Sunday, January 12, 2020

Postblogging Technology, October 1949, I: Land of the Pale Earth

R_. C_.,

Sangaylay Palace,

Dear Father:

I hope that this reaches you before you leave for the high country, since otherwise . . . 

Well, I suppose that it would just be waiting for you when you return, and that wouldn't be that bad! I need to work on my earnest sentiments here!

Speaking of, Mrs. C.'s little ones miss her terribly, but only say that if you think it will cheer her up, as it beaks her heart to be away from them. I hope that you will be able to finish your business with the Incarnate Deity, or whatever (the nuns were strangely reticent about the details of Buddhist theology!). Ask him what it's like to be reincarnated after you've negotiated our share. And why it is that it's never a woman that's reincarnated? I'd seriously like to know. 

Reggie is looking at tables of airfields in Formosa, because he is not dumb. I'm working away at my schooling, because I'm dumber than I thought! It's not going to beat me, though. Contracts. Grr. Good thing all the fog will be gone in twenty years. (See below!)

Yours Sincerely,

A Very Short Summary of What's Going On at Aviation Week

In the 3 October number we learn that Fairchild is restaffing, or purging the old guard, whichever. Industry Observer is impressed with the Meteor 8, which is the most powerful single-seat fighter in the world, points out that the Viking, a  half-baked Wellington upgrade with a Warwick tail, has sold 157 for airline service and 500 trainers and transports, replacing the Dakota in RAF service. De Havilland will get Venom and Vampire night fighter orders on the strength of the aircraft's excellent high altitude performance due to low wing loading and good engine performance at altitude. The Supermarine Attacker's spoilers ahead of its flaps are worthy of note, as they allow the Nene engine to maintain higher rpm, increasing the Attacker's chance of making a wave-off. The RAF has finally resumed work on afterburners. 

News Digest reports that Douglas is bringing out a cargo version of the DC-6. Maurice Roddy, one of the first aviation journalists, has died in hospital at the age of 50. Vice-Admiral Salada is retiring. Trans-Canada has joined the rush to coach/family fares.  The Quebec Airways DC-3 crash that killed the Kennecott Copper executives and also 20 regular people was caused by a husband killing his wife. (There was a similar episode in the Philippines six months ago.) See the Australian PM's statement on marriage, below. 

Loner features include a report on the XB-51, the latest on swivelling landing gear, a design report on the Avro Jetliner and a production story on the F-90. A bit late for the fuss, C. r. Pleasant, president and founder of Hygrotrol Corporation of San Jose, claims to have licked airport fog for good with, well, Hygrotrol. How it works is secret, of course, but it "triggers" "atmospheric conditions inimical to fog." Apparently its trial run at Sacramento Airport was a complete success. 

There's also a story on Douglas' ongoing "Super DC-3 upgrades" that will knock the industry head over tails if they work. 

On October 10th, Industry Observer reports that Martin-Baker is working on a supersonic delta-wing fighter for the RAF, while Canadair has a night fighter order for the CF-100. Britain is going with axial engines definitely, with the Sapphire following the Avon into production. The F9F is going into squadron service on the super-carrier Franklin D. Roosevelt. News Digest reports that the Government is selling off the Chance Vought works in Connecticut one building at a time. Kellett's H-10 helicopter has crashed, killing the test pilot. 

A big feature highlights hopes that Congress will splurge on somem air force. The XF-90 has beat the sound barrier. Congress is expected to approve the "unitary" wind tunnel plan that features tunnels for NACA, the Air Force and the Navy. An even bigger feature gives the rundown on 75S high-strength aluminum alloy. A much shorter feature covers the Bureau of Ordnance's new "tough" wire recorder for installation in guided missiles so that there is a record of what  happens when they blow up on the pad, blow up in mid-air, blow up on crashing in Mexico, blow up when they reach their target . . . Well, maybe not then.

The October 10 editorial gives a stern finger shake in the direction of the Revolt of the Admirals, defending the Air Force against the usual slander. (That they think they can win the war by themselves.)  A second editorial returns to Aviation Week's defence of the nonskeds and celebrates the helicopters of Los Angeles Airways. 

The Economist, 1 October 1949


"Time to Dissolve" Now that there's been devaluation and Sir Stafford hasn't given a really, really good speech that convinces everyone that the Government doing it right, the government should dissolve Parliament and hold an election. There's also a Note to the same effect that adds that Bevan was just awful to poor old Mr. Churchill and that Lord Layton was very clever when he pointed out that devaluation was like a hacksaw when all you need is a scalpel.Away down in Business Notes, the issue is whether there will be reductions in government administrative expenditure and the investment budget to exert a disinflationary effect. The Economist then gets positively giddy about the possibility of interest rate increases that will reduce the "positive incentive to borrow in advance of need."

The crisis of capitalism is good for business!
"Flushing Meadows and Peking" The Economist has decided that it is "Peking" again, because the Communists run the Northern Capital, and get to say what the name is. But the Koumintang has demanded a debate in the Uno over the Russians in Manchuria, which will have the effect of preventing Uno from recognising the Communists as the new government of China until the other powers are willing to specifically vote for that in the Assembly. I think the upshot is that the British, among others, will recognise the new government in Peking, while the Koumintang will hold onto their place in Uno as long as they have a place to hang their hats. (With the question being whether that place will be in the southwest or in Formosa.) The Economist offers not recognising the Communists as a solution Chairman Mao seems to think that he can careen around the decks as he wills because America is desperate for the China trade in light of the world crisis of capitalism. The Economist, being happy with signs of rising unemployment, isn't sure it's a crisis at all. Or, maybe it is. I sometimes think I have a better grip on Mao's thinking than The Economist, probably because The Economist has no idea what it is thinking itself. As for the Americans, they are not inclined to compromise with the Communists for the sake of trade, of which they have much less than the British, anyway. Meanwhile, the French, who fear Chinese intervention in the conflict in Indo-China, are believed to be propping up the Koumintang.

"The Health of the Book Trade" "There have been some signs recently of depression in the book trade." Well, now here's a seam of ore that The Economist can mine for awhile! "Business recession leads to recession in industry X!" It is interesting that fewer books are being bought than during the war, but that is specifically a phenomenon of the war, since the book trade looks much closer now to the one in 1938 than the one in 1944. Since this is the third Leader and not the first, it is permissible to say that there are too many publishers and not enough capital, and that some mergers would sort things out. (In the first Leader this would be "cartel" thinking. Or maybe full technical efficiency, and so good? See above.)

