Sunday, December 15, 2019

Postblogging Technology, September, 1949, II: The End of the Great Siege

(When Suzy was due to come back from pregnancy leave in '53, her boss told her that "they'd decided to go in a different direction," and that's how Frosty's career was born.)

R_. C_.,
Lahore, Pakistan

Dear Father:

I hope this finds you well after your long flight. We have a telegraph from Rangoon. Wong Lee is going on to Shigatse, while Mrs. C. remains in seclusion at the Benevolent Association for coordination until we decide how to move a white woman across the frontier. A Sakya guide is being sought. You will be coordinating things at your end, but, if not, Wong Lee thinks he may have a way of getting you across the border in Ladakh. It's a formality by now, but we have definitive confirmation that the new American Oriental secret service fund is prepared to pay out if the Panchen Lama does not go to Shigatse. We are working on an angle where challenging Lhasa is "objectively" anti-communist. I have no idea how we're going to sell that, but I sure will be impressed when we do! Nothing like a share of seventy-five million dollars to get the blood flowing!

As for San Francisco, well, it's boring by comparison, that's all I can say. I'm enjoying law school and we took the Jeep up into Sonoma over the weekend, which was great fun. But driving a Jeep, even  a brand new Jeep around in tamed American hills isn't nearly as exciting as visiting the Tashilhunpo Monastery on yak-back. (They do ride yaks, don't they?) 

Yours Sincerely,

It's not Christmas music, but I don't care. 

A precis of the last half of September Over at Aviation Week

If you're wondering what's up at Aviation Week, it's wondering what's up at Farnborough and in Washington. The Mamba-DC-32 seems like a shot across the bow of Douglas' Super DC-3. The magnetic fire detector (which uses the demagnetisation of a magnet when it is heated) and an automatic ground recorder are particularly interesting Ministry of Supply safety gadgets. Newer, lighter British aircraft radios are in line with American developments.  The 510 is something else.  So is the Comet, with its excellent wing loading.  So is the Canberra, at least with Roland Beaumont at the controls, and the Avro 707 and the De Havilland 113 Night Fighter.

Not to steal Newsweek's thunder, the Navy inquiry into the "anonymous letter" about the B-36 is circling around Captain John Crommelin. Meanwhile, contract-award stories have been getting juicier, with Glenn Martin and Emerson Electric perhaps in trouble over gun turrets.

Aviation Week's contribution to aeronautical science, as opposed to gossip, is a long article on gust loads. I had no idea that you had to take a statistical approach, but it makes sense when you think about it. Nature is chaotic! I also note a Double B Tool Bearing extractor, because engine maintenance is chaotic, too.

A long article covers the Dehmel electronic flight simulator that BOAC is sending its pilots to New York to train on, and a very short one the folding of the third Indian airline to give up the ghost, which is news I don't get in Flight. They can't pay for the maintenance of their Dakotas. On the bright side, Dramamine, the miracle motion sickness pill is living up to its press. The Fiscal 1949 Aviation budget is the largest in peacetime history, $1.48 billion in procurement, almost half to bombers.  An article on subcontracting explains just how much work on the B-47 is farmed out to other firms around Wichita.

And in case you were wondering just how much money the CAA is spending on electronics for airports across America, it is a lot.

A long and blow-by-blow history of the B-36 contract from the day when it was conceived as the plane that would bomb Hitler's London victory speech to the day when it is supposed to bomb Moscow because the Russians bombed Seattle. (And Vancouver, if they bother.) De-emphasised in favour of the B-32 when the island-hopping campaign got under way, the B-36 was eventually chosen over the Northrop flying wing, only to come under pressure from the B-50, the B-29 with the VDT. To fend off this challenge, a VDT-powered B-36 was proposed, a mere matter of turning the engines around int the wing, abandoned when someone noticed how much work it was, and also that this aerial refuelling thing had legs, while the VDT was found to have serious cooling problems that knocked 60mph(!) off the estimated top speed of the VDT B-36. From there we go through an attempt to scuttle the programme, the Air Force's desperate stunt flying campaign, and, finally, an order of 250 B-36s with the wingtip jet engines. 

The rest of the month is devoted to explaining the contract bidding process to people who don't know any "5 percenters."

Flight, 15 September 1949


The other 707
"Portents of Farnborough" Although various things are portended in various ways, the big portent is that the Avro 707 looks like the upcoming Avro medium bomber. Also, Flight says that there is a "crescent-wing" bomber coming. It's amazing what is, and isn't secret around here. 

"What of the Future" Isn't that what "portents" means? So, anyhow, there's not going to be any gas turbine units actually entering service in the next twelve months or so. We can expect new naval anti-submarine and fighter types. We can also expect further improvements in fuel economy and service life. What we can't expect is a solution to problems that we don't even know about yet. Even de Havilland has only made a good beginning on "a long period of development." But as long as everyone pulls their weight, Britain will stay ahead. 

Yeah. We'll see about that. 

"A Show to Remember" Farnborough was incredible.

"Apollo Appraisal: Flight Experience of a Mamba-Powered Airliner" The Apollo is coming on well behind the Viscount, but that's to be expected when the engine is half again larger and more ambitious as a design, being a straight through axial compared with the Dart's less ambitious centrifugal compressor with three-stage turbine combination, allowing the Mamba to save almost ten percent on diameter. Reggie is horrified by the complexity of the shafting on all the turboprops, but a multi-stage axial compressor adds to the complexity. That said, the problems that have come up with the Apollo are aeronautical. The flap jacks aren't powerful enough to lower all sections had higher speeds, and the nosewheel wobbles. The flap problem has been "solved" by cutting out the central flaps, and the wobble isn't really anyone's fault because it didn't show up in trials on the grass strip at Baginton, and only appeared when the Apollo started running on tarmac at Bitteswell. 

So far I can firmly say that this is not a plane that I would let my fiance fly, even if he had confidence in it. Reggie doesn't have confidence in much that flies --that is what makes him such a good technical test pilot! I'm just saying that it also doesn't pass the Girlfriend Test. All that said, what does Flight think? "Generally speaking, . . . has shown great promise." Which would satisfy me a lot more if an old German Jesuit at Santa Clara hadn't once told me that he sometimes says "great promise" to when he means, "Get away from me, you awful boy." (I hadn't the guts to ask whether it could also apply to girls!) It has "good directional stability," which is still damning with faint praise. "Fine pitch stop arrangements for the Mamba airscrew appear to be satisfactory. . ." This just keeps getting worse and worse! It appears because 6 degrees is the tail fine limit, but with Flight along they never went past 10 degrees, at which blade angle there was "too much idle thrust."

Any. Any "idle thrust" is too much. Fortunately, the Mamba has an automatic reverse torque switch. Also, there's a manual emergency feather stop you can jam on if the csu fails. Since that's a bit much to ask of a pilot trying to land or takeoff, the manual stop might eventually be made automatic, cutting in when the weight settles on the oleos. So you just have to get it the ground and it will stop trying to ram you into the airport perimeter whatever. (Hopefully it's not like that airport in Wales where the runway stops at the edge of a steep hill.) 
SAS had the sense to say no, which is why Boeing is going
to end up taking a $15 million loss. 

Even at best behaviour for Flight, takeoff was delayed to switch out a bad Mamba. Once up and running, its quietness was amazing, as was "the rather slow and unusual retraction of the main wheels." An external starter is needed. the "clonking and bonking" heard in the takeoff should not be taken against the Apollo, nor the "rather unusual" location of the brake control. Prudent pilots seem to make sure that all four Mambas are fired up and idling at 8000rpm before takeoff, but that means hanging on to the brakes for dear life, or the plane will be off in search of the promised hillside. Whee! There is more than enough climb that you don't have to worry about one engine cutting out, as has happened already in the trials. Once in level flight, the pilot had to feather two engines to go slow enough for the photo Lancaster to take a picture, but relight was no problem. The engines don't seem to be as quiet as the Viscount's Darts, and the plane really needs pressurisation, as an Apollo-speed climb to 15,000ft is "a strain" when you are doing something arduous like walking around the cabin. Landing is reasonably safe, and Armstrong-Whitworth looks forward to 50 or so orders from various foreigners. God's special children, I assume. 

Here and There

 Twelve Vampires are going to Turkey after all. Everyone likes the P. 1040. The Farnborough test pilots had a formal dinner at the Empress Club which was a smashing success. Get it? It's said that various former Luftwaffe pilots are working for Argentina, including some who escaped from prison camps. A. H. Hall, who was chief superintendent at RAE Farnborough from 1928 to 1941, has died. We're told that the jet-assisted B-36D has made a top speed of 435mph at 40,000ft. A Martin Mars recently dropped a complete engine in the Pacific on its way to Hawaii, landing safely. A Mamba-powered DC-3 is doing trials for Armstrong Siddeley. Blackburn has merged with General Aircraft and kept General's chief test pilot. The status of Blackburn's former chief test pilot, Peter Lawrence, is "obscure." Bill Odom's death is noted. Denmark has received the first of its sixty Meteors. 

"Commemoration" Battle of Britain commemoration highlights. 

"Coupled Naiad: New Information on Napier's Latest Turboprop" The London-area engine maker most famous for the Sabre has been very, very quiet for a long time. The Sabre was notoriously complicated, and if it is not too much "inside baseball," so were the two long-forgotten engines that came before it. You have to wonder if the coupled-turboprop is the latest victim of the Napier jinx. especially considering that the only actual information about the Coupled Naiad is that it is supposed to run at between 17,000 and 19,000rpm, giving 2000 to 3000hp at the shaft.

Armstrong-Siddely has released technical information about the latest marks of Cheetah, the 17 and 27, and the Adder, which is the turbojet version of the Mamba. Christopher Hook writes to remindus that the Hook Hydrofin exists, and J. B. Davy's Interpretive History of Flight is a book by a friend of Flight. 

