Saturday, July 26, 2014

Techblogging June, 1944, I: Come the Day!

Dear Suzie:

Sorry about the blotting paper again. Mom and Dad will get a proper V-Mail in a few days, now that the segregation's lifted. Right now, though I should say some things the censor shouldn't hear, and maybe Mom and Dad, too. At least, not in my words. You're the only person I can trust to dress it up right, Sis, honest injun.

 Does that sound curious enough? Well, my LCT has been going so fast I hardly have time to collect my wits. You might hear from Douggie's brother that my boat's ramp wouldn't lower, so we couldn't launch our tanks, and so we ran up on the beach under fire to do it. I don't think Mom needs to hear any more about that, whatever Douggie says. Then, soon as we were back off the shingle, it was back to Jolly Old to pick up our next load. 

First, though, I had to go on the carpet with the Admiral. He knows that the reason my ramp wouldn't lower was because of a sledge hammer in the bilge of my boat called "The Assistant Bo'sun." I had to, Suzie! It was choppy as all heck. The tanks obviously weren't going to get to shore. So the Admiral lays it out for me. Harry gets the credit, as I don't go on the list as boat commander until the 7th. He gets a "Mention in Despatches" with no mention of the 510th and its officers I get my boat. "That's way we did it in Manila," the Admiral says. 

Dad should hear that, I think. What I can't figure out how to tell them is that I somehow ended up taking Queenie to the midnight promenade the other night. Well, not quite midnight, as she had to be home by 11. Me in my officer's cap(!), her in a broad hat, in case some wise guy started something, dancing at the edge of the crowd to some nice jazz. We kissed, Sis, and now I can't think of anything else but Queenie. Not even the war.

Love, Your Brother, Tommy.

Dearest Reggie:

Just a short note this time. I know that I am supposed to share warm pictures of the home front and not my troubles, but I've flown across continent three times in the last week, and the last was particularly awful, though at least I got my reading done. I was summoned to see our friend's young acquaintance, still feigning tonsilitis. He wouldn't see me, and I flew back to San Francisco, and was on the plane when the Invasion was announced.

When I landed, Wong Lee was waiting for me to tell me that our friend had called "Mrs. J. C." to say that we should make another press, now that it was obvious why the USO tour had been booked. So back I went. This time we're not talking with that little thug at all. We are talking with a big thug, a fellow named Mr. Gambino. Wong Lee went out the back window of the hotel an hour ago (Hoover's boys have their eye on Gambino) and is meeting with him to see if the "men of respect" have a more reasonable take on the tour than their protege. If not....

Oh, Reggie. Whatever will I say to Amy, Tommy and Suzie if Wong Lee does not come back?

The Economist,  3 June 1944


“Employment Policy” The publication of the Government White Paper on employment is epochal! The Government acts on the developing logic of the last quarter century. It will take responsibility for maintaining full employment. From the White Paper, I see that the Tories have not gone all-in for the old ideas of “outdoor relief.” It talks, instead, of an “expansionist economy.” That is, the economic policy of the Government will be to maintain a steady growth of the economy, however that is measured (as it is my impression that we have moved beyond just toting up the “national income?”). This, the paper agrees with the Government, is a bold  departure. Full employment has twice been achieved in this country during wartime. But in peace? “It is true that some other industrial countries ---Russia and Germany, notably—have attained it in peacetime . . . .”, but we shall attempt to achieve it in peace without the kind of measures required in Germany and Russia. “Under free criticism and without conscription.” No country has ever done this, the paper says. The paper, and the White Paper then move on to, first, international trade. Everyone in the world  must buy British, details to follow. Second, location of industry. Means are to be found to make people build factories in Lancashire instead of London. Even so, “labour should be mobile. "Mobility” inferentially being in some danger of mutating in the labour being less choosy. Third, there must be “stabilisation of private investment,” an arcane concept because it is three concepts, “the weapon of the interest rate,” “government-owned industry,” and tax measures. The paper perhaps gives away its thinking on the first heading with the word ‘weapon,’ thinks the second a no-go, and perks its ears at the third, winding down with an arcane reference to inventory management that, I suppose, would point a more acute mind in the direction of the particular nation-saving tax measure it has in mind. The question of how much is to be spent on public works during downturns, accepting that it will be, is left unclear. There is the question of “maintenance of consumer purchasing power,” which is entangled with social insurance, as the best way of keeping a consumer consuming is to give him money when he has no income. Then there is talk of price and wage stabilisation. Full employment does not have to mean inflation, but that does not mean that no measures against inflation are necessary. And “restrictive practices” should be subject to “appropriate measures.”

After reading this through, I find that even I have been lead so far through the labyrinth of the paper's thinking that I have lost the chain of the thought I had at the header. Thanks to reviewing my earlier newsletters from 1939, I  know that Britain twice achieved full employment in peacetime in the late 1930s, with a free press and without conscription. Has the paper forgotten this? My cynical suspicion is that forgetting is easy when events seem to contradict the paper's policy preferences. Knowing the paper, it is the suspicion that the Defence Loan had a positive impact on the economy that is to be strenuously forgotten.

“Colonial Progress” Not enough is being spent, therefore progress is less than it should be, something about Newfoundland, notable as a colony made up of White people, I suppose. Newfoundlanders do not want self-government, it appears. Perhaps all the dark people can be persuaded to be so complacent?

“Reflections on Philadelphia” The International Labour Conference had a conference! It issued a manifesto! Perhaps it will be set to music stirring enough to make we wade through threepages of minutiae at some future date.

Greeks are excitable.

“Employment: the White Paper” the leading section requires a summary as well as a summary of the summary. I shall not follow.

Notes of the Week

“Peace Plans” The new United Nations Organisation is to have police powers. A critic in the Commons thinks that it is unlikely that this will work as intended.

“To Rome” Although there is now no doubt that Rome will fall, the paper is disappointed that the chance to bag Kesselring’s army was missed.

Latins, Americans and British farmers are excitable.

General de Gaulle is coming to London! Apparently, he will not concede to political direction from Whitehall and Washington. The question of paying Allied soldiers in occupied France is acute. The Italian experience shows the catastrophe that can be unleashed on a domestic economy by liberal military spending. The thought is that they will be paid in Occupation Francs, which will be bought from the Provisional Government with pounds and dollars. Though since for this to work there must be a Provisional Government, Washington in particular will have to descend from the stick that it is comfortably sitting on and do something.

“Indian Reconstruction” Bombay industrialists, the Moslem League and the National Congress have embraced three approaches to reconstruction. By putting them together in a small room, Wavell aims to achieve compromise and consensus. Or a locked room murder mystery, whichever will do.

The paper notes 10,947 road casualties in April, an increase of 1743 over last April, with 567 deaths vice 396, the number of children being killed rising to 5 per day.

