Thursday, December 29, 2016

Postblogging Technology, November 1946, II: To the Moon in '48!

R_. C._, 

Dear Father:

You will be glad to know that I  have approved both Miss M. and Miss J. It would have been most inconvenient to everyone if I had packed them back off on the train to Montreal! They seem compatible with the local nurses and with Fanny, and have given me a combined brief on the course of therapy for Vickie. Miss M. in particular is firmly confident that Vickie will grow up fully normal. I could not help thanking merciful Heaven at that, and got the queerest look. She is a very bright woman, and I wonder if she has guessed the nature of the household into which she has arrived? It would be a very difficult thing to keep secret from an inquisitive soul, short of throwing the tarps back over the floors in the main hall and the Whale Man. 

Speaking of family obligations, with the nursery sorted out, we attended the Big Game against Berkeley with "Miss V.C." and Lieutenant A. this last weekend. One team or another won, and Fat Wong was able to meet discreetly with "Miss Ch." and receive a package, which I have forwarded to Father. I am informed that several Soong couriers have passed through the airport on their way east since the election, and I was sorely tempted to demand drastic action. The least they could do is fly via Europe!

You've asked about investments. This month's news leaves me feeling vindicated about steel and aircraft. The aviation industry is clearly stepping back from their more ambitious plans. There will be no sales of the Constitution, and it is beginning to look as though the Rainbow is in trouble as well. (Although look for that to change if the Army really does send a rocket to the Moon. 

Uncle Henry was with us at the game, and soon rather grandly invited James and Uncle George off to whet their whistle and talk about how one or the other of Berkeley or the junior college placed the porkskin in the forks, as they say in football. But, really, he wanted to pester them about about magnesium.   

With autos, you will have heard about the scandal over the disposal of the Chicago Aircraft Engine plant. With Willow Run in the hands of our family con artist, someone at the War Assets Administration found another one to take on that white elephant. It is certainly not good news for the machine tool industry that the big auto firms are scaling back. It is even worse when entire buildings full of new capital equipment are going for a song. 

There's more. What this person did not know is that Wilson Wyatt already had plans for the plant. Specifically, he wants it for building prefabricated homes. I assume that this will mean metal buildings rather than concrete, wood, plastic, or viscose or asbestos or whatever else, and so will absorb some of the machine tools already installed there. 

That seems like an invitation to jump back into steel and light metals, but James thinks that, attractive as the idea of replacing our vast home construction industry with efficient, factory-made products is, it is just not on. How do you keep a metal house heated? How do you keep it from rusting? Yes, I know, aluminum and magnesium do not rust. They do catch fire, though! The point is, whatever happens at Chicago Dodge, it is not likely to include an enormous plant turning metal sheets into houses.

And I say that without even noticing that, after striking out (they do that in football, do they not?) with James and Uncle George, Uncle Henry pestered me about magnesium and autos. Only to give it a feminine touch, he talked about how light a magnesium perambulator would be.

Worst. Baby. Stroller. Ever.

Uncle Henry's antics aside, I think Uncle George continues to be right. Electronics is where we need to concentrate. The sky really is the limit, and I do not just mean radio stations on the Moon!  Where the more traditional sectors cannot possibly absorb much more capital equipment, all of the new FM and television stations will have to be completely equipped, and there is the tantalising possibility of region-, or even nationwide rebroadcasting facilities for the television networks. If that does not come true, then there is all the more prospect for magnetic tape recording. James says that the Philco board is ecstatic about the success of Uncle George's friend's new show, and the wider potential of tape distribution of recorded shows. Replacing live radio is one thing; taped soap operas are quite another.


If pre-recording means that Bing can go off speed, he might actually be able to sit down and enjoy some music.

Time, 18 November 1946


Roger H. Wells writes that the US Military Government did not veto a proposal for a planned economy in Bavaria on the grounds that it was “incompatible with democracy,” per Reinhold Niebuhr’s comments, but because Bavaria couldn’t do it alone, and a planned economy would have to be coordinated with the rest of Germany.  Niebuhr believes that this was said between the lines, as it were.

Glenn W. Dietrich of Cleveland Heights, Ohiothinks he finds something wrong with Professor Herrick’s “Venus or bust” voyage as illustrated in the 22 October number, but the paper points out that it is right, and he is wrong. Chesley Bush, M.D., of Livermore, California, writes to ask, since the paper divulges the name of Hearst gossip columnist “Artie Angeleno” as Jack Lait, Jr., it should also tell us who “Freddie Francisco” is. The answer, it turns out, is Robert L. Patterson [pdf?]. John C. Carroll, a TWA pilot, writes to correct the paper’s  hostile article about the pilots’ strike. Kenneth Knight points out that the paper’s coverage of Henry Wallace’s move to The New Republic was cattish and petty. The paper seems to agree. Several correspondents write about the Eugene O’Neill profile. Michael Breen, of Reading, Pa, writes that he and his fellow Catholics are trying to take over the country. I hope he has his tongue in his cheek. Frank Bryan, of Groesbeck, Texas, continues the discussion on who calls salt pork “fatback,” and where. Jane Carp, of Philadelphia, objects to “half-English, half-Jewish,” but the paper stands by its usage.
Cynthia Ann Parker, also known as Nadua, mother of Quanah Parker, is memorialised at a state park in Groesbeck.

National Affairs

“The People’s Way” The paper interprets the midterm elections, in which the GOP gained 12 Senators and 54 Representatives to take control of both Houses, as a “protest vote” for a “free economy.” In the wake of the election, the President through out all the remaining price controls except the ones on sugar, rice and rents. It looks as though this is the end for the $10,000 price limit on houses, the nub of Wyatt’s programme for veteran’s housing. Instead, the Housing Authority will probably look at building low-rental units. The OPA, which still exists notwithstanding the end of price administration, is looking at rents, and expects that there will be some adjustments.

“Issues and Men” A lady in Illinois thinks that the ladies voted GOP because they were upset by meat lines. This means that the race for the 1948 Republican nomination is on in earnest, and that Dewey will probably win, even if Bricker, Taft, Warren, Vandenberg, Stassen and Lodge are breathing down his neck.

“I Accept Their Verdict” Is what the President said when the scope of the Democratic defeat became clear. That’s what Presidents always say. What will it mean for the future? Only the future knows, but the President is awful.

“Change Versus Rigidity” The paper covers Senator Fulbright’s proposal that President Truman resign, allowing the Secretary of State to succeed him. Since he is a Republican, the effect will be unitary government. However, it has been pointed out that on 27 previous occasions, the President has had to deal with at least one branch of Congress being under the control of the hostile party, so there is precedent for this kind of partisan deadlock. In fact, there is a sense in which it has always been “tyranny versus paralysis.”
Exactly how hard is it to be the Rhodes scholar from Arkansas?

“Tread Softly” The paper sees the election as repudiating labour. Some senators are in favour of ending the closed shop, and most of the Republicans are in favour of a revision of the Wagner Act. Wayne Morse reminds his fellow Republicans that many union members voted for the GOP, some of them for the first time, and that the party should think twice before alienating them.

“Mr. Speaker” Joe Martin is the new Speaker of the House. A long profile follows. The paper also profiles all of the other new Republican names, such as George W. Malone of Nevada, Arthur V.Watkins of Utah, Zales Ecton of Montana, James P. Kem, of Missouri, John S. Cooper of Kentucky, John H. Williams of Delaware, and Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin, who makes the arithmetic of the election so confusing by unseating a Progressive, instead of a Democrat. In the House, Richard Nixon of California, Wendell Howes Meade of Kentucky, Katherine St. George of new Jersey, John Brophy of Wisconsin, John Davis Lodge of Massachusetts, Albert L. Reeves, of Kansas, William G. Stratton of Illinois, George Sarbacher of Pennsylvania, Homer Raymond Jones of Washington, Howard Coffin of Michigan, John Albert Carroll of Colorado (a Democrat who ousted a Republican) and John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts are the ones to watch.
John Davis Lodge appeared with Greta Garbo in Scarlet Empress (1934), which is a lot more than most of these one-term wonders can say about their lives. I guess the moral is that if you're elected in a wave election, don't get too comfortable in Washington. 

“The Alibi Club” Various Democrats said things. For example, Henry Wallace said that it was a light vote, Jack Croll, head of the CIO-PAC, that it was a negative vote, Harry Bridges that it was a protest against Truman’s betrayal fo the New Deal, and “an anonymous Chicago Democratic precinct captain "said that “It was them bastards that shouldn’t oughta vote which voted and beat us.”