"The Farnborough Story: Britain's Newest Aircraft and Engines Brilliantly Demonstrated" Farnborough was so jammed with new developments that the de Havilland Venom gets just dropped into the conversation right here. To some extent that's because de Havilland has commited Solenticide ("Hytheism"? "Plymouthology?" "Cansoitis?" You decide!) and given an old plane a new name. But! It has a new wing, and has the Ghost instead of the Goblin, giving the Comet's engine a bit of a trial ahead of airline service. The Supermarine Type 510 was shown without comment, but with a speed estimated at 660mph and an incredible 160--180 degree/second rate of roll thanks to the Automotive Products Servodyne power-assisted ailerons. Light, "in part due to the normal tail-wheel configuration," it performs well at altitude. "Well," apart from being a tail dragger! That is not going to fly with the boys! The Wyvern, Shackleton and Canberra all turned out for the show, with the Canberra turning heads in particular.

"Research Aircraft" Here is where we finally meet the Avro 707 as well as the reheat Meteor, and also an Avon-equipped Meteor. 

"Civil" The Ambassador, the Apollo, the Auster Autocar, Autocrat and Ambulance (more Solenticide), and the Avro Tudor IX, which is the latest incarnation of a "jet Tudor" with four Nenes, showed up. The Blackburn and General Aircraft Universal Freighter, which is a giant airplane with a hinged front, appeared in model form, as the first flight has been delayed until the new year. The Brabazon made a pass overhead on Thursday, while the Dove and Chislea were there all week. Bristol turned out two versions of its Freighter on static display. Sealands, Marathons, Princes and Solents dropped by to drum up business, and the Comet and Viscount to taunt the also-rans. At the static display, a Sprite, part-sectioned Ghost (old news!), Dart (ditto), Leonides, Hercules, Cheetah, Cirrus Major and Minor all appeared. Rumour of Naiad, Tay, Adder,  Sapphire and Bombardier was head, although the future of the Grenadier was "in doubt," while the Clyde is definitively scotched. 

"British Commonwealth Lecture: Avro Jetliner Designer on Gas-turbine Transports" E. H. Atkins will be in town to give said lecture, which will emphasise just how much fuel you can get into a big airliner, which strikes me as just about as wrong a way as possible for a jet airliner designer to be thinking. Gas costs money! That still leaves a bit more page than story, so we fit in the war memoirs of Air Marshal Sir Hugh Lloyd, who was AOC Malta in 1941--2. 

Civil Aviation News

 The Argonaut has been grounded due to engine overheat caused by defective coolant pumps.

 BOAC has borrowed some Skymasters to fill in. Air France has done a study of its work force which might mean it is using too many mechanics. BOAC is altering the routes of its Solent service t to South Africa for completely innocent reasons, stopping at Lake Nyasa instead of Victoria Falls.  Hudson Fysh of Qantas has met with Miles Thomas of BOAC for completely innocent reasons. Glenn L. Martin has lost $12--$16 million on cancelled 2-0-2 orders, but expects to be back in the black in six months.

A. P. Johnstone, "Exhaust Reheat for Turbojets, Part II: Development of Later Designs to Improve Performance" From last week we all remember that "reheat" is when you inject some gas into the engine's jet stream and set it on fire, which gives additional thrust at the expense of, well, lighting money on fire. It turns out to be harder than it sounds because of back pressure on the turbine, and also the flame kept going out and some of the expensive fuel didn't burn. After a lot of fussing with various kinds of baffles, the group resolved on a variable-area nozzle (moving parts, in other words). As it is right in the flame, it got very, very hot, and people have just started thinking about how to cool it. 


R. Goadby writes to suggest the Miles Merchantman as a Rapide replacement, to be considered alongside the Dove, Prince and Drover. "Potential Passenger" thinks that low fares are a better selling point than more luxury. "Soundproof" thinks that there's no future in this "civil aviation" thing because planes are too complicated and expensive for anything but war. J. R. Andersonis on about hats. 

Time, 19 September 1949


Lawrence Appleton of down the road in San Jose catches Elizabeth Taylor's pitchman stealing from the classics, William Shields implies that the South has no fashion, three writers complain that Britain can hardly make its exports to the United States if tariffs get in the way, so that has to be part of the story. (Time breaks it down this way: a $100 "English" overcoat goes $31.50 to the US middleman, $18.50 to tariffs, $50 to the British manufacturer who then has to pay for imported wool and dyestuffs.)

O. J. Elder, of Macfadden Publications, objects to coverage in Time that uses one-time costs to imply that the True Story Women's Group is losing money. John Anson Ford, Supervisor of Los Angeles County's Third District, writes to point out that LA'has a Skid Row as bad as Chicago, but it doesn't get in the news. "Nearly half of all our arrests are for drunkenness: many of these are now classed as bums, are arrested scores of times a year --to what end?"  They are sponsoring a duplicate of Yale's Alcoholic Clinic, and are calling on medical science, social experts and religious agencies to fix the problem. G. J. Nelson, a Chief Yeoman in the US Navy, thinks that giveaway shows are great because he won a seven-piece bedroom set just when he and the wife needed it. Everett Olinder points out that if John Maragon went from a "lower-middle-brow house in MacLean, Virginia," to a "middle-brow house in the suburbs," that makes him a middle shot. Time apologises, as it promoted the house from one story to the next. Hee. "Middle shot."

The Publisher wants us to know about Time's new book, Audience in Heraldry, which is perfect for . . . middle shots.

(I find it very hard to accept that they've both passed on.)

National Affairs

"Down from the Mount" The big news is no news: No steel strike, also, no fourth-round wage increase, with labour to get better pensions and "social security" in place. The President's fact finding board had no time for either management or labour. They found: Steelworkers are doing well compared to other labour, were getting a fair share of productivity increases; that steel profits were high, that the twelve-cent-an-hour increase wasn't warranted at this time. However, the union's demand for a company-funded pension plan was a fair extension of the idea of paying for the depreciation of capital(!) Six cents for the pension and 4 cents for social insurance would cut 2.5% from total operating costs and give workers an average $100/month pension at 65. Meanwhile the President is flying around the Midwest in his DC-6 giving "Give 'em Hell" speeches to boost support for the Brannan Plan. Meanwhile some more, John Foster Dulles

has announced that he will run to keep the Senate seat Dewey appointed him to, just ten weeks ago. This was a very hard decision for him, because he so wants to get back to his law office and perhaps be a delegate to the UN and also a forthright enemy of "statism," which is ungodly, and, in general, to being so morally upright that he can barely bear to be a Senator.

I don't know if you've heard, but there's a Presidential election in 1952, so naturally Bob Taft is out and about in the Mid-West, too, giving an anti-labour speech in a non-union rubber factory the other day, turning out for the Cleveland Air Races and a birthday dinner at Parkman, Ohio, where "400 clubwomen" listened to a soloist sing him Thank God for a Garden. [Sweet Jesus.] The death of Wiley Rutledge forces Truman to make a second Supreme Court appointment in two months, bypassing the obvious, "political" appointment because two months isn't long enough between them in favour of . . . well, someone else. 

"The High Fly" An embarrassing report on Air Force junketing shows that General Bradley took an Air Force plane to go pheasant hunting,that the Navy Secretary took his whole family to a ceremony in Honolulu, that the Vice President flew a three-man band to a friend's wedding. As a compromise, Secretary Johnson will now let anyone in Washington take a USAF plane anywhere, any time, in the national interest, while one of the generals who came up in the "5%" investigation has been sacked, the other restored to his position with a reprimand.

"Caged Eagle" There's a strike at the Missouri Pacific.

"Stop, Thief!" Seattle is up in arms over the Air Force's specification that the B-47 be built in Wichita, because Seattle is the only place in America that's in range of the B-29ski. Secretary Symington was cornered by the Seattle chamber of commerce at a private dinner at the Olympic Hotel and badgered until he agreed to build the B-52 in Seattle subject to building up the Northwest's radar screen and Alaskan defences. Time's feature "true crime" story is Howard Unruh's "walk of death," which you may or may not have heard of, depending on whether the paper was delivered before you left for the airport.

Manners and Morals reports the decision of the National Labour Relations Board that Edna Ruggles of Indianopolis Glove Company shouldn't lose her job for blasphemy occasioned by cursing her glove machine.


"Room 5106" Room 5106 at the State Department's new building in "Foggy Bottom" is where Cripps, Bevan and Ambassador Franks met with Treasury and agreed on the detailed terms of the devaluation. Except the devaluation wasn't announced until after Time went to press, which makes this whole thing a waste of space talking about bandaids, the Administration reiterating its promises of lowered tariffs and increased strategic stockpiling subject to Senate approval and relax artificial rubber requirements in tires and tubes just as Taft gives a speech in a rubber factory, etc. Finally, as Time points out, it is all basically pointless since the problem is that the world wants more US goods than can be paid for with the imports that America does need. So, in other words, devaluation.

In breaking news from Hungary and Russia, it turns out that Communism is bad, while from Aachen we hear that Henri Spaaks thinks that a "United States of Europe is desirable . . .[and] . . . is possible."

"Flight by Moonlight" Joseph van Straeten, proprietor of La Paix Tavern in Knocke, accidentally took a balloon to Britain, landed in a "desert" near Orfordness, reached a Post Office, ended up calling the police and the Daily Express, and barely escaped to the Continent under the hot pursuit of the Daily Mail's best men.

"Trying Over" The initial session of the German parliament featured a Social Democrat scolding the rightists by reminding them that 34 of the 94 Social Democrat politicians who voted against the Reichstag fire emergency decree had paid for it with their lives, and a Communist demanding an end to dismantling, while Adenauer had to make concessions to his Bavarian supporters just because they support him, which is a warning of troubles ahead. In Britain, they held one of those TUC get-togethers that you can use as a hook for  a story about how Labour is in trouble with labour because no wage increases. Or maybe it's the same one. It seems like that would save everyone's time. Speaking of, Britain's prisons want radios, because everyone gets bored of cards and chess.

"The Immobilist" Things keep getting depressingly better in France and the Communists keep not revolting, and we're left scraping up criticism of the new premier, Henri Queuille, who evidently doesn't do very much. In Italy, Salvator Giuliano is still a terrible, evil man, and the lottery is very colourful and Italian in Italy.

FYI: Captain Crommelin, the fearless Navy whistleblower of the month,
became a full-time white supremacist after he retired. 
"Filip for Franco" The US Navy and King Abdullah of Jordan have dropped in to visit General Franco in way of saying that he is forgiven for all of that "fascist" stuff so long ago. The story sure seems like it is using King Abdullah to cover the rather bigger news of two cruisers and two destroyers dropping anchor in El Ferrol and spreading the Yankee dollar around. The Navy thinks that the visit is "informal but official," while the US Embassy steered clear of the festivities. State versus Navy? Which is the banana republic, again? Reggie is fit to spit. "Career," I remind him.

