allowed to say anything about that. The Economist farms out comment to Dennis Robertson, who had something up in the Financial Times about how all of this "United States of Europe" stuff is overblown. Not related but kind of related are a series of Notes about "Government Expenditure Rising" and "An Overall Deficit" that signal the return of an operating deficit. "Sinking Fund excepted." In other words, not a deficit as we Americans understand it at all, but a "To the lifeboats moment" in the City. As for where the money went, it went to: i) Compensating people for their losses in the Burma war; ii) Bombing Communists so we don't lose Malaya; ii) More guns so we can bomb people; iii) the National Health Service. I can see what has to go, here!

Also, they're still talking about the Steel Bill in the Lords, savings are down, notes issues are up, Standard Bank has doubled its capital, some country called "Finland" has devalued its currency, and brown-outs will continue due to demand for electricity rising faster than the galloping increase in   generating capacity of 800 Mw/Hr. (I mention because The Economist is sure to find a reason that it's Labour's fault the lights dim at supper time.) There might be a "Winter Surcharge" to discourage frivolous electricity consumption in the winter, where "frivolous" means "poor people trying not to get T.B."

"No More Japanese Grey Cloth" British cloth export contracts have run ahead of domestic production, so it has been importing "grey cloth" and re-exporting it. Japan has recently overtaken Germany to be the main supplier to the British finishing trade (which then re-exports what it can't finish), at 68.2 million yards of unbleached grey cloth at a cost of £3.6 million, with the amount rising rapidly. Since this is paid for in dollars, and some of the exports go to sterling countries, it is a drain on dollars, and the Government does not intend to issue licenses next year, confining sterling area purchases from Japan to $111 million next year, as Japan is not taking enough from the sterling area to balance the books. MacArthur has been converting dollars to sterling to cover the deficit under his prerogatives as Supreme Commander, but Washington is presumably telling him to knock it off.

"Anglo-Iranian Records" Since one of the things Japan isn't importing is sterling area oil, it's interesting to see that Anglo-Iranian is recording "fabulous" operating profits of £36 million in 1947 and £50.7 million in 1948 , even after dropping £17.7 million on depreciation and exploration. The Iranian government has intimated that it might like a slightly larger share of the "fabulous" money that Anglo-Iranian is making from Iranian oil, but, as chairman William Fraser has pointed out, what with one thing and another, and considering all possible angles, the company can't possibly spare any cash right now.

On the other hand, and unrelated, Courtaulds is making a lot of money and growing like a weed(!), but what with one thing and another and considering all possible angles, can't possibly spare any cash right now. Coincidentally, the P and O . . .

"Burma War Compensation" Due to the Burma war, the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company stopped being a company with boats and became a lobbying group organised around getting their money back from Parliament. This is actually a pretty reasonable point whatever you think of the Irrawady Float Company, which is, if I remember what Great-Grandfather told me, that it should be sunk in a lake of its operators' blood. So they get a proportion of the £10 million Parliament just voted for Burma war losses along with another worthy petitioner, Burmah Oil. In Shorter Notes, railway accidents are down, Marshall, Sons and Company is cutting its agricultural machinery export programme due to a shortage of sterling in some markets abroad, a Russian wheat deal may be nearing completion, and the Ebbw Vale steel plant will be completed on time.