“Salvage Job” Various Democrats still won. For example, Mahattan’s “Communist-echo Congressman Vito Marcantoni was re-elected. 
I don't know why, but that reminds me of Johnny Dangerously. My mother did that to me . . . once.

So was his ideological twin, Harlem/s Negro Congressman Adam ClaytonPowell.” Southern Democrats and left-wing democrats have agreed to blame each other. Eleanor Roosevelt points out that, in some ways, being out of power is a delightful position to be in, because you can just sit back and snipe.

“The Crack-Up” The Democratic Party’s big city machines did terribly in the election, with major losses in Chicago, new Jersey, Boston, Detroit, Philadelphia, St. Louis and New York City.” In un-related news, of 183 WWII veterans ruining, only 69 were elected, so there is no veterans’ bloc yet. Not that you can tell from the state-level voting, where veterans bonusses (above and beyond the Federal one) passed in Illinois, Michigan and Rhode Island. This adds to bonusses already voted in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. 

“The First Squatters” A group of veterans has squatted the Airport Homes development in Chicago’s 135h Ward after hearing rumours that they were being kept vacant to house Coloureds or non-veterans. The Chicago Housing Authority says that the squatters have to vacate, because the reason the homes had been left vacant is that they needed repairs to be brought up to habitability. Others fear the appearance of an organised squatting movement in America. Police have started arresting the squatters.

“So You Won’t Talk, Huh?” In a case that shocked the conscience of the greater New York area, the New Jersey State Police were discovered to have held a 20-year-old girl hitchhiker for thirty days for sassing them. (Susan Bower of Bozeman, Montana.)

"Susan Bower." The link above has some nice detective work that gives probably the best account of what seems to be a tragic story of mental illness.

“Last Continent” The last continent is Antarctica. The English have had an expedition of “three or more ships . . . operating quietly down below for two years, probably from U.S. built bases in the Antarctic archipelago south of Argentina. Soon, the British will have heavyU.S. competition.” That is, the U.S. Navy is sending Admiral Byrd, brother of Senator Dick Byrd, down there with an exploring fleet, Task Force 68. The aim is to practice polar operations and maybe find uranium. And show up those darn English.
Actually, Operation Tabarin established its first base at an abandoned Norwegian whaling station on Deception Island, and went on to build new ones at Port Lockroy and Hope Bay.  Exactly why all this effort was wasted when there was a war on, remains a mystery for the ages.


“Crossed Fingers” Many people around the world were watching the American elections, expecting the GOP to win but concerned about what it would mean. Budget cuts? Tariffs? Probably not a retreat from internationalism, though.

“Angel Food” The Operations Crossroads brass had a party in Washington that featured an atomic explosion-shaped cake, which has various easily upset people upset.
On the bright side, at least the picture wasn't attached to a tweet.

“Progress Report” Uno delegates like naps. Further bulletins as events warrant.

“Gesture from Strength” Generalissimo Chiang (“Gissimo”) bends dollars between his fingers, bends iron bars with his bare hands, walks his tiger hounds bare-chested and bare foot through the snow, and William Donald has died of his stomach cancer in Shanghai.

“Scorched Earth, Chilled Hopes” The last, shattered remnants of the Communists cower in fear beneath the angry gaze of Gissimo Chiang.

“Home Rule” The Faroe Islands are very picturesque, and are having a referendum on home rule.

“Oil on a Fire” Germany is being roiled by a version of Goering’s last words that call for resistance, etc. The Allies have the real version of his last statement, but won’t release it, because it would be like oil on a fire.

“The Reds Again” Far too many French are voting Communist.

“A Little Crazy” There may actually be Fascists in Spain. There are certainly Communists, given that Franco has uncovered a cell of 70 of them and thrown them in jail.

Soviet Communists are emphatically not excitable, but could be if Churchill, Hearst, Baruch, Franco, “a Turk or a Greek” are allowed to get out of hand. Poles, on the other hand, are excitable.

Latin painters are excitable. Canadians are so boring even Newfoundlanders don’t want to be seen with them. Poles in Canada, on the other hand, are very excitable. 
The whole very worthy story is at the link. And by "worthy" I certainly do not mean "crazy," because I would never be so harsh to good, honest, Polish patriots. 


“Where Do We Go From Here?” The stock market went up, presumably optimistic about an imminent Republican victory, then down, because Republicans winning mean a deflationary budget cut. Then it went up, because of the end of price controls. Next week, it will either go up or down. The paper will have to find reasons for that, too, and gets some practice by speculating about whether the price of lead will go up, or whether General Motors stock will go down, etc.

“Noises Like a Corporation” Charles Luckman, the 37-year-old president of Lever Brothers, thinks tht business sounds “too much like a corporation” when it fights universal insurance, child-labour and minimum wage laws, and so on. He thinks that with decent social legislation, higher educational appropriations, regular wage increases, and good pension programs, over the next generation, the standard of living will rise until in 1970 American wage earners will have at least a 100% higher income than today, and, I suppose, will buy things from the members of the Super Market Institute, and all will be good. The Republican victory may bring a more favourable business environment, but if it encourages too much “talking like a corporation,” we will slip back into bad old ways of indifference and unconcern for the people.

“Help for a Giant” GM needs to float a share offer to complete the funding of its postwar expansion, as it has already spent its wartime windfall.

“Betty Crocker Branches Out” General Mills is getting into the home appliance business with a line of irons, to be followed by a pressure saucepan and an automatic coffee-maker, since there’s only so much money it can make from milling flour and making breakfast cereal.

“Fulton’s Folly, New Version” Way back in 1807, Robert Fulton showed off a steamboat on the Hudson, and everyone called it a folly. This year, Robert Edison Fulton, an architect-turned-engineer and who-knows-how-many-generations descendant, demonstrated an Airphibian, a 150hp aluminum plane that turns into an automobile.  Bob Fulton, author of One Man Caravan, and inventor of the “gunairinstructor” for the Navy,  is definitely the kind of man who will make this work if the industry really is producing 400,000 light planes a year in 1955. But since it won’t, and by a long shot, investing with Fulton is as foolish as investing in Taylorcraft has already proven to be. (The makers of the Ercoupe and Swift are also in trouble.)
Behold the Airphibian! By FlugKerl2 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

“Lesson for Socialists” The English government got out of the rubber trade this week, the paper reports. The moral it draws is that Socialists don’t know from trade, and are lucky to only lose the “tail of the shirt,” as the supply of rubber is, somehow, mysteriously, back at its 1939 level, four years of no Whites on Malayan rubber plantations having somehow failed to cause them to fall into wreck and ruin.

“Show Business” Bob Hope is making so much money in so many venues (he has a new book out) that he has incorporated as “Hope Corporation” to take advantage of lower corporate tax rates.
Hilarity ensues.

“Sight Unseen” television showroom clerks may not be able to demonstrate television due to lack of television shows, but they are still “selling like white shirts.” RCA hopes that its substantial sales will lead the FCC to favour its black and white broadcasting system over Columbia’s colour. RCA hopes to seize the market in advance of the introduction of its purely electronic colour television system, in some five years. GE, Philco, Farmsworth and U.S. Television are also selling, with 3,242 sets produced in September, as against 225 in the first eight months of 1946.
Philo Farnsworth tunes a Farnsworth combination television and radio receiver. More on the colour wars below.

Science, Medicine, Education

“Artificial Eclipses” Astronomers use filters to look at the Sun. This counts as news because Dr. John W. Evans of Chabot Observatory developed a “birefringent filter” in 1940, and Dr. Walter O. Roberts of Harvard is using it from Harvard College Observatory in Colorado to watch activity on the Sun, which was used during the war to predict radio interference by solar flares up to ten days in advance.

“Man-Made Penicillin” Dr. Vincent du Vigneaud’s team at the New York Hospital Cornell Centre have made Penicillin G from entirely artificial ingredients, the first such synthesis of a type of penicillin. Also of interest, they used artificially radioactive elements to “trace” the chemical reaction with a Geiger counter, a technique with wide application in other chemical research.

“Blue Water” Ira Bowen, of the Wilson Laboratory [pdf], has discovered that water looks blue or green because of microorganisms in the water that absorb various frequencies of light.

“Terminal Leave” The War Department is going to finance a twenty-million-dollar nuclear research laboratory near Schenectady, New York. It will have a uranium reactor, powerful atom smashers, a “hot lab,” “other baleful equipment,” and work in close collaboration with GE’s new research laboratory to develop atomic power for peaceful purposes. It is the fourth of the new network of atomic laboratories after Clinton Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Argonne in Chicago, and Brookhaven on Long Island. 