Time gives a half page over to a summary of Tailor and Cutter's attack on the fashion sense of the Politburo, because, you might not have heard, Communism is bad, whereas fascism is growing on us.

"Leaning on One Side" A big delegation of Chinese Communists welcomed Madame Sun Yat-sen to Peking (Time says "Peiping," because there's nothing better than a Lost Cause), requiring Time to

spend more than a few words getting out of the way of the suggestion that Madame Sun might be a bad person, if she associates with Communists, who are bad. And pro-Soviet. Oh, wait, that's to be expected. Pro-Russian. Which is practically like being pro-Unequal Treaties.

"The Boom is Over" The Japanese birth rate has fallen from 1948. The Ministry of Welfare credits the new abortion law, which allows abortion on grounds of, among other things, poverty.

 Over here in this our Western Hemisphere, the Colombian Congress saw a brief gunfight in which some fifty bullets were fired, three Congressmen hit, and, oh, yes, Liberal delegate Gustavo Jimenez Jimenez was gunned down, but he probably deserved it for one reason or another. In Mexico City there is a new and very modern apartment complex opening in the Coyoacan  suburb of Mexico, where the entire family can be kicked out if a tenant is "caught with liquor on his breath." Canadian Eskimos are very "primitively clannish." Latin American communists who gathered for the Western Hemisphere Peace Conference are ridiculous because communism is on the decline in Latin America thanks to all the efforts to persecute it.

Science, Medicine, Education

"X Marks the Spot" Glenn L. Martin's Viking II was set for another first firing at White Sands last week. The first try, two weeks before, went badly. Both the Air Force and Glenn L. Martin are worried, because the main improvement the Viking II makes over the old V-2 is that it has gyroscopic steering instead of vanes, and gyroscopes, who knows how they work? But, good news, it was the motor that malfunctioned for a change, and it made it up to 33 miles before heading back down to bomb some fortunately empty bit of New Mexico with the unspent fuel.

"Good Fishing" It turns out that Brownell and Company's new nylon fishing net catches twelve times as many fish as cotton or linen, according to the company. It's a scientific fact!

"Pass the Iodised Salt" Goiters is prevalent in the "goiter belt" that runs from western New York through the Great Lakes Basin to the Rockies and can be almost entirely controlled by adding iodine to table salt, but so far Congress has rejected a Canadian-style law requiring it. Frances Bolton has been campaigning for it, but the Salt Producers' Association has resisted "medication by legislation." So, last week, a "despairing" US Public Health Service launched an educational campaign reminding housewives to ask for iodised salt at the grocers. The producers have promised Mrs. Bolton that they will support the campaign. As William Sebrell of the PHS reminds us, iodine is necessary for the proper function of the thyroid gland, which secretes the thyroxine needed for so many biological functions. Iodine is plentiful along the coast as it comes from seafood and from vegetables grown in iodine-rich soils. Some rock salt contains iodine as a natural "impurity," but modern high-temperature salt refining methods tends to remove it. But, really, the fault lies with housewives, who avoid iodised salt on the suspicion that it is "medicated."

"Little Feet, Be Careful!" Children hate shoe shopping, unless they go to a store with X-ray fitting machines, which are fun. But this week, in the New England Journal of Medicine, spoilsport Dr. Charles Williams of the Harvard School of Public Health reminds everyone that store X-ray machines deliver between two and 58 times the maximum safe dose of radiation, and that's only if the exposure is kept to a single shot. X-rays can stunt the growth of bones and cause radiation burns, and no-one is sure what the long term consequences of that might be.

"What's to Eat?" Dr. Paul F. Clark of the University of Wisconsin's Medical School writes in the Bacteriological Review that, sometimes diet helps with disease, sometimes not. Based on experiments with animals, it seems that some bacterial diseases actually do better in well-fed patients subjects than ill fed ones. Intestinal parasites and, oddly enough, sleeping sickness, thrive on Vitamin B. Sick chickens are more resistant to cancer, and undernourished hamsters are better able to ward off foot-and-mouth disease. Polio is another disease that might be sped along by Vitamin B.

"Ready or Not" For the first time since the war, school boards around the country have enough teachers. This time around, it is not enough classrooms, a problem that will get even worse in 1956, when this crop hits the high schools.

"Haunted Historian" George Macaulay Trevelyan is the author of  England Under Queen Anne, a three volume study of Garibaldi's Italy, and a History of England. And now, too old for a serious history, he has settled for an autobiography, which sounds like a middlebrow read to set against Toynbee, the other middlebrow favourite with a name that starts with "T." Speaking of "Flapdoodle," that's what Henry Grattan Doyle of George Washington University thinks of the latest gimmick in pedagogy, "life-adjustment education." He seems particularly upset by the idea that Latin is a waste of time. I'd hand the pen over to Reggie, but he is too busy living an unfulfilled, Classics-free life, unlike your humble self, who actually knows how to divide Gaul into three parts. (The trick is that person who divides it picks his province last. Could have saved the Republic!)


"Out on a Limb?" That was Charles Sawyer, saying that the recession was probably over, thanks to rising employment and building picking up.

"Billion Dollar Baby" This week's cover story is about  the modelling business, perfect for the girl who keeps being asked why she would bother her pretty head with law school when there's modelling. Follows one of those Fortune-style articles about a department chain store, this one, City Stores of Philadelphia.

Time's coverage of Albert Guay's Sept. 9 bombing
of Canadian Pacific Flight 108  is inaccurate in some
"Last Trip" E. Tappan Stannard, who joined Kennecott in 1911 and rose to the presidency in 1933. He was replaced by South African Arthur Storke, who decided to take a world tour of Kennecott operations around the world, beginning with the new titanium mine in Quebec, which is where his Quebec Airways DC-3 went into a hill, killing 23, including Kennecott's full top echelon. Kennecott directors are still in shock.

Radio and Television, Press, Art, People

"Through the Field Glasses" Covers the difficulties the networks are having in finding good camera angles for sports coverage. "No Crystal Ball" is an excerpt of an interview with actor Robert Montgomery, who has a new tv show on ABC where he is going to recite Republican talking points. But he promises that he won't be pompous and that he'll think for himself every Thursday after breakfast just to keep in practice, and he won't do predictions, unlike his predecessor, Drew Pearson. But the predictions were the most fun!

"That Old Black Magic" Shirley May France finally attempted to swim the English Channel last week. The buildup, with her "busty boost to the movie Black Magic" had been perfect, and there was both a £1000 prize that she couldn't take out of Britain and a $4000 one that just got 44% more valuable, waiting for her. But after a delay "peculiar to women," the newsman army disappeared to cover the swim from the schooner Black Magic (renamed by May's pressagent, Ted Worner) , and that turned into a bit of a fiasco, and May was pulled from the water with seven miles to go.

"Uproar in Haiti" Haiti has fifty newspapers, but none of them cover the news. Instead, they fill pages with poetry, Classical quotes, essays, and, above all, quarrelsome opinions. Hmm. Hmm. Where have I seen that before? The UN finds this deplorable, and since the problem is obviously training, one Edith Efron, a 27-year-old journalism school graduate hardened by a year or two on the Lawton, Oklahoma Constitution and the New York Times (what?) was sent over to start a journalism course at the University of Haiti. Since, as it happens, Efron is the wife of Fortune Bogat, the Haitian agent of GM, RCA, Goodyear, DuPont, etc), she was able to find time to do same, and run her own newspaper on the side. I'm not sure whether Time's tongue finds its cheek in this one, or not.

"Scottie's World" Scottie Wilson has a show in in London, which Time will deign to cover because of that "blimpish Hollywood Britisher" who whined "Kierkegaard, Kafka, Connelly, Compton-Burnett, Sartre, 'Scottie' Wilson, what do they want," in Evelyn Waugh's The Loved One. Scottie's not some modern intellectual, fortunately. He just draws pictures.

"Fair Art" The state fairs are giving out their art awards this week, which you could make a joke about, but shouldn't because some of the stuff is actually pretty good.

"The Man Who Came to Dinner" Paul Coates of the Los Angeles Mirror is in trouble for calling the American mother a bad cook, and is being punished with 260 invitations over for home-cooked meals, beginning with Mrs. Elizabeth LaPointe's fruit compote, eggs soaked in pickled beet juice, Norwegian meat sticks, Norwegian coffee, snowball cookies and cinnamon rolls. He has also had kibbee, yabrac and baklava at a Syrian home, haggis, frankfurters and sauerkraut, spareribs and latkes, and 250 meals to go.

Miss Americas Gone Wild --Call me, Hollywood!
Winston Churchill, Elizabeth Arden Graham and Jacques Fath are all worth mentioning in a sport-and-horse related  way. Fath, in particular, likes Western-style clothes and square dance. Sinclair Lewis is taking his brother, Doctor C. B., of St. Cloud, Minneapolis, on a personally-guided trip to Europe in his first vacation in six years. Winthrop Rockefeller got a $5 speeding ticket for doing 50 in the Bronx. Jimmy Stewart is selling the P-51 that won the Bendix Trophy this week because he can't afford a plane and a wife. Faye Emerson Roosevelt is divorcing Elliot as soon as she has finished filming The Gay Bystander. Marshal Petain is ailing. Ginger Rogers is also divorcing, Greta Garbo is filming, Jacque Mercer is Miss America 1949. A biopic of Sigmund Freud has been "blandly" announced. I think the "bland" is a way of saying that middlebrow America is knocked flat just thinking about all the sex talk in it.

Dr. Herbert Kalmus of Technicolor has married Eleanore King of King Features, both for the second time. Will Clayton has remarried his ex-wife, at Jasper, so romantic. Bill Odom's obituary might be the longest notice of his life that I've seen. He was only thirty, so I guess it's to be expected, but it's still sad. Jose Orozco, Richard Strauss, and the famous "Negro doorman" of the US Embassy in Paris, George Washington Mitchell, have died.

