Saturday, December 17, 2016

Postblogging Technology, November, 1946, I: Thirty Miles of Coal Smoke


Dear Father:

Again, thank you for all that you have done. In your reply to my telegraph, you ask why I veto Miss B., but am fine with Miss M. Yes, Miss M. is an eccentric. I know that a man isn't expected to notice these things, but If you look closely at the photograph, you will see that her "odd" dress is actually a safety-pinned window curtain! It would be one thing if her shoes were not so expensive, but as they are, I'm left to conclude that she thinks that she is being "creative." Which you could read between the lines in her letters of recommendation, anyway.

I'm sorry, I can't  explain, but my instincts are warning me about Miss B., while Miss M. strikes me as perfectly satisfactory as a physiotherapist. We're not hiring her as a lady's  maid! (Although she'd be much more economical if we did. Hmm. . . No, never mind.) Actually, I am confident that she is the best of the lot --even better than the highly recommended Miss J. I look forward to meeting them both at the train on Wednesday.

Vickie is doing well. She longs for more of her mother's touch than the iron lung will allow, although it is a very nice iron lung (something I need to remind myself of, whenever I fume about Uncle Henry's latest adventures), with room enough for me to crawl in with her for short periods. Fanny, with her girlish figure, is positively comfortable in there.

You write that you have been getting nowhere in the matter of Mr. and Mrs. Easton, and neither has the Earl. We simply must do better than that. Perhaps the civil war is all over but the shouting, but I cannot for the life of me believe that anything the Soongs put their hand to would ever turn out so well. If and when the Communists do advance across the Yang-tse, the Eastons must be able to enter Hong Kong, and I cannot believe that we have not made enough money for that side of the family for them not to bend on this matter.

If Uncle George reads this, do please find some way of reminding him that he is only human. He has been so full of himself about his friend and Philco!



PS: Speaking of, Uncle George is off to the new Western capital of sin for a weekend in the company of his friend --and to have a look at this matter of the hotel.

Las Vegas has no idea how to advertise itself. Fishing? Cowboys? Girls? (Gambling?)

The Economist, 2 November 1946


“Reason and Russia” Russian and American statesmen say this; reasonable people in both countries think that. Soviet leaders are bad; they must be resisted firmly. Russia has legitimate interests. Reactionaries and “neo-Fascists” are awful. Wallace is naïve. War is bad. War by diplomatic means is bad because it might lead to actual war. If it did lead to war, it might be cathartic. In conclusion, we should have WWII soon, although no-one regrets that more than the paper. (Seriously: “If it is thought of as the psychological problem of curing the present schizophrenia of the world, then even a drastic treatment –perhaps a very drastic treatment—has a chance of success.”

 On the downside, Beyond Thirty's explanation for why Europe disappeared when no-one was looking wasn't nuclear war.  On the upside, the cover art is great.

“Welsh Independence” Parliament had a special debate on Wales. Is its problem primarily economic, or political? The paper thinks, economic. It further adds all sorts of reasons why Wales shouldn’t have the same status as Scotland. (The border is too long!) Instead, we should send it some money, and have a Reconstruction Committee to explore sending them jobs, too. Money? Oh, that sounds painful. Perhaps it’s time for a bit of a rethink. If the Welsh are dead set on Home Rule at the “expense of prosperity,” then, well, off they go!

“After Brighton” The TUC had its annual conference. The paper is pleased at the bits where it wasn’t radical, and delivers a stern lecture in subjects where it was. It remains to be seen how the TUC’s advocacy affects the government on subjects like the forty-hour week and Polish resettlement.

“The Veto” The small and medium powers would like the United Nations to get rid of the Security Council veto. The Russians would like the UN to proceed by Great Power consensus. Argument continues.

“Public and Private Service, III: The Craze for Training” The paper is looking at the “main magnetic forces drawing young men and women into trade and commerce.” Having looked at the armed forces and the Ministry of Labour’s Appointments Department, it is time to look at job training. The paper thinks that it has gone too far. There is a training programme for nannies, which it thinks is silly. 
I don't know, seems training intensive.

(Which I think is silly.) It also detects a sinister trend to convert “open markets [for labour] into professional closed shops.” Why all the training schemes? First, blame wartime disruption of schools, apprenticeships and vocational training. Second, blame the war, during which there was so much pressure to increase the amount of work done by each set of hands that all sorts of new approaches and techniques were found. This led to pressure to accelerate the acquisition of new skills within the work force. Now, “Training within Industry” schemes are everywhere. Third, blame insecurity, born of the high unemployment of the Twenties and Thirties, which leads parents to aim their children away from “blind alley employment” and towards education. However, the “closed professional shop” is at work here, too. The paper singles out both trade union demarcation, which results in “four men to renew a broken sink or repair a gas stove,” in the music hall sketches; and in developments like the recent effort to create professional standards for accountants and architects. The paper is also concerned that training will come to replace education, and will reduce the “flexibility” of English society.
At some point, though, I think Mr. Crowther is just upset for being billed for the apprentice who showed up to help fix the stove.

Notes of the Week

“Stalin and Molotov” Are bad. Mr. Molotov made a fire-eating speech in New York, Stalin a very conciliatory one in Moscow. The paper quotes General Martel on the theory that Stalin no longer truly controls Soviet policy, then speculates that General Martel has no idea what he’s talking about.  Perhaps it is because Molotov is losing influence? Or perhaps it has something to do with the related fact that Stalin was officially stating Moscow’s interest in an American loan, and that he acknowledged for the first time that reconstruction won’t be complete at the end of the Five-Year Plan. He’s being nice because he wants something.

“Sudan” Egypt and England are still arguing about Sudan.

“Coalition at Last in Delhi” The Congress government in Delhi has acquired a few ministers from the Moslem League. The question is whether this will be enough to prevent escalating communal disorder. The paper goes on to point out that the only reason it works at the provincial level in Bengal is that it has a British governor, hint hint.

“Royal Commission on the Press” The Press has too many problems to-day. (The chain Conservative press is either satanic or the last bastion of freedom, depending, for example.)

“Health Bill in the Lords” The Lords managed not to die of apoplexy.

“When Rationing Can Cease” Rationing will cease when the Government is sure that “[T]here is enough of it for everybody to buy, in the quantities they choose, at a price they can afford.” It is rising wages, more than anything else, which have put the country in its current predicament, since the effective rationing system of old was poverty. Far more food is being consumed than before the war –47.6% more milk, but also more jam and cereals. Yet the average consumption of food is 93% of prewar. The quantity of some foods will need to rise 30 to 40% before they can be derationed.
The Mailonline does a story about a Beebs story.