“The Quick v. The Dead” Heart specialists Irvine H. Page and biophysicist Otto Glasser reduced dogs to the point of death by draining them of more than half their blood, then revived them with high pressure infusions into their thigh arteries. The point of the research is that these high-speed transfusions can save people in a state of profound shock when slower transfusions fail.
"Biophysicist Otto Glasser," better known as Lieutenant-General Otto John Glasser, designer of the SM-65 Atlas, here shown lifting a Mercury capsule.

“The Man in the Iron Lung” The best known polio paralytic in America is 35 year old Fred B. Snite, Jr, now in his tenth year in an iron lung. He is doing fine, and is, in fact, off to Florida on vacation with his 900lb iron lung, his pretty wife and his three pretty daughters. I know that you can do math, sir, so please do stop what you’re thinking right now or I shall be very cross! He is down to one physical therapist and two nurses, from a high of six, and is out of his lung three to seven hours every day, even managing to walk around in a “birdcage-like contraption.”

I have a feeling that polio culture is going to get a bit weirder as we go.

“Creeping Fever” In 1914, French doctor Charles Nicolle predicted that one day, undulant fever, known to science as brucellosis, might be the number one human disease. Last week, delegates to a Pan American conference in Mexico City agreed that the prediction was likely to come true. An ailment of the Mediterranean only 40 years ago, brucellosis is already a major problem in most of North and South America. From 4 to 12 million Americans are infected, and 12% of U.S. breeding cattle. It is feared that a purely human strain of brucellosis will evolved, much more deadly than the one in cattle. On the other hand, Dr. Forest Huddleston, of Michigan State College, believes that he has a vaccine.
Sir Themistocles Zammit's laboratory of the Mediterranean Fever Commission. Isn't it nice that at least one apocalyptic prediction didn't come true? Picture By Continentaleurope at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0,

“Make It Legal?” the Euthanasia Society of America believes that “mercy killing” already happens, and should be legal. Dr. Robert Latou Dickinson has drawn up a bill for this “dignified, merciful killing.” Dr. Rolla E. Dyer, of the National Institute of Health, and some Catholic priest are quoted in opposition. The doctor thinks that there are very few truly hopeless cases, and the priest thinks that it is “un-American,” among other things.

“Correspondence Course” The American Women’s Voluntary Services is distributing “Friendship Boxes” in American schools so that children can use them to find pen pals in faraway lands, thereby contributing to international understanding, world peace, etc.

“Academic Lockstep” After two months, things are improving in some American universities, not so much in others. Michigan State’s baseball team can’t play until beds are moved off the floor of the gym, students at USC are living two to a car, students in Iowa and Washington are commuting 40 miles a day, classes at California and Illinois universities run from 7 to 10. One professor at UCLA found his waiting room filled with students, but not one of them wanted to see him –they just had no other room to study. University of Chicago is holding classes in its library, University of Illinois at the city docks. Rochester University’s President, Alan Valentine, is concerned that this “mass production” of students will  ruin the intangibles of atmosphere, tradition, social and cultural standards that make universities worth their ridiculous tuition, and the time wasted before eligible heirs and heiresses are united in holy matrimony that coincidentally seals the deal to redevelop surplus slaughterhouses and feedlots for housing developments, especially in Chicago, where there is good money to be made. (And there’s love in there somewhere? Love has something to do with it, I’m told. I honesty find “Miss V.C.” hard to figure out. And, yes, I know that you think that that is on purpose, and I still think that you are wrong.)
Damn it, why did I have to blur the cute one?

“What Makes Dumbo Run?” Various psychiatrists have established “human relations” courses in Delaware elementary schools with the idea of practicing “preventative psychiatry” and keeping troubled kids out of juvenile care.

“Grading Machines” After contracting with the Navy, the College Entrance Examination Board is working on mechanical tests, using IBM-built grading machines, which can establish who should or shouldn’t be admitted to the 55 member colleges, including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Vassar, Smith. (Remind me to ask Uncle George how he got around this!) The article goes on to describe how the Board designs questions that can be marked by an IBM machine but still distinguish good students from bad.


The King of England will only hold garden parties next year, because of the clothes shortage. The Duke and Duchess of Windsor continue to be awful. George Bernard Shaw has endorsed Wallace for President in 1948. Cyril Joad has a crush on Jane Russell. Publisher Harrison Smith thinks that book advances are too big nowadays. Jules Romain was feted again, and will continue to be feted and mentioned in this column until at least ten people break down and read his Men of Good Will series. Allan Nevins won a Pulitzer for his Ordeal of the Union, and will be splitting the money between research, charity and candy. Upton Sinclair, Jean Paul Sartre and Henry Miller are shocking and outrageous. Lady Rothermere[daughter?] just arrived in America but is already tired of being lectured by American men.  Django Reinhardt is doing a project with Duke Ellington. Celeste Holm has had her first son, Mary Churchill has married Captain Christopher Soames (24, 26), Senator Elbert Duncan Thomas of Utah has married his 44-year-old secretary, Ethel Evans. It is his second marriage(!!) The Marchioness of Anglesey has died at 63, as well as Helena Sturtevant, Gabriel Wells, and Baron Hayter.

Press, Radio, Art

There are newspaper strikes, and a new American daily in Italy is called The American, and part owned by Doris Duke. The Chicago Sun has been hit by heavy staff cuts, losing 48 editorial staff, as Marshal Field throws in the towel on his long, losing circulation battle with the Tribune. At PM, the first ads, meant to bolster the returns from its tiny circulation of 170,000, rolled out as former publisher Ralph Ingersoll went on a speaking tour to explain why he was retiring to a quiet life on his Connecticut farm. Hans Van Meegeren is guilty of conning the Germans into buying Old Masters that he forged. The Dutch are trying to decide if this is a crime, and, if so, what kind. Pablo Picasso is very strange. Billy Rose thinks that radio comedy is bad because it has lots of topical jokes that no-one will understand in 1975, not like Kin Hubbard’scolumns that he used to read forty years ago in the Indianapolis Star.

The New Pictures

The big new picture this week is Song of the South, a Disney production that combines live action with cartoon in pure Disney wizardry to tell the old Southern folk tales of “Uncle Remus,” as interpreted by author Joel Chandler Harris. While most of the live actors are boring, the cartoons are top notch, and millions have loved The Song of the South for generations, but the material seems likely to play well in the South, where they “dote on old times,” while it is “bound to enrage educated Negroes and a number of damyankees.” So I think this household will be giving it a pass. The Chase is a thriller starring Robert Cummings and Michele Morgan, and the paper doesn’t like it. The Turning Point is a Russian semi-documentary about Stalingrad. Nobody Lives Forever is yet another Warner gangster film, but energetic, skillful and “serviceable.”


H. L. Mencken has a sentimental Christmas book out? Emily Hahn has written a biography of Tom Raffles, Raffles of Singapore. I wish I were old enough to have Haji Subadar’s review. Instead I must settle for the paper, which calls the book “as formless as a conversation conducted by walkie-talkie,” because it still hasn’t forgiven Miss Hahn for her book on the Soongs. Odell Shepard and Willard Shepard have a book out about “a mass of Indian brawn and ‘wild masculine beauty’” named Holdfast Uncas Gaines, who throws around 400lb cannons and beats the senses out of the King of England’s men, back in the days of the Revolution or the War of 1812 or both, or, anyway, round about then. I think we just need to skip directly to the movie. A. J. Hanna has A Prince in their Midst, which is about Achille Murat, who was kicked out of Europe for something about Napoleon, and spent the rest of his life being eccentric in Florida, Bruno Frank has a collection of very literary short stories, and, just to take it two steps further, Horace Gregory and Marya Zaturenko have A History of American Poetry, 1900—1940, which sounds just fascinating. 

Flight, 21 November 1946


“Headaches Ahead” The paper went to some nice talks by members of the R. Ae. S. It heard that building large airplanes is hard. The “figure 8” cross-section, as used in the Stratocruiser, is more space efficient than the cylindrical form, but that may not be enough. Aircraft with highly-swept wings are much harder to design than some people think, as the spar deflects under loading, ruining the aerodynamics of the controls. Power-assisted controls are better than aerodynamically balanced ones, probably. 
No problem, just add more wing fence.

“Power Plants” F. M. Owner of the Bristol Aeroplane Company gave a paper with no real conclusions to summarise.