American Survey

“Is Isolationism Dead?” No, says Our Correspondent in Ohio. Why, just last week, a twelve-foot-tall, two-headed Colonel McCormick wandered through town, devouring damsels and breathing fire upon the thatched roofs of the cottages of Ohio cottagers. To what extent the recent Republican upsurge is evidence of the revival that  a passage ago required no evidence “is impossible to say.” OCH goes on to point out that is obviously evidence of same.

American Notes

“Remote Control” Governor Bricker will  be the Republican candidate, Reggie! You heard it here, first. Or perhaps, not to spoil the next number, Senator Taft. The point is, it will not be Dewey, even though it will obviously be Dewey. I suppose that political correspondents have to justify their expense accounts somehow.

“Full Employment” At the National Industrial Conference Board last week, Mr. David Beck, Vice-President of the Teamsters, and Mr. Ralph Flanders, President of Jones and Lamson MachineCompany, united to give a paper showing that for full employment at a 40 hour week, between 50 and 55 million jobs would   be necessary, with a “net national output of $130 to $140 million,” an “admittedly high total.” Moreover, as high as the total is, it is assuming that most of the wartime labour force (62 million) increment will dissipate with peace. Mr. Clarence Long, the actual author of the study, who is apparently not eminent enough to present it to the august Board, points out that most of the increment was of school age, and will be likely to resume their studies, especially given indications of generous Congressional provisions for this purpose. Many women, a quarter of the increment, will drop out, and so will many of the workers over 54. Mr. Long points out that the surprisingly low proportion of Americans enrolled in war work compared with Britain is largely explained by the larger number of younger women with children in America compared with Britain, as  opposed to the favoured British explanation of lack of American self-discipline, character, spine, etc.
“The Hog at the Door” The current high threshold ration price for meat is encouraging American hog-and-corn farmers to feed their corn to their hogs. The result is record high levels of livestock holdings and an alarmingly small amount of grain on hand. Short of lowering the meat price threshold (which, recall, acts as kind of a subsidy on the farmer) or confiscating grain (it is hard to tell whether the paper is floating this or presenting it as an absurdity), the current meat holiday is the much preferred half-measure.
“Political Action”
Unlike the AFL, the CIO has gone all in with lobbying. Governor Bricker is upset about the $5 millions with which it is reputed to be backing Roosevelt, while others speak of a “Red kiss of death.” Although by “others” one means the Dies Committee, and the recent defeat of three of its members suggests that the erstwhile paragons of “Un-American activities” investigations are a spent force, that rural America is becoming more unionised and so more Democratic.
Letters to the Editor
“Hire Purchase and Employment” The paper has been sitting on this interesting leter from G. D.Rokeling since last fall, so it responds to no current story, but Mr. Rokeling’s point is that since we now understand business downturns to be responses to attempts to save money faster than savings can be spent, so hire-purchase is not just some frivolous show of lack of discipline, but a burgeoning channel for alleviating this press of savings by diverting it into the purchase of consumer goods, thereby using up savings (to subsidise the purchase) and encouraging capital investment in the production of goods to buy. If I understand him rightly. Would this not apply even more strongly for houses? I wonder how his calculations take into account new technologies such as "gyproc?"

“Swedish Credit Policy” Sweden’s recent inflation is not due to German buying. Germans have been paying for their imports on a cash-clearance basis. It is “principally” due to Swedish shipping earnings on the high seas. I rather appreciate the “principally,” given the obvious subtext. Rich Germans get their money to Stockholm, where it must be cleansed of the stink of death, and what better way to "wash" it than through investment in Allied shipping? I am glad that Fat Chow is leaving Berlin soon. It will remove my temptation to engage in that kind of business myself.
The Business World
“Anglo-Indian Finance”
India used to be in debt to London, as is only right and proper. Now we are in debt to Delhi. The total shift has been over a billion pounds, and in the postwar era Britons shall have to work to pay Indian dividends and interest! The paper is appalled. All India has done to earn this is fight our war for us. (Although the paper sees this as Britain subsidising India's war!) There is a bow in the direction of India in the form of a concession that it is all being balanced by inflation in India, with likely more to follow.
Business Notes
“Full Employment of Capital” If tawdry paupers are to be paid some subvention to keep living, then surely the fortunes of the rich should also be “fully employed.” While not objecting to the sentiment, I see an important distinction between not standing two percent, and not standing not having enough to feed your children.
“Equalising Returns” Government needs to make sure that certain industries reach the highest pitch of efficiency to secure overseas markets. These include coal, steel, engineering and shipbuilding, to which the paper helpfully suggests the addition of cotton. It is supposed that something can be done to make coal as profitable as electrical engineering? I would like to see just what, and as a landlord and a man of sense, I like not this “checking inflationary tendencies” talk. Manchester industrialists might like to hold operative wages down, but they are cutting off their noses, etc., the moment they think through the implications for the domestic market of which more. . . 
Below. “Lord Portal’sHouses” Speaking of renting out hovels to penniless labourers, the recent display of the “temporary factory-made houses” has led to “substantial improvements and alterations.” The height of the ceiling is to be raised from 7 feet to 7 feet 6 inches. The storage shed is to be detached. The W.C. is to be “adequately screened.”  An improved version, with three bedrooms instead of two, is to be hoped for, for persons of greater means. Costs are now pegged at £550, including £100 for fittings.

“Scientific Instruments” This vital, if small industry has risen from employing 18,000 to 50,000 persons, and made up much of the ground lost to German competition between the wars. Nevertheless, the paper denounces the preferential tariff of 1921 and calls for efficiency and research to sustain the industry in the future. It is probably only after the last bit of reading that I morbidly associate  “efficiency” with “wage cuts.” It does seem a little unreasonable that any but the most obvious "efficiencies" not impact "research."
“Science in Industry”
There should be more research.
“Dunlop’s Record Profit”  Is a record. Who would have thought that tyres would be so profitable? I would, Reggie, I would. I wonder if the Board has ever considered cutting out the middle man and just selling to the black market?
“National Debt Milestone” £20 billion, less than six years after the paper conceded that it needed the word “billion.”
“Netherlands Indies Guilder” American soldiers in Dutch colonial areas will be paid in guilders bought from the Dutch, continuing arrangements already made with the Australians. The exchange rate probably predicts what will be paid in the Netherlands after liberation, for those interested in such things –or for the eventual settling of accounts with Dutch ships under charter! (See my earlier comments about the Swedes!)

Flight, 8 June 1944

Invasion stripes in an 8 June ad! Quck work by Dowty, and the rest of the paper has not quite caught up, with the result that in this week of all weeks, it is a “civil flying” number. I barely have patience for it, except for the note in the leading articles about the need for pressure cabins in commercial airliners. Hear, hear! Someone can. I can’t, three days after landing at Idlewild.

Leaders Apart from that, there’s a bit about the Cripps statement on aircraft production. Nothing here to dissuade me that this industry is a war growth. The investor may or may not nose around it in case stocks have priced in the postwar setback, but I am not. There’s far too much talk of postwar civil aviation, and far too little memory of how fair rail stocks benefitted promoters over investors.