The New Pictures

If one face could fix the dollar shortage . . . 
Time loved White Heat, made in the "hurtling tabloid style" of old gangster movies, but with the "matter-of-fact violence" of the new, postwar style. James Cagney is as good at being the new gangster as the old, and I think it's saying that Virginia Mayo has it. Pasternak's The Midnight Kiss is a musical showcasing the operatic style of Mario Lanza and Kathryn Grayson. Lanza is supposed to be a truck driver! That's Reggie's reaction, anyway, but, as you know, he has no patience for classical music. I actually agree with Time that Lanza is a bit boyish. (Actually, I read, "spry, nonsensical air of a chipmunk" even less kindly, but it's one of those Time insults(?) that you can't make head or tail of, so they're safe from roving hordes of Lanzafanatics.) Easy Living is a "turgid, second-rate soap opera" for Victor Mature and Lizabeth Scott. Top o' the Morning is a "Bing Crosby-Barry Fitzgerald blend of Irish-American humour and whimsy." As the third of the species, it is pretty "watered-down" and "aggressively Irish." Saints and Sinners is a "murky Irish shenanigan." But it's got Kieron Moore! Also,Christine Norden and Sheila Manahan. That's a lot of Irish!
Which, you know what Uncle George would say. Speaking of Irish,


George Weller's Crack in the Column is a novel-torn-from-the-headlines about Greece in the recent unpleasantness. It seems like it is anti-Communist from the review, but it's as hard to tell as back when Time used to think it had to be polite to Pearl S. Buck. (Or Madame Sun, this issue.) Feike Feikema's The Primitive is a planned first volume of a trilogy to be titled, The World Wanderer. Time really didn't like it Elliot Paul's My Old Kentucky Home is a memoir with "too much burgoo." Thomas Merton's --Awooga-awooga, Battle Stations! This is No Drill! Middlebrow Incoming! I'm sorry. Father Merton has written a history of the US Trappists. Very worthy. Very. Mitchell Wilson's Live with Lightning is a novel about an "ex-Physicist." (Capitalised.)  It makes nuclear physics seem dull. Some complaint! S. J. Perelman's Listen to the Mocking Bird is, maybe, S. J. winding down a bit, which is sad.

Engineering, 16 September 1949

The date brings the deadly news of three issues of Engineering to meditate over this month. Good thing that so much of them is taken up with Farnborough!

Clear? Clear.
"The 'Proteus' Class Turbine Propeller Aircraft Engine" Aside from being too British to say "turboprop," either I'm smarter than Reggie, which, fat chance, or Engineering is better at technical writing than Flight. Good chance! To catch us up with what Engineering gets out of the Bristol press release, the Proteus is smaller than the Theseus, but more powerful. It is designed to give 3200 shp at sea level plus 800lbs static thrust, 1260shp and 560lb at 35,000ft and 350mph, both at maximum military power for no more than five minutes. Fuel consumption at sea level is 0.688lb per shp hour at sea level, which is more than 50% greater than an internal combustion engine, but falls to 0.510 at 35,000ft and 350mph. The writeup  has a lucid explanation of the free-wheel arrangement, in which front two turbine stages run the compressor, while the aft stage of the turbines is integral to the propeller shaft. (Or, rather, the shaft that terminates in the reduction gearing.) There is no connection between the two turbine stages except air flow. This makes the propeller shafting less complex and makes starting easier. The engine is reverse flow, has unique combustion chambers, and while I hope that the discussion of the mechanical details of the connections from turbine through propeller blade are more lucid than the ones in Flight,  I can't make head or tails of it, so there you go.

"Engineering and Marine Exhibition at Olympia, Continued" This is the final installment and features all of Engineering's notes that sank to the bottom of the page. They're mostly concerned with mobile and automatic welding equipment, but bookended at the front by a fathometer from Submarine Signal Service and some electrical supply equipment, and at the end by a small diesel marine engine by B. A. Lister (Marine Sales) with a magnetic clutch, which sounds clever, although no doubt invented by some swarthy foreigner on account of being offered by an agent; and lastly some thermostat equipment from British Rototherm and timers and time switches from Messrs. Venner Time Switch. The fathometer blurb reads as written with a hugely suppressed yawn, since it sounds like the Top Secret Sonar Equipment That No Members of My Family Have Ever Described To Me. Mainly, it has recording and display equipment, right now using traces on paper and not futuristic television displays. Beats needles!

"The Institute of Naval Architects, Continued" The Annual Meeting of the Royal Institute of Naval Architects had a session in which they welcomed the Danish industry.Danish yards are busy, Danish naval architects say, and while they are not as busy as British, another way of looking at it is that the Danes are the fourth largest shipowning country per capita (tons per head), after Britain, Norway and the Netherlands. The Danes are sadly uninterested in high-pressure steam and reduction gearing, but are experimenting with gas turbines. Given their interest in light units like subchasers and torpedo boats, the future Danish navy might end up being a fleet of turbine boats. No one knows what will happen with Danish naval aviation.

In the 23 September continuation, we hear about new trials tanks and new uses for them. A bigger tank at Haslar allows higher speed trials, for example. It seems as though the hydrodynamicists are facing some of the same problems as aerodynamicists.

The Sept. 30th number is devoted to developments in welding at British yards. (The Danes are trying to go to all-welded as quickly as possible, incidentally.) One commentator mentions the recent "panic" in America as gunwale bars are riveted to welded structures to keep various Liberties and Victories from coming apart. Wrong headed, Norman Hunter thinks. The American problem was basically hurry and shoddy workmanship with occasional design problems.

"The Annual Report of the British Transport Commission for 1949" Engineering takes several issues to look this over. It starts with the same criticism as The Economist: The unexpectedly low operating deficit is less impressive than it seems. It then goes further than The Economist in taking a jab at "those" who predicted handsome profits from the national industry. Diving into technical details, it looks at recent experiments with diesel electric, and also an "electric diesel," or electric locomotive with a diesel engine to move it around in yards; and at progress in electrification, with one project getting its own article. Long sections on railcar and locomotive design and  so interesting that they will be abstracted separately.

Literature looks at Dean Chapman and A. Douiglas Lucky's The Rise of the British Gas Industry. Chapman has been researching and writing about the 150 year history of the British gas industry almost since it began, so his book is welcome. Despite the long scope of the project, it seems that it is particularly interested in the changeover from the days when the industry was about illumination to the ones in which it provides heat, but there is much of general historical and antiquarian interest here.
"The 'Brabazon' 130-ton Civil Air Liner" Engineering takes an unusual approach, focussing on the structural design. This is pretty important, of course. The Brabazon is lighter, and thus more economical, than the giant American projects that are pretty clearly not going to compete with it. That is very much to Bristol's credit, even if no-one buys the Brabazon. Around here we are more interested in the controls, pressurisation and engines, but the structure is . . . worthy enough, even if I don't give very much more space to this multi-part article. .

Launches and Trial Trips covers four ships, all motor vessels, two single-screw freighters (Polythene and Stability) and two single-screw tankers, British Resource and Regent Leoopard. That's some interesting naming this week! You'll notice this feature missing in the next two issues, either because of editorial, or because that's how fast I skipped through Engineering. Sorry.

British Standards Specifications are published for synthetic resin bonded-paper and trolley and contact wires for electric traction.

Regional Notes From Scotland, word that steel production is so prodigious that domestic needs can actually be met. At the beginning of the month this had a great deal to do with foreign buyers refusing to put orders ahead of expected devaulation. Weakness in the market was reflected in some ship cancellations later in the month, making plates available for other projects. However, things seem to be coming around at the end of the month, and throughout, coal production is over requirements, in part thanks to the endless heatwave, and by the end of the month sales were actually beginning to slacken, although high quality coal remained in short supply. The Southwest also had problems with foreign orders at mid-month, and with financial returns showing that the anthracite fields were losing money later in the month. However, overall demand remained solid, with a shortag of steam coal for rail use and the promise of inroads in the Argentinian market against American competitors. The Northeast is as interested in specialty steels as Scotland is with plates. With order books filling up, forgings remained in demand. Coal, it is grudgingly admitted, is in good supply. Cleveland and the North similarly returns to familiar themes, worrying about the disappointing performance of local ironstone mines and celebrating copious supplies of foreign ore.


"Bridging the Gap" Henry Tizard's presidential address to the British Association focusses on research and education. Engineering highlights the "twenty million for research" as pointing us to a world that seemed downright fantastic thirty years ago when Lloyd George announced a "twenty million fund" for the new Directorate of Scientific Research. That said, one might wonder how this work will bridge the gap between science and industry, at which point Engineering wandered off into the bushes, talking about how there has always been science in industry, as witness Watt and Boulton, and science in management ever since Taylor.

"The First Year of British Transport" The report is important enough to justify a Leader, but I find I've used up my ammunition.

Notes visits yet another discussion of the metric system, of which more later, international meetings of the Hydraulics Structures Research Association, of Engineering Draughtsmen the Engineering and Marine Exhibition and some useful advice for foundry work. The best way to provide technical assistance to under-developed countries is discussed in a report from the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations to the General Assembly. An "analysis of the British Road Position" by the British Road Federation shows that those who are interested are still concerned about obstructions on the roadside, as they have been since 1500, although they worry about cross-traffic instead of highwaymen these days. Obituaries notices the death of A. H. Hall, already covered in Flight. 

"The British Association Meeting at Newcastle-on-Tyne, Continued" The latest installment features a summary of discussion of Dr. Radley's paper on "Metals for High Duty," which covers the steel and nickel alloys used in the late war, looking forward to the possibilities of cobalt alloys. Cranky commentators point out that all of these high duty alloys still don't show much of an increase in tensile steel, so the structural engineer is out in the cold. Two papers on coal mining technique are also discussed in this installment. One, one the yield-pillar technique, features a system that might be better than room-and-pillar at depth, while the next, by Dr. H. Cotton, is on new methods of lighting the coal face. These are mainly fluorescent because they are cooler, although commentators are excited about safer incandescent systems because of the superior quality of light. A reference to "fluorescent screens" seems very futuristic. This short feature is followed by a full-scale abstract of the article a little later, from which I have drawn some of my summary.

The September 23rd installment of the article is devoted to several articles on ground subsidence due to mining, methods of mining to avoid subsidence, and an article on the law of subsidence (can you get sued? Yes).