Notes of the Week 

"Muddle over the D-Mark" The Allied Control Commission and the German government are having trouble sorting out the amount the Deutschemark will be devalued, with the British, Americans and Germans wanting 25%, the French 20%, and the current compromise 23.8%. This goes to show taht the French are either bewildered or two-faced over Germany. The question is the price of coal, which the French want cheaper from Germany and also from the Saarland, "quietly detached from Germany," and also the French are pushing for more German factory reparations, which has the British upset, because it is their troops who have to guard the dismantling, which is mainly targetted at factories in the British Zone. 

"Mr. Strachey Looks Abroad" The Minister of Food says that the British are comparatively well fed compared to other Europeans. The Economist points out that that is not what tourists were saying in the summer, and it is not the way The Economist sees it. The Economist has found discrepancies between FAO and Economic Survey figures, which shows that it is all statistical legerdemain and, anyway, all those Europeans are cheating on rationing by raising pigs in the bathtub. The important thing is to not turn trivial questions of who is or isn't starving into some kind of argument for a Corn Law

"First Week at the Assembly" Auntie Grace got tired of stories from the Uno pretty quickly, and I see why. The week was dominated by the Western countries egging Jugoslavia into saying something mean about Russia, which they won't do, because the Jugoslavs still officially blame Bulgaria or maybe Hungary for their break with the Cominterm. Everything was depressingly quiet about Germany, but excitement over China is expected next week. There are also Notes reporting "optimism" about the progress of the Hague talks between the Dutch and the Indonesians, that the failure of the informal "work to rule" campaign by the railway unions means that the National Union will probably settle for an increase in the industry's minimum wage. This leads to the possibility that devaluation will finally lead to a national minimum wage, always resisted in the past by the TUC on the grounds that "minimums tend to turn into maximums." The Economist seems to be for it, though. Hmm.

Now I am going to skip right over Notes worried about how devaluation affects base metal prices given that they are sometimes valued in sterling and sometimes in dollars; and Holland's first balanced budget since the war, in spite of low productivity, the adverse trade balance, and the "sliim hope" of a balanced trade with the United States by 1952. 

"Does India Fear a Plebiscite?" The Economist thinks that the reason that .India won't allow a plebiscite in Kashmir is that it is afraid of losing it!!!!!! (Needs more exclamation marks!!!) 

"Industrial Research" The Department of Scientific and Industrial Research's report for 1947--8 would seem to be perfectly satisfactory, but on closer examination it turns out that the balance between "short-term" and "long term" research might be wrong, and possibly too much money is being spent researching too many things. 

"Housing Act in Action" The new Housing Act allows local authorities to build housing for "the poor and not-so-rich" so as to promote balanced communities. How are local authorities responding? It's too soon to say.  

"Some More Fogs" As we'll see, Flight is promising relief from noise near airports in ten to twenty year. Not to be outdone, The Economist promises relief from fogs in thirty, by which time electrical power generation will produce almost no coal smoke at all. 

From The Economist of 1849 

Flight, 6 October 1949 A hundred years ago, the issue of the day was American filibusters preparing to descend on Cuba. The Economist strongly approves, but hopes that they will wait until the Cubans actually rebel against Spain, instead of just talking about it.


C. A. R. Crossland points out that The Economist is completely wrong to imply that the wartime inflation is continuing, when it is not. The Economist points out that since it only implied it, it isn't wrong, because it didn't actually say it so much as imply it. G. D. N. Warwick makes the same point, using data from the Research and Planning Division of the ECE, which The Economist thinks was  cooked up. On the other hand, John Whiteside thinks that socialism will lead to continuing wage chaos, which is more to The Economist's taste. Colin Proff points out that the NHS isn't something for nothing, since it is paid for through taxes, which you wouldn't think needed explaining, but wait till you see what they're on about over at Time this month!


Margaret Cole has published an edited series of essays on Beatrice and Sidney Webb, which, becasue they are socialists, you can well imagine the review. Martin Hindus' In Search of a Future: Salvation for the Middle East  is a book by a Russian emigre who won a reputation for explaining Russia to the world. He can't speak Arabic or Persian, but he can tell us that land reform is needed and that democracy doesn't work in backwards places like the Middle East, which will end in either a Communist revolution or in the other Middle Eastern countries copying Israel. But this is, of course, impossible, because the Israeli is "hustling," while the Muslim is "dilatory and fatalistic." Robert Markham's Rumania under the Soviet Yoke explains that Rumania is a fair and democratic maiden, ravaged by the Russian bear. I know what costume The Economist's wife bought The Economist for their weekend getaway!

American Survey

"Tariff Perils" Will America respond to devaluation with tariffs? Probably. Maybe. Well, that's good for a page and a half!

"State Fair" State fairs are quite something! Pop wants to see one thing, Mom wants to see another thing, and the kids want to see a third thing! They have 4H clubs! And harness racing! And cotton candy and toffee apples and corn on the cob and hot dogs? Or is that baseball games? No, they both can have those things! 

And that is why we read The Economist. It looks impressive down at the cafe, and you can blow through it pretty quickly most weeks. Making fun of it takes more time than reading it!

American Notes

The Mekong, "River of Buddhism" at Chamdo, Tibet
Jaryiahr Khan - File:Chamdo County.jpg, original extern source = Picasaweb,
CC BY-SA 3.0,
"Arms and the Bomb" Since Russia has made an atomic explosion --but not necessarily a bomb-- it looks as though Congress will let the Air Force have more money towards the 70 group force and might let Canada and Britain have some atomic information. Also, the Atlantic Pact can have a billion dollars, Greece and Turkey can have $211 million, and "the general area of China," $75 million. (The Administration would like to use it in Burma and Indo-China. Or points upstream, cross our fingers hope to die. So, all the money the House cut from the Western Union pact aid is put back, at least for now. Only the fight over the Displaced Persons Bill is left in the present session.

"UE Blows a Fuse" The United Electrical Workers are going into their annual convention with their Communist leadership intent on cutting ties with the CIO. In the topsy-turvy world of labour politics, this win is a loss for American Communism, only limited by the fact that the Communist leadership of the UEW has had to stop being Communists in order to retain their leadership positions. In short, there's probably going to be more strikes. 