Business Roundup

So what's happening out there? Fortune asked a friend --a distinguished businessman!-- who said that he didn't know economics, but he knew that "people weren't buying." Which is true! They're not buying goods, and they're not buying investments, either. The wealthy are as reluctant to buy as the poor, as shown by the fact that home sales in the $25,000+ class are falling fast, with fifty $20,000 properties in one Dallas suburb unsold after eight months on the market. Even farm-rich Kansas City is slowing down. Meanwhile, the Commodity Credit Corporation is getting clogged up with surplus grain and cotton, with September futures selling for as much as 37 cents a bushel below the support price. Without getting too far into the weeds (a different one from the one that they sell with a Courtaulds filter), the Department of Agriculture has fixed things with a "distress loan" at 75% of the support price for such wheat as the farmers can get under cover. Republicans are upset that it didn't do it last year, which presumably led farmers, distressed at the price slump, to vote for the President instead of Dewey.  Lower prices perhaps means that the ECA needs to spend less, which is bad news for economic stimulus. Meanwhile again, exports are suffering from the loss of dollars abroad due to falling US prices for imports, with both exports and imports still falling well below the pre-Smoot-Hawley norm of 8--10% of US output. Besides "cherries and clothespins," the oil industry is demanding protection, especially now that the Anglo-Argentinian trade deal seems to cut them off from the Argentine market on top of all the sterling-area losses. Perhaps in retaliation, there is an increased flaxseed tariff, and a tariff on copper may be coming. Steel production is down, and in an odd sidelight, Fontana is importing Japanese scrap iron, reversing the controversial prewar trend. The question is whether customers are going to cut their orders for steel goods as much as manufacturers have cut their orders for steel. The auto industry has already come back with supplementary orders
for more steel, although railway car production is still cut.

In retail, no-one can agree on what "fair trade" means, still. This is that fuss over what drug stores can sell, besides drugs, which goes on and on mainly due to the stores in Florida and California that are ignoring "fair-trade" rules. Some others are getting into the act, too, if by "act" you mean squabbling over what "fair trade" is, including a Pennsylvania television dealer who has become notorious for offering bigger price cuts on televisions than his competitors after marking them up more, which apparently is good business strategy even if I don't understand how. The Federal Reserve says that another thing in surplus is bank reserves, due to falling commercial loans, and it is thinking about cutting reserve requirements to encourage lending, thus borrowing, thus spending.

Fortune rides the New Haven, which is why it can't shut up about it.

Rounding up a pictorial on the theme of pictures and thousands of words, there are pictures about the Vanadium Corporation of America, which is looking for vanadium in the Navajo Reservation, Le Corbusier's new "vertical city" building in Marseilles, a giant party for businessmen in Atlanta and a picture of A. P. Giannini that shows him as a big man in a suit, and not Great-Grandfather's errand boy. A pity, because, just like the fact that all the men (and, yes, Ronnie does mention when I get "people" and "men" confused, but I don't always remember in the rush of writing and translating) in the Atlanta picture is White, it's impolite to notice that Pete's name ends in an "-ini." The picture stories set off word that wage settlements are down, that bankruptcies aren't up very much, that it's a bear market, but has been for three years, that various people are still pitching hard, including Charles deBretteville of San Francisco. On the other hand again, home motrgage debt hit an all-time high, and the Horace Heidt show switched to CBS after NBC spent $100,000 plugging it.

New Products is hot on Douglas Warriner's "dehydrated candy bar for cattle," made of blackstrap molasses and cottonseed hulls, almost as nutritious as corn, but 40% cheaper. Du Pont de Nemours has a better hair for dolls, a nylon monofilament three thousandths of an inch thick and capable of being dyed brunette, light blond or golden blond. They are so pliable that your Toni Play-Wave kit can given them a permanent. Emil Chalupa's high vacuum coffee-roasting technique results in no lost weight, reduces roasting time, and eliminates the smell that the factory's neighbours were complaining about.

This month's Fortune Survey is an "executive forecast" and is summarised by the subtitle:. The downturn is expected to continue through the second half of the year and will lead to lower sales, prices and profits. On the bright side, they're not worried about their own businesses, which means, as far as we can tell the future, that this is a "downturn," not a "Depression."

Fortune's Wheel has a letter from Harold Wiley, of Consolidated, about the March New Products blurb about their new mass spectrometer that "smells" odors by "weighing their atoms." He says that this is in the same vein as an ad for Ford that says that it has an "Automatic Horse for sale" that "'gallop[s]' by means of circular legs driven by high compression muscles that are fed by gasoline." Funny stuff, says I! What the story means is that the oil industry has been using mass spectrometers since 1934, but they weren't sensitive enough to pick up alcohols and water, so couldn't be used outside petrochemicals. The new one can. No need to talk about "odours" and "weight." Fortune apologises.

Sadly, Herbert's "Big Government" excretion of his Hoover Commission flatulation (bless the literati who translated these words -I think that "flatulation" is a back-coinage, too!) has had 74,000 requested reprints. Although J. A. Hannum of Hefco Laboratories took the trouble to write in to point out some particularly flatulent details.

