Friday, February 19, 2016

Postblogging Technology, January 1946, I: No Pessimism, Please. We're British

A fortunate 1946 to all!

My Lord:

The seasons have come  around again, at least insofar as they do in Santa Clara. (It is not hot, so it must be winter!) Now it is orange harvest. As I sit in the study, overlooking the guest house and the back, Michael yells hoarse orders in Spanish, the smell of boiling  marmalade is everywhere, and the sound of hammers on packing crates makes it very hard to read dry, boring technical journals. Fortunately, as I have learned from the Luce press, when you are not in a mood to produce serious copy, you can write a rambly introduction full of purple prose and references to the turning seasons. (If you are wondering, and care, your allotment of marmalade is coming by sea, via Montreal, in March.) 

With orange boxes rattling away to Chinese groceries on bare-tired Model Ts. one's mind turns to preparations for Lunar New Year, and the sad moment when we must say goodbye to my step-mother. Father has been called away to Ottawa to explain once again that nothing the Russians can detect from their embassy there will tell them anything about what is going on at Chalk River. Everyone is archly mysterious about it all, but I gather that a secretary from the embassy has sought protection from the Canadians, and has passed on some information to the effect of nefarious Red spies ferreting out secrets entrusted to Canada by London and Washington. We are informed that a parallel case is progressing in Washington, and there is a fever in Virginia to have the sense wrung out of the Russian ciphers. 

We will be celebrating with Uncle Henry this year. Aunt Beth's condition is progressing rapidly, and her doctors will not be able to keep her comfortable for much longer. She had a heart attack in October, which, I am told, is a common symptom if her condition, as is her increasing confusion. So her son is bringing his wife, and his little daughter. This means that we will celebrate it as a "Late Robbie Burns Day," in tribute to Great-Grandfather's little joke.  What Mrs. Edgar will make of it all, I can scarcely guess. She is aware that she is not to talk about Aunt Beth's side of the family, but, hopefully, supposes it to be about the touch of the sagebrush and, behind it, the hint of assorted land scandals.  A family bound in secrets is a family united. One hopes. 

Speaking of old secrets, I have now made my rather sticky visit to the "Junior College." Donald was down-at-mouth at the idea of owing us a favour, but our condition was met, and "Miss V.C." will be permitted unrestricted access to the library and university archives, ostensibly to get a headstart on her senior thesis. Donald tells me that much of the money will be used as an investment, to support a "West Coast research institute," which will in turn support the university with its profits. I tried to talk him out of the idea --he frankly sounds like a confidence artist's dupe on the subject-- and the conversation ended in some heat. 
Forties tie!

Still, we have what we came for. Hopefully it will not all be rendered moot when we are allowed to buy the entire archives as scrap paper in the liquidation sale! As to what, exactly, "Miss V.C." is to find, that is another matter. Whatever dark secrets might have been suppressed, as between Bancroft's agents and Great-Grandfather's, they are hardly actionable today! But Grace is convinced that there would not have been so much effort spent on keeping them secret if they did not still matter. 

I did not task Donald with keeping the arrangement secret from the Engineer, as I did not expect him to honour the agreement even before harsh words were uttered on the chances of the university making good on something Lockheed has already given up on. Consequently, while I expect difficult moments with him when I see him next, at least he will not be under the impression that I was trying to keep secrets from him. (Just trying to implicate him in the Oregon Land Scanndal. That is so much better!) 

Ah, well. The Engineer is hardly happy anyway unless he is in a state of priggish outrage. At least with respect to his bastard, how far the apple falls from the tree! What I fear  is that he will throw over punctiliousness and secure the assistance of Koumintang assassins. I hope we have protected ourselves enough that I do not have to worry about a White Russian psychopath dismembering "Miss V.C." in the bath. The poor girl has been down-at-mouth enough since my brother left  (could it be?), and I do not want to be the one telling her that Wong Lee must accompany her to campus. Not to mention that Wong Lee has quite enough to do keeping up his business and his family life, especially with a granddaughter under foot, and now another child on the way. 

Pardon me, I do not wish to be indiscreet, but I thought, after dire talk of torso murders, that it would be better to end on a positive note, of new beginnings and good fortune at the turn of the Year of the Dog. I wish you and yours, therefore, luck and prosperity in the year to come.

Your Most Humble and Obedient Servant,


Flight, 3 January 1946


“Controlling the Uncontrollable” Regulations have been published to control aircraft movements and prevent collisions. The paper thinks that it is nice to have regulations, but we don’t need regulations, because collisions hardly ever happen, so it stands to reason that they won’t in the future. 

“The New RAF Pay Rates” The daily papers have covered the new rates, so the leading article can instead take up all its space talking about how in the past sometimes pilots weren’t officers, and aircrew were, and that was the reverse of how it should be, and before you know it, some members of the aircrew were off to tea, and others were off to dinner, and chaos and anarchy threatened, and from now on, never more.

“’Flying’ Ranks” The Same Subject, Continued. Now with proper enunciation. 

Captain J. Laurence Pritchard, “1866 . . . And All That” While it is ordinarily something one would not wish to emphasise, as it might lead to a slackening of progress on the full technical efficiency, national aeronautical college or anti-Corn Laws fronts, Britain did used to have some science. On an occasion such as the 80th anniversary of the Royal Aeronautical Society (though it wasn’t Royal back then, ), this cannot be entirely ignored. Fortunately, the paper has writers who can make the reader wish that they had ignored it. And I am not even talking about Major F. de Vere Robertson, V. D.! Let us turgidly and briefly celebrate those long gone days, when Britain had (would-be) aeronauts, and not aeroplanes. 

Rain on the windows, a comfy chair, a crackling fire, a cup of something hot, and there you are, curled up with your favourite collection of aeronautical patents. 

“R.A.E. Ignition Research” Two experimental improvements in aircraft ignition systems are demonstrated at Farnborough.

Here and There

Taylorcraft has produced its first two Austers of the peacetime production series at Rearsby. The United States Navy announces a new two-engine long distance patrol aircraft, but with no details, or even the winning contractor. 
So very, very pretty.

Alvis announces a 9 cylinder medium-power aircraft engine. Bristol’s Aero Engines, Ltd. Under the chairmanship of Sir Maurice Bonham-Carter, will change its name to Douglas (Kingswood) Ltd, and take up presumably actually making the Douglas motorcycle, as opposed to not making aero engines.
And here is one heck of a forgotten story. Robert Edison Fulton rode from London to Tokyo in 1931--32 on a Douglas motorcycle, wrote a book (One Man Caravan), made a movie, worked for Pan American, and had a second career as a patent troll. (The Wikipedia article reports his claim to have invented the "first ground-based aerial trainer" in WWII. Uhm, no. Oh, and he was a Skyhook guy!

 More details, or, to be exact, the same details, of the Grumman F8F are released. “The usual modest claim in the transatlantic Press is that its climb, speed and manoeuvrability excel all fighter ‘planes in all Services.” New Years Honours go to atomic scientists W. A. Akers, R. E. Peierels and Dr. F. E. Simon. At MAP, Dr. Benny Lockspeiser, Micklem of Vickers, and B. T. Bumble take their gongs away. There is also a fair selection of designers and production men amongst the common lot of OBEs.

“Short Seaford: Civli Development of Sunderland with Good Economic Performance” Well, good except for its being a flying boat. The paper wants us to know that even though the Seaford is a development of the Sunderland, which is a development of the Empire boat, there are military and civilian Sunderlands, and civil and military Seafords, while there are also still Empire boats about. 

Armstrong Siddeley Cougar: A New Medium-power Engine in the Famous ‘Feline’ Range” Armstrong Siddeley has a nine-cylnder radial out, because the market wasn’t crowded enough already. 