“Paris –Unchanged” Paris is very nice.

“Paris Aero Show” Paris is nice, England is wonderful, America decided not to come. The French showed a Languedoc ramjet project that was “widely discussed.” There were two Meteor IVs at the Salon, which seems like a waste of space. The French also showed a prototype Short Sturgeon copy, the Nord 1500, and an ungainly prototype dive bomber, the N. C. 1070, twin and four-engined flying boats, a transonic research plane, the VG 70-01, and a giant transport, the NC 211, the Cormorant. It is a shoulder-wing, figure-eight fuselage with nosewheel and double main undercarriage wheels. The Nene-Lancaster showed up.
The Languedoc ramjet project. As with polio culture, they're going to get weirder.

John W. Morrison, “The World’s Distance Record: A Plea for the Airspeed AS57 to Have Its Claims Considered” Mr. Morrison thinks that a completely redesigned Airspeed Ambassador carrying 6000 gallons could make a 12,500-mile flight and reclaim the long distance record for the English and retroactively win World War II. (Because in the war it was very embarrassing that Britain didn’t have any ultra-long-range aircraft, and if the Ambassador were fixed up and flown to Auckland, it would have one.)
Potential long range record holder?

Here and There

A BOAC Liberator had to stooge around over Heathfield, near Prestwick, for 9 ¾  hours to burn off 2,500 gallons of fuel before it could make an emergency belly landing, due to a jammed undercarriage that left one wheel up, the other down. “One can only imagine the mental strain imposed on everyone on board during all those weary hours of “waiting for it.” Trans-Canada recently gave its millionth passenger into Vancouver a nice wristwatch and an orchid corsage, but no cigarettes. Thor II’s departure for the continent of no food rationing, ample beer and coal for all has been delayed due to bad weather. A U.S. aircraft company has been given a contract to develop an atomic aircraft engine, which will be a thermal jet, or “rocket.” The Washington communique suggests that the big problem is shielding the crew from the deadly atomic rays, but the paper “can think of at least one other problem, too.” Yet another ex-RAF man gets into the press by buying a small plane and flying it to South Africa to emigrate. Three-quarters of a ton of the latest American handbag designs were flown into Belfast this week ahead of the Christmas shopping rush. The US Army says that the Consolidated XB-36 can carry an atomic bomb to any inhabited part of the world and back without refuelling. Dr. Sanford Moss died over the weekend. Russia’s first postwardirigible recently flew at Moscow. M. Andre Moynet, a “Normandy-Niemen” veterans, is France’s youngest member of parliament. 

They don't say where the B-36s will fly from. 

Wing Commander Reginald Brie, “Forced Landing By Helicopter: Some Imperfectly-Understood Aspects of the Correct Technique Discussed” Actually, just the Sikorsky R-4, though he has theories about forced landings by the twin-engined types that don’t exist yet. I will definitely read this article before I fly a helicopter! In shorter news, there was a demonstration of radar at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris.

“Britain’s Power Units” Partial cutaways of Alvis Leonides, de Havilland Ghosts, Napier Sabres, Rolls-Royce Derwents, Nenes and Clydes, Amstrong Siddeley Pythons, etc.

“Engines at the Paris Show: British Industry’s Great Lead: Many Foreign Projects, but Few Actual Achievements” What the paper said. Pratt and Whitney showed off the Twin and Double Wasp, and Wright the Cyclone 18. The Czechs and Swedes had some small engines, and the French firms showed various engine designs that they fiddled with during the war, but there weren’t much more than projects to show.

“Rotating-Wing Aircraft: Particulars of Four Foreign Types Displayed” More prototypes.

Civil Aviation News

“Dominion Demand” The dominions are just waiting for a medium-sized transport specification suitable for operations in remoter areas. Canada wants them with floats and skis, and Australia wants them with . . I’m not sure. Kangaroo catchers? (The article talks about all the airstrips up north, but not what is about them that makes a special design necessary, although I would guess that it would be the high temperatures.)
Australians ask, when will we let them live Yahoo Serious down, and we answer: "Never."

In shorter news, BOAC is in talks to buy Skymasters (Canadair DC-4Ms); the Lockheed Constitution is undergoing trials, Miles is talking about an Aerovan successor, Aer Lingus has bought some Vikings, there is talk about installing the FIDO fog dispersal system at various airports again. (Not surprisingly, in a talk given by Mr. A. C. Hartley, chief engineer of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company to the Royal Society of Arts. So, an oil salesman to an audience of lay people. Gatwick will be London’s charter airline base. Heathrow might get GCA soon. BOAC is still flying its Bermuda-Baltimore service with Boeing Clippers.

“Preparing for the Brabazon I: Points from a Paper by Mr. A. E. Russell, Chief Designer of the Bristol Aeroplane Company: Special Requirements” Power Control Possibilities” The Brabazon I is designed for the London-New York service, 3,450 miles on the Great Cirlce Route, but with prevailing winds consistently unfavourable on the westbound crossing, requiring great allowances of up to 5500 mile still-air range for safety. Consequently, the combined passenger and fuel load must be 37% of all up weight, more than even the structure, while the actual payload of passengers and cargo will be only 8% of the load of 300,000lbs. Stopping at Rineanna and Gander would greatly reduce this, but this is what the Brabazon I is supposed to avoid. Actually existing planes can do that! Powered flying controls are needed, and the figure eight structure required too much extra weight to be feasible due to load on the wings transferring fuel to the fuselage, and the weight of structure, floors, and pressurisation equipment. He has opinions about how power control will work. The actual equipment should be as self-contained as possible, and install as a unit. The power units in the ailerons should be automatic, so that they can deflect in unison to remove gust loads. Controls should automatically return to rest, have a minimal friction load, and have pilot “feel” that is independent of operating speed.

All of which is very interesting, since the impression I get from hearing about power control is that it is as simple as two words, and has all been settled. It turns out that the details need working out. The good news for Uncle George is that they are adding electronic gadgets to the hydraulics, so  more potential for electrical engineers. 


Ex. Flt. Lt. thinks that Norfolk should have an auxiliary air force squadron. Antony Powner, ex Flt. Lt. [pdf] is confused about the Fairey Battle’s controls. People are still writing about elementary physics and definitions of words. (“Centrifugal” force, the “slug as a unit of mass,” and the idea that “supersonic” has to do with hearing, as C. Armer points out.)

Service Aviation reports that Cosmo  has died, at only 59. I shall have to write a note to his wife.

Time, 25 November 1946


James Byrne has two nominations for man of the year, Josef Stalin and Henry Wallace each one. Kesang Wangdi, of Shanghai, writes to correct the paper’s mistaken impression that the Lolos of the Tibetan highlands are neither “aboriginal nor native,” but rather Indo-Aryans driven up into mountainous freedom from the lands of Hind. Marion Browne, of Manhattan Beach, California, writes to correct the cruel misconception that only hungry cats will hunt rats and mice. Alistair Cooke, of New York, writes to tell us something or other about the Manchester Guardian. Lorrin P. Thurston[!], President and General Manager of the Honolulu Advertiser, is upset that the paper was so nice to Harry Bridges, since his strike is threatening the Hawaiian sugar crop, and, furthermore, union organisation isruining everything in Hawaii, leading to communism, etc. Meanwhile, Fred Skinner, of Vancouver, finds the article to be far too anti-union, given that the plantation workers are still “virtual peons.”
Speaking of peons

National Affairs

“The People vs. John L” John Lewis is terrible, and there might be a coal strike.

“Old Home Week” At the CIO convention in Atlantic City, Phil Murray tries to lead the Congress towards labour peace. In related news, the TWA strike has gone to arbitration, while the other airlines are firing staff and cancellling aircraft orders because of the slump in air travel. The National Federation of Telephone Workers is now the Communication Workers of America. The renamed union trying to negotiate a new contract and stop wildcat strikes. Harry Bridges’ longshoremen and plantation workers have called off their Hawaiian strike, which has cut the islands off from anything but three relief ships sent by the Department of the Interior. The strike saw a net wageincrease of a minimum of 18 cents an hour for plantation workers, but no closed shop.

“Before the Storm” The President hasn’t met the new Congress yet, because the new Congress doesn’t exist, so he can’t do anything, but the paper can speculate. In the estimated sixteen million rental units in the nation, the speculation was about whether rent controls would come off.
A new Desoutter ad runs this month. It turns out that the Managing Director is Not Politically Correct! (About hand tools.)