"Point Four" The Truman Administration's plan to solve the world's dollar shortage by encouraging American businesses to invest in backwards parts of the world is going to make some progress through Congressional committees soon. 

The World Overseas

"The Commonwealth Confers" The Commonwealth countries recently met at Bigwin, Ontario, and included India for the first time. There was a statement, and it looks as though India is going to say something nasty about Communism if Britain agrees that just because it is making nice with France in Europe doesn't mean that it has to swing behind France in Indo-China. And that's . . . it? Yeah, that's it.  And the next piece is about the show trials in Hungary. "Extra, Extra, read all about it, Communists eat their young! Extra!" 

"Canada and the Devaluation of Sterling" I really, really hoped when I heard about the Bigwin Conference that they'd at least get the Commonwealth response to devaluation settled --or at least get the issues in dispute out in the open! But, no, that would have been too much to ask after momentous issues like, "What if India doesn't want to have a King, can it still be in the Commonwealth?" is resolved. The issue, then, isn't devaluation, it's that it was so bold. Canada was  hoping that it would be held to $3.20, which would have spared Canada any devaluation. A 10% devaluation was necessary, which will not solve the balance of trade imbalance of $2 billion versus $1.5 billion, as it is driven by imports of coal, oil and steel, which are essential for Canadian industry. Canadians aren't likely to be grateful for a rise in the price of coal and heating oil with winter around the corner, although farmers are grateful for relief from competition, while long-term prices remain settled. Canada is hoping that the bacon and cheese export orders will be continued next year, although it is still disappointed that Britain won't take more bacon above the 50 million pound basic contract. The devaluation ought to open up American markets, but won't, because American farmers will just seek and obtain tariff relief. 

The Business World

"Freedom for Metals" Will devaluation allow the Ministry of Supply to get out of non-ferrous metal control and return the business to the London metal market? The City of London's official newspaper sure thinks that it should!(To show that it is not completely in the City's lap, The Economist does come out against a tin cartel.) 

"Ships, Shipyards and Devaluations" Devaluation has cut British shipping's invisible earnings at a stroke. Moreoever, since it amounts to a "subsidy" in the American way of thinking, it might lead to increased subsidies for American shipping --which, if it only just exists, will compete with British-flagged shipping for cargoes. Meanwhile, bulk American cargoes are likely to decline, reducing cargoes available for tramp steamers, with increased British exports, if these occur, going more to liners. Oil prices will rise, increasing costs, and lagging British coal production reduces its opportunity to displace American bunker coal overseas, and shipbuilding might be hurt. (Will be hurt, as we know.)

An entire Note follows congratulating the capitalist system for not collapsing into panic when devaluation occurred, almost as though it knew that it was coming. Follows an arcane bit about a leak from Australia about Britain requesting a loan of a billion dollars from the IMF notwithstanding the prohibition on Marshall Plan recipients receiving US dollar loans from the IMF. Australia is keen to be cut in for a share, but The Economist points out that Australia is already allowed to buy up to $50 million a year. Another Note rounds up the European "knock on" devaluations, a second covers changes in the prices of commodities, a third the escalator "revaluation" clauses that come into effect in various trade deals, another the latest news on devaluing the D-Mark, where the price still hasn't been determined, although 20.3% is  holding for now. The Economist helpfully explains all the ways that this will cause (German) civilisation to collapse. A final note on the subject explains how devaluation may lead to freer trade within Europe. 

"Radiolympia" The annual industry showcase exhibits substantial cuts in price, with the price of portable radios down 18% and at least five manufacturers pricing them below £10. Four firms have televisions below £40, one below £30.Exports of televisions may not be on the horizon, but television equipment is a promising field of development, and Pye Limited's industrial televisions, such as its closed-circuit colour system, is also promising. 

"Dollar Steel for Motor Industry" British dealers in the United States report "panic buying" after the 30% price reduction, and replenishing their stock will be difficult because the industry is using all the sheet steel available. It is hoping that the Ministry of Supply will spring some dollars to buy American steel. 

"Radical Talk on Productivity" The steel founder's productivity team reports taht American productivity might be 50% to 90%  higher than British, in spite of heavy American reliance on unskilled workers. "The exercise of skill has been taken from the shop floor into the pattern-shop, the methods office, and the brains of the supervisors."  The explanation, then, is that Americans use more machines, and are more open to technical innovation. Standardisation is advanced, long production runs are possible, wage policy is better in some revolutionary way, evidently because it shares gains in profits. In conclusion, productivity gains require "upset[ing] many of the preconceptions labour and government in this country . . . "hold. Which seems a bit vague. As usual, either The Economist knows exactly what it means to say, or it has no idea what it means. 

Also, devaluation is affecting the price of Canadian wheat, there might be an International Commodity Clearing House soon, India and Pakistan are boycotting each other, and the issue of the Czech debt has been settled. 

I am now going to take the liberty of skipping the special Insurance Review feature, which doesn't even mention maritime insurance! 

 Flight, 3 October 1949


"Trainer Ideals" A full page leader on a very important subject to the British industry that I can't really summarise because it is a ramble through the issues that assumes that you know the background and, maybe, what's up with the next order. All I get out of it is that the next order might be a turbojet and no-one can agree on whether the next trainer should be a tandem or side-by-side, and maybe basic training should still be contracted out to private schools. 

I don't think the problem here is the Nene, but the Atar was
the better bet, no question. 
"The French Aircraft Industry" This is the first of a two -part profile of the French industry. This one covers "Factors Leading to the Present Position." Such as, you know, the war. Before the war, the French suffered from failing to keep up with engine developments abroad, so that they had to try to make aircraft with the inadequate 800hp follow-ups to the 500--600hp Hispano era perform up to the mark against 1000hp foreign designs. As a result, lighter and more tightly streamlined aircraft, such as the Bloch 152, had problems with, for example, overheating or armament. The war some employment fall, some attrition to the machine tool inventory, and isolation from world trends. Immediately after liberation, an aircraft programme mandated the production of the largest number of liaison, trainer and transport aircraft to make the greatest short-term contribution to the end of the war effort, while engine designers got a Nene license on the one hand, and some German axial engines to develop, on the other. Now people think that was all wrong. Meanwhile, attempts to swing right into big engines by cheating with coupling schemes and undercooked designs did not go very well, even if their main aim was just to give the factories work while they recovered from the war. Next week: Successful French postwar planes, maybe. 