“Combustion Research: The Development of Combustion Systems for Jet Engines: Pioneer Work of Lucas Laboratories” As Lucas notes, the Whittle engine required a supply of 3.25lb/sec of 40lb/sq in air for each combustion chamber. This was hard to simulate on the ground, but Lucas managed to do so, using a 750hp engine to drive 6lb of air at 45 lb/sq in, enough to fill the experimental combustion chambers and establish that they could, in fact, combust. In the next stage, Lucas developed a test bed fed by a Merlin blower to test actual engine subassemblies. Research is ongoing, into configurations and metallurgy.

The Folland E.28/40: Torpedo Reconnaissance Bomber with Many Unusual Features” The Folland torpedo plane met very challenging naval specifications with a wing mounted on trunnions, allowing it to vary its incidence from 4 to 15 degrees. Because it needed a very high lift section, and because high lift leading edge slots and trailing edge flaps require a very high angle of incidence to be efficient, while the undercarriage and pilot view need less incidence, the solution was to have both. I cannot believe that the mechanicals were worth the weight, and the fact that the Centaurus was chosen as the power plant suggests to me that, in the end, the actual solution was the usual one: more power, until all the aerodynamic problems melted away in a blast of hot exhaust. 

The paper regrets the death of the Honourable Andrew Dalrymple, of Chilton Aircraft, in an air accident.

“Indicator,” “Geodetic Variations: ‘Indicator’s’ Impressions of the Different Wellington Marks: A Series of Lessons in Modification and Multiplication” Because of its odd construction, the Wellington and various similar planes wiggled in the air, which ‘Indicator’ liked, and they were easy to land. 

“the New Service Pay” The paper gives the new rates and aircrew categories.

American Newsletter

“A popular word in the American vocabulary at the moment is ‘reconversion.’” It is noted that nearly 400 surplus DC-3s and DC-4s have been allotted to domestic and foreign airlines, and that firms like Republic are doing a booming business converting them for peacetime use at a cost of $175,000/aircraft. Reports of enormous light aircraft orders continue: 8000 for Taylorcraft, 4000 for Republic; 5000 for Piper, 4000 for Globe Swift. Continental Engines is said to have orders for 35000 engines in hand. The B-29 is being converted to the Pratt and Whitney 4360 Wasp Major, in which configuration it will be redesignated the B-50. 

By Highflier - Self-made taken at the USAF Museum; Dayton, OH, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Northrop may or may not be continuing with its jet flying-wing fighter, which recently crashed, killing pilot Harry Crosby. The long-range record B-29 is reported to have lost its automatic pilot after a few hours, and to have had trouble with a hot junction box. It was reported that one engine was feathered because otherwise the other engines would have got too cold, running at creditable 42% (50% with the outer engine feathered) but rumours say that it was actually a burnt-out supercharger bearing which was to blame. I don’t know about this story. I would be very surprised if those Wright monstrosities actually ran at 42%. I’m a bit dubious about 50! The Pratt & Whitneys on the B-50 have the advantage of a marquee with a better name, but are even larger and more crowded engines. You cannot fault the USAAF for ambition! Although just between you and me, atomic bombs are very big brutes right now, and flying them to Russia (he looks, wide-eyed and guileless, at his interlocutor) will be quite a project.

“Thunderbolts to Rainbow” Republic’s enormous 113,000lb “Rainbow,” another Wasp Major machine, gets a blurb. Two turbochargers feed each of the 3250hp engines. As in the P-38, the wing section is a laminar flow with huge Fowler flaps for lift. The pressure cabin is closed off by the front window, with a transparent nose to provide a dry air space, the article says. It’s a bit hard to imagine, but my understanding is that the Rainbow started out as a reconnaissance aircraft, and that may have played a role in the odd configuration.

A four-engined reconnaissance plane with an all up weight of 101,000lb. I don't know why it wasn't ordered, either!

Civil Aviation

“Controlled Freedom” The new civil air rules are reviewed. 

“Results from Bermuda” The Canadians and British have agreed that both countries will have a quota of 350 seats a week, with Dorval, Prestwick, and Heathrow when fit for all-weather use as termini. 

All wartime restrictions on civil flying in New Zealand are now lifted. Chicago is building a 5,325 acre airport with 8 6,150ft runways and four 7,700. 

Australian National Airways, Guinea Airways and Qantas attended an auction in Manila to buy one C-47 each as stopgap planes. Rotterdam is to have a new airport, three miles south of the old one, while Schiphol continues redevelopment. A PICAO meeting will be held in March. 


“Stressman” writes that ‘Indicator’s’ belief that we will need atomic engines to “get over the hump” to supersonic flying seems implausible, given that supersonic rockets already exist, and that jet engines currently in development seem sufficient for at least Mach 1. “Stressman” asks for the great and good to weigh in. Douglas Deans has opinions about what the civil owner wants. P.L.B. has very extensive opinions about cockpit arrangements, and Thomas. W. Reid about the prospects of a trade union for aircraft engineers. This follows from Patricia Parker’s earlier letter, so it is fitting that she gets a reply to the effect that she agrees with the Aeronautical Engineers’ Association’s concerns about the new Air Ministry regulations on the certification of war-trained men (and women.) 

The Economist, 5 January 1946


“Not Dead Yet” “A correspondent claims that the paper has recently been all gloom and pessimism.” As if! The paper only seems gloomy and pessimistic because everything is awful. For example, the war is only almost over, and will never end, because the United Nations Organisation is terrible Fortunately, at least there won’t be another war on top of the one we can’t get done with. The paper is not that pessimistic. We shall instead simply live in a “twilight zone between war and peace” for “many years” until it is time for a war. And then we shall have one! I do hope that it turns out to be one of those outdoor wars, as all that twilight will have in the meantime made the world as pasty as Vancouverites in December. Also, poor and discontented as are the British right now, at least they are free and united, and that is better than some. So there, correspondent!

“Diplomatic Balance Sheet” Did the Moscow Conference succeed or fail? A balance sheet says that it failed. Eastern Europe is not free, which is bad. The Russians will not stick their noses into Japan or China, which is good. Persia and Germany were not discussed, so neither good nor bad. It’s all because Byrnes is useless, and sold us down the river, so as long as that goes on, there should be no more such Conferences. 

The last man appointed to the Supreme Court who had not read law. Later, he endorsed Harry Byrd, Richard Nixon and Barry Goldwater

“1846: Annus Mirabilis” I have earnestly solicited the assistance of scholarship and learned that this does not translate as “The paper keeps making an ass of itself over 1846.” It is, rather, about all the good things that happened in 1846, including the repeal of the Corn Laws, and the return of Palmerston to the Foreign Office, ready to wage war against pacific foreigners over “free trade." For in the midst of the “Railway Mania,” what man of business could possibly deny the evil of Schemes of Protection? “In that cheerful dawn of 1846, men had an almost religious faith in the virtues of cheap food, cheap manufactures and their distribution through easy transport.” However, people were much too optimistic about the progress of science, on account of the atom bomb, which is terrible. The Second Opium War was . . . not?

“Divided Korea” Korea is to be independent, but right now is to be independent in two halves, one northern and Communist, one Southern, and not. The 38th Parallel has become an “iron curtain” dividing the two, much to the disadvantage of Koreans, as it cuts off the industrial north from the agrarian and populous south. Hopefully, between them, the Russians and Americans can sort out Korea’s future, as fifty years of Japanese rule has left it with neither a middle class nor a “feudal landowning class” to insert themselves into the discussion.

Notes of the Week

“Politics in Japan” The Russians think that the Americans are re-establishing Japan’s old order. The Emperor’s New Year’s rescript indicates that he is fine with not being the sacred god emperor of the Yamato race any more. The question is whether those of his subjects who have lots of money and heavy engineering factories agree, or would prefer to try more world dominating. Bad for the country, good for the steel industry, so a mixed bag, overall.

“Outflanking the Turks” Russia and Turkey are having a loud war of words over their eastern frontier. 

“New Years Honours” Well, some households have had good news. Others include new viscounts Alanbrooke, Alexander, Montgomery, Cunningham and Portal. Fraser, Tovey, Maitland Wilson and Tedder become barons. The paper points out that it is hard to tell who might have been offered similar honours and declined them due to the burden which falls not only on them, but their descendants. It calls for “life” peerages.

