Sunday, January 2, 2022

Postblogging Technology, September 1961, II: Production Bottlenecks


R_. C_.,

Dear Father:
I hope this finds you well. You will be glad to know that I followed your advice and took Ana and Jimmy up to Chinatown on the weekend. Ana had a grand time, while the staff at the Gold Garden fussed over Jimmy even after he started to get colicky. Back home in Palo Alto, she started singing as we put our treasures away. I was a bit worried that it was the Fenyang song, but I'm no-one to talk!

Speaking of being an absent mother, second year law seems like less work than first year. My old cronies, now firmly ensconced in the empyrean realms of Third Year, tell me that that's normal and that I should really be worrying about the Bar, like them. Reggie's first leave is in October, and there's some talk of a short attachment at Barbers Point to take one of the Willie Victors up for a spin. This would probably not be until  the New Year, because Lockheed is still busy stuffing more vacuum tubes into it, and apparently you can't just open the lid and step on them for some reason. That will at least bring him through the Bay and make him happy because it would involve not being in a flying boat. 

And that's the story of the week! 

Your Loving Daughter,



Gerald Hughes of Los Angeles and Joan Byles of New York are very pleased with the unbiased and very professional journalism of Newsweek'ss pro-Franco stories about how the Spanish are the best anti-Communists of all. Kenneth Sprouse says, not so fast, what about the way Franco's Spain persecutes . . . wait for it . .. Protestants! Readers thought that the nice new whitewalled tires on a saluting gun welcoming Eisenhower to somewhere in Europe from somewhere else in Europe showed that ECA money was being wasted on paint instead of important stuff. Newsweek investigates and it turns out the guns were French, and you know those French! The owner of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is very upset about the article that said the newspaper was losing money and for sale. For Your Information is back from its European trip to report that the European economy is on the mend, thanks to the Marshall Plan, which everyone over there is very grateful for. The British aren't recovering quite as quickly as the Continent, but everyone expects an election in the fall and a Conservative victory, with Winston Churchill's return raising morale and leading to an economic breakthrough. France is nice, but they aren't buying enough guns, and so is Germany, where productivity is up 130% since 1936. General Eisenhower is just the greatest guy. Anthony Eden will be Prime Minister after Churchill, and everyone is looking to R.A. Butler, David EcclesMaxwell Fyfe and Anthony Nutting as the next generation of Conservative politicians. 
Chas. Phelps Taft married Eleanor Kellogg Chase. His siblings were a professor at Bryn Mawr and Senator Taft

The Periscope reports that sources close to Robert Taft think that everyone is sick of Eisenhower and that Taft is a shoe-in for the nomination in '52 and that no-one need ever think about Charles Taft ever again. President Romilio is in the doghouse for complaining that the Philippines (and other Asian countries) didn't get enough reparations in the peace treaty, while the French are in trouble for not taking the peace treaty seriously and aiming to use it as leverage in military aid negotiations. John Foster Dulles and Dean Acheson are popular now because they were stern to the Soviet delegation on live television.  Truman will run against Congress, Army brass are concerned about desegregation because it might lead to its Coloured officers commanding White troops. The State Department is being stern with India over Kashmir and is going to start sending diplomatic couriers travelling in Eastern Europe in pairs, out of concern that some couriers from other European nations have been murdered. The situation in Iran is still alarming because if Mossadegh continues on his course, Iran's economy will collapse, causing instability and a Communist takeover. Indian officials are still convinced that the Chinese are allowing the Russians to use airfields in western Tibet, because they have been picking up radar signals thereabouts. They are also sending MiG-15s to eastern Germany and building an underground factory to produce them in quantity. The Air Force has only been publicising its atomic airplane because the Navy is publicising its atomic submarine. The atomic plane won't be ready for ten years, unlike the "simpler" atomic submarine, which will be ready by 1954. Military scientists have an atom bombs that can be carried by jet fighters ready for production, and are working on a new secret weapon that "combines developments in atomic and germ warfare." Jess Lasky is working on a biographical picture about John Philip SousaOlivia de Havilland and Gregory Peck are set to star in a movie about President Andrew Jackson and his wife, Rachel, based on the novel by Irving Stone. Two film projects for Jean Harlow may be rewritten for Lana Turner. McGraw-Hill is set to bring out a series of books on parenting, while anti-tax crusader and Connecticut industrialist, Vivian Kellems, is bringing out a book. 

Washington Trends reports that official Washington is confident that UN forces in Korea can weather a Red offensive, although "the sky's the limit" for air force appropriations for new weapons. "Encouraging reports" about guided missile progress are behind the spate of reports about secret weapons last week. The British are lining up behind the French for concrete returns for their support for the Japanese peace treaty, but haven't asked for anything except some steel, yet. A hike in the first class letter postal rate to 4 cents is not set in stone, and Phil Murray may stay on as president of the CIO. 

National Affairs

The lead story is about an election the United States appears to be having  next year. I think it involves the President. Congress, and stop me if you've heard this one, appears to be open to spending an enormous amount of money on airpower, which is about all the national news this week, since almost the next story is about a reservist who might have got into trouble for complaining about Navy chow to the press, and the one after is about a woman experiencing strange sounds in her pregnancy that, the midwife says, are the baby crying in the womb. This is followed by one about an elderly cat lady giving out dollar bills to boys so they won't throw rocks at strays. Rain has led to more flooding on the lower Missouri. 

"Row Over Mow"  Newsweek gingerly steps around the Koumintang/China Lobby corruption scandal that came to light after Chiang tried to recall his purchasing agent in Washington, General Mow Pang Chu and his aide, Hsaing Wei-hsian. After a colourful introduction featuring the pair attending a banquet in honour of Wellington Koo at the Washington embassy armed, and with bodyguards, it bogs down a bit in the details of skimming on gasoline purchase contracts which Mow can document without going too far into an alleged $20 million missing from Mow's accounts. Newsweek then manages to mention that this is a drop in the bucket compared with the amount likely embezzled from the $500 million that Congress spent on the Chinese currency stabilisation scheme during the war. It then concludes that, given the sensitive political situation in Asia, General Mow isn't likely to be called before a nonexistent Senate investigation into the China Lobby, because the State Department won't press for one. 

Ernest K. Lindley's Washington Tides has "The Kremlin Dilemma," mostly a long and boring rehearsal of stuff we already know, but cuts through it with a basic point. For alleged masters of propaganda, Kremlin diplomacy has been pretty unsuccessful for the last few years, with the embarrassing failure in San Francisco the latest example. At this point they have the alternative of either offering more concessions or "more force." I would personally qualify this by saying that the talk of a Soviet masterstroke to derail the peace treaty came from the Western press, and the Russians were pretty successful in rallying the Asian powers against it. The fact that they don't matter doesn't really change the fact that the Russians have made progress with India, something Lindley indirectly admits by scolding Nehru for opposing the peace treaty. 

Follows an entire Special Report on Radio Free Europe, an exhaustive report under International on "Red Defeat at San Francisco: Is It Too Good to be True?" and word that the Red Cross' latest blood drive has failed, and America should be embarrassed and ashamed. Japanese delegates were well-treated in San Francisco and enjoyed it, but found American diets to be rich, and American wastefulness to be wasteful. 