“Government Trading” The announcement that the United States Government will no longer act as agent for the British in buying food on the American market has caused consternation in London, even though no-one officially thinks that it will cause prices to rise, notwithstanding increases in America. The paper thinks that that the Government is a bit wet, as it had to happen eventually. However, perhaps stories of bad buys abroad (bricks in Belgium, pulp in Sweden) shows that the current Government is not very good at trading?

“The Employment of Germans” Probably German labour shouldn’t be shipped back and forth across the continent to build houses in Russia and V2 missiles in France and so on, like herds of slaves.

 Austrians and Bulgarians are excitable.

“Capital for Agriculture” The paper can agree with Tory squires that food subsidies are wrong, farm subsidies are wrong, and the world price for food is wrong, but what is to be done? Why not huge, interest-free loans to recapitalise the farms of England? It’s the free enterprise solution! In related news, the paper almost brings itself to admit that there’s nothing wrong with the Forestry Commission, except that it is planting too many pine trees, which are ugly.
The horror! Get it away from my poor, defenceless eyes!

“Safety in the Air” The new rule that aircraft (medium-range airliners for the most part) not equipped for blind-approach must use Croydon instead of Northolt this winter is very inconvenient for the paper, but shows that everyone should hurry up and buy good, English planes to replace their DC-3s as soon as possible.

“Dutch-German Frontier” Some Dutchparliamentarians want border adjustments that would put 100,000 Germans and perhaps some coal mines into Holland. All the other parliamentarians think that this is a horrible idea. Debate continues.

“Occupation in Japan and Korea”

The Japanese Government has now raised the basic ration from 297 to 360g. This is still dangerously low, but has had “an encouraging effect” on the Japanese urban population. The American occupying authorities, who have had to make up the difference between this and basic survival, as they could, have “modified” their views about the de-industrialisation of Japan. General MacArthur now wants the Japanese textiles industry rehabilitated, and Sir Stafford Cripps has now said  that as long as “unfair competition” is prevented, this would be fine with the English. So the Japanese are free to get on with it, and probably will, and fairly quickly, too. This is not the case in Korea, where “anarchy,” “disorder,” and “terrorism” are rife. General Hodge wants American troops to keep the peace, but the US Government is extremely unwilling to see this happen. The paper notes that anarchy is incompatible with American occupation –the question is how many men the Americans actually have available to beat Korean demonstrators and sweep through villages shooting “bandits.”

In shorter notes, the Colonial Office is talking about a college for the Caribbean, and Bristol University has put out an appeal for funds to assist in doubling its current capacity from 2500 students, which the paper thinks is too little.


Alexander Fleck, of Norton Hardwock, Norton, Stockton-on-Trent, thinks that the future for coal is undergroundgasification, in the veins, somehow. L. G. Cope writes to point out that the Appointments Bureau worked well for him, and probably many other people. H. L. Binney points out that there are good reasons why current shift work isn’t rationally arranged in 8 hour increments -mainly that the busses stop running at 11, and haven’t started again by 6.
Drawing a picture makes it seem plausible. By Bretwood Higman, Ground Truth Trekking -, CC BY 3.0,

American Survey

“Continuous Royal Commission” America has a Council of Economic Advisors and a Bureau of the Budget, and by roaming back to Harding and the Engineer, and ranging forward to the “sixty million jobs” people, you can turn these facts into a page-and-a-half of print.

American Notes

“Republican Congress?” With every election that has passed for more than a decade, Republican Party managers have promised that this time around, the New Deal was finished, and that the Democrats would be back to being a permanent minority party after they win the election. This time around, they probably will win and take the Congress. What then? American public opinion can’t possibly like international communism any less, so foreign policy won’t change. At home, all controls will be gone by 1947, anyway. They want a $10 million Budget economy drive, some revision to New Deal labour laws, and abandonment of the idea of a national 65 cents an hour minimum wage, and a two-term limit for Presidents.

“Coal Strike Off”, “Wages and Output” and “Closed Shop at Sea” There won’t be a coal strike anytime soon, and industrial wages have risen to an average of $1.10/hour, up 2 cents since August, an increase that probably will not continue.  The Reserve Board has recently weighed in on productivity increases, saying that its data shows that productivity is up since the war, contrary to management statements, and that the reason this does not appear to be the case is largely labour hoarding, or, as the Federal Reserve phrases it, “anticipatory hiring.” Current plant and technological improvements have rapidly remedied the problems of reconversion, and material shortages are the main cause of quality problems. The 26-day shipping strike, which has caused so much concern for the English is half-way to settlement, with Eastern and Gulf owners ratifying, Western ones still holding out. It’s about union membership for masters and mates. (It says here that the English are importing American grain. Why hasn’t someone mentioned this to me? –I am practicing sarcasm for the physiotherapist. Is there any way that you can get Misses M. and J. on an earlier train?)
A. O. Smith is stil around, but its "first fully auotmated automobile frame factory, capable of making a frame every eight seconds," was closed in 1958 and is now down the memory hole. Even Fortune seems to have to crop an old article for this photo. 

The World Overseas

“The Belgian Municipal Elections” Belgians are divided on the King, and on tenterhooks, since this will b the first election in which women can vote(!), and will be a weathervane for national elections. The thought is that women are more conservative than men, and will swing towards the King. This tends to show that the paper doesn’t talk to women very much, I think. But what do I know? I’m only a woman! The paper is also concerned about Belgium’s “over-employment problem.”

Coal production, at 76,600 tons for October, is “only” 75% pf pre-war production, the main limit being a shortage of coal. Most of the rest of internal industry is in the same range of improvement, but external trade has not recovered, and the balance of trade is in deficit, a problem which the paper discovers to be in government policy, somehow. Belgians continue to punish collaborators and practice “civil reconstruction.”

“Marketing in East Africa” Early statistics suggest that modern monopoly marketing schemes might be exploiting the native farmer in exactly the same way that the old concessions did. The paper suggests licensed markets.

“Wages and Prices in the British Zone” Wages and rations are balanced to each other by the fact that the wage script and ration cards are linked. The problem is that people cannot live without the black market, which means that black market prices are the true index of inflation, which is quite high. Germans are currently living on their savings, and this cannot continue. The solution might be a new currency.

“French Shipping Reconstruction” France had a small but robust merchant marine before the war. It suffered heavily during the war, and is now being reconstructed. The first step was to buy 75 Liberty ships, but French yards are building some 300,000 GRT more. These will all be oil-fired, and another 100,000GRT is under construction on various contracts. When the programme is completed, the French will have a fleet of 2.774 million GRT, of ships 1000GRT or more, of which almost half will be new, but the other half decrepit. Renewal of the fleet will be a generation of work for the builders at an annual construction of 300,000GRT. The rebuilding, renovation and extension of the yards will absorb 7,400 million francs through 1946, 1900 in 1947, and 1800 thereafter. 1,278 million of this finance remains to be found, and the shipbuilders have formed a consortium to issue bonds.