“The BBC” The paper doesn’t want to say that the BBC should be done away with in favour of private enterprise as in America, but if the reader were to get that impression from reading this note, that would be fine. 

The French are excitable, but slowly. Rumanians and Bulgarians are getting either more, or less excitable. It is hard to tell. Italians are excitable, and frustrated. Caribbeanites are excitably non-excited. (They’re having a conference on inter-island economic cooperation.)

“Advance in Java” British troops have advanced, and are disarming the youth groups which have committed so many atrocities, and are now in the midst of restoring order without restoring the Dutch, so that if they want to be restored, it will be up to them, and depend heavily on how they go about it. 

“Recruits for the Mines” Mr. Noel Newsome has gone from the BBC’s European Service to the Ministry of Fuel, where he will be in charge of bringing entries, currently running at 9000/year, up to triple that, where it needs to be to meet attrition and maintain the country’s production needs. “The fact that one in every four boys was killed or injured in the mines before the war” is seen as discouraging recruitment. The imminent decline in the juvenile population and rise in the school-leaving age will also be a problem. Mr. Shinwell thinks that nationalisation will solve all the issues. The paper hopes for full technical efficiency leading to higher wages. Grace keeps saying that “not enough entrants” ought to lead to higher wages, but she's just a silly woman. Obviously you have to raise productivity first, and this will then be passed on to the miners.

“Farm-worker’s Wages” Etc. Higher wages being out of the question, there will be a Commission of Inquiry into the question of why there are not enough agricultural labourers, instead. Call on me, paper, for I am ever so smart!

“The New Cardinals” Are mostly conservative, even if Mooney of Detroit is a stalwart champion of labour, and Tien Ken-shin is identified as the first cardinal of non-European stock. 

“The Cost of Living Index” Arguments about whether and ow much the cost of living has gone up can now be done on a new basis! The current one is 38 years old, and a review of the working class budgets of 1904 and 1938 reveals that some significant changes have taken place, or so I am told. 

“Shorter Notes” A peace treaty has now been signed between Siam and the Allies, with the dropping of American demands for a rice transfer to neighbouring countries, to which Siam was objecting vigorously, for no reason the paper understands. Heathrow opened on New Year’s Day. 


J. A. Edwardes, of Langdon Court, East Langdon, near Dover, writes on agricultural policy. He thinks that British agriculture will do just fine if price controls are lifted. As for the consumer, currently enjoying a 300 million subsidy, he can just pound sand, or, more politely, take it out of his increased war salary. The paper does not reply that that is the point. 1846!

T. Balogh, of the Reform Club, thinks that the “The American Loan” is done and settled, and that it is time to get on with subverting Bretton Woods to pay it before the next American depression ruins everything.

Basil Druitt[?], of London, thinks that “Safety on the Roads’ is everyone’s concern, but which he means everyone else but him, as he is a fine driver, and pedestrians and cyclists are just trying to get themselves killed, and hopefully this does not lead to lower speed limits. 

American Survey

“Health Insurance in America” Uncle Henry was in fine form on this subject when it was his turn to host. His opinions are the reverse of the paper’s. and, on this subject, I prefer Uncle Henry. 

American Notes

“Mr. Byrnes Receives a Warm Welcome” Mr. Byrnes was well-roasted on his return to Washington. The Senate is concerned that there be no interference with MacArthur’s work in democratising Japan (prompting the paper to speculate that MacArthur will be run again in 1948), that Russia get out of the Balkans and Britain out of the world, that not a word of atomic secrets be spilled to anyone under any conditions whatsoever and that John Foster Dulles be brought along to nursemaid the Secretary at all Conferences, and not just some. 

“War Powers Continue” The War Power Acts is renewed for only six months instead of the year requested. This means that controls will be extended for at least that long, and not eliminated within 60 days, as the National Association of Manufacturers has requested. As for specific consequences of controls, there is an amending regulation that builders will not be able to use more than 50% of controlled materials on houses of over $10,000, which seems to me impossible to enforce, but the paper’s conclusion is that “No-one, however, has the power to make builders build.” 

So, just to review: there is an awful shortage of housing. Construction material is available; labour is available. Yet the builders just won't build, for reasons the paper doesn't spell out. Well, I, for one, am glad that The Economist isn't succumbing to pessimism!

“Pay-packets by the Year” The debate over a guaranteed annual wage continues, with Ford and Kaiser-Frazier both offering guaranteed annual minimum wages in attempts to pick off the unions’ piece-by-piece. The prospect of a national scheme, however, remains in the doldrums. 

“Third Party Talk” Various people, tired of the way that extreme conservatives are getting their way in Washington, are talking of a Third Party.“Half a League” The paper anticipates the foreign ministers’ meeting in Moscow, and notes that the Senate has voted to authorise the UNO: the New York Daily News responds with the headline; “The Passing of the Republic!” 

“Fair Employment Gives Way to Peace” The Fair Employment Commission has been extended until June of next year, but it has been stripped of all power except to “investigate” cases where Coloureds are not employed on the same basis as white employees. This is highly unsatisfactory, with gathering evidence of a return to pre-war practices of anti-Negro discrimination, with 9000 of 18000 vacancies posted in Detroit being in job classifications forbidden to Coloureds. It is pointed out to the FPEC that race troubles are scarcely unimaginable, and that Detroit, Los Angeles, Trenton, Portland, St Louis and San Francisco are all danger points. 

Ugly racial history, 1948 Vanport flooding installment.

The World Overseas

“Prestige or Diplomacy in France?” The French are diplomatically excitable.

“After the Cocoa Crisis –II” Are cocoa prices too low, and the cost of living in the cocoa-growing country risen too high? Pshaw! Absurd. Curiously, though, the harvest has increased as the price has risen, and Our Correspondent in Accra does concede that the locals may have had a point about the advisability of transferring the Cocoa Board’s profits from London to Accra. 

“The Industrialisation of Mexico” Is something that will happen very soon, if American investment and influence can be moderated.

The Business World

“A Modern Income Tax” This is actually an article on the income tax on businesses, which the paper believes to be bad. It wants reforms to it, an abolition of the Excess Profits Tax and perhaps its replacement with an excessively-complicated inheritance tax. 

“A Policy for Cotton” There should be. 

Business Notes

“The Market Quandary” Speaking in that poetic way in which one generalises about broad trends in share prices, the paper supposes that since they are down, it is all due to easy money and the atom bomb and being ready to go to bed. (They are “languorous.” I am "languorous!" I knew I shouldn't have had that brandy after dinner.)

“Steel Prices” The Ministry of Supply has increased the price ceilings on various steel products. The paper doesn’t know why, and spends a full page asking for the publication of full statistics, etc. 

“Reactions to Franc Devaluation” Panic, flooding, desperadoes breaking into wine cellars? No, nothing so exciting. The Right thinks that the new rate is too low, the Left too high, or vice versa, and the black market price of gold says that the Right is right and the Left is wrong. Says the paper.

“National Coal Policy” The Coal Industry Nationalisation Bill has 58 clauses. It’s awful.

Bretton Woods has been ratified, floating debt has fallen in a worrying way, Siamese bonds are up with peace, the rice indemnity, now abandoned, was to have been the country’s surplus up to 1.5 million tons, but since the old export was only 1.4 million, it was never likely that it would reach that high total, and now it won’t. It is hoped that the harvest will soon reach prewar levels, allowing Britain to buy at a preferred rate above subsistence, per the treaty. Reconversion is getting on. There is a crisis in the international copper industry due to the end of the British guaranteed purchase reserve. Chile will make a nominal debt service payment this year, the paper thinks. From January 7th, Time will be on sale weekly in Britain. 

Flight, 10 January 1946

“New Year Gift” The opening of Heathrow was probably premature, but it is still a fine New Year’s gift to the airminded. The paper only asks that more thought be given to the problem of access from London. “Nothing is more irritating to air passengers than a seemingly interminable journey by road before or after any journey by air.”