General Eichelberger has been invited to contribute "Japan's Balancing Role," which explains that Japan can balance the strategic situation in Asia by being the well-armed ally of America and all its other allies, you know, the Europeans. 

Foreign Affairs

"And Now Germany" Newsweek covers the movement towards a German peace treaty, and perhaps an "Italian redeal." The Germans are likely to want most favoured nation status, like Japan, and this bears on the question of who will pay the costs of Allied troops stationed in Germany. One thing holding up a treaty, is Adenauer's delaying tactics. He is finding the Allied desire for a deal that expresses the will of the German people useful in managing the Bundestag. "Nest for Nato Hawks" plays on the translation of the name for the Azores Islands, "islands of the hawks," to report that Portugal has signed a deal to allow NATO to use airbases in the islands, including Lagens Field on Terceira, built by the US in 1944 to host antisubmarine aircraft. Week-end rioting in Stockholm came after weeks of crowds of teenagers making trouble in the parks. Newsweek says it was caused by  Haile Selassie's grandson, Merid Beyne, walking out with a white girl. In Greece, Marshal Papagos' "Greek Rally" party won a parliamentary majority, and King Talal, the new ruler of Transjordan, is a mystery, with people wondering if he is as pro-British as his brother, Naif, which is a real name. Mexico has a whole page's worth of politics this week.


The Periscope's Business Trends section reports that no-one is sure how much civilian production will be curtailed or when the rearmament programme will hit full speed. We are sure that the structural steel shortage will continue into 1952 and will hit many durable goods, forcing the Defence Production Agency to distinguish what counts as a durable good for consumer production, and what doesn't. The government is shelving plants to stimulate artificial wool production now that prices have come down. The thaw in wage freezes is well on, the Federal Reserve is cracking down on credit violations, America is headed towards another huge positive trade balance, and Britain's emergency plea for 800,000 tons of steel has been temporarily rejected. It will have to come out of ECA aid. 

A long story about the "great squeeze" as armaments production gets rolling turns out to be a round of Washington offices to find out if the dollar-a-year men think that that's what is going on. They do! On the other hand, it could be the commodity shortage, as the next story explains how the end of the copper squeeze gets some production rolling. The latest shortage? Small change, especially nickels, which is hard to explain. The aviation industry's latest manpower shortage is of aviation mechanics. The shortage will probably continue for the foreseeable future considering how quickly commercial aviation is growing. Macy's has a nice display of Italian imports, if you're up New York way, and a world traveller like you might be! The Air Force has placed the first contracts for the atomic plane with Convair and GE, stocks are up, ATT says that America has 44 million telephone sets out of a worldwide total of 76 million, with 175 million daily phone calls, six million of them long distance. Newsweek checks in with Sorge Printing, which specialises in boring Wall Street stuff.

What's New has a "colour meter" from GE, mainly for use with colour film, Alvin T. Smith's portable "Phil-Rite" gas pump for filling the tanks of power mowers and outboard motors. Twin Gabel's line of diabetic soups includes vegetable, chicken, pea, tomato and rice, and mushroom barley. J. L. Golding's "Hang Mor" is a closet stretcher.

Henry Hazlitt's Business Tides has reached "Inflation for Beginners, III" Considering how patronising Hazlitt is at the best of times, I don't think this one is going to be very . . And in the first line he claims that "the most stubborn fallacy about inflation is that it is caused, not by an increase in money, but by a 'shortage of goods.'"  Yes, sure, he concedes that a rise in prices can be caused by a shortage of goods, but that is not the pure and perfect inflation that stalks (is supposed to stalk) our nightmares, bringing down Weimar and plunging the world into war. You see, it can't possibly be caused by a shortage of goods, because we make more goods than ever. Nor is a budget deficit the cause of inflation, as a "fully funded" deficit paid for by "bonds out of real savings" cannot be inflationary. I have no economics training at all. Everything I know is based on throwing brickbats at The Economist, but I can still see the problems here, which involve (deliberately?) confusing money stock, and money flow. How can someone who knows so little about his subject get such a nice job? Is it the suits? Because I could wear a suit! If Jean Harlow can do it, I can do it! Or maybe not. Girl in Stanford Law, don't want them talking! Curses. Hazlitt's job is safe. 

Science, Medicine, Education

"Chemists and the World Ahead" Newsweek checks in with the 75th annual meeting of the American Chemical Society and points out that it has grown from humble beginnings to be the largest professional society of American scientists. And no wonder, in the introductory address, President James Bryant Conant promising an age of abundance, not from atomic power, but from "harnessed sunlight," with deserts blooming from distilled ocean water and, by 1961, an "anti-fertility pill to control runaway birthrates." Doubling down on his rejection of a future atomic age, he predicts that atomic energy will be abandoned when humanity agrees that it is just too nasty to be tamed. On the other hand, president N. Howell Furman is agnostic about whether it will be atomic power or sunlight that powers utopia, but he does think that this will free coal to be used the way it is meant to be used, as a chemical raw material. Chemistry's contribution will be "a photosynthesis process for  manufacturing green plants for foods," which seems like someone has messed up their notes? Paul Aebersold of the AEC predicts that the wonders of the atomic age, specifically, radioactive isotopes will beat down the barriers of sloth and ignorance, and enter every chemical laboratory. Asger Fudner Langlykke, which is a real name, predicts a glorious future of synthetic alcohol, freeing fermenting fruits and vegetables for other uses, such as --I'm not sure what else you'd do with them? Apart from pickles, I mean. Hermann Mark, "leading authority on quantum mechanics and polymers" (Reggie says that using quantum mechanics on polymers is like hitting nails with sledgehammers, so maybe he has two different expertises?) predicts better plastics, and, on more distant horizons, artificial proteins and cellulose. Linus Pauling, head of chemical engineering and chemistry at the California Institute of Technology, thinks that within five years we will have  pretty comprehensive theory of how drugs, proteins and enzymes interact. In twenty-five years, proteins and enzymes will be manufactured for medical use. A "comprehensive valence theory" is less than a decade away. Metallurgists will be able to design alloys from theoretical considerations. Glenn Seaborg says that there are more elements beyond uranium to be made artificially, although it will get harder as we progress, and that there will be more jobs in the chemical sciences than scientists to fill them for at least the next generation. Roger Williams of the University of Texas predicts that alcoholism will be licked within the decade by diet or hormone. Melvin Calvin says that once chemists have figured out photosynthesis, we will be able to do without those pesky plants entirely, which makes more sense than Furman's reported comments. Leon Sweet of Parkes, Davis, predicts new antibiotics that will beat the germs that resist them now, within five years. By the end of the century we will have "progress" on drugs to fight cancer, mental disorders and heart disease, extending life and "creat[ing] more problems for the social scientist." Richard Roblin of American Cyamid is more cautious, predicting progress in tuberculosis treatments and a drug to treat high blood pressure within the next ten years. In the long run, he says, we will do better by preventing disease from curing it, and it is unlikely that a single, cancer-curing drug will be discovered. Charles Allen Thomas of Monsanto is also cautious, predicting that the rate of growth of American chemical science will slow, due to the bottleneck of manpower. Government and industry simply won't be able to hire all the chemists they want. 