"Farm Policy: A Great Opportunity"  I promise to read these the day that Ronnie is put back in her Daddy's will. (The gist of it is that soon there will only be one farmer to feed the entire planet, thanks to full technical efficiency. That said, we will only eat corn, beef and ice cream, because those are the "healthy" sectors of agriculture, and we will pay him enough so that he has all the money in the world, and no price controls will be needed. Or maybe we need to get rid of price controls to get to that far away paradise. Either way, the important thing is that my taxes go down.)

"The ITO Charter: It's Worthless" I cut the sub-title because it's full of short, vigorous words that I can never remember whether to capitalise or not, and because this is one of those eye-rollers. In summary, America's foreign policy coddles those foreigners with their socialism and their full employment when we should be bludgeoning them into taking everything we export and not bothering us with their "imports," and all that balance-of-trade folderol would go away if we just stopped using "most favoured nation status" to extend tariff concessions to all of our trading partners and used naked bargaining power to lean on the foreigners. (But not too closely, they smell like garlic.)

Gwilyn A. Price, "The Incentive Tax Plan" The President of Westinghouse thinks that the economy would boom if investment were encouraged with a swingeing tax cut (top tax rate is down to 50%, levied on all incomes above $50,000/year), although the tax cut is sort of an appendix to his main argument, which is against the capital gains tax. Meaning that taxpayers would pay nothing on dividends, since this is "double taxation" on account of corporations paying income tax. But since this means that corporations will pay a progressive income tax, it is really the rich who will suffer! Yes, it will cut government revenues by $4 billion, but the Hoover Commission has already found those savings, so let's do it!

A reminder that a Northwestern 2-0-2 crashed two years into
service due to a wing rotting off from stress corrosion. Martin
replaced the wings on the Northwestern fleet at its own expense
and they servied for another five years or so, mostly on an
associated low cost carrier. 
"Mr. Damon Begins to Move" Ralph Shepard Damon is the third postwar president of TWA. Having flown around and met everyone, he is ready to make things happen! Everyone agrees that TWA is losing money due to an undisciplined approach to finances and Howard Hughes. Damon's solution is to buy 20 new Constellations to shove the DC-3s and Stratoliners off the routes. This, Fortune says, seems, "at first blush" a peculiar way of solving the DC-3 problem when American is competing with the Convair 240; but it can't get the 240 or the 2-0-2 at the same price as American, so why not try a new angle and give the paying passenger a choice of a longer stage on the Connie, instead? It would also give him a new angle to fight the AOA/Pan Am merger, which would seem to be, "We've got the planes for the Atlantic, so you can't take the routes, wah-wah-wah." If TWA can't expand foreign routes, it will have far too many planes in the fall, and it hopes to sell the DC-3s back to Douglas for conversion to "Super DC-3s." It will also be flying coach a lot. On Connies?

This is crazy. I thought about breaking the chain of thought with an aside about the sheer craziness of talking about the 2-0-2 as a Convair competitor. I mean, even the 240 isn't doing so hot, and the 2-0-2 won't get into the air without a new wingspar, and that means, in plain English, turning it into a new plane. The new Constellation will have a turbo-compound engine, like the Stratocruiser, which promises greater fuel economy and lower costs, but you can't run a four-engine type against twins on domestic routes. I have no idea where Damon is going,except that he might make money cramming "coach" passengers into "Super" DC-3s. I don't envy them, but it might make for a cheap Miami vacation? Or maybe they'll keep their overseas services.

Neil Chamberlain, "What is Management's Right to Manage" Chamberlain is a professor at the Yale Labour and Management Centre explores the recent production line speed debate between Ford and the UAW and concludes that production speeds can come under collective bargaining.

"Stabilising the Brass Business"  A look at Bridgeport Brass' management. Given that this is a Connecticut company, this one would be Luce doing a neighbour a favour by giving him some free publicity.