“Speed and Range” Jet engines are very fast, but not very economical. Will the future see some kind of mixed plant, with propeller and jet engines? More turbine-powered propellers, or a composite engine, such as recently proposed by Dr. Ricardo?

I think maybe this? Anyway, this is the place for it. By Source, Fair use,

“Transport Command’s Accident Rate” It turns out that Transport Command’s war record was better than that of Civil Aviation through the end of 1945. No word on the rate when only the postwar period is taken into account, though. As see further “the Air Ministry is BUNGLING demobilisation.”

“Unlike Twins: Novel American and Unconventional German Designs: The Ryan FR-1 Fireball and the Blohm and Voss P-194 01: Jet and Piston Engines” The Ryan Fireball has a 1350hp Cyclone 1820-72 ahead, closely cowled and smoothly merged into the fuselage, as befits a well-proven engine, and a GE I-16 behind to give fighter performance. Climb and dive speed are particularly noteworthy, and the control surfaces are all-metal for the first time on a Navy plane. The engines use the same fuel, which is possible if a jet engine burns aviation gasoline, something that is easy enough to engineer. The I-16 is said to be a 1350hp engine. The other mechanics are said to be quite nice. The Blohm and Voss, on the other hand, is “unconventional to the point of being grotesque,” or would have been, had it actually been built. 

American Newsletter

The American trade is said to be putting pressure on the Air Force to make a run at the speed record, but, unfortunately, the P-80’s aerodynamics are not up to it. Allison is said to be making an effort to get into the civil aircraft business, with a version of the DC-4 with an Allison engine floated. The DC-8 will definitely have an Allison engine. Over 15,000 Government surplus light aircraft have now been sold, but this is expected to whet the appetite of a vast civilian market. “Kibiitzer” reports that Allison has specifically denied responsibility for the loss of the “Mixmaster,” which is a bit of a sore point for them, given that it is the predecessor to the DC-8. American Airlines has announced that it will replace its DC-3s with the Consolidated-Vultee Model 240. ‘Kibitizer’ hopes that the Airspeed Ambassador has a shot at being American’s new short haul liner.

Buy an absolutely typical feeder airliner from a British firm in 1946? Sure. Why not?

Here and There

The Norwegian Air Force will use British planes. PICAO recommends that airliners be equipped with weather radar. Northrop is giving the powered glider a try. Wing Commander Barrie Heath, a Battle of Britain Spitfire DFC, has been released by the RAF and is going on to the board of Hobourn Aero Components, Coventry. 

Rolls-Royce Griffon 130: New Model with Three-Speed Blower: 2000hp Developed at 20,000ft: Same Clearance as Existing Models: New Fuel-metered Pump” A three-speed, two-stage blower, and a Rolls-Royce fuel-injection system replacing the Bendix-Stromberg characterise this new engine. The rather complicated blower allows maximum performance at all altitudes. 1280hp is achieved at 31,500ft in “climbing condition.” Adding a third speed added only 40lb to the 2100lb weight of the engine. 

“The Jet-Engine Fuel System: Supply, Atomising and Control Equipment Developed by Joseph Lucas” It is a fairly long article, and I find it fascinating, but Grace (who so patiently read all my letters and served as my sounding board when I was dealing with these issues in ’37 and ’38), gently takes my brush from my hand as I write. Some things are best left at “They did it,” apparently. Fuel burners, with proper metering and a well-designed swirl chamber are so important that they deserve to be interesting. Damn it. Ah, well. It’s all electronic calculating machines, these days.

In shorter news, the Dutch Navy is to have Fireflies, and the Illife trade journals are putting on an exhibition.

Civil Aviation News

BOAC is extending its Indian services from Karachi to Calcutta, with one stop for the Yorks at Delhi. Cambrian Air Services has booked its first charter flight. Tata is buying more DC-3s. The Canadian Parliament is hearing a proposal that all first class mail go by air. “Colonial” air services are being arranged in East Africa and the West Indies. Air France has now arranged its reciprocal American service. Bermuda is now to be served by Pan American landplanes, with three services weekly return to New York, two going on over the Atlantic. 


Douglas Deans thinks that charter air services might be a big business. D. Haynes thinks that we should try to give ill-considered Socialistic nationalisation a go. A. Sansom thinks that Americans say libellous things about British affairs aeronautical, and then says something libellous about the B-29 long range record. “Ayeone” has opinions about the twin trainer that could conceivably be relevant if rendered out of the original Aviationese, but probably not. 

The Economist, 12 January 1946


“World Assembly” Now that the General Assembly of the UNO is sitting in London, the paper can reasonably be realistic about it. And not pessimistic and gloomy!

“A Matter of Men” No, the paper is not walking down Polk Street with a look in its eye. It is pointing out that the manpower problem is a problem of there not being enough men. For example, there are not enough “top men” for top positions in the Civil Service, and to attract them, it is hardly unreasonable to pay £20,000/year, even if that is five times what a cabinet minister receives. Part timers might receive less, and it must be admitted that lower ranks also do not need to get 20,000 a year, although they need to be paid more than clergy and schoolmasters, or terrible things will happen. 

“Peacetime Food Policy” Because of import controls, there needs to be support for domestic agriculture. The paper thinks that this should be by state bulk buying, and sees a silver lining, which is the imposition of crackpot –I am sorry, I meant to write “nutritional,” but the Californian is too strong in me, let me tell you about celery ribs—diets on the nation. Also, there should be searching discussion before any irrevocable decision is made.

“Remnants of a Race” General Sir Frederick Morgan’s recent statement about the “exodus of the Jewish race from Europe” was overly sentimental and melodramatic, and everyone should just stop. The paper also quotes the Bible to the effect that the last time the Jews exodised, they first borrowed money from all their neighbours (in Egypt), which was a nasty trick, and just what they are not going to do now (even though someone implied that they would?) that they are exodising again, from Europe. Only they aren’t. Is that really in the Bible? 

In all seriousness: i) Jews are being treated terribly in Europe, although this will soon stop; ii) Jews would like to go somewhere that is not Europe, but they can’t; iii) While Jews are admittably awful, they are good neighbours and should stay in Europe, and not go to Palestine, where they are not wanted, because they are awful. But what if they have all their former neighbour’s gold, silver and jewels? Won’t they be welcome then? iv) The people who took all the Jews’ gold and silver during the war are awful, too, and shouldn’t be allowed to get away with taking power in their own countries, so thank Heavens for the Russians, who will instead impose the blessings of Communist totalitarianism. Which is awful. v) Have we mentioned no Palestine, yet? America should take them, instead. Or maybe Australia or Uganda or somewhere like that. The paper isn’t picky.

Notes of the Week

“Fuel Supplies” The work stoppage in the gas works has been remedied, but there are stil too few workers there, so that even though the capital’s supply has returned to normal, there is still a threat of future shortages. Also, coal is short, which is the Government’s fault. Imagine if the country had coal to exchange for Swedish newsprint? These articles could be even longer!

“Releases and Employment” The Government is BUNGLING demobilisation. Instead of focussing on 266,000 unemployed in November, we should worry about the estimated 2 million gap between the actual labour force and the one needed to need export targets.

“Chinese Chessboard” It now seems clear that the Communist drive to take over the North in the wake of the Japanese surrender has been frustrated. First, the Japanese declined to surrender to the Communists. Second, the Americans intervened to ensure that Nationalist troops were brought north, and the Russians eventually cooperated. Now, the Communists are confined tdo the areas they controlled before, and with them the rail lines, which they seized during the surrender period. Meanwhile, the Nationalists have launched an offensive to clear Jehol Province. In these circumstances, there really should be a truce, and the paper sees signs that one is on the way. That is, besides General Marshall being sent to procure one. Chang Chun and Chou En Lai are sitting for the opposing sides, vice Mao and Chiang, who cannot be expected to be good faith negotiators. 