War in the Air
We lead off with talk of the battle for Rome and a blow-by-blow of, sigh, the Times printing tags from some Latin writer orthe other. Pre-invasion bombing, we are told, focussed on the bridges of the Seine, which may  have special significance, as they can be repaired quickly. Of course the paper probably has the gen, and knows that this will probably be out after the invasion, so no harm in saying so. It is noted that Typhoons also fire rockets at land targets. The Chindits have been driven off their positions by the Japanese. General MacArthur might be striking at Timor next, or the Philippines, one or the other.  The paper also notices that Admiral Halsey is wandering about giving speeches, and that Somerville might, at some point, do something. No notice of Spruance, whose doings, one might think, are of rather more significance, givne that he has all of the carriers and the Marines.
Here and There
A Constellation has just set a 7 hour, 3 minute record for flying across the Continent. Notice that that is more than 18 hours, seventeen minutes, and, by my stopwatch, 55 seconds, taxicab to taxicab.
Also setting records were the Ninth Air Force, which dropped more bombs in May than ever before, and Colonel Benjamin O. Davis, the first American Coloured Colonel. Typically, instead of noting an all-Negro air unit, some of my acquaintances focus on rumours that they are not as good a fighter group as some others. Some Spanish officers were quite impressed by the aircraft that carried Samuel Hoare away from them, with many fond and lingering looks. Mr. Stimson notices that the USAAF is now the largest air force in the world. Had you heard, Reggie? It was news to me, too! The RCAF has reached 47 combatant squadrons, but half its  manpower is still enrolled in other, mainly RAF units. This ratio will be corrected towards  more Canadian units as quickly as the puppy grows into its feet. A Kellet autogiro is shown in Army colours, giving the no doubt quite unintended impression that it has been bought for routine service. I hope no investors make that mistake! It would be tragic, though not for Kellet. The Poles have WAAFs, the United States has fighter rockets, The “stay-in” strike at Brewsters is noticed.
“Britain’s Overseas Airways” More Bowyer. Bowyer observes that foreign parts have a strange phenomena called “weather,” which ought to be taken better account of in British civil aircraft design. For example, Canada is quite cold, and Africa is quite hot! Sometimes, parts of Africa can be cold and then hot! (And, perhaps, Canada, too.) Whereas all of the United States is quite temperate(!), so that American domestic civil aviation has quite an unfair advantage which we Britons must overcome with attention to better quality rubber, pressure cabins, heating arrangements, and so forth.
The paper publishes the obituary of Lt. Colonel Outram, a former Royal Engineer and former head of the Air Inspectorate Division. A sadder loss to the aviation world than many a high flying stunt pilot, I should think.
Behind the Lines
Gnome-Rhone’s three-speed supercharger, giving 2200hp in an 18 cylinder two-row radial, is shown. An older machine from the same shop, the 14N is to go into a six-engined Zeppelin ship, the ZSO-523, with a gross weight of 90 tons, which, I understand, will fly a direct service between Cloud Cuckoo Land and the Big Rock Candy Mountain. We are told that the German Army will now have National Socialist political officers, that the German Air Force garrison in Finland will play its part in preventing that country from surrendering more, and that Martin Hallensleben, chief military correspondent of the German News Agency, notices that Allied air bombing in advance of the invasion is intended to impair German mobility and reduce the advantages of their interior lines. A hilarious joke compares Herr Goebbels with a parrot. I wish that I had thought of that one, Reggie. Oh, wait, I know, perhaps I could suggest that Hitler is lacking a manly appendage!
Aircraft in Recognition
The Lycoming PT-25, Piper PT Trainer, Aeronca Defender and Interstate L-6 are told apart. Isn’t the  genius of American mass production the consolidation of multiple, minimally different types into a single production line of colossal proportions? Or am I the victim of Mr. Ford’s publicity organisation again?
“Power-Plant: Past and Future”
This is the second part of Mr. Fedden’s talk, where he explains why Bristol was wrong to fire him. It turns out that the sleeve valve is the best of all choices for piston engines. As to whether air-cooled or liquid-cooled is best in the long run, Mr. Fedden is, surprisingly enough, agnostic. He notices that after many years of development, cooling fin development may have reached a plateau, with modern fin-cutting lathes able to turn out “52 fins with 104 tools and removing 20lb of metal in the process.” I quote the numbers, in spite of total absence of context, to illustrate the fact that whereas a layman like me might assume that the progress in air cooling might have been limited by aerodynamical science or such, it turns out to have been very much a tooling problem! Fedden dismisses the turbojet as not a practical alternative for the next dozen years, and thus that internal combustion has an interim future. While this is certainly arguable, he goes on to predict 200hp per cylinder –and then goes onto predict a 28 cylinder, 6000hp, and a 42 cylinder, 8000hp engine, which strike me as quite fantastic. Who would invest in developing these when they will just be pipped at the post by jets and turboprops?
“Anglo-American Aircraft Production” Cripps again. Leaving the American numbers alone, the Minister notices that in the last twelve months, the industry has produced over 27,000 machine and done major repairs on 18,000. Spare part production amounts to an additional 50 to 60 aircraft for every 100 built.
Mr. Handley-Page also refreshed himself and gave a statement to the press on the theme of Free Enterprise, and the paper mourns the death of Major A. J. Palmer without explaining why, precisely, he was a “colleague.” He was in the Navy, than the RNAS’s Motor Machine Gun detachment, then the Tank Corps, then the “Upper Thames River Patrol” in the current war. He has lost a son in the RAF, has another on active duty, and a third with Short Brothers, tasked to replenish the family’s trust fund by any means necessary. I added that last bit.
“Coastal Command’s Share” The command shoots at any German freighter, submarine or E-boat as might appear on the Narrow Seas, and quite often hits.   
Correspondent “Z.Q.,” a medical student, makes a joke about castor oil that sails right by me, although the drift may be inferred as the paper being a man’s paper.