"TV: The Money Rolls Out" While we wait for the promised Fortune article on the technology of the television industry, here's one on the financing, to answer the question many readers have been asking themselves. "Should you own a television station?" The answer is that it will cost you $400,000 to get into the business, and about $538,000 a year, and if your share of the loss is directly out of declared network losses, something like $200,000 a year in losses for now. Quite a change from radio, with its coddled expectation of amortising the loss in the first year of operation! On the other hand, radio listening is basically dead when television enters the home. Someone has to broadcast to them, and the FCC will rewrite the rules until they do. This is particularly important considering uncertainty over colour television and UHF, both of which might entail further capital expenditures just as the conventional broadcasting equipment ought to be settling down to earn their depreciation. Construction costs are an issue, too.

And naked ladies! Costumes mean naked ladies!
But what we care about is the capital equipment, which translates as the cost of all those electrical gizmos, and hurrah for Fortune, because its reporting comes through in spades! Did you know that Fearless Camera, of Hollywood, is the monopoly seller of television "dollies," and that its dollies go out for $2800 a pop? Or that lighting a television studio costs $5/square foot, and that Kliegl Brothers, of Klieg lights, are getting rich? But enough anecdotes:

Finally, if you were wondering where it all gets  you, WPIX in New York is earning $100,000 a month, but doesn't expect break-even before 1950 at the earliest, unless "there's a war or a depression." WPIX might not be the best example, as it is backed by the Patterson's New York Daily News fortune and spent a million dollars getting into operation. It is in television to stay, and that has given it the luxury to talk about staying the course, although not without retrenchment last fall, firing 45 of 200 people and getting rid of the Gloria Swanson hour.
"We had a great year, but have to keep all the money in our money bin
because of the recession."

"$1,000,000-a-Year Insurance Men" Some insurance salesmen sell a million dollars in policies a year. Here's what you can learn from them.

"Burlington Mills: The Biggest U.S. Weaver of Rayon is Well Diversified . . ." Again, I just haven't in me to write out the full subtitle. Burlington, down in North Carolina, started in business as a rayon cloth producer selling greige (unfinished) cloth back in 1923, but has now branched out into finished fabrics as well. It does women's underwear fabric, men's rayon suit fabrics, high-style cotons, ribbon and home furnishing fabrics. It had an excellent 1948, but won't do as well in 1949. Investors may ask how it is going to cope with the surplusses of 1949. The answer seems to be diversification into the products already mentioned. Way to spoil the ending!

"To Market, To Market" Fortune sent someone to the Utrecht Fair because the business press is on about European integration, but it was boring, so he took some nice pictures instead.

"Business and the Industrial Designer" Businesses should higher industrial designers, so then they will make things that look nice. Pictures of nice things follow. 

The image at top left is the last third of the
GE illustration of their oiler's peregrination.
"Robot Grease Monkeys" This month's Technol-ogy story is centralised lubrication machinery. Right now, the most modern industrial machinery and the most advanced industrial lubricants meet in the form of a "grease monkey" with an oiling can. The steel and automobile industries have long since replaced this with a centralised system that distributes lubricants from central reservoirs via high speed pumps using a simple piston-displacement system to regulate delivery. Other companies can do it, too. The GE works at Shenectady have a nice graphic showing the sixty-two oiling points one of their grease monkeys has to service on a punch press, which he was able to reach in only eighteen minutes, during which the machine is down. This was a demonstration, however. The oiler in question used to service a battery of forty punches during a single shift, but this particular press got centralised lubrication a long time ago, because a single servicing a shift was causing wear and losing production. Automatic, centralised lubrication gets rid of that eighteen minutes of down time per shift, and  cuts bearing failure due to wear to "almost nothing."  A number of similar examples are given. It looks like the article was prepared from papers given to the American Society of Lubrication Engineers, rather than being a "puff piece" from a centralised lubrication system supplier, but if stocks are wanted for investing, Farval, Alemite (a division of Borg-Warner), Bijur, Rivett Lathe and Grinder, Lincoln Engineering, and Trabon Engineering are mentioned.

The Law feature's issue of the month is antitrust  law, which some say has gone too far. Sure, of course they do. The  Gilded Age set doesn't like the trustbusters, news at the top of the our, as they say. The Labour feature is on about the CIO's fight with its Communist-led affiliates.

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