The installment of the 30th gets back to the "gap," with most discussants being captivated by the many challenges of engineering education. Fortunately, right at the end, A. T. Bowden turned up to talk about the "gap" in terms of time. How long did it take for science to become industry? People use twenty-five years as a guideline. Bowden isn't convinced. Tizard jumped on this, pointing out that one might argue that jets and nuclear affairs have come along much faster. On the other hand, those can be traced back further than you might thing. On the other hand again, they were wartime developments, and all normal rules go out the window in war time. Then he throws out a fascinating remark about capital expenditures. Because isn't that precisely what gets thrown out in war time? Itr's no longer about "investment," but about winning the war. Interesting!

"Flying Display of British Aircraft" The only insight that Engineering succeeds in bringing away from Farnborough that I haven't seen elsewhere is just how daring the Supermarine Attacker's backswept elevators are, and that it is a good thing that de Havilland is packaging the Sprite with a mobile fire pump system, considering how flammable and dangerous the peroxide-and-oxygen system will be in practice on the runway. Not exactly under this heading, but close, in the 30 September number, Engineering attends Atkins' talk on jet airliners at the R. Aero. Soc and agrees with everyone else that his numbers are out of whack, presumably because Avro is willing to fib to sell its Jetliner.

"Aslib Annual Conference" The 24th Aslib Conference is the first since the amalgamatino of the "Association of Special Libraries and Information Bureaux wit the British Society for International Biography. It was mainly concerned with the "machinery and minutiae of information departments," although some papers on new libraries will be of interest to those building their own. The library at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment is one that is mentioned.

Labour Notes for  16 September is entirely concerned with the railways arbitration.

"Locomotive Poppet-Gear with Independently-Variable Events" A poppet-gear with a rotary vallve and those same "independent valves."

See? There is a use for quantum mechanics!
FR. Brailsford, "Magnetic Materials for Electrical Power Plants" Dr. Brailsford is interested in the theory of magnetic qualities in metals, which is to say, iron alloys. He reminds everyone just how much better American iron magnetic "sheets" are, discussing the metallurgial reason in detail (better carbon control and lower silicon), although I gather that silicon content is important to modern transformers steels. This is, he emphasises, important. The loss of power to magnetic hysteresis in current materials is equivalent to the full output of two very large power plants. So better transformer material could give enormous economies. He likes composite materials made of iron ferrites.

Notes on New Books
R. F. Fedorov's Lighting Techniques sounds pretty pedestrian. Palmer's Directory of Private Companies and C. H. McDowell's Dictionary of Plane Trigonometry and Geometry, Volume II are worthy books.

Flight, 22 September 1949


"Week of Commemoration" Battle of Britain blah blah. 

"Inter-City Jets" Atkins' talk was well-attended, but no comments were allowed, because he is silly and wrong and Canadian.

"DAK with Ambition: Armstrong Siddeley Mambas Transform a Familiar Transport Aircraft: Impressions from the Air" World around, the main choice of aircraft to replace the DC-3 is the DC-3. So why not replace it with one with Mambas, instead of settling for a slightly-more powerful radial? Because it would be expensive and because the Mamba is a bit too hot right now, and the conversion would cost   £20,000?  At least it sounds as though the installation is better than on the Apollo.

"The RAF Remembers" Blah, continued. 

"Slowing-Up Progress: New Dunlop Brake of High Efficiency" It's just another brake, but more compact and efficient. 

"In the Vampire Tradition: the Venom, with Ghost Turbojet: and the DH113, Our First Jet Night-fighter" To expand on last week's coverage, the Venom is the Vampire, only with a new hull and engine. The most obvious sign of the new hull is the wing planform. The D.H.113 is a private venture based on the Vampire with a two-seat nacelle. De Havilland describes it as having 8000ft and 130mph over the existing service night fighter, which is true of the Mosquito NF38 but not the Sea Hornet NF 21. That works out to 460mph and 37,500ft. The RAF has bought the plane, and it may go into R. Aux. AF squadron service, leading the way to a true all-weather fighter. 

Here and There

The Viscount has received a Certificate of Airworthiness. BOAC does not have a definitive policy for devaluation, yet. H. M. Garner is to be the Ministry of Supply's new Chief Scientist. The XB-51 is very pretty. The US Coast Guard has abandoned the search for the (single-engined) Beechcraft Bonanza that J. Brondello and C. Brioglio were trying to fly from the Azores to New York. A USAF B-29 recently completed the first successful Alaska-Norway flight. C. M. Poulsen was honoured by the R. Ae. S. for making Flight smart and readable, which turns out way harder than he made it look. SBAC said that the Avon gets 7500lbs, which is a breach of the Official Secrets Act and also wrong. A. A. Pollock, of autopilot fame, has retired from British Thomson-Houston.

Civil Aviation News

Various records and certficates: The Bristol 175, which I passed over in the Farnborough coverage of last week under the impression that it was another version of the Bristol Freighter, turns out to be (I'm reminded, as I knew this last spring!) their Empire Medium Range contender. Still. It is in the news again because there is a bit more technical information about it. The Proteus version clears a 50ft obstacle 4200ft from a standing start on takeoff under tropical conditions.

 South Africa has banned the export of numerous commodities, inspiring exporters to look to the air to beat the ban. How does that work??!? The AOAA-Pan Am merger agreement period has been extended to give the CAA time to decide whether it will be allowed. 

"Flashback to Farnborough" Remember Farnborough? The 707 and Air Horse were there, too! 

"Aircraft Radio To-Day" Flight had a look around the tables at Farnborough. The main impression is more and better VHF sets with more channels (and more crystals!) and remote control. 

E. H. Atkins, "Jets for Inter-City Transport" Atkins lays out the business case for jet airliners on 200--300 mile routes like the typical Canadian stages.  It seems as though the cost penalty for fuel consumption in extended stacking wipes out the small gains in utilisation rates, but Avro argues that it is possible to arrange things so that the jet stacks at altitude, reducing consumption until it makes sense. Others think that it doesn't even make sense to climb to 40,000ft to fly 200 miles, never mind descend from that and stack!

"Inside the Il-12: Czech-Operated Russian Airliner Visits Northolt: Flying Impressions" Since the replacement for the DC-3 is going to have to be much cheaper than anyone at Convair, Martin or Airspeed expected, perhaps we'll poke our heads in to see a Russian-built economy model. It's better than the Viking, anyway. I think this article might have been crammed in late to replace something, because the last two paragraphs repeat at the bottom of the Correspondence page. 


W. Sykes enjoyed Farnborough but is shocked and appalled that Britain can't win the speed record. W. H. Smith enjoyed the low-level, high speed flying, but thinks that it is only a matter of time before someone gets hurt. G. R. Satchler explains that "Soundproof" is wrong about civil aviation being impractical. I agree, but his argument is missing! E. V. Hammond remembers the old days, before the war.

Engineering, 23 September, 1949

"Monolithic Concrete Aeroplane Hangars" The flight of the Brabazon takes us to America and giant concrete hangars for B-36s. They're still a bit smaller than the hangar at Filton, but, then, it was an assembly hall. It is made of gigantic chunks of pre-stressed concrete, and my eyes unglazed at the discussion of "uncentering," which is the moment when you remove the gigantic timber struts that supported the roof elements until they were keyed together. I can't get over the idea of standing under these colossal vaults of concrete and pulling out the supports, even though the Americans say that it was safe and easy. [pdf]


J. W. Cullum's The Practical Application of Acoustical Principles gets a long review that wouldn't be entirely out of place at The Economist, in that it's basically a summary of the table of contents with some nitpicking at beginning and end (Cullum says that acoustics isn't a precise science in the introduction, and screws up some math on p. 175) to show that the reviewer read it. It's the book to read if you want to design a theatre where people can hear the movie. R. J. Forbes' A Short History of Distillation shows, at great length, that fractional column distillation was invented in the medieval era, in the Arab world, and quickly spread to Europe, so that there wasn't a very long gap between its discovery and various alchemical foolery. It's very worthy. The same can't be said of P. L. Capper's The Mechanics of Engineering Soils, which is one of the very few books on soil mechanics in Britain, and by a British author, which means that it is a pity that he subscribes to certain faulty generalisations and inadequate sampling techniques. Nevertheless, it is readable and full of useful information.

"Exhibits at the Scottish Industries Exhibition, Concluded." Tractors, mostly, with a side order of heavy electrical equipment and a derrick.

"Railway Vehicles for Construction of Overhead Conductor Systems" The LMR recently built two cars for the construction and maintenance of overhead conductor systems. It's nothing  very exciting, basically just a working platform on one car and a supporting shop in the other. Speaking of unexciting, I guess I'm skipping a short bit on the "World Congress of Librarianship and Bibliography," which will be in Washington in 1950. I bet it is almost as exciting as the International Conference on Building Documentation, which will be  held in Geneva in October.


"Engineering and the Canadian Market" 

Now that devaluation is out of the way, British engineering firms can really focus on selling in Canada. That means more sales people ("representatives") in Canada and attention to Canadian standards. This all seems (Ottawa-and-the-provinces-specified) boilerplate, but it goes on and on about "merchant venturers" and the "Elizabethan age" until my eyes were climbing the walls, admittedly not an uncommon response to Engineering articles, but the Leaders are usually livelier. Then, buried in the middle, I run across a suggestion that, since it is so darn important to the country, maybe the government would like to pay for the "representatives"? Sturdy self-reliance of private enterprise, etc.

"Unesco's Work for Science" Bargle! Argle Bargle! It's the United Nations Educational and Scientitic Organisation, and that's what it's doing, by Jove!

Notes covers "engineering education in Bristol," the centennary of a two-level bridge in Newcastle, and Canadian engineering standards, their applicability in Britain. Obituary notes the death of Bernard Pemberton Ellis, who worked on railway rolling stock at Thwaite Brothers from 1897 until he keeled over in his office, basically, with time out for war service


Edward Senior of the British Iron and Steel Federation explains that the Federation's firms have given dry cooling of coke all the attention it warrants, which, I have to say, was the impression that I took away from reading Reggie's summary of the article. In the same spirit of slightly pointless reply, P. K. Erikson writes, at length, about how he agrees with all the people who agreed with him about multilingual technical dictionaries. 