"The Junk War" Karin Salisbury of Newsweek's Washington bureau, has had unrestricted access to the government's narcotics hospital, near Lexington, Kentucky, talking with prisoners and attending their Addicts Anonymous meetings. She reports on the prison-hospital, which, in spite of its verdant, blue-grass setting, still has the 'harshness necessary to rehabilitate the 1000 patients now behind the barbed wire that guards the 1100 acre estate." Prisoner-patients are first weened of their drug of choice over twelve days, then spend 150 days in general population if they are volunteers (about half), or the rest of their sentence,if they are prisoners. About a third are Coloured, a fifth are under 21. Almost all are literate, and 10 to 15% are from professional backgrounds including a "great many musicians." It is estimated that 15 to 20% come out cured, allowing for occasional relapses. About 170 inmates are female, because male addiction is four times as common as female. Doctors estimate that heroin addiction in America is in decline, but barbiturate addiction is increasing, and addicts are getting younger, although younger addicts are easier to treat. (Barbiturate addicts cannot be admitted to the hospital right now, as barbiturate abuse is not covered by Federal narcotics law, but many heroin addicts also abuse "goofballs.")

"Mexico's University City" The National Autonomous University of Mexico has such a big campus that it is a university city. 

"Industry and Education" Industry likes to send educational pamphlets to schools. Do teachers actually like them? The American Iron and Steel Institute hired Hill and Knowlton to find out, and discovered that, as far as industrial education is concerned, they much prefer field trips and earn-and-learn programmes, and that if industry is going to send them educational pamphlets, they should check in with teachers about their readibility, first. 

Press, Radio and Television, People

The San Francisco talks were so boring that all the press almost died until someone crashed a truck on Bay Shore and gave them something to report. Colonel McCormick figures that the brand new presses at the Washington Times-Herald will win the newspaper war in Our Nation's Capital. 

"Hellbox" I am not sure what that's a good title for a collection of short new stories about news, but I can't skip over a bit about a story in the Chicago Tribune about how the sulphur shortage is leading to a shortage of Canadian newsprint that, if it goes on long enough and is equally distributed, will result in a 28% shrinkage of newspaper sizes across the country. A paper in California is using less vibrant colours, which is the lead blurb and might explain the title. The United Nations Press Association has had to lock up the refrigerator in their lunchroom because, Inez Robb of International News says, they think delegates are stealing sandwiches. 

The first coast-to-coast transmission on AT and T's microwave relay system did not quite meet up with the company's technical requirements, but was good enough for regular viewers. The line will now be shut down for finishing touches before restarting 28 September, in time for the World Series. A Chicago television personality named Marlon Perkins is either the most charismatic guy on television or coasting on the charms of cute animals from the Chicago Zoo. Bob Crawford, who teaches elocution at the University of Utah, also has a radio programme everybody likes. 

Boston city councilor, Julius Ansel, is in trouble for buying a hippopotamus without clearing it with council first. The Eighth Earl of Orkney is in the news for being a broke private in the British army, while kids got themselves down holes, up poles, and stuck in fences. A New York longshoreman is in trouble for taking a joyride on the Sea Eagle ferryboat. Dr. Louis Michalek, the South Dakota researcher who poisoned two test subjects with a mistaken overdose, has had his wrists well and truly slapped by the state medical board, and is no longer allowed to do unsupervised research on human subjects. He thinks that's fair. Edward Gaedel, the midget called up by the St. Louis Browns, is in jail in Cincinnati  for swearing at police. Bernard Baruch's neice, Gwendoln Cafritz, Mike DiSalle, and the Iroquois Confederacy are in the column.  Jean Wallace has married Cornel Wilde. Dr. Serge Voronoff, he of "graft monkey glands to rejuvenate rich people" fame, has died. So has James Gerard, James D. Hall, Maria Montez and John Sloan. 

New Films

The Medium is based on a somewhat experimental play that "bogs down" as a movie. Angels in the Outfield doesn't sound very experimental at all. Let's see, it's got corn, jokes, baseball and Janet Leigh, "missing not one trick of surefire box office." The People Against O'Hara is a crime melodrama with so many twists that Spencer Tracy gets lost and so do we. 


I go out of the country for one single year and the bookstores have a "crisis!" (It says here.) Seventy of the nation's 2800 bookstores have closed, and another 350 are in trouble even though the business is booming, so Doubleday is picking up some transportation costs. Now, I am sure that in the seven years we've been doing this, someone has mentioned Ford Madox Ford to you. Now I am doing it again, and it is not because you just can't stop saying "Ford." There's an edition out. It's very exciting. 

Frank Gilbreth, amongst the dozen of Cheaper by the Dozen, is now a grown man who would like some funny-stories-about-big-families money, thank you very much, so  he has a memoir of his life so far out, even though he is only up to one daughter. Karl Schriftgiesser's The Lobbyists is hokum about how lobbyists are bad, when in fact many of them are just explaining the facts of economic life, and anyway it is better than in the old days when people beat up legislators and killed them in framed-up duels. Because that's the alternative! In conclusion, because "leftward" writers get published, there's no (real) problem! Marguerite Kennedy is also looking for that "funny family story" money with her My Home on the Range. 

Raymond Moley's Perspectives has "Pattern of Pacific Peace" a whole column that makes it clear that he had to file before the truck crash, because if he'd waited, he would have had something to talk about.

Aviation Week, 17 September 1951

News Digest reports that Gerald Dobbin, legislative editor of American Aviation, has died at the age of 49. Various strikes are ongoing, Boeing is suing Northwestern for libel for saying that the Stratocruiser was delivered late. Philippine Air Lines is ordering 3 Convair 340s, C. Lorenz is building eight VOR omniranges for Germany.

Industry Observer reports that the "long-simmering" Navy deal to have Grumman F9Fs built in Texas by GM is on again. There is "considerable speculation . . . circulating in Washington aviation circles" that Japan will be the first nation to "carry all air mail by helicopter." Douglas' 70,000lb A3D is the "ultimate" in carrier-capable bomber design. Naval air strength will hit 10,000 aircraft this year. The Air Force is planning a turboprop cargo plane even bigger than the Convair R3Y. The Air Force is also going to buy not only the Chase C-123, but a military version of the "Super DC3," the C-47F, which will be  modernised by Douglas.

Katherine Johnsen's Washington Roundup has word the Defence Department is not in the mood for Douglas' economising, and in fact wants another 45 billion, as otherwise aircraft deliveries will drop off dramatically in mid-1953. One exception is that all three services are thinking of paring back on public relations people. Air Mail rates may go up, it says this week. The Rato propellants for a single B-47 takeoff cost $5400, the air Force tells Congress, consisting of 18 units costing $300 a piece. The Navy is going to bid for a sister ship to their 57,000t Forrestal in about six months when it has operational details from the new carrier. 

"Senate Pushes for Build-up for Air Power" Aviation Week has the details on that $5 billion emergency appropriation.