The Business World

“Facts About Savings” I’m sufficiently morally confident that the “facts” are that the Government is BUNGLING saving that I’m not going to bother with this very long article.

Business Notes

The “Tap” Opens I seem to have misplaced my Banker-to-English dictionary, and will not further comment. I am sure the upshot is BUNGLING and DOOM.

“Coastwise Shipping Predicament” Before the war, the “balance” between rail and coastwise shipping had gotten out of balance, and subsidies were required for small, coastal shippers, which were agreed with the railways. Postwar, the railways think that the same subsidies are appropriate, even though the coastwise shipping industry has lost half its tonnage, 600,000 to war causes. Meanwhile, the coasts of coastal shipping have doubled, and the Chamber of Shipping wants to fix everything by massive interference in rail rates. Hold on, says the paper, and probably everybody else.

Rubber, Jute and cotton industry owners and anyone who takes the train or the bus in London are excitable.

In shorter news, the paper approves of the responsible way that the Danes are dealing with their public debt, and not the irresponsible way that the Norwegians are dealing with theirs. The International Shipping Organisation will soon have the Liberty ship matter dealt with, and the price of silver is falling with the withdrawal of the English silver coinage and the appearance of Russian silver on the market.

“US Rayon PMH” American rayon production rose substantially during the war, but productivity declined. Currently, America has 60,000 operatives producing 850 million lb of fibre, Britain has 23,500 producing 181 million, which isn’t very good, but could be very much improved by better machines.
It's Rita Hayworth, so it's probably actual silk, not rayon. 

“Iraq Currency Contraction” Inflation has stopped, and hoarding is up.

Flight, 7 November 1946


“Per Mare ad Astra” I think the paper is just teasing us, now.  [1,2]

“University Air Squadrons” There will be (eleven) university air squadrons again soon. Minimum flying requirements for members are laid down as 20 hours per year in term time, which the paper thinks isn't enough to make a pilot.
Ripped without apology from the CUAS Facebook page.

“Air Armament Mission: ‘Thor II’ Is Prepared at Manby: Work of Empire Air Armament School” Thor II is a demonstration Lincoln belonging to the Empire Armament School at Manby. It is off to spend the winter flying over America and Canada, showing off its new turrets with gyro gunsights. Manby is a very nicely appointed school with “library, examination rooms, laboratories and cinema that would do credit to any scientific institute.” The crew is top-notch, armaments are very important to air forces (Lord Trenchard himself is quoted to make this critical point clear), and tally-ho, off to the land of gas and coal!
The prewar Operations Control Building at RAF Manby, now demolished. 

Leonides Air Tests: Alvis Engines Complete 50 Hours Flying in an Airspeed Oxford” I will give Alvis this. In its persistence with the small, commercial radial, it has ended up producing a very sleek and shiny installation for the Cunliffe Owen Concordia. I suppose that it is a better bet than most of the new engines being floated these days, since Alvis has been working on it before the war, but it will need more customers than Cunliffe-Owen to be much more than self-indulgence!

Here and There

Another famous plane off to junket in fabulous North America: Aries. In top news today, a Verdon-Smith is getting married, Frank Whittle is off to America to get a gong, C. D. Howe probably didn’t really say that TCA had the only reliable trans-Atlantic service right now, and Brigadier-General Mervin E. Gross was recently killed in a P-80 crash. P. G. Crabbe will succeed Francis McKenna on the board of Gloster, and the Australian Air League is accepting more members, and are especially interested in anyone who might be able to type, have a driver’s license, or be old enough to be admitted to a bar. The Beaverbrook press is covering aeronautical affairs in an embarrassingly trivial way. A 72-year-old lady from Glasgow recently flew to Australia to see her sister in Melbourne, flying 15,000 miles by way of Paris, New York, Vancouver and Sydney, and thought that it was all delightful. Mr. Francis Chichester, the ace navigator who will be attending the upcoming PICAO conference (as a delegate!) has a nice new line of aeronautically-themed games and puzzles, perfect for Christmas. The 10,000th passenger to fly on a Channel Islands Airways Wayfarer was given a decanter containing 100 cigarettes by a Bristols representative.

James A. Bridge (ex Lieut. (Air), RNVR), “Deck Landing: Special Conditions Demand Different Technique from that of Land Operation” Landing on an aircraft carrier is hard.

“Remains of Juan de la Cierva Flown to Spain” Mr. Cierva died in the 1936 air crash of a KLM DC-2 flying out of Croydon in poor visibility, but various persons of the Cierva Autogiro Company thought that now might be a good time to have a ceremony and send his body to be reburied in his native Spain, now that it is not Fascist at all (and never was.) I hope that this was a family request, and not another cynical attempt to generate publicity for the Cierva interest.

“The Saro SR/A1: A Single-seater Flying Boat with Fighter Performance” Taking off from the water used to be hard because the airscrews would dip in the water. Now it is hard because water gets into the turbine intakes. In conclusion, flying boats are wonderful, no matter what everyone says.

No mention in the article about the flotsam-caused landing accident mentioned in the clip, above.

“Royal Air Force Reserves” The arrangements for the university squadrons and the Auxiliary Air Force are published. The other reserves, and critical hat-related details will follow.

“Spearhead Airliner” De Havilland is pushing ahead with its tailless sweptback airliner project, which leads the paper to publish an entire page of sketches of various tailless projects.

American Newsletter

This month, “Kibitzer” talks about the fact that large civil aircraft are very expensive to develop, and it is not clear that it is economically feasible without some kind of state support. 

He notices that the Navion is out in quantity production, and seems very nice, even if its performance is not as high as initial publicity suggested(!) The Bonanza is the natural competitor. Also, rumours about the American speed record attempt continue. The P-80R is supposed to have been a failure, as was the P-84 modification. The new North American navy fighter might make a run, and an attempt on the 1000mile closed circuit record is likely.