A. R. Ogston writes in with elementary chemistry to show that gasoline has 26 times the “piston pushing power” of an equivalent amount of gunpowder, and 15 times the energy. W. S. Shackleton amplifies the point. A correspondent writes that there should not be a “costly battle for aerial supremacy” in the field of large and luxurious airliners. His point escapes me, rather as the argument for higher property taxes escapes me. Only more urgently, because while pain in the wallet is abstract, my ears are still ringing!
The Economist, 10 June 1944
I should mention that, in spite of the date, this and my proofs of Fortune were the first things that I read for this letter. Which is to say, that I wrote them before emplaning, and so before the earrache  and Wong Lee's departure, which together leave me more irritable than usual. It may show.
As a reader, I can only be grateful for the channels through which I receive my papers. The University library, "Miss V. C." informs me, just received its first of May number. "Miss V.C." has proven far too good a researcher for my tastes, having found the accounts of old Monterey. She brings me a certain entry for 1794 with wide eyes, and notes to me the similarities of "McKee" and "Maquinna." What do we call a red herring that draws the pack closer to the fox? A trip to Monterey is now proposed, and Lieutenant A. eagerly offered the hospitality of the Naval Air Station until "Mrs. J. C." put her foot down.
“June the Sixth” “Four years almost to the day after the last man was taken of the beaches of Dunkirk. . .” The paper notes that the victory on the beaches is to Churchill’s credit and to America and to Russia. It warns of dangerous days ahead, against premature uprisings in the occupied lands, and of the need for prompt measures to feed the liberated.
“Yet when all the thanks are made and all the contributions measured, here still remain the final artificers of victory, the men, who, in the King’s words, “man the ships, storm the beaches and fill the skies.” Although the first advances have  been secured with surprisingly little loss of life, the hardest fighting lies ahead. In the weeks to come, thousands of men will lay down their lives or suffer disablement, will endure pain and hardship and strain, will throw everything they have into the balance of victory without particularly asking why or counting the cost. For them at the moment there is not very much that people who stay behind can do. They can keep vigil, as the King has asked. They can face anxiety steadfastly. The can accept the losses when they come; but the real effort of gratitude will only be needed later on, when the men come hone.They will not have been given victory, they will have toiled and sweated for it from Alameins to Bizerta, from Sicily to Rome, in the jungles of Burma, on the landing beaches of France. They have been active agents of every military success. It is to their courage and initiative and adaptibility and common sense that have completed the historical reversal of the last four years. It will not be enough for their elders to give them “food, work and homes” –for the essentials of a decent post-war society. They must be allowed their place in that society they must be given scope and opportunity and responsibility to run it for themselves.”
I confess that I teared up when I read that, Reggie. It is all well and good for us to scheme and plot to get our share of the money that Washington and London and Ottawa (and Berlin!) are spending on this war on the authorisation of the great and good who say that we who have money must be allowed to earn more, lest we choose not to use it in the service of this great war. But when I look at my often self-satisfied gloating at the way that I scheme to make even  more money from selling the returning veterans places in which to live, and refrigerators and radios and high-fidelity recordings to put into them, I am a little ashamed of myself after reading.
We owe boys like Tommy Wong, Reggie. We really do. A “home fit for heroes.” And I know the irony of writing this to a man in the King’s uniform at your age, and that I am sounding uncharacteristically sentimental. I suppose that it is the emotion of the moment. Moving on, then…
“Capital and Employment” Three pages that I can boil down to it all being in the details of execution.
“Russia and the Balkans” A Russian summer campaign in the Balkans is expected. Bulgaria is expected to surrender more, which would seem to require Roumania surrendering more as well. This would seem more problematic, as surely Roumanian landlords and clergy will obdurately demand that the country hold onto its gains at the expense of Russia. Russia is the friend and elder brother of Balkan Slavs, and surely this will bear some fruit in the near future.
“Electoral Reform” The Sixth Reform Bill, as put forward, will …the paper inserts a short piece that it did not run eighty years ago due to pressing news from Crimea.
Notes of the Week
I would look more than ordinarily self-indulgent and silly if I were to explain to you what the paper, or, indeed, any paper thinks is going on in Normandy right now,  not when you are doing your part to make sense of it for the Supreme Command every day. Interestingly, the paper takes it as necessary to prepare us for “lulls” in the action. We all remember lulls that lasted the better part of four years the last time something like this enterprise was attempted. I hope not!
“An Administration for France” We really should settle who the Provisional French Government is at some point soon. (Hint: it is de Gaulle.)
“The Fall of Rome” managed to happen before the landings. What  a remarkable coincidence!
“Weatherwise” Perhaps weather reporting can cease to be banned, now?
“Location of Industry” Should be planned, but not too planned.
“Colonial Development” We should do that, and probably more than we already do.
“Education in the Lords” The bill on education was heard on June 6th. Lord Woolton spoke for the Government whilst riding a unicycle in bright yellow Wellingtons with a toucan on his shoulder, all while juggling three kittens and a short-sighted, flatulent Pekinese. Something about the children being the future of the nation? The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Chichester had a fine time directing discussion at what really mattered, an obligatory hour a week (or whatever) of CofE instruction on the Higher Things.
Bulgaria is surrendering more. Jugoslavs, Tynesiders, Poles and Portuguese are excitable. Wolfram!
“Prosperous Countryside” Pace some comments from a farming advocate, this highly desirable goal will be achieved by a prosperous agriculture with a small labour force, producing the cheapest possible food and industrial raw material.
American Survey
“The South and the Fourth Term” Our Correspondent in Virginia believes that if the President is nominated, he will carry the South. The notion that he would not, current a year ago, had much to do with overestimating the importance of the especially vehement Roosevelt-haters of the South, says OCV, who are “small coteries of manufacturers and business men” who loathe the President’s policies on labour and race. The Supreme Court’s recent decision  that participation on state Democratic parties cannot be confined to Whites is deemed particularly offensive, yet the great masses of Southern Democrats appreciate what the President has done for them, such as high cotton and tobacco prices and high wages. It is suggested that anti-Roosevelt Southern Democrats will seek to have Senator Harry Byrd of West Virginia nominated instead. This will not happen, of course, but the notion gives OCV a chance to discuss Senator Byrd, who manages, by some miraculous alchemy, to be both a direct descendant of William Byrd and a self-made man.
Only in America.
American Notes
Polish Americans are excitable. Texas is to have two Democratic conventions, due to a schism between those who accept the Court ruling requiring Coloured participation in the primaries, and those who do not. Secretary of State Hull and Senators LaFollette and Vandenburg have a bit of a tiff over how often it is necessary for Americans to assert that they love liberty and freedom.
“Wolf, Wolf” The War Manpower Commission has been so optimistic for so long that the new controls to go into effect on July 1st are viewed with suspicion. The paper seems more enamored of schemes to use threat of conscription into the army to coerce essential labour.
“Guaranteed Wage” Something about stabilising the market for steel?
“Enfranchising the War Worker” Due to the aging population and decline in the  birth rate, there has been a surprising gain in the proportion of voters in the population, hence the gain of 8 milllion voters since the last Presidential election. These then all moved from state to state seeking war work, and are now settled down, meaning that they can vote, meaning that the President’s party’s prospects next year are brighter than hitherto thought.
The World Overseas
There should be credits for Canadian industry; a federated university for west Africa, and something should be done to secure the prospects of the postwar Egyptian cotton industry.
Germany at War
“Fight to the End” The Germans continue to hope for a stalemate.
The Business World
“Liberated Currencies” The question of putting the currencies of the occupied countries back into good order is, of course, a very delicate one.
Business Notes
“Invasion Currency” Incredibly, American forces headed for France have gone into battle with “Invasion Francs” in their wallets printed by the United States Government and issued by it without regard for which government will redeem them. (British forces have been issued old Bank of France notes, but the supply will soon run short.) It seems that 80,000 million francs have been printed, compared with a Bank of France circulation of 500,000 million. A rate of exchange with regards to the metropolitan franc has been agreed at 50 to the dollar, 200 to the £, and this is the basis of payment in francs. It is likely that military notes will be redeemed in dollars and sterling, and credited to the French National Government. So we will have to have one, and it will have to be persuaded to do any such thing.
“Second Front Markets” It is expected that gains in the market in recent months cannot be sustained unless victory is quick and sure.
“Future of Engineering” Professor Postan, an economic historian, has given a paper to the Institution of Electrical Engineers on “the conditions that are likely to affect the future of the British engineering industry.” The professor deems the industry an important asset, and hopes to see wartime gains maintained. At the same time, he thinks this unlikely in shipbuilding, railways, textiles, likely in motors, aircraft, electrical engineering. But what of mechanical engineering? The Professor holds that it has been held back by the conservatism of British industry which has been slow to buy the most modern, American-style machine tools. We should do something about that. Although it is challenging, as the profit margins on machine tool exports are quite low.
“Aircraft Industry” Sir Stafford Cripps says that Britain has built an enormous number of increasingly large aircraft. Mr. Cripps estimates that a tenth of the industry’s capacity will be required after the war, Postan one quarter.
“Plaster Board Fusion” The paper disapproves of the merger of two producers of “Gyproc” gypsum plaster boards as undermining free competition. It deplores the way that monopoly is taking hold in an industry that has only existed since 1933!
“Institutional Savings” The Treasury Secretary is quite pleased by the share taken by insurance companies and building societies in the “Salute the Soldier” bonds-sale drive. This is quite interesting. I know that I have discouraged the Earl from investing in housing in the postwar on account of population trends, but this raises the point that the number of small savers has risen from 7 to 17 ½ millions during the war, and the number of savings account holders from 14 to 21 ½ millions, with savings instruments purchases of £272 million under “Salute the Soldier.” The structure of British small savings being what it is, much of that money is nominally aimed at funding homebuilding. What is it going to do in the absence of a demand for houses? Build them anyway? (Presumably of modern, scientific materials?) Probably not, I suppose. I still think that farming is a better use of good farm land….
“Wool Textile Problems” No workers, no production, no exports. This is rather like that one about the tree falling in the forest, isn’t it?
“The Syncrophone” “A combination of radiogram and pictorial charts, on which illustrations light up as the recorded talk proceeds.” The idea here is that the syncrophone has been used to train over a million RAF men, and is in wide use in industry now, and might serve to make up the gap in postwar training needs. Truly a revolution in training methods, etc, etc.
“The Bombay Disaster” London insurers have given much attention to the matter of the exploding of Bombay. In the interest of preventing distress to Indian interests, the Indian Government has negotiated a summary settlement ahead of investigation.
Flight, 15 June 1944
Leaders –Oh, the paper cannot be serious!
“A Notable Anniversary” Why, it is the twenty-fifth anniversary of the first air crossing of the Atlantic! It is surely no coincidence that it occurs “within ten days or so” of the “Anglo-American invasion of ‘Hitler’s Europe.’”  The most important of these coincidences being, it appears, that the paper cannot reset the number that comes out the week after the invasion, which makes it into the press as the third leading article. The paper speculates that the Hamilcar glider was a surprise, which suggests a regrettable pessimism about the Germans’ willingness to read the paper! Also, the invasion is relevant to the Hawker Tempest, which the paper is now allowed to admit to not only exist, but be in production. This is illustrated with a picture of a Spitfire, one of a number of squadrons operating from airfields in Normandy “within four days of the invasion.”
War in the Air
The paper, perhaps wisely, does not go into many details of the invasion, probably covered better by the dailies. Various impressive numbers are repeated (more than a thousand transport planes and gliders; 20,000 tons of bombs dropped in preparation here and there in northern France, etc.) The American bombing offensive from Russian bases is stepping up, and neither the German nor Japanese air forces are inclined to come up to the Allied challenge. The monsoon will make transport flying in the China-Burma-India theatre dangerous, the implication being that the monsoon will not stop it –progress, indeed!
Here and There
Ellison Insulations is changing its name to Tufnol, Ltd.! Mr. Handley-Page’s remarks are more fully reported, to the effect that instead of “super-gigantic”airliners, we should aim for 50 seaters. If that is the level of business thought at Handley-Page, this is one aviation stock I am not investing in. Lord Brabazon is concerned with the PM’s disturbing statement suggesting that America might supply Britain with airliners after the war. Various persons are promoted at Westlands as a Petter is on the outs. No doubt a story there. Trans-Canada is to buy the latest version of DC-4.
“Invasion Close-Up” the paper’s correspondent with the invasion reports. Now here the paper can acquit itself well. Having been summoned from their beds urgently in the morning hours, the correspondent pool was held in a special room at headquarters by white-gloved US military police. Then came the electrifying news. “In exactly five seconds, the firs invasion communique will be released to the world. Gentlemen, you may leave.” The paper not requiring urgent filing, its correspondent made his way to a friendly Spitfire IX squadron, which served as his home on the day. Two hundred fighters were over the invasion at any one time, and virtually no German activity was seen. Our correspondent notes how quickly the invasion stripes begin to wear. The moral is that they were applied in haste and with regular paint, and comparing wear to them with wear to the regular paint job reveals just how far “aircraft dope” has advanced in the last few years. We are told that Typhoon pilots can put 70% of their rockets in a nine foot square, which sounds quite impressive to me, although this is, obviously,  not under combat conditions. The Typhoons were apparently hunting German armour far afield of the invasion day action, and struck tanks of the 21st Panzer Division, of North African fame. Rather lamely, the correspondent closes with word pictures of the photographs that he should have taken while overflying the glider landings in the evening, and at the airfield a little later. As a consolation, the article is illustrated with some Ministry photographs and the papers’ exclusives of Spitfire pilots sitting around listening to briefings.
The First Direct Trans-Atlantic Flight”  reprints Lieutenant-Colonel Brown's account of the famed flight. As the navigator, he has some eye-opening insights on the extent of progress in flight instruments and radio navigation from 1919 to today. There is no direct insight into the decision to let down in the first Irish bog to come into sight through the ground fog as they homed in on the Marconi station, but any veteran flyer can intuit Alcock and Brown’s condition after more than 20 hours in the air!