David A. Anderton, "New Developments Seen at SBAC Display" Aviation Week sprang to send Anderton to Britain. I have no idea how he beat out the rest of the bullpen. Round-robin death matches? First off, the P. 1067, which, the announcer said, was trying to informally beat the world speed record when it flashed by the announcer's podium. The Avro 707B showed off its rate of roll, the Supermarine 508 made an appearance, and so did the experimental Sapphire-Canberra.. The Vickers Valiant made only a sedate, slow, low altitude pass, while the Nomad-Lincoln was also disappointing, not able to shut down its Merlins and fly on Nomad power alone. The Supermarine Swift, which was supposed to appear alongside the P. 1067, was damaged in a belly landing a few days ago and was only shown in a static exhibit. The Fairey delta-wing also failed to show, as did the twin rotor Bristol 173, while the Westland Wyvern failed to get in the air, as did the Mamba Marathon. All were only necessarily absent for press day, and the hope is that they will  show up in the course of the exhibition, or in some cases make a more impressive outing.

Lockheed, which is opening a new jet centre in Paldale, has an order backlog of over a billion dollars, the services will buy 800 helicopters, combined, and Champion Spark Plugs is holding an Aircraft Spark Plug and Ignition Conference in Toledo in October. Somehow, Aviation Week has come to quite a different view of the atomic plane than Newsweek, predicting that it will be flying by 1954--56. The difference may be due to Aviation Week counting flights with a conventional power plant. The J-42's overhaull time has been set at 1000 hours.

"Swiss Show Anti-Aircraft Guided Missile System" Oerlikon is trying to muscle into the business with a complete antiaircraft missile system, "probably the first such showing anywhere."" It is a beam-riding system with a range of about twelve miles and a mobile beam transmitter with a dish antenna and "another, smaller, different antenna," made by Brown-Boveri. The missile probably has a booster rocket, although none was shown in the demonstration. 

"French Gas Turbines To Be Built Here" Continental Motors has bought the license to build Societe Turbomeca's small turbines, which give 200--1100hp, and include a ducted fan style engine. 

Aviation Engineering has "Triangle Seen as Shape of the Future," which is a precis of a paper presented by J. R. Ewans, chief aerodynamicist at A. V. Roe. He proposes that triangular ("delta-shaped") wings are the wave of the future, noting the Convair XF-92A, Avro 707B and Fairey FD1. This wing shape would appear to have highly desirable high speed characteristics if their tendency towards rapid rise in drag at high speeds is countered with thin wings and aerodynamic refinement. However, low speed characteristics are an issue, and there is some disagreement about whether a tail plane is needed.

NACA Reports has Bruno Boley leading the team in "A Numerical Approach to the Instability Problem of Monocoque Cylinders," and Morton Cooper and Robert Webster investigating "The Use of an Uncalibrated Cone for Determination of Flow Angles and Mach Numbers at Supersonic Speeds."

Avionics checks in with Convair's San Diego division, which tests antennas on a "tail skeleton" mounted on the roof. The Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics wants a uniform testing procedure for airborne radio equipment, while the Shallcross Manufacturing Company has just the cutest miniature, hermetically sealed resistors designed to meet requirement JAN-R-93, characteristic A, style RB11.

Production has "Powder metal Boosts Jet Output: Thompson Says 250,000-a-month Rate Raised to 50 Million: Rolls-Royce Engineers Study Process" Maybe this is the fast compressor stator blade manufacturing process that The Economist eluded to? It's an application of powder metallurgy, and Rolls-Royce is considering licensing it. Thompson Products has been making blades for Allison since 1948. Powder metal blades require much smaller drop hammers, and dies last 30 to 50 times longer than regular drop forging dies. The various steps of turning powder metal into a solid final product are described, and Thompson reports that its blades may be used in the J-47 and Wright's version of the Sapphire.

Equipment has George L. Christian, "Sandwich Metal Stands up to Heat," which is a report on Rosslyn Metal's  copper-steel sandwich material that combines good heat conductance with steel's strength, followed by "Muffler Quiets DC-3 Engine Noise," which is welcome news from  Aero Sonic of Brooklyn. It is the first such application but it won't be the last, says Rob Morrow of Meteor Air Transport, which contracted with Aero Sonic. And for the worrywarts, the problem of backfiring has been completely solved by an ingenious, small vent. 

New Aviation Products has a snap action switch from Cherry-Chalmer, and an avionic varnish from Jack and Heintz, 

In business news, aviation companies are exploring stock options as a way of compensating key men, Wiggins Airlines is applying to run a helicopter service in the Northeast, Central California Airlines is replacing its DC3 and DC4 fleet with Martin 2-0-2s bought from Northwestern, and the Navy is still pushing for four-engined turboprop conversions of existing planes. 

C. R. Robson's Cockpit Viewpoint has "A New Cockpit Philosophy" that lays out a new approach to dividing up the flying work in modern, complicated cockpits. What's New reports that the latest edition of G. Geoffrey Smith's Gas Turbines and Jet Propulsion is the best yet. Rohmm and Hass'

Plexiglas Handbook for Aircraft Engineers is a spiral-bound, 66 page work detailing best design practices for the proper application of  pleixglas. I mean, what else could it be about?

Letters has a letter from Sabena about Sabena's contribution to the Pacific airlift, a correction for a recent article about Youngstown Airport from Kenneth Granger, the manager. Leo Dorney of Aero Transports wishes that Aviation Week covered Mexico better. G. E. Gischel of Heli-Corp congratulates Aviation Week on its move from New York to Danbury, Connecticut. Robert Sibley of the Aero Club of New England thinks that the Air Force is covering up flying saucer experiments, while William Key of Fairchild, doesn't. C. F. Graf of IBM really liked the article about counter equipment at airlines that allow "mechanised control," but Rhode Island thinks that it has been slighted by the article that moved Providence to Massachusetts. T. E. Mulford, the publicity director of Link, liked George L. Christian's article about Link flight simulators.  


Newsweek, 24 September 1941


Numerous draftee servicemen write in to point out that college-educated Other Ranks actually  have very little chance of getting an officer's commission, and Newsweek is stirring up trouble when it suggests otherwise. Charles Trevenna, "A Britisher long resident in Canada," specifically Vancouver, really liked the article about American airmen helping defend Britain against the menace of Communism. Several correspondents liked the article about the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, the exiled Islamic cleric who joined up with Hitler in his campaign to exterminate the Jews and is still living in Cairo.  Various Georgians are upset about the story about the psychotic inmate who was abused at a Georgia institution, because is is picking on Georgia. Mrs. Frank Joseph, who spent the war years in Germany and is unbiassed because she doesn't like the song, corrects Newsweek. The German lyrics are not actually filthy. 

For Your Information thanks all the Newsweek readers who sent in contributions for the Clark familiy that was the victim of the riot in Cicero. Newsweek points out that it doesn't usually do this, preferring to be a news magazine rather than a charitable fund, but it made an exception in this case and forwarded the money. It is also pleased with its story about sporting "it girl," Maureen Connolly, and apologises for its boring, Time-style cover portrait of the new Secretary of Defence, Robert A. Lovett. It was taken while he was testifying in the Senate, so it counts as news!