“Britain’s Test Pilots: No. 15: Sydney Albert Thorn, Chief Test Pilot, A. V. Roe and Co., Ltd.” Thorn joined the Coldstream Guards in 1919 straight out of losing his war factory job to support his widowed mother, did not flourish, left the army in 1922 when he came into some money, which he and his siblings invested in a farm that failed, joined the RAF on a short service commission, left it in 1027 to be a test pilot in various ephemeral concerns, so it must have been very nice to come on with Avro as a test pilot for its production Fokker license aircraft that became the Anson. He has lost only one machine in 5500 hours of test flying of 110 types, a Desoutter with a Hermes engine. I notice the interesting detail that, while flying a Fox with the Curtiss D-12 engine that was so controversial in the day (“RAF won’t buy supposedly superior American engine,” as James puts it), he had it catch fire in the air. The D-12, we are told, was the first engine authorised by the RAF with its carburettor between the cylinders. I'm glad that he survived all of that, and that a man who was living on an airfield in a trailer with his wife in 1930 finally has steady work and good employment.

Prototype Tudor 2; crashed on takeoff from Woodford Airport, 23 August 1947, banking right and stalling from 60ft, Killed were Thorn, co-pilot David Wilson, flight engineer John Webster, and Roy Chadwick.

“German Technicians for Britain” Ten German technicians are being brought over to work in various British research establishments.

Civil Aviation News

“Still Flying” With the completion of the Hythes, Short Empire-derived flying boats are now officially going to fly BOAC services for even longer than they have already flown them, which is a very long time. In the near future, it might actually be practical for passengers to step out of the plane and onto the jetty, as opposed to being manhandled into a launch because they are too cold to move their legs. Progress!

A headline says that “KLM Practise GCA.”

In shorter news, there are to be more Atlantic weather ships, the jet Lancastrian will be at the Paris Air Show, gliding will not be included in the 1948 Olympic Games, BEA is going to issue rebates for circular trips, Cathay Pacific Airlines will operate a weekly Hong Kong-Manila service, TCA will be operating Vancouver-Victoria and Victoria-Seattle DC-3 services, and LaGuardia is offering public tours of its control tower for 10 cents.

“Most Powerful Hercules: Latest Version of Classic Bristol Engine Breaks into 2000hp Class” The new Hercules 230 is 50% more powerful than the original of 1935, but only 20% heavier. It is also economical. “At a maximum continuous weak-mixture power of 1305bhp, the specific fuel consumption is reduced to 0.428 lb/bhp/hr, and this is still further reduced to 0.411 at lower powers.” Modifications include a stronger crankcase, also changed to accommodate main bearings of “considerably increased load-bearing capability,” stronger cylinders machined from light alloy by an improved process, stiffer pistons, and “better” sleeves. More importantly, the cylinder heads have been redesigned for greater heat conductivity, so that the new heads run at 25 degrees cooler for a given boost.

“Blind Approach Problems: Second Part of a Lecture by Mr. H. C. Pritchard: Some Suggestions: The Discussion” The problem remains one of giving the pilot a good guide path indication. The German system which simply assumes an exponential curve, is not very good. Radio altimeters might seem to answer to the need, but are currently only accurate within 10ft. Radar-guide beams have a reflection problem. Currently, there are efforts to apply centimetric radar to GCA, as 3cm beams have a small enough wavelength to prevent reflection problems on “well-designed” airfields. In the comments, Mr. Jones disagrees. There’s also an odd bit from one commenter who wants the landing to be practiced by a pilot on the ground in a synthetic trainer while the plane is landing, with the results broadcast to the plane and shown “in the tank” to the pilot as reference.

Flight, 14 November 1946


“Paris, 1938—1946” It has been eightyears since the last International Aero Exhibition, and, needless to say, a great deal has changed. In 1938, the fastest plane at Paris was the Spitfire, so “hush hush” that no performance statistics were available. This year, it is the Gloster Meteor IV, with its homologued 616mph. In 1938, we had to settle for knowing that 335mph was claimed for the Hawker Hurricane, also present. So It’s not just interesting that the plane has changed; so has the way it is covered. Is it a matter of a period of near-war versus post-war, or the sonic barrier? In 1938, the most powerful engine exhibited was an untested Hispano-Suiza of 2000hp, while the Merlin II of both the Hurricane and Spitfire gave 1000hp, similar to the also-shown Napier Dagger. 
Oh, yeah. That.

This year, the most powerful British piston engines are giving 300hp, and jet engines are already at 4000lb thrust. The only German bomber on display was the Do17, and its British counterpart, the “long-nosedBlenheim was there. (The paper gloats a bit.)

“A Psychological Error” The RAF recruiting tableaux in the Lord Mayor’s Procession was just too silly.
At least I skipped "Upper Class Twit of the Year" for the Verdon-Smith bit.

“The New Flat Engines” More details of the Nuffield flat-four 100hp engine are now available in time for Paris. Inasmuch as that it uses a downdraught carburettor instead of the hoped-for fuel injection, it is a bit of a disappointment. The other new, flat engine is a Fedden flat six of 150, or 180, or 120hp, depending on which page you are reading. It is direct drive, steals some details from Jacobs engines (I am stealing a bit from the article, by the way), and really, actually exists and will certainly be manufactured and isn’t just another narcissistic figment of Fedden’s imagination with a bit of sheet metal attached.

“Britain at the Paris Show: Message from W. R. Verdon Smith, President of the Society of British Aircraft Constructors” Wider still and wider the bounds of Empire set, etc.

“Military Aircraft of Tomorrow” Ahead of the Paris show, the paper has commissioned short articles consisting of long strings of words attached to some quite nice tables showing the officially claimed performance statistics of current British fighters, trainers, bombers, civil transports and small civil aircraft. I haven’t been able to see any reason to summarise the words, with the exception of this first article, which is actually quite interesting in the way that it highlights problems with building long-range escort fighters that can compete with “local” fighters, medium bombers that are as fast as fighters, heavy bombers that actually achieve a useful weight and range performance, and two-set night fighters for naval use that are small enough to land on decks. In other words, the old constraints haven’t miraculously gone away.

I would include the tables with this letter, but they’re awfully ephemeral, so there really isn’t much to say about these articles. Unfortunately, that also means that there really isn’t that much to say about this number of the paper!

“Fedden Flat-Six Engine: A New 5.3L Unit to be Shown at Paris” Given that Fedden is a world-renowned designer, I would have more to say about this if it weren’t, well, Fedden, and I have acquired a low opinion of him as a businessman. If thought I had anything of use on investing in aviation to share with you and Uncle George, it would be my intuition that the day of the “flat” configuration, designed for burying in a wing section, are well past. The idea is useful for big aircraft, but 100hp engines are likely to go into wings so small that even seventeen inches is asking for a lot.