Studies in Aircraft Recognition
Armstrong-Whitworth Ensign, Douglas B-19 heavy bomber, De Havilland Albatross, Douglas Dakota. I can only conclude that the paper is doing it deliberately at this point.
Behind the Lines
The Germans are recruiting Russian minorities such as “Tartars” for police and AA units with the promise of farms, jobs, or, for exceptional cases, free education after the war. German youth are targeted for the Luftwaffe, while the Japanese are to make aircraft production their number one economic priority. The master races to the air, the subject races to the farms, with the technical high schools the racial bridge. (Calculus changes your bloodlines, unless they are African.) Commenting on the invasion, the occupied press suggests at some times that the opposing air efforts were about equal, that weather interfered with German air operations, that the Allied air effort was not as a great as it seemed; or that since Britain is one great “aircraft carrier,” there is little to be done. The Fokker G.1 is said by “a neutral source” to be in German service.
Edward C. Bowyer, “Britain’s Overseas Air Services” Mr. Bowyer deems maintenance and good flight stewards to be important, long runways less so.
The paper notices that the rate of US Army student pilots being killed in training has risen from 1.3% before the war to 2% since, mainly in the operational training phase.
C. Rupert Moore would like to know how he is to paint his models of the three famous Gladiators of Hal Far. Mr. R. Fulljames has useful suggestions about how the staff of an envisioned supra-national air force should be organised. One L. Shelford Bidwell comments on how jets work, and one R. Hudson is upset that we are blowing up rail bridges in France, Belgium and Holland which our advancing forces will need later. He supposes that the rapid advance of the Germans in 1940 is accounted for by the fact that the Germans did not blow up bridges from the air. He suggests that the Germans will not blow up the bridges in their retreat, as they will be disorganised, in much the same way that French did not, as they were disorganised. This would be a fair point, were it not completelywrong! “Indicator” continues his letter column war with Mr. Blackburn on the subject of whether indicators have made test pilots as unnecessary luxury. Mr. Izard thinks we need to use our night bombers for day tactical bombing, and someone has strong opinions about the NASC.