“Terms for Indonesia” May be on their way. At least there is some progress: Dr. Moogk has been moved over into the “moderate” column now that there are old Dutch Indiamen available to occupy space to his right. 

“A Crop of Rail Accidents” More, quite serious accidents that I surely do not need to tell you about.The common thread in all of the crashes is the extreme fatigue of the workers and the wear and tear on equipment. 

“Telephone Tomorrow” Due to shortage of labour, it will not be until 1950 that the GPO has caught up with its 1938 programme for extending telephone service to the hoped-for day when every British working class household can have the pleasure of fighting over their very own telephone. No extension at all is likely until the 12 to 13,000 telephone engineers in the Services are demobilised, which is why the GPO has a 250,000 backlog. 

The French, and Russian zone Germans, are excitable. Maltese are, technically, excitable. Greeks are very excitable, Poles may be excitable. 

“More Trouble in Palestine” The Jews in Palestine are awful, and they are increasing at an illegal rate of 1000/month. It is expected if not hoped that a forthcoming Arab boycott on trade with Jews will have a severe impact and make all the Jews go away. To America. Or Uganda, Australia, etc. 

“Work for Disabled Miners” Light industry to employ black-lung miners is needed in the coal measures in place of Worker’s Compensation. Also, a cure or prevention or both would be nice.

Shorter notes includes a report on the LCC Hospitals annual report, which shows that the death rate during the V-weapon summer was tolerable, in that no-one was turned away from a hospital, but, incidentally, that the death rate from influenza, tuberculosis, etc, was as high as four times that of New York. The paper points out that, notwithstanding “no-one being turned away,” the elderly poor are dying at home waiting for admission at an unacceptable rate. 


Henry Meulen, editor of The Individualist, writes about the recent article on the Portland Gas and Coke Company, which suggested that the observation that gas was half again dearer in London than in Portland was unfortunate, given that Gas Light and Coke Company of London makes gas with domestic coal, and the Portland company with American oil. The paper replies that “no crime was imputed.” I think the point is that Mr. Meulen is imputing something. Crime? Carelessness? The paper waving its rear end in the air? Perhaps it is no crime in the sense that it is neveer a crime if full technical efficiency is served. 

Boyd Bownan, Secretary, Institute of Road Transport Engineers, offers the cooperation of his Institute in achieving lower accident rates. A military government officer recommends that the occupation of Germany continue until the characteristic traits of docility and brutality are eradicated in the German by repeated canings. I’m sorry. I should have read the rest of the letter. Re-education. 

American Survey

“Christmas Contradictions” From Our Washington Correspondent

Yes, record sales, yes, incredible crushes on the trains, but “somehow, the holiday did not add up to much.” Now, someone might say that it was going to be anticlimactic given the build-up, on the one hand, and intensely private, because of years of separation, on the other. But not OWC! She (assuming that OWC is still OWC) knows that it is because President Truman cannot find men to fill his Administration, because the Nuremberg tribunals are a weird contrast with the Pearl Harbour Committee, because there is too much talk about reconversion and not enough reconverting. 

If you are wondering what that wander around the issues has to do with anything, OWC eventually does come to the point, which is that since a prosperous American consumer is key to a prosperous world, she can't do the usual bit about how materialistic American Christmas is, even though she would like to do that more than anything.
While I usually find "Maguire" unfunny and creepy, this one seems on point.

“Mr. Truman and His Congress” The Same Subject As One Line Above, Expanded Upon. The President tried to appeal to the American people over the heads of his Republican opponents in the Senate. They would have none of it. Mr. Taft called the President a “doody head.” (Just kidding! He "imputed" it.) Also awful and doody-headed are the more Communistic elements of the Democratic party, whose Redness can be told by their following the AFL-CIO line. Also, there should probably be a Full Employment Act, because world prosperity depends on it. (Full employment, not the Bill.)

American Notes

“Immigration Back to Normal” The annual quotas of European immigration to America, which were not met during the war, will not be taken as backlogs, the President hastens to assure everyone who might have been worried that America will suddenly start letting in lots of immigrants. Instead, the old quota of 3,900/month is to be continued, but a liberal policy will be followed, in the sense of not actively preventing the quota from being filled. The President assures the American people that this will not cost them a cent. The paper points out a recent study showing that America “ought” to allow 243,000 refugees in, and points out that Britain has taken 140,000, and Palestine, etc.

Big and Little Inch” The exciting story of the sale of the two big pipelines continues. Since for the moment there is no shortage of oil capacity, the companies operating them are not eager to pay for them. Industry advocates are eager to convert them to move gas, but Texas and Louisiana industrialists are virulently opposed to this on grounds that it is better to waste the gas than share it with Eastern competitors. The paper supposes that it will all be resolved by putting the pipelines in mothballs against the next war. 

“No Exodus from Washington” The American civil service has not yet been reduced very much from its wartime peak, which disappoints some, as the housing shortage remains serious. Although the Administration is suffering from the loss of good administrators.

“Reuters versus the State Department” The paper evidently considers it impolite to explain what this is about, and so spends four paragraphs talking around it. I’m sure I’ll find out when I get around to Time. For the moment, savour this mystery at second hand as an example of the way that the paper goes about its business.

The World Overseas

“The Fourth Republic” The French like to have new republics when they get excitable. They are excitable now, and so therefore . . . 

“Hesitations in Persia” Some Persians are anti-Russian, while others are anti-British. What they should have is thrusting, changing, progressive, reforming, middle-class Persians, who will make things more left-wing, but not so left-wing as to be Communistic. Until that day comes, though, all is gloom. And doom, too. Realistically speaking.

“India’s Labour Outlook” Indian workers in many industries are out on strike. They are wrong, but have a point. Gloom, doom, etc. Above all, the technically trained and educated are not being given the authority they think they deserve.

“Canadian Export Policy” Canadians, naturally, have to “wake to realities.” Specifically, their job is to import more from Britain, less from America. If you are wondering yow an article about exporting turned into one about importing, I’m a bit at a loss, too. Even though I actually read the first two paragraphs or so, it was all a blur about tariffs and preferences, and it was only the “wake to realities” that woke me up. I think that free trade will lead to more imports from Britain? Maybe?

The Business World

“Opportunity for Light Metals” Canada can basically make all the aluminum in the world, but there “is a case” for retaining the ability to produce 25,000t/year in Britain, contributing to a bit of a global oversupply. It isn’t fair that Britons should suffer for this, since British taxpayers paid for the Canadian plant in the first place. The paper then goes on to explain why the British industry is heavy on special aluminum alloys and shaping processes (forgings, extrusions, thin rolling), while the Canadian industry produces virgin metal at unbeatably low prices, which suggests that there is no competition at all, and that is why the title after all says “opportunity,” but, taken as read, that would have sounded –gasp—optimistic. The paper rushes to an end by pointing out that the industry has only a limited time to convert to civilian production before something terrible happens. 

“PAYE Simplified” If you want to know more about the problems the paper perceives in the PAYE flat tax on all incomes, PAYE deductions, and the paper’s proposals for a modern income tax, you know where to find it at the newsstand.

Why things like pay-as-you-go income tax are suddenly possible.

Business Notes

“Employment and Unemployment” You know how you can tell that Britain has a labour shortage? No, not from the lack of available labour, silly! From a statistical supplement of the London Gazette! It provides many, many numbers to show that there are too many jobs, not enough workers.

“Not Enough Exports” Etc. The fact that exports are up sharply while coal exports are still at an eighth of their former £6 million/month seems to speak well of every other industry, but the fact that exports are not up enough and are, in fact, down in November, perhaps due to the docker’s strike, is bad news.

“Capital for Reconversion” The discount banks are up to suspicious behaviour.

“Russia and Bretton Woods” Russia will not ratify Bretton Woods, of course, but the paper pretends not to understand why it hasn’t, and ends by suggesting that its trade credits be held up until it does. Seems helpful.

“Steel –A Progress Report” Reconversion continues

“Coal Recruitment and Costs” The Government is BUNGLING coal nationalisation!