"Electro-Deposition Works of Fescol, Limited" Fescol started out in 1935 with a works inear London that deposited chromium coats on already-fabricated parts. They subsequently built a plant at Paris, and, most recently, in Glasgow. The thingies that hold up the bits that are sprayed with the  chromium ions are at least vaguely interesting.


"Julius Sumner Miller, Professor of Physics, Dillard University, New Orleans," sends in a pompous correction to the Science pages. It is wrong to say that magnets have positive and negative poles. Harold Simpson has a joke about "Carnot's Law," ("the perversity of inanimate objects tends to a maximum") which would be funnier if it wasn't one of my fiances' favourite sayings. J. E. Bacon of Little Rock likes the President. Dr. H. v. Dobeneck of Munich wants Newsweek to give Germany a break, as it is not easy to get democracy right overnight after centuries of authoritarian rule. Albert Deutsch denies leaving the New York Daily Compass because of his disagreement with the paper's attack on the Tom Clark appointment. Our editor wants us to know that Finland's foreign ministry takes Newsweek.

The Periscope

The Treasury is working up a briefing paper in case America has to take over Britain's financial commitments to its overseas possessions. The "5%" controversy rolls merrily along. The Administration is confident that some kind of aid to education measure will pass next session. The new RNC chairman is a bumbling novice. Democrats are talking about "tanking" the 1950 elections to encourage the Republicans to nominate the beatable Taft over Eisenhower. The Klan's decline in the South will accelerate as the Feds move in on their income tax. Everyone is warning the Greeks not to pursue the Communists into Albania, where a Tito-type rebellion might be brewing. Sweden is buying 24 subchasers in France, and the Russians are building naval defences in Latvia. France's wheat harvest will be even bigger than last year's, and Finland is looking for alternative markets for its metal-products industry, while the Justice Department will crack down on the Amtorg Trading Corporation because some of its agents are being naughty. The President will be allowed to spend the $75 million aid package to China as a secret service fund funding anti-Communist regimes and individuals in Asia, "an important key to a new U.S. policy in the Orient."

Yugoslavian Communists are better than other Communists, but still bad.  There is inflation in Argentina, occasional Russian desertions from their naval base in Helsinki, and no settlement in the Hawaiian dock strike yet. Congress might grant funds for experimental "desalting" plants to produce irrigation water for the West Coast. There will be an onion shortage next year due to the Florida hurricane and Texas cold spell, and there were still too many people stuck working part time, although unemployment is down and personal incomes will hit a new record.

Errol Flynn will do an MGM version of Kim, Fred Allen is doing Champagne for Caesar, and J. Arthur Rank's The Passion of St. Matthew is getting good advance notice.

The Mutual Network is fighting rumours about its future with a heavy advertising and pr campaign. Chesterfield is adding Robert Q. Lewis to a stable that includes Bing Crosby, Arthur Godfrey and Perry Como. Carl Van Doren has given Charles O'Neill's Morning Time an "enthusiastic cover blurb."

Washington Trends reports that no-one wants to use the fact-finding device that the President used to avert a steel strike in later disputes. Barter arrangements for the US strategic materials reserve are a possibility. The Commodity Control Board would love to get rid of its dried milk and eggs, tinned beef and other commodities, but the price has to be right. The Administration believes it can weather the storm over the decision to let the British spend $175 million in ECA aid on Canadian wheat. Congress will also push back against aid to Tito, because he is a Communist and is mean to missionaries. They will also object to being nice to Tito but not Franco. The final military budget is likely to be $4.25 billion for the Air Force, $4 billion for the Army, $3.75 billion for the Navy, meaning a 48 group air force, army reduction by 100,000 men, and more naval mothballing. Excise tax cuts (for example, on margarine) will have to wait until the budget is in surplus.

National Affairs

"Rows, Strike Talk and Tragedy" The strike talk now is over coal, and the tragedy is the Noronic fire in Toronto that killed at least 120 mostly American vacationers, a terrible black eye for Canada, I think.  A separate story covers Paul Hoffman's warning that Europe needs to get its house in order considering an American deficit hitting $3.5 billion.

"Victory for Truman" The Administration has won renewal of the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act without a tariff-friendly GOP amendment defeated mainly by GOP absentees from the vote. Also, Truman's new Supreme Court nominee, Sherman Minton, gets a pocket biography. Remember the time that he wanted to pass legislation penalising news outlets that published misleading news stories about the New Deal? Remember when he found that the A and P grocery chain was a monopoly and needed to be broken up? Wait a minute, that was this week. Two stories for the price of one!

"School Aid Muddle" Now that Eleanor Roosevelt has dropped her fight over aid to Catholic parochial education and Cardinal Spellman, Howard Lehman can run for the Senate. (John Foster Dulles gets his sternness on by opposing all Federal-aid to schools.)

(Death Metal Christmas!)
A B-36 crash at Carswell Air Force Base kills five and marks the first crash for the type. Major General Alden Waitt's extraordinary letter to General Vaughan denouncing all of his subordinates as unfit to replace him, didn't lead to him keeping his job. It did lead to Anthony McAuliffe getting the job. If you can jump out of a plane, how hard can chemistry be? With the Navy still talking down the B-36, Secretary Jounson has sent their pointman, Captain John Crommelin, to Siberia. Or, no, Stalin wouldn't go for that, so the Directorate of Naval Aviation Personnel. Same same. Except it usually comes with a promotion to flag rank, so not as much of a deterrent as it could be, so if the Navy still doesn't get the message, expect the Secretary to come down even harder.

That's all the hard news, so now it is on to crime, featuring the murder of a hit man and a policeman. I wouldn't mention these except that, oddly enough, after Crime, Communists gets a header, as Newsweek goes to their 30th anniversary. It wasn't much, because no-one turns out for Communist events in New York any more, I wonder why. (Actually, I don't, but, if I did, Newsweek explains that it is because Communism is awful with the Lysenkoism and the party line and the antisemitism, and not because you'll get fired if you turn out.)
"Rudolf the Red--" Communists are tricky! The whole song is the Communist Manifesto!

A Special Report (three pages) describes the urban renewal of Pittsburgh, which gets hardly any smog these days.  


"Slash Sets off a Chain Reaction" Sir Stafford "Tight Lipps" Cripps gets high praise for keeping the secret of devaluation in the bag. And now that the pound has been devalued from $4.03 to $2.80, food prices rocket up everywhere. The trick will be to keep wages and profits steady, or all will be for naught.

"Significance of the Devaluation of the Pound"

Ultimately, Cripps had to devalue because everyone expected him to devalue, so there was a run on the pound, and everyone was holding off on paying bills. "Short" interest on the pound would have hit a half billion pounds had he not. The expectation is that the British cost of living will go up between 5 and 8%, and it will be a shock for companies importing American raw materials (textiles, in other words). Other European countries are devaluing. It is hoped that the improved competitiveness of colonial products compared with American will promote development in the colonies. The talk now is of a November election, before the cost of devaluation is brought home to the voters.

A series of stories cover Western Defence Union talks.

"Lull Before the Storm" Andrei Vishinsky dropped by the US Embassy to finalise the Austrian treaty, and all was warm and cordial. The upcoming General Assembly session, which will discuss the Italian colonies, the status of Indonesia and Korea, the threat to Greece, atomic energy control, arms reduction and human rights violations by Soviet satellites, will not be warm and cordial.

"And Next a Japan Peace Treaty" Britain and America have agreed to press ahead with a Japanese peace within the next few months, whether or not China and the Soviets want to play ball. Washington seems to have written off China, including Formosa, and an immediate recognition of Red China, also urged by India, is being considered. General MacArthur favours some kind of Pacific pact to extend United Nations protection to Japan. In Canton, mobs riot through the streets hunting Koumintang conscription agents, while Chiang tours the western provinces trying to win over Szechwan.

Around Europe, the French like wine, the show trial of Laszlo Rajk features the usual self-denunciation, and the Polish delegates to the first postwar conference of the International Union Against the Venereal Diseases are caught short after trying to argue that prostitution is due to capitalism, while the 29th International Conference of the World Union of Freethinkers is split over the idea of cooperating with Communists, who are a lot like Catholics.

After an assortment of additional anti-communist stories, "Atomic Lullaby," which points out that "Even Russian babies can now reasonably surmise that the Soviet Union has made or is making atom bombs," because the latest Soviet lullaby celebrates the Soviet atom bomb and its peaceful use for blowing up inconvenient mountains.

Konrad Adenauer has been officially elected Chancellor of Germany. Also, Max Reimann, son of the East German Communist leader, has come over to the west. His father blames the Nazis.

Joseph K. Phillips becomes the latest American-with-an-opinion to have an opinion about Italy in Foreign Tides. It's that he's having a great vacation In Italy, and it's hard to believe it's as bad as all that. But maybe it is? Who can say? Certainly not a highly-paid columnist who is paid to say. (And because I am not a sarcastic person, I'll add that there are other Newsweek columnists who could spare us saying.)

Noronnc fire: A simulation
"Order of the Bath" Bath (yes, the city) has a deputy water engineer, who has told the residents to take no more than one bath a week in no more than five inches of water.  Is the heat wave still on in Britain? I'm sure it is, but this doesn't help the country's reputation! At least he didn't forbid tooth-brushing.

Canada is not boring this week thanks to Noronic. Except there's room for a column about the opening of Parliament and it's back to sleep.


"Who'll Pay for Steel Pensions?" The steel companies. Next! (The steel companies oppose noncontributory social insurance and pensions "both as a matter of cost and a matter of principle." How does someone write that with a straight face? How dumb do they think we readers are?

"Coal Rumblings" A coal strike next? Follows stories about changes in used car marketing and the latest set of readings from the perhaps-post-recession economy.

"Now the A and P" Newsweek covers the antitrust charges brought against the 90-year-old grocery empire, explaining why the Truman Administration thinks that it is a monopoly in spite of not actually being a monopoly.

What's New announces tinted rubber, courtesy of the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company, Western Plastic Service of Great Falls, Montana's green Plexiglas windshield visor, which extends the entire length of the windshiield, Homemakers Haven's new pan designed specifically for frying bacon and eggs, Engineering Achievements of New Orleans has a magnetic latch for cabinets and cupboards, Syncro Corporation of Rochester, Michigan, has an electrified hone for sharpening knives and tools, and Budd Company has a stainless steel diesel car for short runs, able to accommodate 90 passengers.