I turn to the monthlies.

Fortune, June 1944

Letters to the Editor

“Imports or Else” Anthony Vickers, of Hydraulic Couplings, Ltd., points out to the paper that if America wants big exports, it must accept big imports.

Lieutenant Name Withheld writes to say that “You’ll Never Get Rich”  He is disgusted and appalled by this talk of a war bonus. After all, in peacetime, soldiers would never save a penny, whereas when they’re out on the frontlines, they save lots of money, and will end the war practically rich, so why should they get a bonus at all? Good point, Lieutenant Scrooge!

The Fortune Survey

The Republicans may well win the Presidency and achieve a majority in one or both houses of Congress. It is complicated, because the majority of voters describe themselves as “mugwumps,” that is, as being independent of either of the two major parties. So the question is who the “mugwumps” will vote for. The electorate is also cynical about its actual influence on party regulars, believing that the pressuring voices of labour unions and corporations are more significant, as they donate money. Or, rather, more money, or more effective money, than regular people.

I note, in way of nothing at all, an ad by a tyre rubber company proclaiming that “pent up consumer demand” will produce “capacity business all ‘round. That means employment for all who wish to work, wage money aplenty for all who wish to buy, more sales, more manufacturing, more employment.” 

It does seem to me like the old fallacy of lifting yourself up by your own bootstraps, Reggie, but certainly tyre makers are going to feel that way! I include it, however, because I have just perused another ad, by an earthmover maker, which claims to be getting ready for an inevitable building boom.

It is really getting hard to sort out whether we shall have a business boom or a business depression after the war. If the former, I almost think that I should rethink my opposition to the Fontana investment. The earthmover’s ad sees the “boom” in terms of viaducts and other grand reinforced concrete structures, and I must say that Los Angeles good use a few road viaducts, “cloverleafs” and suchlike. That would absorb quite a few girders!

On the other hand, my portfolio of Fortune ads also calls for an “automatic world” tomorrow, a television in every home, and an RCA electron tube-in-an-IBM-card-sorting-machine in every factory. I begin to recover my nerve. I have not, in the past, given much consideration of IBM shares, and those of its rivals. (I have bought Honeywell, however.) For all of its recent growth, it seems like another war baby. These gigantic card-sorting machines clearly have their place, but the use seems so limited that it is hard to see why anyone would buy a new one; and, one imagines, old ones will be on the market after demobilisation. The company can eke out sales from cards, of course, but new machines is another matter. Everything changes the moment that a significant new market for the machines opens up, however. 

And then there is Monsanto Chemicals, proposing a future eight-place dinner party served up with vacuum-dried beef, potatoes , fruit and tomato soup. That seems a little unrealistic, if I am to draw from experience with powdered milk and eggs.

“Mr. Ickes’ Arabian Nights,” Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes’ elaborate plan for giving three big American oil companies access to Saudi Arabian oil seems to becoming unstuck.
Eliot Janeway, “The Republican Race” Last month, the revelation that Dewey would face off against Roosevelt justified printing a month old Janeway column speculating about –I forget what was he speculating about? Something about California going Democratic, unless Connecticut went Republican? In any event, this number requires an entire article, illustrated with political cartoons from the 1840s.

Allow me to sum up this and the pre-Convention article in The Economist. Unnamed senior party officials do not like Dewey, and hope that Calvin Coolidge will return from the dead to run. Failing that, they like Willkie, who would also have to return from the dead. Failing that, they hope that someone else will turn up to stop Mr. Dewey, the “Boy Wonder.” Even though “[f]or the class of people who live midway between the station-wagon set and the slums, he is everything he ought to be. Dewey is the favorite son of the suburbs.”
So everyone likes Dewey, he is the strongest candidate and has the most delegates, and therefore Stassen MacArthur Bricker Taft Harold Burton  Eric Johnston Earl Warren.

“France: The American Stake.” So, apparently, we can’t have France as a colony after the war. They should be completely independent, and completely subordinate to American interests, part of a “united states of Europe,” and of an Atlantic Community.

“The Ford Heritage” Henry Ford is 82, and the paper went to interview him. He is still healthy, and quite certain that control of the company will pass down through the family, in the immediate future to his grandsons. He has evidently heard rumours about turmoil in the upper ranks of the company, and may relish it for publicity reasons. He is, after all, a publicist, and the paper takes his more controversial public stances as evidence as his taste for publicitiy. This being so, it is noteworthy that he has a poster on his wall with pictures of General Short and Admiral Kimmell, captioned, THE MYSTERY OF PEARL HARBOR. The alleged mystery of Pearl Harbor is, of course, how the President managed to get the Japanese to bomb it, so as to force war on Germany and Japan. The paper supposes that Harry Bennett may be the next business manager at Ford, since his grandsons are young and feckless, and diplomatically notes his alleged underworld ties. At least until Henry Ford II is ready to take the helm. “Henry Ford II believes that the second car in the American garage is not an impossible hope.” It might have to be a small car, in which case the company will have to overcome America’s aversion to the small car, but it is not an impossible hope. Of course, he also believes that his new V-8 will sell like the Model T. I suppose that is why the second car will be small. And since Ford is family held, however old Henry mismanages the company, the family won’t be hurt.