Here and There

Three Lincolns have shown up in Chile to fly over the presidential inauguration and load up with as much butter, cheese and meat as they can carry home to England. Philip Stainbury has been promoted at Gloster, and chief test pilot Eric Greenwood has been appointed in his place as technical sales manager. Sir Alwyn Crow has been exiled to Washington as the something-or-other in charge of “liaison” with the Americans in all non-nuclear technical matters. If England ever buys another American plane, he’ll be in charge of kicking the wheels, that sort of thing. The Louis Bleriot 1000km/h Speed Contest has been extended for another six years. The paper reminds us of the rules. The paper is also giddy with glee that Fortune said that the American jet industry is behind, and that some footage of the Vickers Viking will show up in a new British film.  A firm called Planet Aircraft Ltd has alerted the world that it intends to produce an all-magnesium light civil aircraft soon. It will also have elevators going in odd directions, novel construction methods, an engine in the middle of the fuselage, and all sorts of novelties of the kind that only small firms you’ve never heard of before can bring to fruition.

Fifteen hundred food parcels a month are being flown from Australia to Dunlop employees in Great Britain. They contain butter, meat, cooking fat, chocolate, jam, honey and fruit. 
But not food yeast. I'll bet it's not even rationed.

KLM wants everyone to know that, contrary to rumour, there are no priorities for bookings on KLM flights, which are going swimmingly. Unlike, say, strike-closed TWA. Mr. Harry H. Howell, a Boeing researcher, recently told the SAE in Los Angeles that there remains a vast amount of research to be done on the effects of flight above 35,000ft before satisfactory civil performance is guaranteed. Worldwide humidity and temperature variances at ground level are also a concern.

“British Military Aircraft,” “To-Day’s British Transports,” and “British Small Civil Aircraft.” As already mentioned, these articles are very little more than commentary on big tables. If you want to see them, it might be best to get your own copy of the paper when it comes out in Montreal.

“Nuffield Flat-Four: Preliminary Details of an Interesting British Light Aircraft Engine” I hope Nuffield’s isn’t too cheesed that Fedden has stolen some of their limelight.

Civil Aviation

“Procrastination: Air Traffic Control and Blind-Approach Aids in the U.K.: The Immediate Possibilities of GCA” The paper is very upset that GCA radars are not being installed this ivery winter at the three London area civil airports, as it considers that the technology is already well-enough proven by RAF use.

In shorter news, there is to be a Stockholm-Moscow service. In other Swedish news, Scandia is working on a new medium-range transport. The paper has a very oblique bit on the controversy in Australia between private airlines and the government owned one. (Qantas, I think.) The paper notices Philips’ new “IGO,” or “Impulse Governed Oscillator,” a new crystal-control unit for radios that improves automatic channel control. 

Rollason’s will sell Grumman Seabees in Europe. The TWA strike has ended, and British European Airways is making progress in miniaturising radar components. The Canadair, Merlin-engined version of the DC-4 is said to be 80mph faster than the original Skymaster. The paper points out that, if true (never take a North American claim about performance at face value!), that has to be flat out in “S” gear, but still shows a very useful improvement.
The problem with a Merlin-powered airliner wasn't speed, though. It was the fact that the engine was so militantly noisy due to its high operating rpms! On the other hand, they're apparently the most reliable trans-Atlantic service, so what are you going to do?

“Industrial Exposition” This is the part where the poor component makers get their chance to shine, as much as they can. Fractional horsepower electrical motors (Miles Aircraft –I didn’t even know they were doing something like this!) and the like cannot compete with sleek, shiny planes, but they get their place, at the back of the paper. Rotol, Rotax, Hobson, etc. But I cannot take my eyes of a “Marshal-Birlac” air conditioner, which looks for all the world like a suitcase. (Of course, so does the picture of the Fedden engine from a few articles above, but in that case it is probably because it is a suitcase.) Sorry. I just find that when I think about Mr. Fedden, I imagine Uncle Henry, and all those contradictory emotions flood in. So, as I was saying: air conditioner. I want one. Though perhaps not on a day like this, sitting in the nursery at my portable writing desk, listening to the iron lung’s rhythms and looking south into the hills through the gray rain.

Look: Another workstation precursor! Something something "full emploment" "automation" something.


An RAF Erk points out that there are still Swordfish in service. T. R. Thomas of the Air Registration Board responds crossly to “Inspection’s” “garbled statement,” demanding more information on the alleged maintenance deficiencies of English civil aircraft. G. M. Shipway, of Dunlop in India, is very pleased with Transport Command. Keith B. Crosby writes that “Indicator” is too pessimistic about safety aids. Yes, there are too many in many control cabins, and it can be confusing, but the state of radio control of blind landings has reached the point where they are safe. Responding to recent talk of ultra light aircraft, R. W. Clegg volunteers to be “Hon Sec.” of the Light Aircraft Association, while Graham K. Gates takes frivolous tandem-wing enthusiasts out behind the barn and gives them a sound, aerodynamical thrashing. V. N. Dickinson thinks that it is foolish to build the main air terminals of metropolises such as London and Manchester as close as 30 miles from the cities, as even at that distance he has encountered blankets of obscuring smoke while trying to land. He suggests some remote plateaus, at least by English standards. “On the Spot” is curious as to where B. J. Hurren might have heard the details of a supposed Swordfish 11 1/3 mile overload takeoff run for a North African mission back in the war. From out of his drink-sodden backside, I would reply, if I were your humble editor, but as he has already nodded off to sleep, dreams of the first flying boat-gyrojet helicopter dancing in his head, I am not heard.
By Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK - Swordfish, CC BY 2.0,

The Economist, 9 November 1946


“The Republicans Return” War weariness and restless might explain the Republican victory in Congress. Naturally, the question is whether this is 1918 all over again, in which case Mr. Harding is a shoe-in for 1948. (Though he will be a bit more dead this time.) The paper fears the consequences of Republican hostility to the idea of “full employment through world stability,” which is code for giving the English what they want in the name of world trade. The paper does not, however, expect the “New Deal” to be “repealed.” The Welfare state is no Eighteenth Amendment. It remains to be seen what “smaller men and “rapid changes” do to American government, and the world can only wait and watch.
"One of these faces is not like the others/One of these faces doesn't belong. . . "

“Preaching at Symptoms” There has been much talk of an economic calamity this winter. Supposedly informed people talk about the shutdown of “non-essential” factories to save coal, and even of a 1921-style depression. The paper wonders if this is a “concerted” campaign, in which case someone knows something. What it knows is that the shortage of manpower, dollars and fuel make it impossible for the nation to achieve the priority tasks it has set itself. With national income not up to needs, will the nation have to abandon welfare services, reconstruction, or accept a permanent reduction in its standard of living? And if the export drive fails, there will be no alternative but the return of siege economics. The paper’s preferred strategy is to roust out the slackers by paying them less so that they’ll work harder, plus full technical efficiency.