“With a Rubbing of Hands” Republican Congressmen interpret the strong anti-Administration vote as a pro-Republican one, and are rubbing their hands, licking their chops, etc., about all they might do, such as cut income taxes by 20% across the board (not graduated, in defiance of New Deal “soak the rich” tax policy), a federal budget cut to pay for the tax cuts, which will involve firing a million Government employees, cuts to the army and navy, food subsidies, the World Bank, etc. Senator Taft has plans for labour legislation, but not for tariffs, although he reminds us that, like a good Republican, he is in favour of them. The GOP may also go after Senator Bilbo, on the grounds that he incited Whites to not let Coloureds vote.
“If we choose any plan short of the physical separation of the races, we are in effect adopting the scheme of amalgamation of the races." 

“Blizzard on the Prairie” The worst blizzard in thirty-five years hit the northern plains, including eastern Colorado and presumably also places like Wyoming that no-one cares about because all there is up there are sheep that you’re trying to sell. After a week and more, many cattle herds are starving, and the army is dropping hay on them from bombers, as well as skis and supplies for isolated families “who tramped out distress signals in the snow.” Coloradoans dolefully predict finding dead shepherds where they had fallen with their storm-driven flocks.

“Gassed” Georgia has recently torn up the charter of the anti-Semitic, anti-Negro Columbians, Inc., and when they met to plot strategy in Atlanta, someone threw tear gas into the room. The Columbians think that it was some Jew, while everyone else think that the Columbians are terrible. Even Georgians, showing that there is some limit.

Mrs. America” The husband of this years “Mrs. America,” 24-year-old mother of four Mrs. Janice Pollock, is awful. Also, Jimmy Walker has died.


International diplomats are excitable.

“Immigrant to What?” Uno delegateslike being the cover story. Further bulletins as events warrant.

“Ice at the Waldorf” Various UN trusteeships are being settled, but South Africa is having trouble getting the Uno to authorise its annexation of  South-West Africa, on the grounds that the South Africans are a bunch of racists. (Pots and kettles, but the South Africans are probably worse racists than anyone else, and giving them more Coloured Africans is a particularly terrible idea.) Jan Smuts might be persuaded to settle for an extension of the old League of Nations mandate as a United Nations trusteeship, but even that is uncertain, since the Byelorussian and Indian delegates are still on about that whole racist thing, noting that the South African government is already failing its native Coloureds. Dr. Alfred B. Xuma, President of the African National Congress, even showed up at the Waldorf Astoria to make the point.

“Truculence” Albania’s dictator, Enver Hoxha, is being terrible.
HMS Saumarez, an S-class (War Emergency) destroyer, mined on 26 September 1946 in the Corfu Channel.

“A for Effort” The 1946 Nobel Prizes for Peace and Literature went to old, irrelevant people, because the Swedes didn’t want to play politics this year in case they got atom bombed.

“Like Tammany?” If widespread starvation comes in 1947, the UNRRA will not have the $400 million buffer fund for which Fiorello LaGuardia asked the State Department, because various Congressmen and “plain Americans” are upset about the ingratitude of various recipient nations. (Communist ungrateful nations.) A new arrangement has been mooted in which America chooses food recipients, which is what Mr. LaGuardia thinks is being like Tammany Hall.
Some European reaction to the results of the American midterms seem a little hysterical in retrospect. 

“End and Beginning” Mighty and ever victorious Gissimo Chiang is willing to “restore the forms, if not substance” of democracy. Even the paper has its limits, it seems. Chou En-lai, once again claiming to leave Nanking for Yenan for the last time, darkly warned of a civil war in which the Government armies would perish, but, significantly, left forty delegates to attend the National Assembly, in case democracy breaks out or the war goes badly. In Peiping, the Taoist monks of the Paiyunkuan Temple lynched their abbot and his aid (actually, burned them alive, but details) for collaboration with the Japanese and other crimes.

“Death in the Monsoon” Dr. Nguyen Van Thinh, President of Cochin China’s Provisional Government, committed suicide last week. “Moscow-trained” “Leader” of Viet Nam, Ho Chi Minh, did not mourn him. (Although the paper quotes him as doing precisely that, apparently his tone was facetious.) Thierry d’Argenlieu, the French High Commissioner, has also resigned to become a monk.
“Birth of a Nation” The “United States of Indonesia” were granted independence within the larger Netherlands empire this week. Some Dutch leaders think this goes too far, while Indonesian extremists think it doesn’t go far enough, so it must be just right, the paper thinks.

Sir Alan Herbert is a very funny Englishman. [The Point of Parliament.]

“Tradition” It is noted that while English coal production is off 35 million tons since 1937, and that many coal mines are as much as three miles from the miners’ villages, and Russia and America are ruining the world, the English still have those nice processions with horsemen in red coats and swords and armour. I’m ruining the effect of the story, which alternates “flashes” of bad news from around the world in italic type with a running account of the opening of Parliament in plain text. The opening of Parliament has all of this traditional spectacle, while the Irgun Zvai Leumi threatens to extend its terror campaign to the British Isles. After all the processioning is done, the King’s speech, which was written by his Socialist ministers, promised the nationalisation of electricity and inland transport, but not gas and the steel mills. Then there was a vote of non-confidence on the Government’s anti-Russian policy, which is apparently an unprecedented break with tradition, which I guess is the point of the article.
It's the tenth anniversary of Children of Men. Is this too subtle? 

“The Power of Love” Guglielmo Giannini’s Uomo Qualunque movement continues to advance in Italian politics despite being possibly Fascists. His daughters are very pretty, though, and he thinks that government is about love, so how Fascist can he be? Except for the part where he “aspires to be the voice of the Church and Big Business.”

“Buttons, Beds and Boots” The Russians are going to allow more cooperatives and shops, because the state monopoly isn’t working well.

“No Shalom” Jewish militants in Palestine have three organisations that they can belong to: the Haganah is the least militant, the Irgun is second most militant, and the Stern is the most militant. Haganah has actually raided underground explosives factories, while Irgun and Stern set bombs in a terroristic campaign against the English occupiers. Many Jews around the world hope that the convention of the World Jewish Conference endorses the Haganah, but Palestinian Arabs don’t expect peace to break out.

In Latin America, Nelson Rockefeller made an effort to see Brazilian labour leaders before reassuring the Brazilian ruling class of “producers” that America’s business was business, etc. In Canada, this year’s budget is balanced, allowing a possible 15% to 20% cut in the income tax.


“The Taste of Freedom” The end of price controls has led to an increase in the prices of some things, notably soap, appliances, zinc, copper, lead, tin, glycerin, but not steel. Many department stores actually slashed prices.

“Wyatt v. Everybody” Wilson Wyatt wants to lend $90 million to eleven companies, some of which have never built houses, to build prefabricated houses and housing parts. George Allen, head of the RFC, said, simply, no. Some of the companies had put up negligible security, and stood to make 14,000% if the loan went through. Wyatt replied that it was an emergency, give me the money. What’s worse, a story has emerged that the NHA was involved in a shady offer of a buyout to Preston Tucker, another of Detroit’s car con-men with a plant and a grand plan to build a huge number of innovative cars at some point, buy my stocks, I’ve got some right here. (Any resemblance to the husband of our fourth cousin once removed strictly coincidental.) Wyatt has denied involvement, and the NHA lawyer who was involved turns out to be Theodore Granik, who claims that there was no shakedown offer.
'48 Tucker Torpedo. By Rex Gray - Flickr: 1948 Tucker Torpedo, CC BY 2.0,

So Wyatt’s plan is dying, his solution is not going to fly, and he’s now mired in a little scandal, and it looks as though the President is going to let it die the rest of the way.  

“The Penny Attacks” Ford has announced the loss of a whopping $51.6 million in the first nine months of 1946.

“The Price of Liberty” The November 25 number of Liberty contained a whopping 16 page ad, the Lionel Corporation’s Christmas catalogue. It’s never been done before, but it seems like good business for both Lionel and the publisher.

“Mail Me Monday” Charles Silverman and Jack Hession, laid-off Convair employees, have formed a mail-order book-keeping company called “Mail-Me-Monday,” although the firm’s actual name is the Accounting Corporation of America. They do small business’s books, which are mailed to them every Monday by 1000 California businessmen around Los Angeles. They have 60 employees, and are looking to franchise out into newmarkets, including New York.

“Eagle Hatched” General Harold LeeGeorge used to run the ATC, and has now taken over Peruvian International Airways, which has only five surplus planes, isn’t even operating, and can still afford to pay him $50,000/year, $36,000 more than a three-star general makes. In other airline news, Pan American has fired 20% of the employees in its Atlantic division, while TWA has postponed all expansion plans and canceled orders for 25 planes. Western has also cancelled orders for new planes, and Colonial has laid off employees.