"The Transport Structure:Some Frank Observations by BEA's Deputy Chairman"

Peter Masefield discusses the future, with heavy emphasis on airliner speed, which pertains to utilisation rates. It is not always easy to work out what the actual cruising speed of an airliner is, but the writer jumps in with both feet to show that the Stratoliner has everyone else beat once it gets to altitude, at 290mph, and that the Ambassador is doing pretty well against the field at an average 260mph, except that the Convair Liner gets a crucial 265mph and, at 248mph the Super DC-3 is going to replace itself --says your soon-to-be daughter-in-law, not the article. Masefield might be thinking the same, though, since after giving the Ambassador lip service, he is on to the future belonging to turboprops. As for longer range types, the Constellation still has everyone beat, onw that the Duplex Cyclone is out of the woods and all up weight has risen to 107,000lbs. The controversy is between Constellation and DC-6, but KLM operates both types and prefers the Constellation for its better-arranged baggage space and lack of a tendency towards "tail wag in turbulent air." The Stratocruiser, he notes, has a similar tendency, and makes inefficient use of internal space. 
Aviation Week explains what Avro Canada was thinking.

The Brabazon, he thinks, can pay, and the programme was worth the cost because the long runway at Filton and giant assembly hangar are national assets. As for flying boats, the float and cowling troubles of the Solent had been worked out, and the Princess could be a hit on the South African service, but not on the North Atlantic, at least as long as the ocean keeps freezing in the winter. (Again, he doesn't say that, because complaining about what flying boats can't do, isn't being fair to flying boats.) He still thinks the Avro Jetliner is stupid, and defends the Viking against charges of being useless and slow on the grounds that it is better now that the Hercules isn't giving any trouble. BEA is confident that the Ambassador will pass trials and enter service on schedule and that the recent wing failure isn't a problem at all whatsoever. and it is good for the whole two years until the Viscount shows up. The Comet is very exciting, and will be used first on the Australian route, for which it was designed, and might win the Christchurch race in 24 hours. Lockheed is expected to have a Comet rival in 18 months to two years, there is no doubt[?], and Boeing might field a civilian version of its B-47 if it can find a place to tuck the undercarriage in. Masefield doesn't believe in the Dart-Dakota, which is fuel hungry, does not carry enough load, is over-powered, and under-tanked. The Marathon II similarly has no commercial future, as it isn't pressurised, and the Hermes V has no prospects given that BEA is already committed to replacing the Hermes IV with the Bristol 175. Nor does the single-engined helicopter have much of a future in passenger service, although he is quite excited by the idea of a 30-passenger two-Dart helicopter flying between the centres of London and Paris.

By 1955, the Comet will be ready for Atlantic service, perhaps with in-flight refuelling, and from there it's all whistling Rule Britannia. 

Here and There

The Berlin Airlift has ended some more. The recent failure of a Percival Proctor wing spar was due to everyone else other than Percival. R. A. Fry is the winner of the 1949 Dorothy Spicer Memorial Prize Essay. The Navy's Douglas D-558-2 Skyrocket just set a new speed record for Douglas Skyrockets, so cancel the B-36 before it's too late! Italy will probably buy some British jet fighters soon. The first Solent was delivered to Tasmanian last week, reaching Auckland in 66hr 55min flying time, which is a flying boat record. (The landplane record is 59h 50min over three days.) Flight also has pictures of the latest Soviet ground attack type[?]. Scandia is fiddling with some new planes and an Australian Vampire has set a new record by flying between two Australian places quite fast, which is a bigger deal in Australia, which doesn't have many places to start with. United Airlines is pleased as punch with dramamine, the new travel sickness drug, which it will make available to all passengers, even though only six in a thousand passengers are affected by air sickness. (Which is true; it's just a very big "6," or a very small "thousand.") Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Barratt has married Mrs. J. C. Horsley, widow of Terence Horsley, "the gliding expert." And who other than the widow of the man who developed gliders for the airborne forces in the war would the former head of Army Cooperation Command marry? I ask you! 

"America's Air Races: The Contests at Cleveland: A Six-Hour Display" Colonel Preston went to Cleveland and enjoyed the air race, as not a single Mustang crashed into his house, leaving his babies one-hundred-percent still alive, unlike some people's wife, mother and baby. 

Vice-Admiral Sir Thomas Troubridge has died at 54, which is a shame because he was being groomed as the first "air" First Sea Lord. He was too old to be a pilot entrant, and I don't think that he's an original RAeC license holdier (the obituary doesn't say), but he was Captain of the Furious at the outbreak of WWII, which makes him the only man of his class to not get his ship sunk or at least dodging torpedoes. 

Michael Townsend, "Better Late Than Never" Mrs. Morrow-Tait's navigator completes the story. After they crashed their Proctor in the wilds of Alaska, he and Mrs. Morrow-Tait hitched a ride down to the Lower Forty-Eight on a pasisng B-17, whilst some Fairbanks volunteers crated up the Proctor for the trip by truck down the Alaska Highway. Townsend arranged with some friends to have it repaired when it appeared in Edmonton, and headed back to school for Lent Term, which is a semester they have in England, says my Funk and Wagonells. The truck had to wait until the Smoky River froze to make its way to Edmonton, and the Proctor proved to have been damaged in transit. Mrs. Morrow-Tait then hitched a ride back up the Alaska Highway to seek out the culprits, which, since it proved to be potholes, wasn't perhaps the best use of time for anyone not mainly motivated by the hope that her godamn husand back in godamn London would godamn well get the message and move on. 

a picture in honour of all those words about the crazy English lady. 
So off she went to Seattle to obtain a Vultee BT-13, training werewith to fly it, and a navigator, one Jack Ellis, an RAF man looking for a cheap flight back to Blighty and to his wife, and a bit unclear on some issues as concern wives. This perhaps explains why Ellis' wife flew out to Toronto to collect her husband at her earliest convenience, just at the point where Townsend arrived on the scene again, relieving a reluctant American volunteer of the burden of Mrs. Morrow-Tait's needs and ambitions, now to be resolved by flying across America and then the Atlantic in a slightly dubious BT-13, navigated by a slightly dubious Mr. Townsend.  In spite of almost crash landing at Goose Bay from fuel starvation, an escape was subsequently made after the airport authorities started looking at their watches and worrying about the time and fussing with coats. This was in the direction of Greenland, in spite of that being technically illegal. the illegal part was waived mainly because the plane was also not allowed to fly back to Canada by virtue of not being allowed to fly at all in Canada. However, it made it to Narsarssuak on Radio Range, and from their to Keflavik under Visual Rules departure and on Radio Range for the last two-and-a-half out of seven hours flying due to 7/8ths cloud. Lockheed Overseas, which currently runs Keflavik, was kind enough to waive the $40 landing fee and the costs of the hotel, which was likely to lead to Mrs. Morrow-Tait volunteering Mr. Townsend for dishwashing duties. (From the sounds of things he wasn't doing much else, although a dollar gets you a dozen donuts if they say the same in nine months.) A day's delay due to weather, during which Mrs. Morrow-Tait met the President of Iceland, and it was off for Prestwick, the only stage where navigating was required, this using the Console radio system installed, which turned out to be very easy to use, which is good because their radio went kablooie right out of Iceland and they had to grope their way into Prestwick, Consol not withstanding, by flying at zero-ought-zero from Arran to Glasgow.