The Periscope reports that various people (British people!) think that the Reds may avenge their humiliation in San Francisco by attacking in Korea or possibly Yugoslavia. We have guaranteed the French and British that we will consult them before bombing Manchuria or blockading China, and there is no actual evidence that the Reds are going to do anything. Secretary Marshall resigned because a friend got sick and reminded Mrs. Marshall of how little time they might have left. Alben Barkley has no intention of resigning so that the President can enlist a new Vice-President. The new arrangements for the American garrison in Germany are going to include cuts in officers' living allowances, which sound awfully generous. The White House isn't eager to follow up on the China Lobby thing because it would probably embroil White House figures, too. John Foster Dulles pinkie swears that when the Japanese sign their separate peace with China, it will be with the Koumintang and not Peking. There will be no extra combat pay for soldiers. Many of the aircraft we are spending so much on today will be mostly outmoded by 1960, when half of all air defence and most field artillery will be guided missiles. Gas octane will fall from 85 to 82 in the next few months because of a tetraethyl lead shortage. Which, I apologise if I am confused because I am just a girl and not an economist or  a surgeon or so on a million times, but isn't that insane? If you burn low octane fuel in a high compression engine it makes the engine explode! Well, knock. The Communists are coming for Egypt, because of the Suez Canal. George VI thinks he is going to be able to go on his Australia trip, but no-one else does. Yugoslavia might attack Albania soon. The official report on the excavations under St. Peter's are expected to say that they found the bones of the apostle. Robert Taft's A Foreign Policy for America will be out from Doubleday in November, while Rita Hayworth's friend, Jackson Leighter, will release a documentary about Rita and the Aly Khan's safari last winter. Blythe Barrymore and Bette Davis have movies coming out, while Herb Shriner, Rhonda Fleming[???], Faye Emerson and Frank Sinatra have television shows coming out. 

Washington Trends reports that the GOP has given up on attacking Dean Acheson because he is too popular. Mike DiSalle and Eric Johnston are both probably leaving Washington soon. The Pentagon is going to cut back draft calls because it has enough men, and the British are not going to go along with the push to cut trade with the East Bloc because fudge off, that's why. 

"Why Truman Backs Acheson and Why He'll Push Jessup" I think Periscope has pretty much covered the story. Also, Tom Dewey was in town to report to the President on his fact-finding trip to the Pacific, and, more importantly, meet with fellow Eisenhower backers who are worried about the recent Taft push. Also, his limousine went up the wrong driveway to the White House, which he Washington press corps thought was almost as funny as implying that he is going to try to run again in '52, after all. Newsweek checks in with the air show disaster in Colorado, the resignation of Ambassador Grady for the sin of pushing back against the British in Iran on the argument that they were just promoting anti-Western sentiment, then follows the President around before giving up a bit of puffery on the new Secretary of Defence. The Senate investigating committee has turned up shocking news of insider dealing at the Federal Refinancing Corporation! 

"Push-Button Bomber" The "First Pilotless Bomber (Light: Squadron has been formed to fly the new Martin B-61 missile. 

"How Douglas Cracked" A painfully detailed account of Senator Paul Douglas's hysterical fit on the Senate floor last week. The sudden fad for Southern flags will probably fade away like Little Audrey jokes and pyramid clubs. 

Ernest K. Lindley's Washington Tides is pointless blithering about Korea, where the Communists might attack, but probably won't. They're obviously not going to make headway on the ground, so this is more about the idea of that huge "Manchurian air force" attacking the UN, which will lead to UN retaliation, but which will first require consultation with France and Britain, and I'm bored just writing this down. 

"Now the Ottawa Conference and Tightening Net on Russia" "Provincial Ottawa, with its grey, neo-Gothic architecture" is the setting for some talking about talking, and also for letting Greece and Turkey into the club, hence tightening net. Meanwhile, everyone told the Americans to kindly give up on the idea that rearmament has to take priority over living standards because there is no point in arming a corpse. Over there in Japan, peace means no more "No Dogs or Japanese" signs on Occupation buildings. Okay, I exaggerate, but not as much as all that. (Probably also has a bit to do with the Communist peace offensive against Japan.) Spain is upset about the immodest dress of American and other tourists. Twenty-five Czech refugees from Communism fled across the border in a runaway train while tensions and shakeups continue within Czech ruling circles. The US won't pay its assessed UN dues, which goes to show (seriously!) that Communism is bad. The Greek elections, it turns out, aren't as won as all of that. The Communists have been re-elected in San Marino, Polish Communists don't like Tito, and Britain is cutting off Iran from oil sales in its latest negotiating move. 

"Addition to Defence: Europe's Biggest Refinery" One of the less appreciated issues in the Anglo-Iranian nationalisation controversy is the fate of the Abidjan refinery, which produces so much of the world's aviation gasoline. So the opening of the $105 million Esso refinery at Fawley is not only an important step in Europe's billion-dollar push ($450 million of that British) to "refinery self-sufficiency" but a message to the government of Iran. Four months ahead of schedule, its opening replaces 25% of Abidjan's capacity and will save Britain a hundred million dollars a year,  a third of the dollar loss from the Abidjan shutdown. Once all the planned refineries are open, Europe will save $450 million a year on the dollar trade balance by importing cheap crude oil instead of expensive refined products. This is, I guess, the final answer to The Economist's wafflings about how it is more efficient to refine oil at the source and ship refined products. 

Korean War

"Are the Reds Ready to Move? The UN Command Thinks So" Specifically, it has identified three armoured divisions and observed roads being widened and bridges bulwarked to take T-34 tanks. From Pyongyang south, the roads have been flanked by antiaircraft batteries "manned by Caucasians," and Russian-made Katyusha rockets have been used in the central mountains. So far, this pressure hasn't amounted to much, and Newsweek takes this opportunity to be Turkey's agent, allowing as how the Turkish Brigade is inflicting casualties 20 to 1 in localised fighting. Nice of the Reds to report the score for us! General Van Fleet promises that "they will want peace by the time we're through with them" in the ongoing Battle of the Hills. The two sides are also exchanging unpleasantries over the suspension of the Kaesong talks. 

The UN has made a concession by admitting that it carried out those alleged strafing attacks on Kaesong negotiating parties, but that is not enough for the Reds. The weather is still mild, but Eighth Army is rolling out its winter clothes issue, starting with leather-wool gloves on 15 September, followed by hood, flannel shirt and high neck sweater on 1 October, then sleeping bag, overcoat, field jacket liner, woollen muffler, mittens and arctic boots or shoepacs on 1 November. The QMC is also sending experimental rubber-insulation-rubber layer boots, bloomer-style underwear, inflatable mattresses, and parkas; as well as "lightly armoured clothing" weighing from 9 to 15lbs including a rigid cotton jacket studded with glass-fibre and plastic panels; an armoured vest consisting of several layers of nylon pressed together, a laminated nylon helmet, and eye protection consisting of thin steel sheet goggles pierced by horizontal and vertical slits. The Army chief of staff has also promised that everyone who serves through this winter will be rotated home before the next one. 

I don't know if it is significant or anything, but that reference to "Katyusha" rocket launchers is the first time the American press has noticed one of the dramatic Eastern Front weapons before they showed up in combat in Korea. Makes you wonder if a JS-3 tank is next!