Trends and Changes reports changes at the top at 3M, the house of Scotch Tape, while Alexander Fraser of Shell Union Oil Company told oilmen that they and the auto companies should get behind better highways and oppose no-parking signs, or they will kill their golden goose. The Federal Deposit Insurance Company wants its reserves increased.

Business Tides misdirects "Fourth Round in Disguise"

You won't believe this, but Henry Hazlitt doesn't understand why a pension contribution increase is less inflationary than a pay increase. Actually, he evidently doesn't understand how worries about inflation relate to the fourth round. Since I'm pretty sure he knew this in the Spring my guess is that he hit his head during summer vacation. Poor Henry!

Science, Medicine

"Revolution in Robotland" Harvard's Computation Laboratory held a symposium on large-scale computing last week. Howard Aiken, of the Lab, pointed out that if all the computing machines currently in the planning stages were to be completed tomorrow, there would not be "nearly" enough trained men to run them. (I see one problem here!) Aiken says that, with the delivery of the Harvard Mark III to the United States Navy Proving Groiund at Dahlgren, he is through designing mathematical robots, and will move on to the question of putting computers to work on practical problems, particularly in economics and the social sciences. Focussing on mechanics has led to computers that are far faster and more versatile than ever before. At this point, it is work that is wanted, since a man (again!) with pen and pencil can do anything a computer can do, just slower. You only need computers when the computer becomes cheaper than a mass of people (was that so hard?) with pens and paper. And slide rules, Don't forget slide rules. Anyway, economics and social sciences are promising because they already deal with great masses of statistics, as for example aptitude tests, which might be analysed by computers to infallibly place people in the careers to which they are most suited.

"Unseasonable Conservation" Percy Viosca, formerly Director of Fisheries at the Louisana Department of Conservation, thinks that seasonal limits on fishing are all wrong.

"Help for Hearts" Tucked in amongst 55 other grants worth $8.6 million was one of $26,827 to John H. Gibbon of Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, for "an apparatus for the artificial maintenance of life during the temporary cessation of blood flow through the heart and lungs." This is just the lead item in a six-fold increase in Federal government grants via the NHA to fight the nation's greatest killer. Other research covers hereditary and diet factors, new drugs such as ACTH and cortisone, new diagnostic instruments like the electrokymograph and ballistocardiograph, and new surgical methods.

"After Paralysis" This year's polio epidemic is on the wane, with 2705 cases this week compared with 3198 last, attention is turning towards treating those permanently afflicted. Braces make it possible for people with leg paralysis to live a full life, but there are no braces for the arms. Or weren't, as doctors are working on a variety of mechanical palliatives to either assist movement or help build up strength. The article is illustrated with an electric typewriter, ideal for paralyzed hands.

"Watch for Madness" Drs. Louis Moench and G. Gill Richards of Salt Lake City remind doctors to watch for the symptoms of psychosis in their patients in the current issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association before the patient shows up in their waiting room with a revolver. While there are 300,000 schizophrenics in hospitals in America, it is estimated that there are five million "pre- or early-schizophrenics" functioning "on the fringes of reality." Psychiatrists prefer to treat their patients early, so they would be very grateful to get a doctor's referral, which will probably do more good than having a random organ out because it talks to the patient.

"GI Jumble" It is very confusing which schools qualify for GI loands and which don't since the VA tried to crack down on the fake ones. Also, everyone is talking about the Carnegie Institute of Technology's new Carnegie Plan, a "school for bosses."

The New Pictures

Newsweek follows time in reviewing Saints and Sinners, which it liked more than its contemporary. Roseanna McCoy is a film treatment of the famed Hatfields and McCoy feud, while Germany Year Zero is Roberto Rosselini's "unique study in human degradation."

Radio-Television, Press, People

"Back in Print" The Chicago typographers' strike is over, with a $10/week raise (to $95.50) instead of the $100 they asked for.

General Eichelberger's memoirs are rootin' and tootin', the New York Post Home News is better than it used to be, in part because it fired some of its 45(!) columnists,and the  London Daily Telegraph has egg on its face for running a made-up letter, supposedly from a Nigerian who writes in funny English, but actually cribbed from an old American Mercury. A Detroit paper runs with the headline "Headless Torso Leads Police to Suspect Foul Play."

"Corwin -1949" Norman Corwin's Very Worthy public service radio show for the UN (replacing his old CBS contract) might be coming to a TV dead corner soon. Richard Montgomery's show will cover the opposite corner, but because he doesn't like socialism, it will not be a dead one.

A little old lady in London is upset at the price of whisky. Ernest Bevin's emergency tooth pull in Washington last week is still a story, because his dentist discovered that his tooth had two roots, and it is going to a museum. Sonja Henie married this week, to Winthrop Gardiner, Jr., which is a real name. It is hilarious that a recent streetcar accident in Washington occurred between two of the transit company's ten female drivers. Madame Sun Yat-sen sent Henry Wallace birthday greetings, hint, hint. Mary Garden thinks that music is dying in America because there aren't enough opera houses.

Newsweek tries out a new section, with Fashion, following In Transition (which I should probably stop calling "People," since I've given up on 'normalising' Letter sections). Looking at pretty pictures of pretty models always makes me self-reflective! The story's about Schiaparelli again. That woman's got seriously good pr.

Ty Cobbs is getting married, as is Huntington Hartford (which is a real name), the A and P heir. Whereas Irving Berlin's daughter is getting divorced, Senator Morse is in hospital after falling from his horse, and August Krogh, Harry Thacker Burleigh, Ernest Bonham and Frank Morgan have died. Bonham was only 36. A pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates, he died on the table during an appendectomy.


Harold Nicolson's life of Benjamin Constant is a good treatment of the very important life of the important person by the great writer of good treatments of very important people. If Eliot Paul's latest novel is as middlebrow as the author photograph, well, look out Father Merton and Arnold Toynbee put together! Constance Fitzgibbon's The Iron Hoop is a "moving allegorical novel,"  while Robert Nathan's The River Journey is a "fantasy on modern-day living."

Raymond Moley anchors the back page with a blither-blather about how the Comptroller-General's office should do a better job of comptrolling the budget lest assorted politicians spend too much.

Flight, 29 September, 1949


"The Brabazon" This issue has a 29 page insert about the Brabazon. Remember how, three years ago, Flight asked whether the B-36 would be a milestone or a millstone? The B-36 is vindicated, so why not the Brabazon? 

"Tradition to Maintain" Last weekend's Air Exercise  maintains a long tradition of generating cranky criticism about how there's no new bombers again this year. Remember how the RAF got a pass during FOIL in June, because that exercise had a "fighter bias"? No excuses this time round! Certainly not for bad weather, which is also an Air Exercise Tradition. Flight went up in a Meteor 7 to intercept some B-29s. It sounds like a bit of a shoot out, although Flight was mostly hors de combat after hitting its journalistic head on the cockpit roof during some turbulence. French and Dutch squadrons also came out to play, which is nice, because they're not covered by the Official Secrets Act. Another Flight correspondent flew in a Harvard of Training Command which did some low-altitude bombing runs, some of which were intercepted with heavy casualties, while others weren't and wrecked the airfields they attacked. 

"Brabazon Bulletin" The Brab was supposed to be a 50--72 passenger aircraft for direct London--New York operation. This has been raised to 100, bringing it closer to profitability. Work on cabin pressure (Marshall blowers), wing structure, undercarriage (Dowty), and the electrical supply (3 phase 208V 400-cycle AC) have been very challenging, and successful. It might be in service in 1954. The powered controls all have follow-up, redundancy and aerodynamic "feel." There is automatic gust alleviation. The design embodies new approaches to anti-icing and fire prevention as well. The bulletin only discusses the current power plant, the double Centaurus; but, again, the double engine-single-installation-contrarotating, reversible prop is a byzantine installation of a kind that still hasn't been proven in military, never mind civil service. (But see below.)

Here and There

Bristol reminds everyone that the Theseus is making steady progress, while the Canadair-built North American F-86s will use the Canadian Orenda engine. King Feisal of Iraq is said to be looking at an Apollo as a private plane. The People's Police Force of the Russian Zone of eastern Germany will have an air force by next spring. Pilots are warned not to run into B-50s and B-29s doing refuelling exercises over Great Yarmouth. 

"Anti-Submarine" Well, here's a surprise, a replacement for the Barracuda and that weird Firefly ASW variant. It is the Fairey 17, and has a double Mamban driving contrarotating props. There is also a Blackburn rival, the YAS, temporarily engined with a Griffon but designed for a turboprop. That's the second Navy double-turboprop installation after the Wyvern with the double Python. 

"Canada's Jet Liner: Key Features of the Avro C-102" The Avro Jetliner has conspicuously failed to win any purchase orders. With a maximum speed of 421mph it isn't clear to me that it will, because without higher utilisation rates the case for a jet airliner, especially one with an old and particularly thirsty engine falls apart. Sorry, Canada. 

American Notebook

"Jets be Damoned!" "Favonius" is back to catch us up. Way back at the '48 Los Angeles meeting of the Society of Automotive Engineers, Douglas and Lockheed came"flat out" for a 1955 jet airliner, while Convair wanted to transition via a turboprop development of the 240, and is still waiting to see how the Allison T-40 does on the XP5Y-1. Northrop was talking about a flying wing (of course!) transport to be powered by its 10,000hp Turbodyne, latest incarnation of the company's prewar turbojet. The airlines, for their part, were barely even interested in the turboprop. 

A long, long year later, looking to 1955 and realising that the planes of 1955 will still be flying in the distant day of 1965, it seems that the moment for the turboprop has been missed. The Comet will likely be in service in 1955, and it will be old, old news in 1965. Aviation Week hopes that the Comet will fall out of the sky and need to be redesigned with a bigger tail. And if there is a jet airliner, it had better be ready soon, because Howard Hughes won't hesitate to order British if there is no American rival in ten years! The fact that he has brought Ralph Damon on board at TWA fresh from Curtiss-Wright proves that. To Favonius, anyway. Also, Wellwood Beall has put his seal to the discussion, arguing that jet transports are feasible and will be economical once built --but will not be built until there is a military order. It's not a British style subsidy, mind you, no Welfare State over here! He visualises something that looks like a B-47, although Favonius" isn't sure how you get all the fuel in and have room for passengers. Also, the B-47 has a wing loading of up to 120 lb/sq feet, which is why it takes off under rocket. That is not how a jet airliner is going to operate! In short, "Favonius" thinks that Beall is trying to be too hasty and that America can well afford to buy a few turbine-powered airliners as a bit of reverse Marshall aid. 