“Equal Pay” Paying people less so that they’ll work harder is clearly a promising start –look at how it has done with women! The women on the Royal Commission on Equal Pay have said as much, and have been sent to their rooms to think about what they have done.

“Trusteeship” Mr. Molotov gave a long talk and tour of the horizon about the new Uno trustees. To sum up, the national representative of the international working class does not think that the capitalist powers are up to the challenge. He points to the disaster in Indonesia as a particularly egregious example, but also notices an island in the South Sea  made of solid phosphorus, which presents real problems in a “trust” relationship with its inhabitants. How much money are they left with after the entire island is dug up out of the sea and shipped to Australia?

Notes of the Week

“The German Crisis Deepens” So, really, like every week. The British do have a reason for pushing it now, though. The Ruhr is about to go through its steel production cap under Potsdam with over a month to go, so this might be the time to abandon Potsdam, in time to work in a “Christmas present” of sugar, fats and meat. Or, alternatively, there could just be more famine.

“Foreign Ministers and the United Nations” Uno delegates like Swedes. Further bulletins as events warrant.
I'm not doing the Swedish Bikini Team, so restraint. Anyway, Sweden, Afghanistan and Iceland are in the UN in spite of not being Allies. No-one can agree if this is good or bad for the organisation

“A Home for the United Nations” Further bulletin: Uno delegates like New York City.

“End of Session” and “Permanent Conscription” Parliament has gone home for Christmas, and National Service will continue indefinitely, so as to supply 465,00 of the 750,000 men required. The paper suggests that Labour’s hostility to conscription should be channelled into keeping the term down to 18 months rather than in futilely agitating for its elimination.

“World Food Fights” The Americans are still abandoning government buying of food for foreign states, and they are still not interested in John Boyd Orr’s World Food Board.

“Full Employment at the ITO” At the ITO, the Americans want “free trade,” at a maximum volume of trade in good years, and the Australians and others want “full employment.” Neither side will admit to any contradiction between the objectives, but the only solution they seem to agree on is a sort of economic Kellogg Pact, in which all the nations guarantee never to have a slump; if they do have a slump, they become the common enemy of all mankind, and everyone can go back to trade discrimination against them so that they cannot export their unemployment. The paper wanders the terrain and then arrives in a heap at the idea of a “floor on minimum trade of nations, in pairs or in groups.” It points to the acquittal of Dr. Schacht as putting this back on the table, and then does that English thing where they dig America’s ribs for being such a yokel.

Appeasement in Palestine” You would think that not having money, or bayonets, might be a reason to appease, but not a bit of it! “The appeasement of the Semitic races does not pay.” And, meanwhile, the world is taken with a generous impulse to “help refugees in general, and Jews in particular, into any country but its own.”

“Better Housing Progress” Whatever was bothering Mr. Crowther is definitely on the mend, because this article actually manages not to sound discouraged that housebuilding is up.

In news relating to recruitment, the Colonial Office and metropolitan police forces are having trouble finding staff, probably because they are not paying enough.

The Japanese are excitable. [The Greeks are not, but that is because they are semi-starved, which makes people yearn for security, not revolution.

“Italian Partisans” Under Carlo Andreoni, men of the old Popular Resistance Movement have launched a rural movement consisting of “squatting” in depopulated villages and working the land. Naturally, various disreputable elements have taken to hanging around them. Meanwhile, closer to the centre, Fascist sympathisers allege that the Allies are favouring a Monarchist coup d’état, and have smuggled Umberto in and out of the country several times in the last few weeks. The paper asks for an “authoritative denial.” Also in not-Fascist at all, now or ever notes, Argentina and Spain have signed a trade agreement, even though Spain is not in the Uno and Argentina still has its problems them.

American Survey

“Veterans and the Government” The American Legion is squabbling with General Bradley of the VA over various things. Does this portend a new and difficult front of American politics? The Legion is particularly concerned with “on the job training,” which it believes all too often is effectively wage subsidy.
It's like people aren't thinking clearly about "training" and "learning." Oh, well. Sure that'll be fixed up in a jiffy!

“End of an Era” The Democrats are so shell-shocked by their defeat that Senator Fulbright has suggested that President Truman resign. The paper thinks that a “two year hiatus” in government would be far too costly for America and the world right now, especially when there has been a “methodical weeding out” of Progressive Republicans, ending the “Willkie-the-wisp” days and producing the most conservative Congress in a very long time, even as defeat sharpens dissensions within the Democratic Party, with Mr. Wallace and the left claiming that Truman was undone by losing the support of labour, which the Southern and conservative wings claim that it is because he was too conciliatory to it. The paper concludes that the effective choice for the Republicans in 1948 is likely to be Dewey or Taft, and that progressives have no choice but to support Dewey. Hooey! (Not hooey, the wonderful old Bakersfield newspaper I found that translation in. Who knew that you could write "Hooey" in classical Chinese?) 

American Notes

“The Republican Sweep” Republicans have the House, at 250 seats, and the Senate, at over 50, and have won three more state houses, securing the states even more securely. Taft will be Majority Leader, Vandenberg will chair the Foreign Affairs Committee.

“Consumer Credits” plus “—And Margin Dealings” Recent shakeouts in the economy encourage the finance industry to look for relaxation of regulation on consumer installment credit plans and stock purchases on margins.

“SEC for Commodities” Senator Thomas of the Cotton Bloc wants “rigid Federal supervision of all commodity exchanges” on the same line as the SEC for stock exchanges. The paper sees no call for regulation.

The World Overseas

Liberia, an American Colony?” The paper hasn’t ribbed its American cousin in just pages, so off it goes.
I hope this is the right Monrovia. There weren't a lot of photographers snapping shots of picturesque old Liberia in 1946. It's kind of like the Indonesian war: "This revolution will not be televised, or even photographed."

“The Finances of Hong Kong” by Our Hong Kong Correspondent

The government of Hong Kong is this year spending three times its revenue on the costs of rehabilitation. An income tax is to be brought in, as the War Taxation Department is satisfied that it can untangle Chinese finances. Trade is up, especially with the United States; shipping is up, the airport is overflowing its grounds, and more cars, busses, rickshaws and pedicycles are all desperately needed to replace the existing push bicycles, which crowd the streets.

“Eire’s International Balance of Payments” Our Dublin Correspondent is never going to change, whatever happens to Mr. Crowther. Eire is doing perfectly well, as you would expect given its situation and its main exports, but if you squint, all sorts of indications of a future downturn are there to be seen.

“The World’s Wool” The International Wool Conference will meet in London next week to agree on a world wool policy in the face of abundant supplies and good prices.  Surely this cannot last, etc.