“Ulster’s Transportation Problem” Ulster is a tiny, seaside province with lots of roads and railways. And, yet, somehow, it has a “transportation problem.” Costs are too high. On the provincial railway, and on its provincial Road Transport Board. Why? Frankly, I’m more taken with the paper’s observation that “co-ordination of road and rail undertakings is unpractical, and would produce no tangible benefits, even if it were.” The impact is lost in translation, so I suppose I should explain that I am struck by the poor English.

“De-requisitioned Tankers” The United States has now released control of tankers. Britain has not, but is revisiting the decision. There is a dearth of tankers right now, but it is entirely an exchange problem. America’s tanker fleet is more than big enough. (This is obscured by the fact that fleet speeds are up while GRT is down.) The problem, although the paper doesn’t spell it out, is that they are uncompetitive on fares, which is why they are already being struck to the reserve fleets. The paper manages to see this as a source of “uncertainty,” when, in my opinion, it is no such thing. If the paper would just talk to a marine engineer, it would be made forcefully aware that the War Emergency fast tankers are not commercially competitive due to fuel consumption and the excessive manning requirements of turbine plants. We need tankers to replace war losses, much less cover increasing demand. 

“Training for Steel” Speaking of steel and coal and shipbuilding, the paper suggests that the current labour shortage should be no bar to advanced thinking about training the next generation of skilled workers in steel. Dorman, Longs, has a pamphlet out, which inspires the paper to think about advanced technical and managerial training to make the best use of scarce labour in steel.
Let's see. The war is over, the economy is booming, living standards are up. Maybe it's time to be optimistic? A little? Please don't fire me!

Fortune, January 1946

“The Job Before Us” is obsolete, so now we have an editorial with a commissioned title, which is “Not Peace but a Sword.” With your public school education, you will recognise this as a Bible quote, but it went right past me until I had read right to the bottomof this waste of space.

The paper begins with a quotation from a novel about it being the best of times, and also the worst. Right now, it is very up, and also very down; right, and also left. I can do this, too! The point, such as it is, is that there is Jesus, who is the Prince of Peace, but no peace. (Only there is peace; v. paradoxical.) Continuing on the Yin but Yang theme, there is no depression yet, but the “present inordinate boom” is almost as bad, because “it could get out of hand.” If it doesn’t we “have the power to achieve a standard of living far beyond anytying in recorded history, and to spread that standard to the rest of the world. The very fission of the atom belies the theory of the ‘mature economy.’” That’s your best of times. On the other hand, the atom bomb can blow us back into a stone age economy, so that’s your worst of times. We are all talking about the third world war, which will accomplish this, and everyone agrees that ‘something must be done.’ Though, other than keeping the atomic secret super-extra-secret, we’re not clear what. (Or, on the other hand, we should just hand the secret over to everybody.) The New York Daily News thinks that we should “retreat into super-isolationism,” right after making sure that we have Canada’s uranium in our pockets. Or we must have a world state, and a world state police. One “Doctor Elton Trueblood” thinks that we have built up a great civilisation with our Western Values of selling opium to addicts, and that now we might lose the civilisation as a result of losing our Values. Some fellow named W. A. Orton thinks that “Liberalism,” which is “founded in the Christian ethos,” is, uhm, something. Something good? Something obsolete? Oh, no, goodness is obsolete! Might as well start atomic bombing, then. Or stop it, if atomic bombing turns out to be good. Also, William James and John B. Watson are bad people, I think, but on the other hand Eddington and Whitehead are good? Because of God, if you were wondering. Plus there is a person named Hocking, who might be bad, on account of he thinks tht there is not enough science in God, or God in science, or anyway God in laboratories? Plus there is Marx, who leads to the Soviet “dictatorship of the proletariat,” which turns out to require that the ends justify the means, which is bad, leading to Fascism and Nazism. As a reader, at this point I am pining for some good, and I get it. Specifically, Churchill makes nice speeches, leading to a nice war. Well, as nice as wars can be, which is actually very nice, when they are against bad. Which is Hitler. So then we beat Hitler, and, back to atoms, and now we can stop writing. Oh, no, wait, we can’t, because there’s still pages to go. Okay, well, religion. Good. Christian socialists. Not so good. Burke, good. Benjamin Franklin, good. General Smuts, good. Charity, good. Some fellow named Lowell, also good, and Einstein, more good. It sure is a long time since we’ve had a bad, and also we’re at the end of the page, and this is about religion, so we need to end with Jesus, but bad. So there’s this bit about “I came not to send peace but a sword.” 

In summary, Jesus wants to drop the atom bomb. Done, off to the printer, time for a drink!

Credit: Darrel Grizzle ("hermitbear") at Pinterest

“Mr. Truman Faces It: Clumsily but Bravely, the President is Struggling With Incredibly Heavy Responsibilities: Prosperity May Save Him” The President was apparently the least-qualified President this century, having the “least natural inclination or aptitude for the job, the least experience in the administration of large affairs. . .” Now, there is trouble around the world from Palestine to Korea, from Poland to Argentina; there are strikes everywhere; the occupation of Germany has “clearly gone to pot;” demobilisation is being BUNGLED; Congress refuses to pass any of his measures; he is soft on the atomic secret; he is the Average Taxpayer facing “Gotterdamerung.” (Which is happening, in case you were wondering.) He only owns one single-breasted suit. He is left-handed, and gets up at 6. He has bad advisors, especially probably Byrnes. Drew Pearson and Walter Lippman think that the Administration is drifting. I’d read along to the conclusion, but it’s not even fun making fun of this.

Collins Co., Collinsville, Conn.” The Collins Company, in Connecticutt’s Farmington Valley, is the machete maker to Latin America, got a civilian essential rating in the war, and continued making and shipping machetes. It makes unique designs for each market. It has been around for a hundred years. No doubt it will be around for at least a few months more.

Oh, Colombians, you are so colourful!
Meanwhile, in the First World. . . 

Louis N. Ridenour, “Pilot Lights of the Apocalypse: A Playlet in One Act” 

Scene: the operations room of the Western Defence Command, somewhere in the San Francisco area, one hundred feet underground. A concrete room, full of teletype machines, various officers, and the President, who is on a tour of the scenic sights of the Bay area. He is shown the teletype hookups to the defence commands around the world, with their radars, their guns, their fighters, which is the defence, and the controls of the atomic bombs “800 miles above the stratosphere, going round us in orbits like little moons.” America has 2000 of them, and they see 5400 of them in their radar. There’s no telling from trajectory which country owns the bombs, so only a political scientist can predict when they’re about to come down. A board shows in indicator lights for all the cities America, uhm. Anyway (Chungking is included, if you were wondering), if the indicator goes red, the city is “lost,” and there is a switch to be thrown, which will set off an atomic mine and blow that city up. Plus another one, which will cause an orbiting atomic bomb to descend on the city. For example, Calcutta. The moment the President leaves, an earthquake causes San Francisco’s indicator light to go out, and the operations room responds by de-orbiting an atomic bomb on Copenhagen (because this is what political science calls for), etc, etc, Stone Age. Sadly, no world cities are atomic mined, though. All that wasted effort.

“The Veterans of the Valley” The paper sent a reporter out to interview a representative set of returned veterans. Many of them are unemployed, underemployed, or in some other way dissatisfied.

Louis Marx: Toy King” Louis, creator of the Zippo climbing monkey, is a millionaire, and doesn’t really have ot run his company any more, so he has enrolled as an undergraduate at New York University. His company is very large and successful.

Amerada Plays It Close to the Chest” Amerada is the crude oil producer with the highest stock price on the exchange as of going to press. The “close to the chest” part is because its President, Alfred Jacobson, has released no biographical information, or even a picture of him, although since people have seen him, the paper has a sketch. It also knows that he earns $50,000/year, and keeps shorter hours now that he is married. Some of its profitability is due to the highly favourable tax law provisions for crude oil producers, which the article details. Some is due to its use of a version of the Cavendish balance to detect subterranean salt domes, which are associated with oil. Some is due to the original British owners selling out part of their ownership stake in 1926. 