In Canada, Everyone thinks that security measures for the Ottawa conference were a bit silly and overwrought. Canada is getting the two British destroyers it has been operating since 1945 as a gift, and have finished shipping enough military equipment to Belgium to equip three divisions, and some artillery to Luxembourg (Luxembourg has an army? You learn something new every day!). 27th Brigade and RCAF's 410 Squadron, first of eleven, are shipping out for Britain. Canada will consider entering a Pacific security pact, and has halted deliveries of American-style military equipment until the American-British rifle dispute is settled. Inflation is rampant in Canada, too, with a higher cost of living index than America for the first time in history. The Conservative and Social Credit opposition parties are lining up on the government for refusing to consider price controls.


The Business Periscope reports that the rubber supply situation has improved, with the price of synthetic rubber dropping. The US government will re-enter the natural rubber market when the price drops a bit further. The hosiery industry has an inventory problem, while Japanese sewing machines are serious competition for American. Made with expired American patents, the Japanese can undersell American manufacturers thanks to labour costs 80% below American. The latest on production priorities is a proposed "multi-band" scheme. Hollywood will go "all out" for colour next year. The price of copper has stabilised and there is a new bottleneck in issuing subcontracting contracts.

"Britain's Plight" Newsweek explains Britain's problem, which is that it imports lots of stuff and has to pay for it with exports, but exports are lagging, leaving a trade gap of $2.3 billion so far this year compared with $756 million last year. Rearmament has a lot to do with this, but so does the high price of raw materials, worldwide, which the British would like controlled. America is open to this. Meanwhile, the IMF continues to campaign for the removal of all exchange and capital controls, allowing exchange rates to fluctuate in an orderly way. The Senate is likely to approve higher taxes, and the War Mobilisation Board is talking tough about scrap. while stocks are up and it is looking like this year's harvest will be the second highest in history, in spite of the Midwest floods. 

Notes has Week in Business, which reports that Warren Lee  Pierson of TWA sees $300 New York-London coach rates next year, with Zenith's 1952 "Electronex" television line saves several pounds of critical materials and has "Fringe Lock" to extend the range of good reception. Lockheed has signed an agreement with Canada for Canadair to produce its T-33 trainer. B. F. Goodrich is entering a joint enterprise to produce plastics in Brazil, while US corporate dividends hit $4.141 billion this year, up 13% from 1950. 

"Cold-Steel ExtrusionMullins Manufacturing of Salem, Ohio, wants us to know all about this epoch-making transformation of the entire history of the metalworking industry consisting of squeezing steel blocks really hard until they form various kinds of bowls, which is completely different from stamping steel sheets really hard until they form various kinds of bowls. Its "Koldflo" process is limited to 3000lbs pressure, but "promises substantial savings on materials, labour and capital investment." The original research was funded by the Army, which wanted a cheaper method of making shells, but the military process only makes thick-walled pieces, and "Koldflo" makes thin ones, including shock absorber cylinders, pulley hubs and gear blanks. 

What's New has Reiss Brothers of New York's imported kit, made in Germany, that allows a hobbyist to assemble a four cylinder engine. American Metal Specialties has a twelve-piece dishwashing set for "indoctrinating young girls into the 'joys' of keeping house." The set includes a drain basket, sink strainer, dish mop, and plastic apron. Folding Products of Long Island has "Rainbelle," a paper umbrella that really works! Really! 

Henry Hazlitt is on about inflation in the fourth part of "Inflation for Beginners," which explains that price controls don't work because there are too many prices and who can control them all?

Science, Medicine, Education

"The Jeep Boils" Norway and Denmark (and GE, the AEC and Carbon and Carbide Chemicals) have gone in on the first atomic pile in Europe, the "Jeep" reactor in Kjeller, Norway, which is the cheapest pile ever built, using natural uranium with a heavy water moderator. I think that AEC smiled on Norwegian efforts because Norway has most of the world's heavy water, although as I vaguely remember the war days, you probably know more about that than I. 

"Never Too Old" From 1880 until today, the average American life expectancy has risen from 34 to 68.2, which, this being how statistics work, is because there are more old people. What does that mean? Newsweek has its hands on a psychological profile of a 106 year-old-man, from a paper given by Dr. D. B. Schuster of the Rochester School of Medicine to the second International Gerontological Conference in St. Louis, this week. He is apparently very lively for a 106-year-old, which seems like it would make it hard to generalise from the study! Also old is Walter Reed Hospital (also reverse talking like Time is your correspondent), so it gets a puff piece, too.

"Mallott of Cornell" Newsweek welcomes Cornell's new president, Deane Waldo Mallott. He has a charming laugh, an easy manner, doesn't wear hats, does wear bow ties. The perfect president!

"Scandal at W and M" That's William and Mary University to the lay. In the wake of the West Point athletic cheating scandals and the Yale cribbing scandal comes  another athletics scandal, at William and Mary, which is America's second oldest university even though you probably haven't heard of it. It turns out that two coaches were somehow altering the grades on applications from some students before they reached the admissions desk, and it seemed as though this was only the tip of the iceberg, and now President John Pomfret has resigned and that's that. Nothing to see here! Move along, move along! 

Press, Radio and Television, Art, People 

Newsweek celebrates The New York Times' centenary with a nice puff piece, then checks in with Topaze of Santiago, which is funny, unlike the Times. At least, intentionally. Apparently the funniest thing Topaze has going for it is two fictional readers who comment on the news from their particular perspective. I have no idea how that could be funny. 

"All Day Long" With evenings saturated with programming, the networks are moving into daytime broadcasting. The story mainly focusses on morning news shows, which are doing well in local markets, but notes Kate Smith's daytime variety show, which has been surprisingly successful. French television isn't much right now, with two government-owned stations, in Paris and Lille, and not much to broadcast. However, this slow approach has a hidden benefit. CBS showed off its colour television system, which very much impressed the French, who are likely to adopt it by the end of the year (RCA has declined to invest in Europe because the governments have higher priorities than tv), which means that French television owners will be able to bypass the financial penalties of going from black and white to colour, with most of them never even seeing black and white television.

The School of Architecture, Polish University College, founded in London for Polish Army officers who didn't want to go home to communism, has produced an exhibition presenting a utopian vision of a less-cluttered London to guide the ongoing reconstruction of the city. Glass buildings with helicopter pads on top replace Georgian homes, twenty-story skyscrapers bloom, underground roads and aboveground pedestrian walkways festoon the familiar streetscape of streets and circuses. It seems unrealistic, but a good starting point! Newsweek then pops over to see "A Century of Portrait Photography" in Brooklyn. Art, who doesn't get let out of the office much, goes wild over photos, taking up two solid columns to talk about everything from writers who were amateur photographers to the  movies. I feel like once you admit that there's something called photographic art in the  movies, it immediately becomes such a huge thing that making it one part of a show in Brooklyn is just embarrassing. 

Harry Gross, Clair Bloom, Senator Charles Tobey, Sheriff Frank Clancy, Winston Churchill, the town of New Kensington, Pennsylvania, Lana Turner, Fala, William Oates, and Mrs. Truman are in the column for some reason. Barbara Payton, Franchot Tone and Tom Neal are in the column for a very, very good reason that I will leave to the gossip pages. None of that stuff around here! Okay, maybe a little. 