The Business World

“The Fund Opens its Doors” The IMF is open for business and ready to do the business that it does. If I recall correctly, I wrote the Earl a long note about all of this two years ago or so, and it must be kicking around somewhere.

Business Notes

“The Tap Trickles” Sales of the recent bond issue have been tepid, and the paper is so very, very sad.

 “Exports and Prices” Exports are not up as much as hoped, but the balance of trade is better than expected because import prices are lower, because of world problems.

In shorter notes, the paper talks about Anglo-French trade, notes that the rubber market still hasn’t fallen apart, and that the Indian coalition government has clarified that it is ratifying Bretton Woods and wants to be a member of the IMF and World Bank. The industry is in talks to improve weavers’ wages, there will be less timber for housing, the award to stockholders in the nationalised Shorts Brothers has been finalised, and deflation continues in Palestine, where increased crops and more imports have allowed the relaxation of ceiling prices on essentials.  Industrial profits are trending upwards, industry having benefited from cheap money.

“American Cotton Efficiency” The American cotton industry has often been held up to the English as an example of what Full Technical Efficiency can achieve. Dr. Toy, of the industry’s research association (British Cotton Industry Research Association) went to America to find out for himself. While impressed with organisational aspects, he found no evidence of revolutionary new machinery. They just do more “high drafting,” and there is the usual quality versus quantity trade-off.

Aviation, November 1946

Down the Years in AVIATION’s Log

Twenty-five years ago, Bert Acosta won the Pulitzer Trophy in a Curtiss CD-2 Navy racer at 177mph.

"The bad boy of aviation." By Findagrave, Fair use,

The Army JL-12 Liberty-engined, heavily-armoured attack plane flew N.Y. to Washington in 2 ½ hours against a 60mph headwind.

The Army built an airship hangar in Aberdeen, Maryland, a Sgt Chambers made a 24,850ft parachute jump at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and General Mitchell set a new Dayton-N.Y. record in a DH-4, flying blind most of the way. Fifteen years ago, Pangborn and Herndon flew nonstop from Tokyo to Wenatchee, Washington in 41 hr 13 minutes in a Wasp powered Bellanca. Japan was rated sixth in air strength by someone, and a crashed trans-Atlantic Junkers plane was kept afloat 158hrs by its fuel tanks. 

The paper stuffs some pages with a “New Products” column, which is even more boring than the ones in Radio News.  But there's a metal meal tray and a buffet unit for aircraft installation, so I guess it tells me that the airlines know that a passenger flies on his stomach.

Line Editorial

James H. McGraw, Jr., “Depression in ’47: Controls Can Bring One” The only way there is likely to be a depression in 1947 is if Government wage, price and production controls continue to distort the market. Various industries, notably automotive, electrical equipment and rail equipment are “bumping” along at maximum achievable production without returning either profits or meeting market demand. Yet retail profits are up 150%. Again, workers in low-profit industries are being squeezed by lower effective wages due to the end of war overtime and higher prices. The solution can only be higher productivity, and controls stand in the way.

Aviation Editorial Leslie Neville is concerned that “export lethargy” will lame the American industry, and points out that only Government-Military-Industry cooperation can assure guardian air power.

Kendall Perkins, Assistant Chief Engineer, McDonnell Aircraft Corp., “Design Development of the McDonnell FD-1 Phantom” The new McDonnell navy fighter was quite a design effort for a manufacturer which had never had a major navy contract before, and it looks like quite a pretty aircraft. The result was a conventional and underwhelming aircraft to afflict the Navy, and a nice bit of change for McDonnell. Maybe a good one, next time?

W. O. Meckley, Aviation Division, and J. L. Fischer, Aircraft Gas Turbine Division, General Electric, “Compounding Aircraft Engines” The authors show how compounding an exhaust gas turbine with a reciprocating piston engine is still a good idea. For one thing, the turbine blades last much longer.

“Design Details of the Bristol Theseus Turboprop” Still can’t fill the paper? Steal an article! (It’s not just another turboprop. It has a heat exchanger!)
It was the Proteus that sold, not the Theseus. 

“Carving Costs in Hydraulics Production: How Electrol Went Back to Basic Design for Simplified Manufacturing and Maintenance” The Republic Seabee’s hydraulics are so cheap because components were redesigned to reduce production costs.

Captain Harry Marx, et al, “New Hydraulic Cylinders Meet Rigid Operational Needs” It has been a while since we have heard from the Navy’s special technical advisor on hydraulics, and he has had a promotion, if only in the USNVR, and congratulations! His new cylinders (I think he works for Hydra-Power[?]) are quite nice, too.

John E. McDonald, Engineering Staff, Autogiro Company of America, “Practical Engineering of Rotary Wing Aircraft, Part V” Otherwise known as, “Autogiros are better than stupid helicopters, part V.") Elaborate math on free-flapping rotary blades would be more interesting if anyone was going to build free-flapping rotary blades when they can just run bigger engines through more gears.

Mallard Amphibian Presented by Grumman” Not letting Republic get all the business, Grumman does a Mallard.

Northrop Pioneer is a Trimotor Workhorse” At least Republic has established a market. I’m completely at a loss with this Northrop push for a next generation tri-motor. The article does not enlighten me.
This is just so stupid. Words fail to express how stupid it is. And yet the Air Force bought 23 of them --and then put them in storage.;

“Stinson Reveals 1947 Voyager;” “Dallas Firm Grooms Four Seater” At least Stinson has an established market. I have no idea what Mr. Weatherly and William Campbell of Dallas are thinking, except perhaps that money makes a nice, warming glow as it burns. (Fairchild and Aeronca have new models, too.)
It's actually being built for an Army light plane competition, so that makes a bit more sense. 

“Swedish Concern Unveils Postwar Civil Planes” Not only the Saab airliner, but yet another light plane.

And the Fokker pops up again. . .

“Up to Date Rigging for DC-4 Flight Controls” Just in case you were troubled by thoughts of safe flying, here’s an article in a major national paper on how to adjust the controls of the DC-4 properly. And the DC-4 is one of the safe ones!
I just am not sure that you want to be promoting the image of airlines mechanics thumbing through Aviation t figure out how to set the ailerons of your transatlantic airliner. 

Wayne E. price and E. M. Hassell, Sperry Service Department, Sperry Gyroscope, “Maintenance Testing of Automatic Direction Finders” On the same subject, continued, as they say in the old books. If you were wondering why blind landing aids haven’t brought immediate, universal safety, it turns out that it’s more complicated in practice.

Raymond L. Hoadley, “These Are the Export Markets” The rest of the world. That’s your export market.

George M. Galster, Latin American Analyst, “Colombian Air Transport at the Crossroads” Colombia has air transport, now.