“Tubadipdrips and Tempots” Inventor Dr. Peter Schlumbohm invents things. The Tubadipdrip is a combination coffeemaker-teamaker-cocktail-mixer, while the Tempot is a combination fireless cooker-ice cream freezer-frozen food locker-foot bath-thermos chest-dishwasher-air conditioner and bachelor’s chef. They will no doubt be as successful as all his other beautilities, which are frequently exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, and his prvious inventions earned him $300,000 last year. He has 300 patents in three languages, writes his own advertisements with coined words like “beautility,” and does his own selling.
The Chemex Coffee Maker. "Schlumbohn's designs were the perfect combination of logic and madness."

Science, Education, Medicine

This year’s Nobel prize winters are Harvard’s Percy Williams Bridgman for physics, James Batcheller Sumner of Cornell, John Howard Northrop of the Rockefeller Institute, and WendellMeredith Stanley of Princeton for chemistry. The first two work on “enzymes,” the latter discovered the first virus, those mysterious living-dead things. He believes that if he can find out how they reproduce, he may discover the key to life itself.
The idea is that something called autocatalysis leads to chemical reactions that spontaneously increase the level of order in a system, including temporal order, if you remember this bit of old time science fiction.  So if virusses reproduce by autocatalysis, perhaps we've discovered abiogenesis, Stanley thought. In honour of which, this image of the Late Heavy Bombardment that brought the Hadean Epoch to a close.  Source and more information. Though it looks as though the evidence that abiogenesis occurred just before the Late Heavy Bombardment is spurious.

“Snow-Making” Vincent Schaefer and Irving Langmuir of General Electric managed to create artificial snow by seeding clouds with dry ice last week. They believe that this is possible because moisture clouds become “super cooled,” and snow can be “precipitated,”literally in both senses, by seeding them with cold bits of dry ice. This might be used to prevent snowstorms in urban areas, while increasing snowfall in irrigation districts.

Air Commodore Whittle gets some press, which I mention because the paper reports his comments on the difficulties of breaking the sound barrier, or even flying at high speeds, and his suggestion that jets don’t have to have high fuel consumption if they are used properly to fly at high speeds at high altitudes.  

“Mama’s Boys” The paper reviews Brigadier-General Elliot D. Cooke’s book, All but Me and Thee, which is about “psychoneurotics,” or unsuitable soldiers. General Cooke has no idea what causes psychoneurosis, but psychiatrist EdwardA. Strecker thinks it is bad mothering.

“Signpost to Alcoholism” The Yale Plan Clinic is claiming better results than Alcoholics Anonymous with free medical treatment for the nation’s estimated 750,000 chronic alcoholics. Although vitamins and warm baths help with hangovers, the main cure is psychotherapy, since many alcoholics drink because of their neuroses, but assume that the neurosis is caused by drinking. There is no permanent cure for alcoholism, but Dr. Elvin M. Jellinek, the director of the Yale Clinic’s studies, believes that he can spot an alcoholic by certain signposts, such as “black-outs.”

“Stay at Homes” This week the National Education Association reported that for want of teachers, 62,00 American children who should be at school, are at home instead, while in Rogersville, Tennessee, students went “on strike,” demanding enough teachers to teach the subjects required for them to graduate. The school was finally able to hire everyone but a science teacher, which the principal took on, himself.
The Showa Emperor supervises the lessons.

“Boys Will Be Boys” This year’s Homecoming games were very disordered, with Yale students rioting at Princeton, and UPenn students rioting at Philadelphia in the “most destructive Rowbottom in history.”

“Little Game” Enrico Fermi stood in at an elementary physics class at the University of Chicago to underline his point that elementary physics must be taught well for students to have any chance at passing senior classes.


Anthropologist Ernest Hooton and psychologist James F. Bender are two “wizards” the paper can always count on to say something . . . wise. This week, Hooton advised the ladies to avoid thin men (who are sour complainers), and muscular men (who are prone to go out to exercise and age quickly), in favour of fat little butterballs, who make the best husbands. Bender, meanwhile, told them that if they wanted to keep their husbands, they had better engage in “more thoroughgoing kissing.”

Gandhi’s private secretary shares the fact that he reads in the lavatory with the world. Elliott Roosevelt, Randolph Churchill, and, to a lesser extent Jonathan Wainwright V are ne’er-do-wells. Jascha Heifetz, author of when You Make Love to Me, thinks that jazz is a “necessary evil.” At the House Un-American Activities Committee hearings, Congressman John J. Randolph tried to interrogate an astronomer, Harvard’s political-minded Harlow Shapley, and threatened him with contempt charges. No-one else on the Committee seemed likely to support him, however. Senator Bilbo has been in another accident, bottoms up, while Senator Lucas of Illinois has a dislocated spine from bending over to pick something up.

Martin Manton, the senior Court of Appeals justice once convicted of “selling justice,” has died. So has Manuel de Falla, Daniel Florence Cohalan, once Grand Sachem of Tammany Hall, Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, Cornelia T. Crosby and May Sinclair.
Cornelia T. Crosby, outdoor beauty of the Gay Nineties.

Press, Radio, Art

“Jug Ump” The New York Daily News ran a headline that read “Jug Ump Hitter on Rolling Rap,” because its 4.6 million readers are like that.

“Wallace Takes Over” The New Republic is spiffing up with better paper and more photographs just in time for Henry Wallace to come on board and “declare war on the Republican Party.”

“The Span of Life” If you want to see a wonderful paper that is absolutely tops in every way, you want to look at the paper’s sister publication, Life, because it really is the best.

Hoagy Carmichael’s radio show is doing well.

Nils Nilsson Skum, a Laplander, is being exhibited at the Manhattan Museum of Natural History. Continuing on this primitive and native theme, the paper covers a new art book that collects the prints of Jacques Le Moyne and John White, both of whom travelled in America and drew pencil sketches in before the Sixteenth (I think? The 1500s, anyway) were out, so before the Pilgrims and Pocahontas and all of that. Oh, the book: The New World, and I would, in all seriousness, like it for Christmas.

The New Pictures

The Best Years of Our Lives is out, and a French film, Les Enfants du Paradis, is also showing. Best Years is one of those prestige films the studios launch in the fall, and is funny, tender, dramatic, etc. The French film is in French. It is “long winded, crowded, pretentious.” For those in the mood for something a bit lighter, So Dark the Night is a low-budget whodunit that “almost succeeds in making the big time.” Thoughtful direction and careful camera work meant that it will outshine many of the bigger budget movies it is paired with in double features.


General Marshal’s wife’s memoir is out. It turns out that General Marshal is wonderful. Pearl S. Buck also has a book out, Pavilion of Women. The paper is pretty indifferent to it.

“Names, Dates and Documents” John Roy Carlson’s The Plotters is a long survey of the various plotters at the edges of American politics, from the Communists to the Ku Klux Klan. He has listened to speeches from George Van Horn Moseley and Gerald L. K. Smith, and corresponded with the likes of W. W. Bradley, of the Federated Full Gospel Assemblies, which offers to make licensed ministers for $60 apiece. He finds that old-time trouble makers Thomas Dixon, Frederick Kister and Edward James Smythe have all formed veterans’ associations with the usual anti-Semitic, anti-Catholic, or, alternatively, ultra-Catholic and anti-Coloured agendas.  

Jerome Weidman’s Too Early to Tell is a vicious satire of the Office of War Information. And an Austrian literary figure named Stefan Zweig wrote most of a book about a French author named Balzac by his death five years ago. It’s also not as good as it would have been if the editor hadn’t had to finish it.

Flight, 28 November 1946


“Built on Sand” The Government is BUNGLING the RAF reserves.

“Helicopters for the Services” They're going to buy some R4s to keep the pilots' hands in.

“Rescue Aircraft” The recent Sabena crash in Newfoundland, which required helicopters to fly out the victims, and the Dakota crash in the Swiss Alps where the rescue was carried out by Fieseler Storchs, shows that rescue aircraft are a good idea. Helicopters are the best for the work, but no existing helicopter could reach the elevation of the Swiss crash, and it is just lucky that there was enough room on the glacier for the Storchs to land. An aircraft like the Storch would be very nice. Perhaps the Miles M. 48, Heston AOP, or Supermarine Dumbo could be developed. And what is wrong with the Lysander? (Apart from amateur pilots landing them so hard that their nether regions are black and blue for a week after the first flight, and no off-colour comments from you, she said, with a stern glare at the paper.)
The crash site today. Photo credit: Zurich Tages Anzeiger (2016).