“The Face of Christ” I should perhaps have made it clearer while I was making fun of the leading article that it was an introduction to an art history article about images of Christ through the ages. Though, indirectly, perhaps I did, by suggesting that I didn’t care, and that it was a great waste of time. 

Wilder Hobson, “Before the Wars: A Brief Backward Glance at the Hopes and Follies of the Age of Taft, When Men Fondly Believed They Were Free” 

“DDT Has Just Begun to Fight: Hysterical Accounts of Miracles and Disasters Wrought by DDT Bedeviled the Debut of a First-Rate Insecticide” The thing about DDT is that it has remarkable residual properties, persisting for weeks and even months. For example, spraying it on cattle in the fields in Kansas gives them residual protection against bothersome flies for up to 40 days. One old cow in Stillwater, Oklahoma, sprayed every other day, “got along splendidly.” Right now, it is not recommended on food crops, since the accumulated effect on humans is not clear. However, household hints for dealing with flies and mosquitoes on the porch, bedbugs in bedding and walls, bron dog ticks, cockroaches, dog fleas, ants, fleas in houses, silverfish and clothes moths are provided. You should be careful to cover or remove any food in areas which are being treated with DDT, aerosol bombs especially. Various rival products may be on the market soon.

Charles R. Walker, “American Productivity: I: Has Industry’s Magnificent Pre-War Trend Been Accelerated, Stalled, or Thrown Into Reverse? An Audit of the War Years and a Prediction” Illustrations show that American productivity per man hour increased by about 3% a year every year between the wars. This corresponds to a doubling in 1919—39. Various industries, such as automotives and rayon did even better. American productivity was about twice as high as in Britain and in Germany. So, what happened during the war? Well, first of $25 billion in capital investment. It looks like this led to a 50% increase in production, but by expedients such as recruiting 6.5 million emergency workers and profligately expending capital stocks. Permanent increases in productivity, on the other hand, focus attention on new machine tools. Neverthless, some believe that the war saw a setback to productivity improvement, and think that peace will require a slow climb back to full technical efficiency. Others think the opposite. Unfortunately, it is very hard to measure productivity in a factory that made buggies before the war, machine guns during, and cars after. If, however, in the future, higher productivity is realised and maintained, it might lead to “involuntary leisure,” or unemployment, as during the Depression. So while consumers might benefit, workers might not, and with lower pay packets, perhaps everyone will suffer?

Books and Ideas

In recent years, several British scientists have suggested that scientific research would be more efficient if directed by the stste. This shounds like Communism to the paper, which greets a book by John R. Baker of Oxford, (Science and the Planned State) which suggests that, actually, government control will squelch all original research. Like communism does. (The paper points out that Russia does not produce science now that it is Communist.) 

F. A. Hayek, The Use of Knowledge in Society says that “the market” is the way that society uses knowledge best. James Marshal, The Santa Fe Railroad, explains why the old railroaders weren’t awful. John Calhoun Baker, Directors and Their Functions: A Preliminary Study explains about why directors aren’t just friends of the management with cushy arrangements. K.E. Knorr, World Rubber and Its Regulation, has a name that rhymes with “snore,” as I am sure he has been told. He thinks the way forward is to get rid of the synthetic industry. George Wythe, Industry in Latin America, explains why there isn’t. Kenneth K. Kurihara, Labor in the Philippine Economy is, well, I cannot judge. (Apparently, he shows that the free trade policy in the Philippines has prevented industrial development and left the labour force to underpaid agricultural work. I wonder if he asks whether "free trade" applies to sugar?) General Marshal’s report has maps by Fortune’s Richard Edes Harrison. 

Fortune Faces gets the paper invited to the parties of Eliot Ness, Judson S. Sayre of the Bendix washing machine, and Werner P. Rucklos.


Fortune Survey

Today the paper asks about prosperity, politicians and “laurels for heroes.” In the first part, most Americans are doing fine, expect to keep on doing fine, want to buy a television in the next few years, and otherwise are only keeping from buying more beause they either already have everything they need, or are waiting for something they need. On politics, they are happy about everything except the strikes. People do want a raise, though. On “laurels for heroes,” moderate Americans like Eisenhower, extreme ones like MacArthur, and everyone likes the publicity hounds. Poor Ray is favourably remembered in first place by 0.2% of veterans. Should have lost more battles!

Fortune Shorts

Many veterans are buying filling stations. “Red Ink is Coming” in the sense that liabilities from the war will soon eat into the comfortable surpluses of states and cities. The Government may soon start regular audits of its various “alphabet agencies” going back to Hoover days. 

Business Abroad

The volume of international trade is up. Transatlantic crossings are up. Atlantic airline tickets are booked months in advance. France is excitably reopening for business. Germany’s Frankfurt Borse is getting back on its feet. Simon, Ltd., is a good example of the heavily booked British engineering industry, and must by government requirement export 80% of its production. India, where life insurance is a novelty, has seen business boom in recent years, with 1.6 million policies sold since 1943. Chinese industry along the coast is at a standstill because the Communists control the coal mines in the interior of Shantung province, and the railroads.

Aviation, January 1946

Down the Years in AVIATION’s Log

Twenty-five years ago, the completion of the Pulitzer and California Air Races “without fatalities impresses public with safety of flying . . . “The Army developed a gyroscopically-stabilised aerial camera. (The Hell it did.) The Post Office ordered the lighting of the Chicago-Cheyenne airway. Major H. H. Arnold reported that the Army had conducted 476,000 flying miles of forest fire patrols. Fifteen years ago, the Ford Trimotor set a record by carrying 4,400lb at 164mph. Graf Zeppelin flew 144,275 miles and carried 2.2 million lb freight. A tri-nation conference was called to discuss the projected U.S.-Bermuda-Azores-Portugal route. Ten years ago, American took delivery of the first DC-3 sleeper. Hawaii Inter-Island Airways says that it has carried 60,000 passengers in the last year. The Air Force orders 100 Northrop attack planes, 90 Douglas bombers and 13 Boeing 299s.
In the mid-60s, The Journal of Economic History published an article about how the British aviation industry was so bad that it failed to produce a bomber as good as as a bomber version of the Douglas DC-3 would have been if it had been built. True story.

Line Editorial

“Incentives Furnish the Drive” James H. McGraw points out that while American population has tripled since 1870, “national production, measured in constant purchasing power” has increased 10 times, industrial output 20 times. Average hours of work have fallen from 63 to 40 a week, earnings have trebled. This has been made possible through the miracles of scientific progress, etc, but, at another level, through the wonders of incentives. Wages and salaries have taken a steady 82.5% of national income, while dividends, interest, rents, royalties and other forms of non-corporate profits have taken 17.5% pretty much continuously since 1899. This is probably the income needed to reward investment in expanding productivity, and so may rise higher to encourage the unprecedented investment in the next few years. It should certainly not decrease! Wartime excess profit taxes have prevented an increase in wartime, even while wages have increased. Thus, we see a fall of the share of investment income from 17.5% to 10%, an increase in wage share to 90%. The postwar end of the EPT will bring investment income back up, but price controls combined with the talked-of general wage increase may lead to an 11/89% split. This would be bad. We need high wages to keep up demand, but also enough investment to maintain the productivity increases upon which rising wages depend.

Aviation Editorial

“Take Eldon, For Example” Eldon,Mo., has an airpark which has attracted all sorts of other businesses: cheese factory, shoe factory, new grocery store, new gift store, garage, bus line. All this can happen in your town if you open an airpark.

H. Bowden Fletcher, “Private Enterprise Fights to Keep Flying: Australia Has Been Latest Field of Fray” Nationalisation is bad.