Townsend says he has no idea what the fuss at Prestwick was about. 

"Meteor 8: Gloster Twin-jet Fighter of Distinguished Parentage: Lengthened Fuselage and Completely New Empennage: Rolls-Royce Derwent Retained" The Meteor 8 is much nicer than the Meteor I or the Meteor 0 that came before it, but just how nice is super top-secret except for the bit about the new ejector seat, so we'll talk about all those other Meteors instead, because words before pictures. 

"Python Type-Test" Armstrong-Siddeley has put the Python through a 194 hour type test. 

Civil Aviation News

BOAC is not taking those ten Tudor freighters they never wanted anyway, and the Ministry of Supply is responsible for carrying all the incomplete ones out to the curb and getting the garbageman to haul them away. IATA and ICAO have very interesting and worthy plans to make international civil aviation more fully technically efficient. Air France is celebrating its 30th anniversary by replacing more Languedoc crocks with DC-4s and expanding African services while curtailing European ones for the winter. Flight hung around the "London Airport" display at the Radiolympia all day watching pretend controllers talk model planes down with model GCA. The RAF's similar table was very sad and boring and everyone felt sad for the RAF staff who had to stand around it explaining everything. The Short Sealand is going to Scandinavia to look for the Lost Viking Colony, because if they're still lost after a thousand years, maybe they'll be dumb enough to buy a Sealand. Or maybe it's a sales tour, but that seems like a waste of time, so I'm going with my Lost Colony search theory.

South African air services are getting better and bigger every day. The 19 February Exhall mid-air collision between a BEA Dakota and an RAF Anson happened in clear air because neither plane saw the other., in spite of the Anson carrying a captain, wireless operator, navigation instructor and pupil. Clearly, the pupil must have been absolute dunce up for finals cramming, and everyone was too busy yelling at him. The families of the six passengers of the Dakota can rest easy knowing that at least their loved ones' tragic death provided a good punch line, because Holy Moly! (have you heard that the San Francisco papers are translating Captain Marvel strips? My vocabulary has never expanded faster.) The Met Office has installed some photo-electric visibility meters at stations around the country and are working on one that will measure oblique visibility. A chart of upper air winds through to 50,000ft for the northern hemisphere is now available.

Under Brevities we hear that one-third of all Americans who fly the Atlantic do so on Pan-Am, that fare cuts on British domestic and Irish routes continue, that Lancashire Aircraft Corporation has sacked Air Vice-Marshal H. H. McL. Fraser for not making rain (my interpretation) and that two officials of Panagra have received gongs from Peru.

"Helicopter Economics: A Survey of Rotary-wing Potential in Terms of Profit and Loss" Helicopters --good for errands and up-and-down work, bad for carrying paying passengers says most people. Superb for carrying paying passengers says L. S. Wigdortchik to the Helicopter Association of Great Britain. Based on his experience with the BEA helicopter unit, he believes that the kind of helicopters he imagines will be available in ten years will make money hand over fist.  (That would be Peter Masefield's twin-Dart helicopters.)

"BULLDOG's Tail: Summary of the Concluding Actions and Official Appreciation"  BULLDOG featured an all out bombing offensive against Britain conducted by Training Command's Wellingtons, Harvards and Prentices, Mosquitoes of BAFO, jet bombers of someone's imagination (Meteors standing in) and massive squadrons of Ansons. In night raids, some Lancasters and Lincolns even showed up! Pathfinder marking was attempted and some raids went out over the North Sea and back in for extra realism, in that the raids didn't originate in Norfolk and attack London, but rather originated in Norfolk, but came in over the North Sea and raided London. Bomber Command doesn't mind having to do most of the raids with training aircraft because they are perfectly happy waiting for jet bombers so that they can get back to being a Striking Force, which is what air power is all about. The USAF, which is hanging around down at the corner, or, more exactly, Norfolk, also made a statement, which is that everything is fine.

"Specialist Princes: New Variants of Percival Feederliner for Surveying and Military Training" Hunt Aerosurveys, which owns Percivals, is using some Princes for aerial surveying, and wants everyone to know that it has maybe a lead on selling some to the Air Force or somebody for a trainer or an air ambulance maybe, so it's not a complete waste of time, maybe.

Simon Eric Esler, Avro's deputy chief test pilot, is dead at 31 after crashing the Avro 707, leaving a widow, no children mentioned.


"Independent" and D. Follows of the British Air Lines Pilots Association have opinions about pilots' pay.  John Grierson has a comic routine about the Ministry of Civil Aviation circulars with too many words in them.

The Economist, 8 October 1949


"Wrong Turning" Devaluation will lead to inflation unless checked by disinflation. So far, so good. Well, then, Britain must have cuts in expenditures, or increases in taxation. The Economist weighs them in the balance and concludes that austerity and pain for other people is good; pain and austerity for the people who subscribe to The Economist will be ruinous. And yet! The Chancellor is ruling out austerity in the budget, which must mean that if he is serious about disinflation, he is thinking about tax increases. Also, somehow, after a certain point, bearing in  mind the mystery of the last, disinflationary budget's failure to disinflate, tax increases inflate, rather than disinflate. It is not clear how that happens, but there is a  magic to "waste" and "disincentive." I suppose we could take this one step further and urge tax reductions for disinflation, but even The Economist isn't that far gone.