"'Heron' At Home" Royal Naval Air Station "Heron" invites the public to see Sea Hornets and S-51s. 

"Gas-Turbine Safety" Icing is the biggest safety problem facing gas turbines right now. Centrifugal compressors probably do a better job with it than axial, and De Havilland reminds everyone that the Ghost is not only centrifugal, but has the most advanced anti-icing and anti-fire provisions of any engine out there. Inlet air is heated, and the oil feed to auxiliaries kept carefully out of the way of the main heat flow. Flight has a quarter page to fill, and lets everyone know that it went to a fine paper called "Economics of the Helicopter: Past, Present and Future" and has a nice pamphlet on hand about the uses of the photo-cell for burglar and other motion alarms by Radiovisor Patent. 

"Air Compressor Improvements: Hymatic Two-stage Intercooled Unit Rated for 1000 lb/sq in: Development Work on 3000lb/sq in Type" Hymatic not only has a two-stage compressor, it is working on a three-stage! Since this article, too, declines to reach the bottom of the page, we are told about "Progress in Turkey," which concerns someone having a private plane there. 

Civil Aviation News

The big news is that everyone in America is super jealous and mad about all those great British jets and turboprops and devaluation, which makes the Viscount an even more attractive DC-3/4 replacement. A bit of a consolation for Atlantic fares going up 44% due to devaluation! Also, Tasman Empire is buying more Solents to replace its Sandringhams, while BOAC is finally withdrawing its five Liberators from the UK-Canada service, which has been mail and freight only since 1946. BEA is closing its north Wales-south Wales service, since no one was taking it. There has been a conference on the future of the Viscount. There are 100 sales expected, including a definitive buy of 40 from BOAC and BEA. The cost is not cheap --£ 167,000, although this will come down if more are ordered, and Canada and Australia sound like likely customers. 

"Jet Tunnel" Wind tunnels are quite expensive, but recently English Electric built a very cheap installation by simply installing a Nene in a short length of tunnel. It gives Mach 0.9 airflow, and probably won't suffer too much from condensation most of the year. And, again, since we're not getting to the bottom of the page, Handley Page is working on a new trainer, Lear Incorporated's Romec Division in Elyria, Ohio, has a new pressure regulator, and a new hangar in Rome is an amazing bit of architecture in concrete.  

"Gas-Turbine Starting by Turbine: New Plessey Cartridge Starter" As a discriminating judge of filler,  I would have reversed the order of this and the bit underneath, which features the official RAAF order for the Commonwealth CA-22 trainer.  However, the idea of starting a gas turbine with a starter turbine started by an explosive cartridge is kind of clever, I'll give it that. 


"Statistician" takes issue with Satchler's dismissal of "Soundproof." Is that incestuous enough? "Soundproof" says that flying is more dangerous than the train. Satchler says it's not, and that he  has statistics to prove it. Well, says "Statistician," no one else does! "Hush-a-Bye" updates us with Si Alan Herbert's war on London Airport over in the letters column of the Times of London. He seems to be winning the battle, and, unlike "Hush-a-Bye," he isn't on the route of the 4am York outbound and down. Which, if it does not wake poor "Hush-a-Bye" up, leaves  him dreaming of being chased, naked, across an airfield by four Spitfires piloted by Russians "carrying green-and-yellow striped atom bombs" under their wings --which leads to screams, and the waking of the wife, which is even worse. And even worse than that, judging by Farnborough, is the thought of what will happen when the 4am Yorks are replaced by "four thunderous, reheated drainpipes." "Doomie" doesn't want relocating to a desert island before the Jet Age, but he does want Britain to take the speed record back, pronto.

Engineering, 30 September 1949

"Electrification of Liverpool-Street to Shenfield Railway" Upon looking this up in a reference that is not Engineering, I discover that Liverpool-Street is a railway station in London, and that Shenfield is a town in Essex, which, it you're not au courant with British geography, as I am not, is a run of  36 miles. Various challenges were met and overcome, the substations are automated, there was some difficulty with replacing signals on bridges, as had to be done as part of the electrification, don't ask me why. Power is supplied at between 25 and 33 kV at 50 cycles, and, as always, it's a bit wild to think of that much voltage docilely going about its business in the middle of London and surrounding areas that aren't quite London.

Literature reviews J. H. Awbery, A Textbook on Heat, which seems to have been handed over to the author of a rival textbook for review, because nitpick, nitpick, nitpick. G. L. Hormer's Practical Astronomy: A Text-book for Engineering Schools and a Manual of Field Methods is in its fourth edition. In some other review this month, the reviewer points out that once a book hits its fourth edition, it is hard to argue with its quality. This review doesn't do that; it does the other thing, and summarises the table of contents. A. H. Church's Elementary Mechanical Vibrations is the latest textbook on the subject. There are too many of them, the reviewer seems to think, but this is a good one.

J. B. Dean, "Japanese Postwar Shipbuilding" Oh, dear. One of James' former colleagues at the Engineering Branch lets the side down. He does a good job in describing how the Japanese shipbuilding industry has restored its fortunes since the war, taking a leading role in winning export earnings for Japan. Where he goes wrong is in the usual baloney about "copy-cats" and "unimaginative" "lack of initiative. To get a taste of it, he makes fun of the sad fate of Japan's big battleships. Well. And Prince of Wales? I'd say that as far as we investors in Japanese shipbuilding go, the more we are underestimated, the better. But I do so wish I could yell at the man.

"Universal and Grinding Machines" Messrs Thomas Sadler's universal and grinding machines are the best ever.

Very worthy bits about the various scholarship schemes run by the Ford Motor Company, an upcoming series of post-graduate lectures on steelworks plants at the University of London, and the Pathfinder back-pull wire-drawing machine of Marshall Richards Machine Company, Crooks, Duirham, which goes on for pages, as this is a particularly interesting and important back-pull wire-drawing machine. Back-pull is opposed to regular wire-drawing, and turns out to be vastly better, says Marshall Richards.

British Standards Specifications are issued for polythene-insulated cables, silver anodes and salts for electroplating, and immersion heaters.


"The Metric System" Engineering is as tired of hearing about this as you are. It therefore decrees an end to letters about it, and to discussions of converting to the metric system. It would probably cost $2 billion to convert America to metric, and that is a lot of money even if metric were all it was cracked up to be (it's not), and even if Imperial were as bad as they say (it's got thirds and quarters and "natural" units like feet and cups). Also, considering that Imperial countries outproduce metric in total output 5 to 2, it is putting the cart before the horse.

"Smoke Abatement" The postwar smoke problem might not be as bad as some say, since it only affects "some districts," but more should be done about it than is being done.


Well, it had to come somewhere! Russia is an atomic power, as the PM got around to admitting on the 23rd. What happens now? Nothing, and certainly not a statement in the House by the Prime Minister. In other notes, the International Motor Exhibit opened on Wednesday. Engineering very briefly describes the exhibits. Hopefully it will be by son to look at convertibles and power boats and so on. Unless that's all too un-technical for it. It did skip the Radialympia, which was too model-aeroplane-
ish for it. The Institute of Road Transport and some Scottish worthies are also having meetings.

"Hydro-Electric Developments in Italy" It's nice that not all "developments" in Italy are forebodingly foretelling Communist or Fascist takeover. These ones involve generating large amounts of electiricty with giant turbines installed in innovative hydraulic structures, instead. 

Obituary reports the death of C. L. Fortescue at the age of 68. Professor Fortescue has taught electrical engineering at the University of London since being released from war work the the old Electrical and Torpedo School at the end of WWI, and is fondly remembered by his many students.

"Gauges for Cylinder Bores and Crankshaft Deflections" Thomas Mercer's collapsible cylinder gauge for very large Diesel engines is the best of its kind. (It looks like a harpoon!) So is the much smaller crankshaft deflection gauge!

"Military Radar Research and Development" Malvern had a nice open-housish session introduced by the Minister of Supply himself, where they talked about radar from the war, up to and including the sets that fought the V-1, and a postwar innovation, WATCHDOG, which tries to use radar to monitor enemy tank movements on the battlefield! Coo! There was also a demonstration of the centrifuge that Farnborough uses to test electrical components for missiles. If repeated comment marks continuing interest, Malvern seems very interested in the modulators that feed power to magnetrons and other high-power radar emitters, since they have to take even larger power inputs from engines and convert them into very fast pulses.

"The Manufacture of Tracing Paper at Chartham" Tracing paper is indispensable to the engineering industry. Up to about 1935, a German factory had a monopoly, pretty much, at which point Messrs. Wiggens, Teape and Alex Pixie (Sales) entered the picture with an, I'm guessing licensed operation. Making good, clean tracing paper is hard, it turns out.

H. Watson, "Jet Propulsion in Ships" There are two ways to do this. The first is "jetting" water in a well through the ship using a gas turbine, which is interesting but nothing to write home about. The other is to use the combustion gas, bubbled into the water, which seems like fodder for a childish joke, and is, in fact, totally impractical due to the fact that it will melt the ship. But if it were practical, it would be very efficient, so it is worth continuing work.

A. L. Whiteley, "Electronics in War and Peace" This is a precis of a paper given at the British Association, but it is important enough to justify its own place. Dr. Whiteley is an eminence gris of British electronics, but this is a bit of the old self-denunciation. In spite of their obvious advantages of precision, electronics have not made anywhere near as much of an impression on industry as you would expect. The reason? Valves have a long way to go before they are reliable enough for most industrial applications yet. Whiteley mentions control of paper placement in high speed printing with photoelectrics, electronic gun mountings, which require precision motors and gearing, welding machines, which still have an annoying tendency of burning through the intended weld due to the machine putting weight on the piece, and simple "balanced" electric circuits that keep a process on track without the need for complex valves. All of it can be made so much better with better valves.

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