Major Rudolph C. Schultz, Project Officer, Turbojet and Gas Turbine Development, HQ, AAF, “Design Analysis of the General Electric Type I-16 Jet Engine” The I-16 is essentially an Americanised Whittle W-1, but since the author is not exactly forward in acknowledging this, it is not exactly clear just how much original American work has gone into the design. (You have to tell us what you replaced.) This is particularly true with respect to the metallurgical details, where the trademark names of the high temperature alloys are used, and one has to know what specifications stand behind which tradenames in the United Kingdom and the United States to know what is going on. Some interesting thermodynamics here, however. Schulte specifies that the I-16 operates on the Brayton Cycle, something I haven’t seen noted in the British descriptions, although obvious enough to us Official Experts –although, as Grace points out, I began to drift out of engine work two years ago now, and no doubt my insights are hopelessly out of date by now.

Dale D. Streid, Aircraft Turbine Division, General Electric Co., “Design Analysis of General Electric I-40 JetEngine” The enlarged Whittle chosen for the P-80, the I-40 gives 4200lb static thrust at sea level. “As far as was known,” this was the largest thrust achieved in a jet turbine engine up to that time. Again, some interesting thermodynamic material

John Foster, Managing Editor, “Design Analysis of the Westinghouse 19-B Yankee Turbojet” “The first All-American turbojet design was ordered the day after Pearl Harbour.” Designed in strict separation from other groups by Westinghouse steam engineers, it is an axial-flow design, and the “most powerful engine in the world for its size.” Typical of what happens when you let steam engineers into the business, I say. The axial configuration is the one we settle on just to keep rpm down, and, of course, when we’re told we’re working on an aircraft engine, we set out to get all that lightness and smallness that the business seems to require. Before you know it, we have this tiny, perfect, Mechanno toy where everything rotates in and on itself,  and not enough thrust is generated to even move the engine.
At one point, Convair was working on an Americanised M-163 which would have been powered by eight of these. From there it just got weirder.

I am sorry: I am editorialising. The Westinghouse group is slightly less than forthcoming about the actual thrust of their design, but one eventually finds that it is 1,365lb, fairly nice at the weight, but failing, so far, to prove the superiority of the axial configuration. Even though we engineers just know that it will win out, and that Whittle is a silly ninny for going with the centrifugal configuration, even if his engines, embarrassingly, fly.

A.N. Narracott, Air Correspondent, London Times, “The Engineering Behind that 606 mph Meteor” A brief article describes both the plane and the Rolls-Royce Welland. Again, a centrifugal development of the basic Whittle machine.

Dr. Martin Summerfield, Aerojet Corp, “The Rocket’s Future Influence on Transport Designs” A very basic introduction to the rocket suggests that rocket-assisted takeoff might help with very large flying boats or other transports, and that high altitude interceptors (not “transport designs” as I understand them!) might use rockets.

Roy Healy, Former President, American Rocket Society, “How Nazi’s Walter Engine Pioneered Manned Rocket-Craft” The idea here was, well, a manned rocket which would be shot into the middle of a flying fortress formation, then shoot them with rockets and cannons. It seems like a good interim step towards a guided anti-aircraft rocket shell, but required a new departure in rocket engines, since pilots cannot aim their cannons or rockets after being pounded into strawberry jelly. The solution was a bi-fuel rocket using a ridiculously dangerous 85% hydrogen peroxide-methanol-permanganate mixture. I guess that once you have accepted that you are going to be rocketed into the air in a controlled explosion carried out on a vehicle with a five minute endurance, no landing gear, and steering accomplished by sticking a metal plate into the exhaust stream to deflect it, a little matter like being dissolved alive by a fuel leak loses its power to frighten.

Leonard M. Purdue and George E. Hughes, “Laminated Window Designs Forecast by Plastic Domes” As I parse the title, future pressurised aircraft domes will use laminated plastic, vice solid acrylic sheet, which is easy to craze, and suffered high fatigue and short lives due to the fastening at the base imposing great strain. Methylacrylate sheet laminated with polyvinyl butryl is more promising, although the production process was dogged by problems with optical deformations in the finished domes.

Ralph H. Upson, “Designing Tomorrow’s Personal Plane, Part VII” Today we discuss biplanes, the possible use of helium gas as a lift aid, projects, turbojets, rockets, emergency rotating wings, propeller shrouds, end plates and undercarriage variations.

“New 2,500hp “V” Engine Features Lightness, Accessibility” Chrysler’s 16-cyl, inverted V “was planned for mass production.” It isn’t, anymore, but the accessibility features are still worth discussing. Although the article doesn’t really. No wonder, considering that it is only two pages.
Maintenance articles cover radio troubleshooting, wheel safety inspection, and something called the “stresscoat” approach to engine inspection.
Chrysler's first hemi was characterisied by slightly less hp than in the most recent Canyonero. 

“Pilots: Know the Knack of Survival after Force-Down” America is full of deserts and “timber country” where it might be hard to survive even once you get to the ground. The paper retells the story of Marine Lt. Zoliner, downed in the Arizona desert country, who lived to tell about it. (Fortunately, a machine gun nest had been set up in the direction of civilisation, so when he instinctively charged straight at it, he was quickly found and rescued.)

Sideslips tells several hilarious stories, including retelling Constance Babington-Smith’s bits about aerial photographic interpreters mistaking merry-go-rounds for oil tank dispersals and toboggan runs for the runways of underground hangars. Also a funny story about how a sale of 25 personal planes was held up until the sales department could find tubes for their defective radios, which is hard, because tubes are hard to come by right now, and also because only once could the sales rep “keep his phone call to four minutes, pul-lease.” Transoceanic planes, he tells us (a month behind “Miss V.C.”) are screening movies now.

Constance Babington-Smith. Source: Elinor Florence at Pinterest.

Aviation News

The decision on service unification is still pending, but the paper is confident that the AAF will achieve parity with the Navy and Army, although the navy will retain its own air arm. General Arnold predicts that the future will see planes with jet or rocket engines carrying 50 tons of bombs anywhere in the world at supersonic speeds. Debate continues on the airport bill. The Navy “Bat bomb” is revealed, as is, again, the NAA XP-82 Twin Mustang, and two more wartime prototypes, the Beech XA-38 
"And you get a contract, and you get a  contract. Everyone gets a  contract!"

and Lockheed XP-58, both heavily armed with cannons and intended as “destroyer” types. 
A fighter armed with a 75mm cannon would be ideal for shooting down a 100,000lb reconnaissance plane. 

The paper, unlike Flight, is allowed to mention the Lockheed P2V Neptune by name. The Consolidated-Vultee B-36 is still a secret to everyone except admen, however.

Never armed with a bat payload, unfortunately.

The Washington Windsock

Stubblefield is down to a quarter column below the fold. He reports that “battleships were knocked out” by the war, that armed forces unity might be a good idea if it produces efficiency, that the “motives that pushed wartime aircraft production” are now missing (!), that the airlines don’t hate the CAB any more, and that private flying is “really gaining.”

A longer story clarifies what Stubblefield was trying to say. The American Institute of Aeronautics thinks that warplane orders, currently at only 5000 through 1948, are too low, compared with the British, who have orded 10,000. Also, employment in the industry has now fallen to 200,000 (or 338,000, depending on how you count them.) Pratt & Whitney Majors are reported to be going into a variety of aircraft, including the Convair B-36, which is Not Secret on this page.

Transport Aviation

The British have agreed to permit PAA and AOA together 500 passengers a week, 14 trips. The price of the C-54 has been cut by 25 to 40%, and a C-54B can now be had for $90,000. A House Committee has heard recommendations of general economic sanctions against countries which do not cooperate with Americcan airlines. That is, Great Britain and Russia.

Worlddata by “Vista”

It is reported that the British industry now employs 900,000 people and is on track to produce 10,000 aircraft in the next year. The new British axial turbines are noted. SAAB is planning several airliners. Denmark is keeping its Condors in service pending foreigners actually delivering something better, instead of talking about it. The columnis still not clear on how “Heathrow” works, and appears to be an issue behind on the subject of Atlantic flight frequencies. 

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