"Member of Both Clubs" Russia's atom bomb means that "the cold war is not over," and that Western nations must coordinate more closely against the Communist menace. That does not mean that Britain must join a "Europe only" or an "American" bloc, however, but rather be a member of both. Clearly, this means that Sir Stafford bungled devaluation because we made Europe mad. In fairness, everything means that Sir Stafford bungled devaluation, but in this case, it's particularly important, because cold war.

"A National Minimum Wage?" Rumours about a national minimum wage of £5 a week continue. This might just be exaggeration based on the minimum offer to the railway workers, and a good indication of what the wage "should" be, based on the fact that the railways obviously aren't competing with American railwaymen with their better "assumptions" or whatever it is that makes them more efficient (Ronnie rolls her eyes). Or not. This requires The Economist to form an opinion, and also confront the fact that it called for a national minimum wage way back in 1940. Since The Economist is firmly of the opinion that the country needs a pay cut, and has talked itself into thinking that any minimum wage is too high, since someone, somewhere, would end up being paid more than they earn, it is necessary for The Economist to spend almost two pages coming round to the opinion that there shouldn't be a minimum wage, that the social welfare "net" is enough.

What still amazes me is that The Economist can be such a muddy and poorly written paper, and still be so convinced that other people who shovel coal and dig mud for a living aren't "earning" their income. I know that I should be used to its amazing hypocrisy by now, but even The Economist notices that the rate of tuberculosis in Glasgow is higher than any northern European city other than Berlin, so it is not like poverty has gone away. I suppose the inference is that The Economist will support public housing --except for when it comes to paying for it!

"Predicament in Paris?" For ten exciting days, it looked as though devaluation was going to cause a Crisis in France, giving The Economist a chance to recycle the same old article it has been running since --1843, I imagine? But now it looks as though the French have a settlement. Pooh.

"Treason in Our Time" Treason is defined in a criminal statute of 1351, which is redolent of "knights errant," perhaps because it was written when there were knights errant. The 1945 Treason Act revised it, and the trial of William Jones ("Lord Haw Haw") put it to the test, and now Rebecca West has published a book about the trial, so it is time for The Economist t stroke its beard and poke its pipe in the air as it has important thoughts. The old saw goes that "protection draws allegiance, and allegiance draws protection." That is why it is wrong for knights to ride off to fight for an usurper, and right for German Jewish physicists to go to America and make atom bombs. It is not a crime to express hostile opinions about your country in the capital of a foreign country, as MPs do that all the time. By a swooping argument that had me swooning, The Economist manages to find that the obligation to say nice things about your country increases along with civil and political rights --there's more rights, so it is easier to violate them?-- but the case against Joyce is made on the basis that he is a huge jackass who was auditioning on the radio to be Britain's Quisling.

Notes of the Week

"Security by 1954" The table of organisation of the north Atlantic defence organisation is out. The Economist thinks that it is a bit unwieldy, but since the plan has to be in place before Congress springs the money, and it has "plenty of room for British planners," it is the best that can be hoped for. On the other hand, there's the question of how the North Atlantic and Brussels pacts (America versus Europe) interlock, and if they do. And speaking of, it is now official that the rump government in Berlin is the Provisional People's Chamber of the East German state, no elections required, since if they were held, east Germans would just vote against Communism again. The Russians have promised to withdraw their occupation troops if the Americans withdraw theirs, but that's a non-starter, the drive across Poland being shorter than the voyage across the Atlantic.

"Equality of Sacrifice" Sir Stafford says that proposed increase in the Distributed Profits Tax is being made in the name of an equality of sacrifice, but clearly it's the opposite! Wage earners are getting 44% more in 1949, whereas rentiers are only getting 37% more! Mommy! It's not fair! (Yes, wage restraint is coming, but who cares?)

The National Union of Railwaymen has "seen sense" and accepted the minimum wage proposal, even though it isn't really sense, since the lowest paid railwaymen are already paid too much. Labour is divided over the right date for the General Election, and the OEEC thinks that the dollar famine is becoming a  crisis, with devaluation bringing some relief but also "new headaches."

"Mao's Textbook Government" The new government in Peking contains non-Communist parties in minority positions in the government, which is very textbook, but also meaningless lip-service. Meanwhile, the excitement in Flushing Meadows continues, as the Russians recognise the new Communist government, while the Koumintang appeals. So the Russians are protesting Dr. Tsiang's seating, while Dr.Tsiang is still sitting, which makes for an uncomfortable situation in which the Russians (and their bloc) have to stick their fingers in their ears when Tsiang speaks. The Assembly has no way of kicking out a delegation, and the Koumintang can veto any attempt to remove them from the Security Council. And so it shall remain until Washington can bring itself to recognise the Peking government.

"Civil Servant's White Queen" The White Queen is the one who promised jam yesterday and jam tomorrow, but not jam today, which is a good metaphor for postponing the planned pay increases promised them following the Chorley Committee report. The Economist is very sympathetic, which at this point I am sure means that certain classes of civil servants take The Economist. Meanwhile, enrollment in this year's summer school for the Colonial Civil Service is up, which is good, but the number of vacancies in the Colonial Civil Service is also up, which is bad. Staffs at the proposed colonial universities in the West Indies, East and West Africa, and the Sudan are particularly short. Training more Colonials would seem to be the solution, so there's that, but a summer course isn't going to supply professors!

"Little Census" An update showing the sex and age distribution of the British population is out, the first since September of 1939, which was, the Census says, "a transitional period," which The Economist thinks is funny. (I agree for a change!) No table or chart for the article. Drat!

"International Force for Kashmir" India's excuse for not allowing a plebiscite in Kashmir is that it is divided into Indian and Pakistani occupation zones, so the plebiscite can't be fair. The Economist's solution is for both to withdraw and be replaced by a UN-raised international force for a eyar or so while the plebiscite was organised, like the old League of Nations force in the Saar. While over at the Uno, Jugoslavia is "playing the spicy role of the member who is above party."

"Round Game in Libya" So, Libyans must be rubbing their eyes, because while five months ago "numbers of their well-wishers" wanted a "longish term of trusteeship," now, "without visible sign of any change in their way of life, everyone is extolling their fitness for independence." Back in May, everyone wanted to reward Italy for being a good Western power by handing it a trusteeship, while the British proposal was to divide the country into three trusteeships. The Italians have noticed that a trusteeship isn't much of a "reward," and are begging off, with support of the Eastern Bloc, which wants total independence in three months and the "liquidation of foreign bases."  Meanwhile, suspicion is rising in Italy, but also France and the Eastern Bloc that perfidious Albion is setting up the Emir of Cyrenaica as a British puppet. The Economist, while not exactly happy that swarthy members of the lesser breed are to have independence, can't resist taking a poke at the Government's handling of the situation.