“’Indicator’ Discusses Topics of the Day: Who is the Flying Citizen: The Man-in-the-Street as the True Realist: Ineffective Propaganda: Reconditioning Humanity: Custom Versus Fear” Why are we not more airminded? People are often asking that, and we are probably due for the latest incarnation of the craze where every man and woman is being persuaded to take to the air in their own Pou du Ciel, early and often. Why does no-one every listen? Because flying is dangerous. The “man in the street” knows this. The newspapers and the government, with their statistics about there not being any millions of miles flown safely, say that there are no accidents worth mentioning. The "man in the street" knows that terrible accidents are mentioned, and a lot. It may be true that, statistically, flying is not terribly dangerous, compared with, say, crossing the street, but propagandising the public with the idea that it is safe, while at the same time covering every actual accident in gruesome detail, gives the game away. Since some people like new things, but most don't, the fact that accidents happen suffices to justify conservatism. It will be a generation before this changes. And so we come to airlines firing people and cancelling orders.

“The Miles ‘Co-Pilot:’ Lightweight Electric Automatic Control Systems Suitable for Smaller Aircraft: Photo-Electric Gyro Pickoff” Miles showed off its new autopilot at the Paris show. It is entirely electric, “with separate control servo-motors driven from power supplied by the amplified signals recording the movement of the gyroscopes,” which are recorded by a photoelectric pickoff. It runs off the aircraft battery at 115v through a standard inverter. It automatically disengages if the amplifier or pick-off system fails, and can be overridden by the pilot. It can accommodate a gentle rate of turn by manual entry of the data, which sounds distracting.
Since Miles is about to be sued into bankruptcy over its failure to pay for paint, it's hard to understand where the money for developing autopilots is coming from. However, according to the Wiki page, the bankruptcy revealed that the company was involved in making everything from photocopiers to ballpoint pens. The autopilot may have gone to  Smith's or Sperry, the obvious candidates, or been spun off to Western Manufacturing Estate, Ltd, along with the actuator and bookbinding machinery(!!). Or it may have been retained through the bankruptcy as part of Miles Electronics,eventually purchased by Link, and then by the Singer Corporation. I'm sorry, what?

In shorter news, Fairey has finally handed its Errwood Park shadow factory over to Crossley Motors, leaving it with Ringway, where it is working on its Firefly Trainer.

“Power for the Brabazon I: Coupled Centaurus Engines: Contra-rotating Airscrews Mounted on Common Gear Box” Would I be a harridan if I stamped my feet and demanded that my husband never go up in a plane powered by such a contraption? It is not as if the Centaurus by itself isn’t a mechanical monstrosity!

The Brabazon in the air. Photo source.  Per Wikipedia: he large span and mounting of the engines close inboard, together with structural weight economies, demanded some new measure to prevent bending of wing surfaces in turbulence. A system of gust-alleviation was developed for the Brabazon, using servos triggered from a probe in the aircraft's nose. Hydraulic power units were also designed to operate the giant control surfaces. The Brabazon was the first aircraft with 100% powered flying controls, the first with electric engine controls, and the first with high-pressure hydraulics.

Gordon White, “Naming Civil Aircraft: Review of Early Classes and Names: Suggestions for the Future” Airliners should have nice names. 

“As You Were” The paper is impressed by the “one-time conventional features in New Northrop Utility Type,” so there is at least one person outside of the Northrop factory who thinks that reviving the trimotor is a good idea. Unless this is a company publicity release, which it probably is. Mr. Northrop might as well just dump a hot pot of coffee on his shareholders, is my opinion.
Seriously, is Jack Northrop developing a brain tumour, or something?

Here and There

The English have decided not to let the French keep the Nene Lancastrian, so it has flown home. The paper covers the racehorses-by-air story again, and realising how much fun it is to repeat the same story over and over and over again, brings up the Australian flying doctors. The Government is BUNGLING third-class air fare. The American Overseas Constellation which made the New York-London flight in 12h 7min set a record for a loaded passenger plane. 

The paper has news out of America. It will have a flying wing with jet units operating by next year, a new type of V2 is ready to test, a 5000hp engine that may power non-stop globe-girdling equipment [?] and a new radar controlled-approach system which will give flying control  a picture of all aircraft within 30 miles of the airport and at all altitudes. Trans-Australian planes now carry toys for children who might get bored on the flight. BEA will be flying Ju52s on the London-Liverpool-Belfast service in place of 6-seat Rapides. U.S. Navy airship XM-1 set a record by spending 170h 18 minutes in the air. The Ministry of Supply has a new copy of the Raw Materials Guide out, describing all scheduled raw materials and kinds of controls in force. A P-51 recently tested two athodyds (because Here and There is still resisting “ramjet”) on its wings at Wright Air Force Base.

“Britain’ s Test Pilots, No. 16: L. T. Carruthers, Chief Test Pilot, Percival Aircraft” Percival has a test pilot? What does he fly? Carruthers got into the RAF just before the war ended, had another go on at the RAF starting with 1926, and other than that spent most of the interwar years doing the usual barnstorming and charter flying, including a crash which left him unable to recall a full ten day span. He ended up at Percival in 1940, and to answer my question, flew all the other firms’ planes that Percival fiddled with. He was nearly killed twice by faulty installation, in one case by reversed controls, in another by fuel pipes, which caused both the engines to quite coming up out of Broxbourne.

“Tailless Problems: Tip-Stalling a Serious Problem, But Not the Only One: Precis of a paper by G. H. Lee, A.F.R.Ae.S” Many aerodynamic problems with tailless, highly sweptback designs remain to be resolved through practical testing. One interesting solution might be a compound sweepback. I am having difficulty imagining how that would work structurally, but my experience of statics is confined to solving a few problems out of James’ old textbook for fun.

Not tailless, but compound swept. A beautiful plane, but  typically Handley Page. 

“Paris Aero Show: A Flying-Boat Project: Pure-jet Transports; Further Private and Light Commercial Types: British and Foreign Power Plants” Breguet has a counter-rotating co-axial helicopter, the 11E, while the SO 1100 has jet-driven rotors (from the engine exhaust. Fokker’s F26 Phantom transport aircraft will hopefully fly in a few years. Napier showed off its 3100hp Sabre VII, and the “double radial” Echard Lutetia is shown by whoever Echard is. Rateau, the supercharger builder, has an A. 65 turbojet to show. It is a sixteen stage axial compressor engine, which originally used Uranus 10 as the metal for its turbine blades, but is now using a high temperature steel similar to Nimonic.

Civil Aviation News

“FIDO Again” The Commons discusses FIDO. The new system is much more economical than the wartime one, but the paper is skeptical that it would be very useful, as it is mainly for dispersing fog, and the real problem is low clouds and rain giving poor low-altitude visibility. Perhaps, it thinks, there could be one FIDO installation per “busy transit area” as a final resort. I do not want to be on a plane that needs a “final resort!!!”

In shorter news, the Ministry of Supply is going to order some Hermes, and still more landing grounds are needed. Croydon is becoming overcrowded with charter aircraft and maintenance work. Australians are excitable, and Aviron, the Palestine airline, is a Jewish airline. Sqdn Ldr T. M. Bullock, who single-handedly sunk five U-boats in the war, is now flying BOAC Liberators in the all-freight Montreal-London service. British South American Airways is increasing its Central American service to one a week, and is providing passengers with a useful Spanish phrase book with helpful sentences such as “Help, we’re drowning,” and “Look out for that mountain!” BOAC says that it is selecting its stewardesses for “intelligence” and not “glamour.”
Grace obviously doesn't know that BSAA is going to be involved in one accident after another over the next two years, but she does know that her father-in-law absolutely loathes Don Bennett and considers him a serious safety risk.
American Newsletter

Kibbitzer reports that the recent large commercial aircraft accidents have inspired Americans to work harder at airport control, and “improvement of actual aircraft handling, especially at low speeds, and to the simplification of its operation,” as well as “educating” pilots. NACA is working on improving handling qualities of four-engined aircraft. Lockheed is abandoning the Saturn, but there is news of a four-engined Beechcraft.
Reminiscent of the Armstrong Whitworth Atalanta, but probably won't have to deal with as many giant army ant nests being built on its runways.