Ida Lupino and Clark Gable are getting divorced. William Neal Reynolds, Arthur Szyk, Fritz Busch, William Klem and Alvanley Johnston have died. 

New Films

Everyone loves Captain Horatio Hornblower, a maritime adventure about the fictional hero, set against the historic backdrop of the Napoleonic wars. "It is a salty, brawling exercise in Technicolor swashbuckling." The River is a "visually lovely and emotionally affecting" movie set in India. The Well merges two big stories of recent years, the 1949 Kathy Fiscus tragedy and the Detroit riots, by having the little girl trapped down the well be a Negro. "Because she is  last seen talking to a White man, some of the Negro population assume that she has been kidnapped, perhaps murdered," and the local sherrif has to calm racial unrest and mount a successful rescue effort that unites the whole town regardless of race. That's exactly what would happen! (Newsweek saves its criticism for a scene in which the town's "tough, rich man" arms his workers to "kill the [rude words].") 


William Faulkner's twelfth novel is Requiem for a Nun is a Faulkner novel. I guess the question is whether Faulkner is flagging, considering that he is aging and has won the Nobel Prize and can afford to rest on his laurels. From the sound of the review, which notes digressions amounting to almost a hundred pages, he is. But that's not what Newsweek wants to say about Faulkner, so it doesn't. Erskine Caldwell has an autobiography, Call It Experience, in which he does his best to present himself as a terribly literary person who just happened to make a million dollars writing sex and scandal, and has spent most of it on worthwhile things. The young science fiction editor, Frederick Pohl (Newsweek describes him as a Brooklyn high school teacher and "restorer of damaged reputations" based on an earlier book about Amerigo Vespucci), has taken up the cudgels for Frederick Cook in his rivalry with Robert E. Peary over who was the first to reach the North Pole.

Raymond Moley's Perspectives column has "A Matter of Economy," which manfully defends Paul Douglas against the charges that his hysterical breakdown on the floor of the Senate was evidence of a certain unsteadiness of character that had already been on frequent show in his ludicrous "economising." (His last public tiff with his colleagues was an attempt to shut down the free shoe-shine/barber shop in the Capitol building.) He is but the first of many voices who will condemn overspending, extravagance and "low moral standing" next year and sweep this Administration out of office! Which doesn't seem like the job of a Democratic senator, but I'm not nearly as smart as Raymond "Four Part Series on the Incoming Dewey Cabinet" Moley.  

Aviation Week, 24 September 1951

This is the special issue on production, many times thicker than a regular issue and full of mostly summaries of previous articles mixed in with summaries of stuff I haven't read. It is completely different from a regular issue, with departments pushed to the end and different section headlines, most of which I haven't repeated. 

"Rapid Build-Up Clashes With Policy" In a complete break with normal layout, the issue opens with a McGraw-Hill editorial, which explains how the attempt to achieve a rapid defence production buildup has led to delays and shortages, and that the huge defence/war machine that might never be needed may "lower drastically our standard of living and move inexorably toward a militaristic way of life." McGraw-Hill is worried that the US is pricing itself out of defence, with prices rising even independent of inflation. Russia may be worried about inflation too, but has better tools to deal with hit. Engine expansion is going slower than aircraft, and machine tool shortages are a problem, just as they were in 1940--1. Material controls may or may  not help, and labour trouble are a great factor, although the copper shortage wasn't. Avionics is a bright spot, but most of the equipment the services really want is still at the laboratory stage. 

"The Pattern of US Defence Expansion" The above, repeated, mostly. 

Ben S. Lee has "How Combat Plans Determine Production" The USAF had 48 wings two years ago, 68 wings last year, 87 wings now, and is headed who knows how high. Lee covers the bomber situation, pointing out that Korea is no real guide, because it is no real war. The USAF needs a strategic bomber, with the B-52 to replace the B-36, a medium bomber to "fill in the gaps," which is the B-47 right now, and a light bomber, for which it has ordered the B-57. It has only four fighters in production, the F-84, F-86, F-89 and F-94, and only the last two have all-weather capability. While the USAF has a variety of transports, only the Fairchild C-119, of types now in service, was designed for military use, although the big cargo types are fine for that, and the Boeing C-97/KC-97 tanker is satisfactory, and being forced into quantity production by the limits of the B-47. The Air Force has high hopes for the Chase C-123 as a replacement for the C-119, and is doubling up on helicopter orders. A fairly long last part of the article covers trainers and liaison types.


Follows a bit of a puff piece about Air Materiel Command. 

"Navy's Needs Changing with New Role" The Navy is hoping to get about a third of the emergency appropriation because it does need new planes, but its situation is different from the Air Force because those darn Russians just won't build a navy and it is hard to put planes on ships. (Although the Navy manfully tries to make the case that it needs lots of planes on carriers because the Russians don't have a navy.) The big, land-based planes and flying boats at least have the antisubmarine mission to keep them going, and guided missiles are quite exciting. 

Rudolf Modley has "Progress Report on Expanding Production" which, again, is just going over the same problems again. Factories aren't being built because of material shortages; the machine tool industry shrank too far in the postwar years; materials are short due to high worldwide demand, and many vital metals are under complete control as a result. Manpower has increased by 85%, and even women are being hired now! Management is under severe pressure, although not as severe as in WWII. Turnover is increasing and the government is pushing back against extra shifts. It looks like the airframe industry will have 300,000 workers in 1951, and that they will produce 60 million lobs of airframe, 55 million military. At an average weight of 13,000lbs, 4,230 planes may be expected. However, deliveries are rising and may hit 4800 aircraft on a weight of 65 million lbs. This is Aviation Week's estimate, and other estimates, for example on dollar sales, have been given, but Aviation Week does not like them. 

"Auto Industry Returns to Its Wartime Job" The industry made a lot of stuff in WWII and has $3 billion in contracts now. Some of these will be built in new plants which are not going up as fast as hoped for reasons already discussed. New planes are more technically challenging, and the industry is hoping to do more business in engines than airframes. Government-owned plants have been shuffled between industrial operators in a way that is  hard to explain and probably wasteful. Few contracts are for complete airframes, so Uncle Henry lucked out on that one. The biggest single contract for Chrysler, is making the J-48 in a new, 1.6 million square feet plant in Mt. Clements, Michigan, while Ford's contract to build Pratt and Whitney R-4360s at the Dodge Chicago plant is the largest by dollar value, at least, disclosed.  GM's Kansas City plant for building the F-84 is being held up by shortages of forgings and machine tools, and also cleanup from the floods. 