"The Economist in the Lords" The Economist is in trouble in the press for seeming to suggest that the Government isn't at fault for everything bad that has happened, and the Lord Chancellor even quoted it to that effect, but with horrible dishonesty, as he left out a crucial phrase. Here's the quote, with the omitted phrase in broad strokes for emphasis. Read, and contemplate all of those mud-diggers and coal shovellers who aren't worth their £5 the week:

"Britain's present difficulties are not due to anything that can properly be called Socialism; they are not due, save in a minor degree, to policies of the Labour Government that would have been substantially different if another party had been in power, and to make the present crisis an excuse for an anti-Socialist campaign would hinder rather than help towards a solution."

See how the omitted phrase completely changes the sense of the passage? You don't? Well, The Economist explains that the present crisis is the fault of the Labour government, but because it is doing things that any other party would have also done. Which is to say that it is not nationalisation, but the welfare state, high taxes and inflation that are at issue. See? No anti-Socialism here! Now get back there and shovel harder!


H. B. Barwise of Oxford, who I'm sure knows a thing or two about the labour market for porters and policemen, asks why, if they want a raise, they just don't quit and go see if some employer might pay them more on the strength of the good testimonial they'll get from their current employer. Hah! Nicholas Kaldor points out that The Economist is using high prices for products of various industries to show increased productivity in one country or another (but mainly America), when, as he points out, prices are lower in the industries in Britain which have increased their productivity most. He goes on to point out that Britain is the only country where you can measure the increase in productivity since 1935. The Economist huffily defends itself by suggesting that this is a "self defeating calculation" that leads to "fictitious analysis." G. D. N. Worswick follows up his letter of last week by saying that while wage policy so far is fine, devaluation threatens to ruin it. H. D. Walston writes to point out that there is actually a glut of animal fodder on the market, and that the rationing scheme should be ended. T. N. Desai finds that India's position in the sterling bloc means that it, like Belgium, will find itself with a "dollar problem not all of her own making." In response to a letter from Carl Borkenhagen in Johannesburg, The Economist apologises for reporting incorrect information about the price of cement exports to South Africa. Britain exports cement to South Africa? It's dirt! Well, powdered rock. "West Country Landowner" writes to say that the four shilling cap on rent for farm cottages makes it impossible to maintain them, and for some reason the Death Duty explains why local and educational authorities can. Also, you can't get rid of a bad tenant, so there. Thomas Joyce, an American writing from Germany, thinks that part of any increase in dollar earnings by British exporters should be tax exempt, which will encourage more dollar earning.


Luigi Einaudi has a collection of essays out that explains the market economy, the good parts of the Beveridge Plan, and also how awful the bad parts (mainly the national pension) are. National pensions are bad for the poor, while the idle rich are also terrible, but since there aren't many of them probably, you don't have to do anything about them because "inherited advantages evaporate rapidly." He also likes entrepreneurs, landlords,and the Middle Ages, like any good liberal. Harold Stannard's Two Constitutions compares and contrasts British and American mid-afternoon naps. Or constitutional law, same same. Also, Arnold Price has The Evolution of the Zollverein: A Study of the Ideas and Institutions Leading to German Economic Unity, which is one of those worthy historical episodes with lessons for today. Eric Jacoby's Agrarian Unrest in Southeast Asia is an important book in that most of Southeast Asia is busy agrarianly unresting as hard as it can right now. Unfortunately, he blames colonialism, instead of putting the blame firmly on the Southeast Asian, where it belongs.

Ludovico Einaudi's Nuvole Bianchi

From The Economist of 1849

"Very unexpectedly there is a probability of a war with Russia," which, in conjunction with Austria, has demanded that the Sultan give up any political refugees which have settled in Turkish territory. This is very arrogant, and violates all the laws of nations, and cannot be allowed. Since Austria won't fight for Russia, and Russian finances are in no shape for a war with Britain and France, the Emperor of Russia is cordially invited to step out in the alley and settle this if it really wants to "disturb the peace."

American Survey

"Atomic Handicap Race" The American public response to the successful Russian atomic test shows an unusual amount of coordination. The Russian bomb had been expected in 1952 for no particular reason, but now America only has an advantage in production rather than a monopoly. General Bedell Smith even thinks that the Russians will not match America's present standards for at least ten years. In response, some scientists want world government now more than ever, Senator Hickenlooper wants atomic secrecy, now more than ever, those who voted against MAP think that it is even more ridiculous to be building up ground forces in an atomic age. Other scientists think that the Russians are catching up at a galloping pace. (The "super bomb" lobby, I guess.) The Air Force wants more bombers. The Economist points out that some scientists think that Russian totalitarianism is more efficient, and anyone watching David Lilienthal being destroyed by an ambitious Senator "armed with insider knowledge" might be inclined to agree that they can catch up. Practically, MAP has been restored and the Point Four programme is being promoted ass a way of bribing the world's poor to not be communist. As for bribing southern California, Kansas, Forth Worth and Seattle with more bombers, we will see what we will see.

"Nylon's Brave New World" Nylon use is exploding from toothbrushes and stockings to everything from shirts to luggage. (Nylon shirt? Yuck.) And because American Survey is easily the best section of The Economist, they actually get on that, pointing out that you can see through nylon dresses, that woven goods pucker, that seams slip and ravel. However! New, opaque weaves have saved the naked nurse. However again, the new weaves require new sewing machine needles. Others point out that nylon is pretty useless for parts of the body that sweat. However some more, blends of nylon and other fabrics are being tried to reduce clamminess in the winter and heat in the summer. So far, though, the blends require ironing, which was one of nylon's selling points. It is also difficult to dye and does not burn, which puts it over rayon and threatens wool. Industrial uses in tires and bearings are even less controversial.

American Notes

"The Pension Campaign" The steelworkers are not on strike for their non-contributory pensions. Ford has given in and is negotiating terms towards the $100/month pension. Steel has countered the union demand by offering 10 cents an hour, 6 for pensions, 4 for other benefits, if the union will throw in 3 cents an hour out of their pay so as to maintain a pension fund large enough to pay the $100/month pension that Mr. Murray of the Steelworkers needs to maintain his prestige against John Lewis, who won the same for the coal miners.