Though, frankly, the plan to flog off so much of the Rouge to “Cousin H.C.” shows at least more acumen than the same! Ah, well, I have tried to convince our cousin-in-law to get out of aircraft, as I have tried to convince him to get out of steel, but he will have none of this idea of retreating back to his comfort zone of construction, nor of my notion of investing in electrical engineering –there is nothing on the horizon that seems as grand and dramatic as transport planes in matters electrical. Though you would think that television. . . .

“Air Passage to England” The paper’s reporter flew to England and back. The way there was quite nice, a summer flight in still air. The flight back, in February, was a hardship run. The 1942—3 winter was so foul that they almost couldn’t keep the route open. There were only 176 crossings. Remember the submarine war crisis at the same time? Putting this in perspective, the three year total is 800, with only two planes lost. I should go through my papers to see how many of those had our gold on board. Quite a few, I should think. I hope that the effort will finally buy some forgiveness in certain quarters over guiding money into the Southern Pacific. . .

Westbound Liberators take off with 3100 gallons of gas, enough for 17 hours of still-air flying. As Mr. Bowyer points out elsewhere, taking off with that much gas itself implies a very long flight, or very long runways to divert to if something goes wrong. If Goose Bay or Gander is open, pilots do not mind taking off into a 48 knot headwind. If they are shut down, a thirty knot headwind means a difficult calculation, since if the flight plan is over 15 hours, the pilots will not take off. The only escape then is to take a detour via Iceland, which puts the plane at full tanks another 738 miles closer to the American coast. However, the mere mention of Iceland puts shivers into experienced passengers, since  a shift of the winds may strand them there for weeks at a time. Planes have to fly above icing altitude –20,000ft or more, under oxygen. Differences in pressure make it hard to pass water, and the cabins, although heated, fall to 21 below.

“The Farm Bureau” is a highly effective Washington lobby group. It is very concerned with soil conditions.

America and the Future has articles about William Penn, who was a hero and a man of conscience, the new British relationship with Russia (baffled but hopeful), and the Gas Turbine, about which I would know more were I not transfixed by the Apollonian beauty of Mr. Geoffrey Smith. Oh, and some airy-fairy bit of German philosophy by another of the academic emigres, Ernst Cassirer on “The Myth of the State.” Dr. Cassirer is apparently uniquely qualified by vast education to explicate the notion that the state is a myth. I do not know. A cruise or two as a pirate is, in my experience, also a good qualification, but I suppose that that is why the word “unique” is in there. Certainly most pirates do not have Ph.Ds. Though that might change if there were ever a surplus of unemployed young PhDs, one imagines.

Business at War

“The railroads of the country are headed for a manpower crisis,” warned the late Joseph Eastman last September. It hasn’t gotten any better. High seniority men, and low-paid maintenance workers with homes along the tracks have stayed on the job, but more junior people have jumped into war work. There is a 100,000 man shortage on the rails. It has been suggested that the railroads could do more. Some junior employees do not even get overtime, housing and lunchrooms have been neglected, training programmes are weak, and race and sex prejudice have dictated hiring. While Coloureds are only hired for certain jobs, the railroads are in the process of hiring 40,000 Mexicans. And labour, especially senior labour, is not employed enough due to featherbedding. So, essentially, the industry’s problems are not as bad as they say, because the paper thinks that it can work the men who have stayed with the industry harder. Although at least the paper has the sense to see that they must be paid more if asked to do more, which puts it over The Economist!

A domestic American essential oils and aromatic chemicals industry, weak before the war, has flourished during it. A continuing demand for scents and flavours across many industries may make it a good investment, because even men will prefer perfume in their soap if they are not asked.

 Beatrice Tank Company, a firm which makes sheet metal tanks and bins, has done quite well from the war, and hopes to continue to do quite well. It was unionised by the AFL, and the sky did not fall. Heres hoping that it continues in peace time, in which case this was the kind of company you should have been investing in. Whereas if it fails, it will have been the kind you oughtn’t.

Aviation, June 1944

Down the Years in AVIATION’s Log

Twenty-five years ago, navy airship C-5 cruised 1100 miles nonstop under adverse air conditions …and then was wrecked by high winds in its moorings. So, not much has changed there. Fifteen years ago, Robbins and Kelly set a refuelling endurance record of 172 hours, flying circles around Wright Field, if I recall correctly, and actually flying alongside a racing auto to pick up fuel cans. The Curtiss Marine Trophy is won by Lt. W. C. Tomlinson at a speed of 173mph. Pitcairn-Cierva builds a $100,000 autogiro factory. (In honour of the anniversary, remind me to taunt the investors they fleeced, Reggie.) Goodyear-Zeppelin announces a training course for prospective trans-Pacific pilots. Night airmail starts between Pittsburgh and Cleveland. Ten years ago, the Chinese built “the first floating hangar,” and the Air Corps announced that the turbosupercharged Curtiss P-30 was….coming soon.

AVIATION Editorial (Note that for some reason there is no line editorial this month)

Leslie Neville is impressed by the Aeronautical Chamber of Commerce’s blueprint for America’s future of the air. (A big air force, large civil aviation, much money, lots of advertising, lots of research and development, free enterprise.)

Rear-Admiral Dewitt C. Ramsay, “America’s Prime Weapon: Carrier-Based Aviation” America has many aircraft carriers. Their planes shoot down six Japanese for every American lost. They blew up Truk. Soon, they will blow up other places. Flying planes from aircraft carriers is harder than it looks, but moving air fields have their advantages, such as there always being wind over the decks. Which, first, seems like cheating when comparing land planes to sea planes, and, second, is fairly obviously not an advantage you can count upon in a  sea fight!

“An American Air Power Policy” By a remarkable bit of prescience, I was able to summarise this article without even reading it! (Above.)  (My housing policy, Reggie: All Americans should live in large houses on large, suburban lots in Pacific Slope states. It’s for the good of the country!)

Johnn Foster, Junior, “Here are Your Markets,, Part II  --East and West North Central, East and West South Central Regions” In the postwar era, states with large populations of wealthy individuals will buy more aeroplanes than small, lightly populated ones. Therefore, Ohio will be a more important market for you than North Dakota. Also, statistics, which might actually make this article useful. For example, did you know that Louisiana has 1.7% of the nation’s buying power, but only 1.2% of its registered private aeroplanes? Perhaps it will be a worse market than Oklahoma, with 1.8 and 2.0, respectively! Unless there is a reason for this apparent discrepancy. Upon which matter Mr. Foster is silent. To think that someone paid for this "research."

Frederic Flader, “The Economic Future of Aviation Technology,” In the future, there will be money in flying mail, passengers and expensive goods. How expensive? Less and less expensive as ton-mile costs fall! For example, a decline from 51 cents per ton mile to 15 will increase traffic (Mr. Flader lays a ruler on a chart and measures off a set distance into dreamland) 300 times!