Aviation News

The Air Coordinating Committee has set up a 5-year industrial mobilisation plan, in case WWII happens all over again in 1951. The air force is basing B-29s and P-51s in Alaska, because America is open to attack across the ice cap, and the B-29s will, obviously, defend against that. By dropping atomic bombs on Moscow. That’s defence, right? Private aircraft deliveries look to reach 3500 in 1946. In the paper’s new way of looking at things, this greatly exceeds expected targets. (50,000/year? No-one was ever serious about that!) The War Surplus Board has junked 21,000 more warplanes. Yellow Cab is going to operate two helicopter routes between Cleveland’s airport and the downtown. The Navy is looking at submersible aircraft, which will dive to avoid attack. “Air vents would close automatically.”
When you think about the technical challenge, R and D can't start soon enough. This isn't what people were hoping for, though. 

Warplane production is up from 67 in July to 130 in August. NACA is complaining that it has no resources for civil work with all the military testing it has to do. Luscombe’s new flying wing has passed CAA tests. Martin has orders for 20 PBM-5A amphibians from the navy. The new Philadelphia air terminal will be the bee’s knees.

Worlddata . . . By “Vista”

V. notices the death of Geoffrey de Havilland, and the recent installation of backwards-fitting seats on the Vickers Viking, which might be a good alternative to restrictive lap-belts. General Chennault and some colleagues are trying to set up a “Chennault Air Transport,” to work in China. My eyes are rolling.
"Sixty percent of ownership remained with Chinese investors." An Air America courier aircraft on a covert landing strip in Laos, 1969.

Fortune, November 1946


“Labour’s Cause” Labour’s cause is that it wants more money. That’s why it strikes. That’s why everyone’s upset at labour. This is the issue of the paper where it gets upset, for pages and pages. (But not too upset, or it would be struck!) Of course, it needs to be pointed out that profits are the governor. You can’t have higher wages without profits, so labour and management are really in the same boat. More productivity and higher profits mean higher wages! As Wendell Willkie once said, blah blah blah. Actually, that's not what he said, but what he actually said isn't much more interesting. I'm just pointing out that the paper is still quoting him.

The Fortune Survey

People tend to think that organised labour has gone too far, and the richer they are, the likelier they are to think it.

“The Labour Situation: It Has no Precedent: In all Probability, It Is Not a Precedent, Either, But the Past Year Has Raised Questions That Demand Good Answers” The paper dives into its navel for a serious gaze at the future. It is not happy with some unions’ policy of “make work and monopoly,” or with strikes against vital services, such as New York truck drivers and the Duquesne Light Co in Pittsburgh. Labour used to be so noble, and now look at it.
John Neagle, Pat Lyon at the Forge, 1826--7. Aristocracy of labour! Also, check out the old-fashioned leather apron. 
And now look at them. They're coarse.

“Anatomy of the Labour Force”

Charles D. Gregory, “Something Must Be Done” The paper presents a scheme for labour law reform that will eliminate many day to day abuses, satisfy public demands for relief, and head off the danger of “harebrained repression.”

“Labour Drives South” Even as the public in the North reacts to strikes, organised labour is pushing into the South, which is fat and placid as cotton sells at 36 cents a pound, so that a farmer with a hundred acres can make $15,000 to $20,000. Prices high, wages good, jobs plentiful. Not the time to be organising unions, you might think. Time will tell, I guess. The Oak Ridge organising drive is one kind of indicator. Coloureds, who are much more enthusiastic about unions, are a second, and employers’ intransigent resistance to unions, a third.

Much of the body of the paper is devoted to articles about various unions and workforces. I find them all a bit boring, except one about Hollywood’s troubled scene, because, first, well, Hollywood, and, second, because I am still hoping that the Engineer’s boy will become a Corrupt Union Boss, just in way of spiting his father. (It makes a change from his legitimate children becoming corrupt businessmen. . . )
Old Hollywood. This is what happens when you differentially hire for bipolar disorder. 

“The Automatic Factory: The Threat and Promise of Laborless Machines is Closer Than Ever: All the Parts Are Here”  People have been fussing about the automatic factory in economic thought and Wells novels for years. Early in the thirties, the paper even heralded its dawn with a story on the A. O. Smith Corporation’s amazing semi-automatic production line, capable of fabricating automobiles so fast in six months it could supply a normal year’s requirements. Of the kind of cars that factory could build, which was the problem then, but I’m sure that it is all fixed up, now. Two young Canadian radar men, Eric W. Leaver and John J. Brown, have proposed a new kid of automatic manufacturing assembly line on the continuous-flow process. New kinds of circuits, developed for gun-laying and radar, allow electrical linking and direction. Well-known electrical and magnetic devices are integrated into a fully automatic system, thanks to a theory of machine design based on twentieth-century electronics.

E. W. Leaver and J. J. Brown, “Machines Without Men” Manpower shortages can be alleviated with more automation. Not the bad kind of automation, like the hundred thousand-dollar cylinder-head machining machine that was built for one aircraft engine factory, and which is now scrap metal because the cylinder is no longer being made, but a new, fully thought=-out kind of automation that concentrates on basic operations instead of product. It will be made of components plugged together, and will replace unskilled operators with highly skilled technicians. It will not cause massive unemployment, because new wealth will create new jobs, but it will force society to find a new use for men reduced to being machine operators.

Machines such as telephone relays can record, while microphones and so on can see, and punch card systems can calculate. Collation-control units, consisting of  a chassis of electronic stubs and circuits, accepts information fed into it and feeds controlled power into processing units in accordance with this information. Finally, the third kind of machine  unit does the actual processing. Leaver and Brown go on at more detail about how these machines might work. They think they will be far more flexible than old kinds of factories, and will be able to lead to a new industrial order, because they will be able to go from prototype to new production much more quickly, stimulating progress, where the older factories are tied down by their investment in the old kind of automation, which requires long production runs to be profitable.  

Then more articles on various unions. Standard Oil’s union has given thirty years of labour peace, because pay is good, while the Garment Workers have had to fight hard for the seamstresses of new York, for equitable piece rates, but also outings for all.

“Elton Mayo” Elton Mayo is the kind of wise guru the paper likes. If only everyone listened to him.

Shorts and Faces

Even “Shorts and Faces” is devoted to unions, which is a problem, because there is no-one in the unions that the paper needs to kiss up to for party invitations. Except to the New York Hootenannies, I guess, which is why they lead.

“Joads Are Better Off” Better wartime wages have even reached migrant farm workers, who benefit from nicer cabins and contractors to arrange transport. They are also inreasingingly scarce, which is why the government is bringing in Mexicans, Bahamians and Jamaicans.

No comments:

Post a Comment