The CAA reports that there are now 887 aircraft with scheduled operators in the United States with a seat capacity of 23,315, and that another 779 machines are on order. Most of them will replace DC-3s, which make up 580 of the airliners in operation. The largest foreign buyers are France, Sweden and Britain, in that order. Pan American and American have ordered the Republic Rainbow, which is reported to have had some development problems and to require a spot of redesigning and modification. No orders have been placed for the Lockheed Constitution.

“Instructor and Ground Engineer” says that the candidates passed on to him for examination by a certain airline were very inferior persons, but it is all right because he failed them all. L. Shelford Bidwell doesn’t understand all the fuss about “centrifugal force.” D. L. Brown thinks that it is silly to reject the tandem-wing monoplane just because it is impractical and dangerous and has no use. Charles Gardner wishes that there was a London Aero Show like the Paris one, because there aren’t nearly enough airminded events in England. Maurice Imray has opinions about ultra-light aircraft (“organisation should come first”), and Peter Smith, ex of the Fleet Air Arm, about the University Air Squadrons.  (They should let naval pilots in, too.)

Radio News, November 1946

For the Record Television is currently in an odd case. Owners of prewar black and white televisions can enjoy the “passing parade,” but the shortage of newly produced televisions mean that it is hard to join them. That said, new black and whites are coming on the market from various firms. Should you buy them, knowing that the Columbia Broadcasting System colour television system is not compatible with existing black and whites? No, you should not. The paper has now seen both RCA’s demonstration of its all-electronic colour television, and is quite impressed. The Columbia mechanical system is not nearly as nice; and while black and white sets will be able to pick up RCA-style colour broadcasts –you just won’t get the colour—they won’t work at all with the Columbia system. The paper advises that it would be better to wait for the RCA system to become available in five years or so than to spend so much extra money on the unwieldy Columbia system. The other point to bear in mind that it still isn't sorted out how television shows will reach remote audiences. (On magnetic tape, I say!)

Spot Radio News

The War Assets Administration, stung by news that millions of dollars of electronic surplus has been sold as junk for $60 in Atlanta, is cracking down on the sale process. It’s complicated by the fact that there are increasingly fewer wanted items in the warehouses, which leads to the temptation to sell the towering mounds of less desirable stuff at, say, $60 and you haul it away.

The rest of the feature wrestles with the OPA over price control of radios –the problem with a monthly paper is that you’re a month behind! It does, however, report that oldtimer Zeh Bouck has died, that Charles Golenpaul and Walter Jablon have been appointed directors of the 1947 Paris Radio Parts and Electronic Equipment Trade Show Corporation, and that the FCC is snowed under with work approving 70,000 ham licenses, 850 AM radio station applications and 510 FM applications. Six licenses have been granted to TV stations, 27 construction permits and there are 30 pending applications. On top of that, almost every municipality wants a two-way radio system. The  number of radiotelephones is up 61% over 1945.

“Anyone in Radio” Now that the Army is said to be shooting a rocket to the Moon in eighteen months or so, the FCC says that anyone is welcome to set up a radio station on the Moon if they like. While the Army has denied the rumours about its moon shot, the FCC is sticking to its opinion. It has no jurisdiction on the Moon, they say. Go ahead and set up your radio station. It's a free Earth satellite!

“Even the Sidewalks” Everyone is getting into radio. Now Sherman Amsden of New York City is building an experimental station to test a radio signalling service that will “radio page” doctors and other professional clients.

J. d. Scalbom, “Planning an Aircraft Radio Installation” This is for small civil planes which may not come from the factory with a radio at all. Scalbom thinks that all aircraft should have a direction finder in the low frequency range, a second LF receiver to use while the ADF is in action, a HF receiver with audio, and a VHF audio-only set. All of this can be had from military surplus. Scalbom explains which military radios he prefers.

S. R. Winters, “Electronic metal Analyser: Newly Developed Direct-Reading Spectrometer Makes Possible Analysis of a Maximum of 14 Different Elements Found in Industrial Alloys” a Dow Chemical product, it works pretty much as you’d expect. You burn the sample, it produces light, the light is split in a diffraction grating, the light falls on photosensitive paper in positions that indicate its spectral reading, and you find out what metals are in the sample by finding their spectral fingerprints. The novelty is that there is a “direct reading analyzer” with a multi-stage amplifier set up for those who love to fiddle with vacuum tubes and condensers.

J. F. Howland, “Sound Control Spurs Sales” You should probably have sound insulation in your showroom. The paper has tips.

A. A. Goldberg, “Multi-Signal Generator” One of the paper’s hams explains yow to build a signal generator for tuning radios.

Ray Frank, “Converting the SCR-522 Transmitter” Another thing that amateurs might want to do is to convert this common war surplus into a radio for receiving 100-150mHz broadcasts.

W. E. Osborn, “Try This 1946 Treasure Finder” You can turn a war surplus mine detector into a highly sensitive metal locator that will find a copper coin three feet away. From the letter pages, I gather that Mr. Osborn writes this article every few months.

Selenium rectifiers were semi-conducting transistors
before there were transistors 
George Bannarino, “New Selenium Rectifiers for Home Receivers” “Rectifiers,” as I understand it, are the gadgets that turn alternating current into direct current, so that you can run all your appliances off the electricity delivered to your house in the way that Heaven intended it to be delivered.  Traditionally, they involve vacuum tubes, and they blow up, as vacuum tubes do.

Commercial operators used selenium rectifiers instead, but they were expensive and took up space. Now, Federal Telephone and Radio Corporation has come up with one small enough for home use. Somehow, a little chunk of selenium does the work of a vacuum tube, I’m notsure how.

J. C. Hoadley, “High Fidelity Receiver” I think I forgot to mention a short bit in Time about the high-fidelity receiver builder in New York that is now running flat out ever since it was mentioned in Fortune. It seemed a bit self-congratulatory, and why should you have one built for you when you can build your own TRF receiver “which features an infinite impedance detector and high-fidelity amplifier”?

Sidney Feldman, Radio Invention, Inc. “The Possibilities of Home Facsimile: The Manufacture of Home Facsimile Equipment Will Open New Sales Opportunities for the Radio Dealer” John V. L. Hogan remains convinced that we’ll be taking our papers and receiving our mail via radio facsimile broadcast in the new age that’s coming. I doubt that –there’s only so much radio broadcast room, and it would have happened by now if it were to happen-- but any sales at all will be good for the radio dealer, so it is hard to argue with Mr. Feldman.

Radio News articles tend to give off a stink of desperation due to it not being time yet for the true nerd. Feldman's desperate attempts to persuade us that a home radio facsimile machine is the next big thing is a case in point. If only he could have seen modern times, and  fax machine spam ads. 

Hilarious! Also,is that his wife or his granddaughter?
Paul H. Wendel, Eastern Editor, Radio News, “Subscription-Lease Plan: A Merchandising Success Story from Switzerland” in Switzerland they lease some radios? It’s good business in Switzerland? Maybe you should try it here, if you need to lose some money?

New Products

Viewtone Television andn Radio Corporation has a combination tester; Radio City Products has a new tube tester; Naken Engineering and Manufacturing of Chicago has a pocket sized tester; the tube division of GE has a new power tetron; Webster-Chicago has a record changer; Hallicrafters has a new home receiver, the Ecophone Model EC-113, a five tube unit (plus rectifier) a.c./d.c. table unit. Raytheon has a new fathometer, Fada Radio and Electric Company has a portable combination radio, Templeton Radio Mfg. has a table model combination, National Company Inc, of Malden, Massachusetts, has a low frequency transformer designed for high frequency AM and FM applications.

Bill Nagel, “How I Built My Own Television Receiver” It sounds like a good hobby for someone, but aren’t theentire television tubes evacuated? Because, if so, I do not want that going on in my house. Or anywhere near it.

C. V. Hayes, “10-Meter Vertical Coaxial Antenna” When I read the title, I got the impression that Mr. Hayes was going to explain yow to make a ten meter coaxial cable, which would be quite something. But it turns out that he is just describing how to thread the antenna with store-bought cable.


The letters column is pretty much entirely from people who want reprints and advice, although James R. Wilburn, of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, thinks that there should be a Class D ham radio license for people who understand the theory and equipment, but can’t pass the Morse code requirement for the A, B, or C licenses, and Oscar E. Blair, of Baltimore, writes in with his own condenser tester design wiring diagram.

There’s a books column, but unless you’re dead curious about the latest offerings in vacuum tubes, you won’t be interested. If you are interested, well, you can get your own copy! 

No comments:

Post a Comment