Chester S. Ricker, “Design Analysis No. 6: DeHavilland Mosquito” Here is part two of the very long design analysis promised. “Construction of these stabilizer brackets is very interesting….” Never a truer word spoken, Mr. Ricker! This number is devoted to control mechanisms and control surfaces (this is the right jargon for ailerons and rudders, is it not?). Ricker successfully establishes that these are very complex in order to do their job well, and reinforces the point made earlier, that the plywood used is carefully chosen and of high quality.

Jean H. Hamelet, “Let’s Make Instrument Flying Easier” I have seen a great many articles like these, but I am sure that Mr. Hamelet’s views are useful and can make a contribution.

Stephen J. Zand, “Automatic Flight and Airplane Stability” The drawback to leaving my papers around is that when your eldest gets hold of one that interests him, it develops annotations in a spidery pencil script. I see that he was  very interested in this one. Or someone was, as the hand seems a little different. Perhaps your youngest? Or perhaps your son had a cramp, as it his favourite word --“stability” --which is heavily underlined. Since Mr. Zand is the director of the Vose Memorial Laboratory at Sperry Gyroscope Company, the very bastion of evil to your son’s mind, I suppose that the article is either an example of bad practice, or an extended guilty plea, and the check marks and a curt “It’s about time!” suggest the latter. Sperry has come to accept the need for the careful mathematical analysis of autopilots, and their individual design for specific aircraft. Or, at least, Mr. Zand has.

“Forged Cylinder Heads Require New Technique." Wright wants you to know that the reason that the Cyclone, announced 18 months ago, is not yet in trouble-free service is not because the announcement was hopelessly ambitious, but because of the New Techniques. Which had to be implemented. And which were hopelessly optimistically predicted. Many machine tools are used, and an outrageous amount of scrap metal is generated. Fortunately, the new techniques will have many applications in the fut—is that a jet engine I see?

William N. Findley, “Load Characteristics of Cellulose Acetate Plastic,” Given that it is so widely used, perhaps we should measure its load bearing characteristics? And publish a paper?

H. S. Golden, Assistant Chief Engineer, Buick Motors, General Motors, “Design Craftsmanship Cuts Engine Production Costs,” Originally, Buick was instructed to make new Pratt & Whitney engines with  no design changes. But, later, they made design changes that reduced engine production costs! From the sounds of things, this is the kind of article that every chief engineer of a contracting firm in America could write, Reggie. As production went on, the organisation learned to do it better. The products came out better, and not just because of the redesign of fine details such as the radius of the chamfer of the oil control rings, either.

 “Convair Machine Sorts 50,000 Rivets Hourly,” Saving significant labour hours, Convair designed and built this automatic sorting machine, which it now markets to other interested manufacturers, with the assurance that, yes, it really does work.. The inventor, Mr. H. O. "Bud" Mills, might want to rethink having his photograph shot in profile, however. Or at least get  new haircut and a shave.

Though, to be fair, Mr. Mills is making me rethink my IBM embargo, noted above. Rivets are, obviously, not punch cards, but the news that even some middle-aged Walter Mitty-type can design and build a new (rivet) sorter for his business's needs makes me think that while the company's machine business is surely saturated, there is probably a future in its punch-card trade.

“Methods for Forming Sheet Aluminum, Part II: Spinning of Aluminum” I think that one might guess from seeing complicated, radially-symmetric aluminum pieces that this is being done somewhere. And it is!

T. J. Kearney, Dexter Corporation, “New System Simplifies Engine Cleaning” I was all set to mock this until I noticed that your daughter-out-of-law has been at the number, writing, “I want one of these –G.,” underneath –in ink, yet!

I am not sure why she would want a device for spray-cleaning small engine parts,however.

“Operation of Zero-Lash Valve Lifter” I have no idea what this means, but Franklin Engines thinks it worth advertising.

“Steps in Servicing Champion Sparkplugs” And now your youngest is clipping photos. I swear that I am going to get a second subscription at this rate.

“Progressive Line Methods Expedite Engine Overhaul” My comments on the Buick article above will hold here.

The next article has been clipped entirely. I shall be having a talk with your youngest, although I assume that it is another routine maintenance article, and so of little interest to me.

Two finance articles, on “Fly-Yourself Businesses,” and whether airline stocks are over-valued. (Probably.)

The paper has an article about the Budd steel cargo aircraft.

Aviation News

The lead article is on the Aeronautical Chamber of Commerce plan. Etc, etc. Two P-51s set a new trans-continental record (6 hours, 31 ½ minutes.) The April aircraft production total is below obituaries, although at the head of the “Aircraft Manufacturing” section. 8,343 a/c, if you were wondering. Old news, of course, so the only interest lies in wondering whether it is pushed so low out of embarrassment. It is surely not as surprise, after all.

Washington Windsock

Blaine Stubblefield notices that jet aircraft will last longer than prop, and present challenges to aircraft manufacturers. Also, the bombing of Germany has been less effective because while he bombs did “all of the expected damage,” they have a lower velocity of contact, and so penetrate less! I do not see what difference that would make, if the bombs are doing all the “expected damage,” but I am not a Washington insider!

America at War

As the paper falls ever further behind events, so this feature becomes ever less interesting. In the news: we are bombing Gemany!

Aviation Manufacturing

As already noted, aircraft production hit a new low not seen since October, although structure weight, although also falling, is off the record weight set in March. Boeing, the P&W plant in Kansas City, and the Packard Merlin production line are all worthy of notice. Convair’s projected six-engine mid-wing monoplane, the “mammoth Model 37 transport” might carry 400 passengers on two decks, and feature various new features, of which the only one that sounds as though it would support these ambitions, as opposed to being perennial good ideas never yet quite achieved, such as reversible propellers, is a mention that it will be fabricated of a new alloy. Perhaps his classified new alloy is why we no longer hear that the future belongs to magnesium or stainless steel?

“Transport Aviation” is mostly concerned with the air law battle and prospects of traffic gains, although at least one messianic vision is touted, an airfield for “private flyers only” for St. Louis that, as far as I can tell is expected to form a modern Forbidden City of the aeronautical in the midst of the downtown.

Aviation Abroad

On the one hand, talks about talking about civil aviation continue. On the other, talk of a KLM buy of Avro Tudors has the American industry in a tizzy. It’s poaching, because KLM belongs to us. Well, the Dutch, technically.

Aviation Finance

Ray Hoadley notes that stocks have been on a declining trend since 1940, and price in more”postwar prosperity” than wartime boom. This is true of aviation stocks as well. I think the point here, combined with his earlier, longer piece, is that there is a safe “bottom” on aviation stocks. He notes a Harvard Business School study which uses the Lockheed case to show that high corporate income taxes would be bad for small business, that the Canadian excess profits tax is bad for business, and that Congress’s refusal to pass a bill allowing termination loans before adjourning until after the election could have disastrous consequences if the Germans fold before November. Which you have to wonder why they would conceivably do, given that a sharp victory followed by a GOP election on a “rethinking this whole war thing” platform is about their only hope. Surrender the day after the election, if the harvest looks that bad.

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