Avionic Equipment has William S. Kroger, "New Industry, New Problems" Currently the main problem in ramping up production is drawing in the consumer side. A commercial television or radio producer can fill a 50,000 unit military order in 18 days of production, but needs almost a year to tool up for it. Other equipment, like a 90,000lb Bendix radar that requires fourteen 2 and a  half ton trucks to move, is more one of a kind. It is very expensive at $800,000, but has very low man hour requirements, making it hard to compare with airframes or even engines. Avionic equipment, especially tubes, remains fragile and a cause of up to 50% of mission failures. A 30 aircraft mission amounts to 1.5 million tube hours! Also, the industry has an employment problem due to the inventory glut caused by the Federal Reserve's crackdown on consumer credit. The industry has a "soft foundation" which is getting in the way of rearmament. In production flow, subcontracting and assembly is a particular problem, and the Air Force is taking a new look at the British wartime experiment with automated production of five-tube radio sets at Sargrove Electronics, where conductors, resistors and capacitors were fabricated directly onto a base panel as the latter passed through a machine. It looks like a solution, but doesn't make economic sense since production runs of radios aren't big enough to justify tooling. There is also the problem that the equipment wanted most, in particular all those miniaturised ones, aren't being produced in factoriees at all, and it isn't clear that existing plants can even build them. Miniature equipment, and gigantic equipment! They're both problems! So is a shortage of engineers, and Aviation Week, or, actually, a Stanford report that this article is cribbed from, makes the interesting point that work on one avionics piece (a Sperry gunsight) has moved to a spark plug company and from there to various business machine companies with spare capacity and engineers, highlighting how other parts of industry are actually readier to take on avionics contracts than the giant consumer electronics industry that is supposed to be the basis of mobilisation. 

Missile Production has David Anderton, "All Technology Not Mastered" which explains why the US doesn't actually have any offensive missiles in production right now. Why? See the article title. Oddly, most of the article is a look at the German missile programmes. The "buzz bomb" was efficient, the A4 (V-2) wasn't. Ours will be better, once engines, fuel, and avioniccs are ironed out. Which is another way of saying that the only thing they've got figured out is airframe, and even here I have my doubts because the article says that the missiles will be made of steel, because who needs complex alloys on missiles, which I don't agree with at all! I want my atomic bomb-shooting-down missile to work, and it stands to reason that if it works better if it is made of pure "columbium," that's not too high a price to shoot down an H-bomb!

Several articles on subcontracting follow, and then one from Tools and Techniques on "Needed: Machines and Methods" New production calls for tools and techniques unknown in WWII and barely known today. The start of the article summarises that Kindelberger talk about how much harder it is to build planes these days, with some tendency to turn into a Child's Illustrated Book of Big Machine Tools, even though most of the tools are WWII salvage out of warehouses and depots. Then we hear about optical tooling, and then about the Bullard turret lathes.  

One department that does make it in is News of the Week, so that Aviation Week can tell us about the first Matador squadron, that Convair and Republic have won the high performance interceptor contract, explain the multi-track materials priority scheme heard from in Newsweek, and notice that the Navy is boosting F3H-1 production and a McDonnell rocket helicopter.  

News Digest reports that the Air Force is orrering some more B-36Fs, that Howard Hughes has had his deadline for getting the Spruce Goose in the air extended, notes the Stratocruiser crash in San Francisco and the C-46 crash in Chicago. The next round of atomic tests at Frenchman's Flat will involve "atomic warfare training."

Industry Observer reports that the navy's long range, "special search" Constellations will cost $4.3 million each, mostly on the coast of their electronic equipment. Now the Army is slowing down helicopter procurement while it evaluates its needs. Make up your minds! The British have decided that current plastics aren't strong enough to make airplane wings out of. The USAF is using its rocket sled for preliminary tests of its turbojet-powered Snark that will hopefully be the "backbone of USAF defence and offence by 1960." The Navy is throwing open its machine tool and forge capacity to industry because it isn't using them much. The USAF's experimental forge press at Adrian, Michigan is very impressive, and is doing pieces like the 75S alloy wing spars of the F-84F.

Now let's take a moment to check in with The Economist at the bottom of the month.

Business World for 15 September is led off by "The New Aircraft." The year marks the tenth anniversary of jet powered flight, The Economist says, not exactly correctly. It is right that a lot has happened. "British supremacy in aero-engines, which dates from the late twenties and not simply from the debut of the gas turbine" has been matched by supremacy in airframe design. This year marks the moment when airframe designers caught up with jet engine designers. Of the new aircraft, the most impressive are Vickers planes, starting with the Valiant, "openly described as an atom bomb carrier of great range and speed," and 30,000lbs of thrust from four Avons, amd continuing with the Swift and the 508 naval fighter to end with the Viscount, which clearly bored Aviation Week. Hawker Siddeley could not match Vicker's versatility, but its 1067 fighter, with two Avons, is impressive. The Avon is to be made at Bristol and Standard Motor, as well as Rolls-Royce. The Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire will be  made at a Hawker Siddeley plant that used to make prefabricated houses, while the de Havilland Venom will be made at Bristol, and the English Electric Canberra at Handley-Page, A. V. Roe and Short Brothers. Only one new engine plant is required, and no large-scale building programme is needed, fortunately. The bottleneck in tools and  materials seems to be dissipating, and even the shortage of nickel and high-duty steels. There does seem to be a shortage of labour and problems of production techniques that will derail rearmament. The Economist is also worried about components like fuel pumps. It is also worried about excess capacity in British aero-industry plants during periods of slack defence programmes, which would seem to call for more civil exports, and here it is the Comet and Viscount that matter most, and the turbo-prop version of the Hermes, and Bristol helicopters and air freighters. However, sales of these aircraft do not match their technical brilliance and the magazine is worried. 

"Nations United Against TB," also in Business for some reason, I note because of the offhand remark that "some doubts may arise as to the wisdom of trhing to save so many perople from idsease in countries where the pressure of population on food and other resources is already severe." Logical, but there is a moral case for reducing human suffering, because it damages labour productivity!  In other spheres of human suffering, the magazine is in favour of "air coach," and  opposes the idea of curtailing British boiler exports while the country is short of up to 1.3 million kilowatt hours at peak demand. It is building materials that are holding up new generating plant, it says. Which is fair enough, but The Economist opposes building, too. 

The 25 September American Survey checks in with machine tool production in Ohio. So what is going on in Cincinnati, city of machine tools? It seems as though the problem was that prices were set too low by controls and that the manufacturers could not get materials. This is quite a different story than the one told by Aviation Week! But the rate of production has doubled since June of 1950, and will double again by next June. And, yes, there is a labour shortage. Notes attends Mr. Lovett's first press conference as Secretary of Defence and hears him go "all in on the atom." Senator mcMahon says that for an additional $5 billion a year, from the current $6 billion, would produce an "almost limitless flow of atomic weapons which would provide much  greater deterrence to aggression at far less cost than conventional arms." This could save $30--$40 billion on defence, and "escape the choice between financial bankruptcy and military disaster" foressen by Senator McMahon and many other Congressmen. Lovett won't go that far, but he is revealing to the public the President's request for another five hundred million for the  hydrogen bomb being built at Savannah River in South Carolina, and the decision to have troop concentrations a the next atom bomb tests at Frenchman's Flat to practice atomic warfare. The weapons used in this test will be the new lightweight atom bombs, but not yet atomic artillery. One bomb, at least, will be detonated over troop positions to determine how quickly troops can reoccupy them. "Cautious observers point out that the tactical atomic bomb is stil in its infancy, and doubt whether in the near future" it will make conventional arms obsolete. 


  1. the British wartime experiment with automated production of five-tube radio sets at Sargrove Electronics, where conductors, resistors and capacitors were fabricated directly onto a base panel as the latter passed through a machine

    *Record scratch*...

  2. Look, if you keep on complicating the story, at some point people are going to have to know how electricity works before writing about the subject!