In a bit of a departure for American Notes, there's one on the World Series.

"Fruits of Washington: Rubber;" "And Wheat" What with the dollar famine and all, Washington contemplates letting Americans buy real rubber tires, especially since consumption is falling right now, bringing the demand for synthetic rubber close to the legislative quota. Similarly, the Senate Agricultural Committee, "inspired by Senator Kem's irrepressible hope of starving Socialism into submission," is throwing a fit over the grant of permission to allow Britain to spend $175 million in Marshal aid on Canadian wheat. The Economist gloats that American wheat is now too expensive and exports are running well below last year's.

"Rates for Government Jobs" There's at least one thing American Survey has in common with the home office, which is that its dislike of government spending disappears when it comes to low wages for upper level civil servants. Various salaries ($10 grand for the Director of the Bureau of the Budget, for example) are thrown around to show that Government is losing all the top talent to business. A final Note takes on "fair trade" rules, recommending the unfair practices laws in force in 29 states as a better way of safeguarding small tradesmen from cut-throat competition.

The World Overseas

"The Ruhr Authority" A view-from-on-high survey of the Ruhr Authority and its future interactions with the new West German government.

British explosive-cylinder people seem much happier and
better groomed than American explosive cylinder people.
"Australia's Drive for Population" Australia is looking to receiving 170,000 new residents through June of 1950 thanks to emigration from the British Isles and an agreement with the International Refugee Organisation. This is far above the original Federal target of 70,000, or 1% of the population, which is also the natural increase rate. This was based on some kind of authoritative estimate that the country's maximum absorptive capacity was 2%. The census return for 30 June 1947 was 7.579 millions, and it is estimated that the population will hit 8 million in November. It is likely that there will be 10  million Australians by the next census in 1957. The commitment to the IRO is to take 150,000 refugees, and the 50,000th, a Latvian girl of 7, will soon visit the Prime Minister to say thank  you. Buoyant economic activity has made absorption easy so far, but will have to be maintained. Although the Queensland sugar farms that get a starring role in a discussion of what the immigrants are going to do for a living, it is industry that is expected to absorb them. The only concern is that if there is an economic downturn, they will all go home, as happened in the Thirties. Meanwhile, all parties can at least agree on the need for a "homogenous white Australia," because, while there is obviously no difference between people of different "pigmentation," different "pigmentation" goes with differences in religion, language, standards of living, culture and historica backgrounds that will ead to "the problems of miscegenation" that occur when "races of irreconcilable characteristics have lived in the same communities." So irreconcilable differences will lead to intermarriage, which will lead to interenecine strife.

I have to say that that is a pretty dark view of marriage! Or maybe I'm misunderstanding the Prime Minister's point.

Meanwhile, the Chinese Communists are cracking down on the foreign press, and there is to be an election in Norway. The Economist condescendingly grants Norway permission to use the slightly-more representative way of counting votes that it was going to do without even bothering to ask for permission in the first place.

South Africa is still treating Indians in Natal terribly, but it is partly their fault for refusing to self-segregate. The Nationalists are torn as to whether the solution is Indian "reservations" or "return to India." Britain would scold them, but, you know, gold, dollars, sterling.

The Business World

"The Peso and British Trade" Britain is very upset at the way the Argentinians are exploiting the mind-mindbogglingly complicated trade agreement. Yes, I know I say that it's "complicated" when I don't want to go into details, but do you want to hear about how the negotiated exchange rate for "quebracho extract" differs from that for tung oil? But however much Britain might want to cut Argentina loose, it is responsible for 28% of British meat imports, and a cut in the meat ration any time in the next six months would impact the election, which just goes to show how democracy gets in the way of trade. Not that The Economist is drawing conclusions here.

(You can tell how liberal Luigi Einaudi was by the fact that he helped found the Mount Pelerin Society.)

"Oil Supplies and Demand" North America produces about 60% of the world's oil. Europe's economies are based on coal, not oil, but the inflexibility of European coal production has led to increased use of oil, and this is likely to increase. Most American oil is consumed in America, but even minor movements in American oil supply and demand can have big effects on world markets. One way of reducing the rest of the world's dollar drains is to expand refining capacity abroad. Since this requires American equipment, buying it with ERA money has inspired grave suspicions in America. However, increasing Middle Eastern oil output will mean foreign oil being processed in foreign refineries, as far as American producers are concerned, and might have an easier time of it. Middle Eastern oil also requires pipelines to get it to the Mediterranean (I'm not a hundred percent sure why), and this will require heavy investment. Devaluation will mean more expensive oil, as there is no way to keep sterling area oil below dollar oil in price. Refinery equipment and pipelines will become more expensive, impacting investment. How will this affect the two refineries under construction in Britain, the six in France. How will the OEEC get along with the ECA? Will it be a "major and possibly decisive setback," or a "fresh opportunity?" Time will tell!

Business Notes

We lead off with new worries about gold drains, and with Sir Stafford giving a speech at the Guildhall denying that his budget "expectations have already gone so seriously awry" as to lead to . . . something. A budget deficit? Well, no, The Economist isn't going to nail its colours to any mast that you can see. Colours should only be nailed to vague and nebulous masts like a "vitiated" Budget. After all, revenues are still up to expectations and outgoings are still, defence and NHS excepted, running according to plan. However, as The Economist points out, in the first six months, ordinary revenue has fallen £49 million, expenditure has risen to £22 million, and if trends continue, the budgetary surplus will fall from £352 million to £14 million, and so much for disinflation.

"The Balance of Payments" It turns out that the balance of payments deficit for the first six months was very close to the estimate in the last Economic Survey. The overall trade deficit is £10 million, with the dollar area deficit at £165 million, Latin America included.

"Timber and the Housing Programme" The Economist is pleased as punch to be found right in saying that reductions in timber imports from North America are likely to curtail the housing programme. Although that's not what anyone is saying. Actually, Harold Wilson is cracking down on the black market.

The Finance and Investment section is interesting for having a note on the Marshall Aid Vote in Congress, the point of which being that now that the money the OEEC has asked for, has been paid, it will be necessary to divvy it up all over again, because the loot was originally divided on the assumption there would be less of it, due to devaluation. Also, the Ultramar fund is in trouble because devaluation just greatly increased the cost of its joint venture with the Texas Company in Venezuela.

Trade and Commodities covers continuing progress in free trade in Europe, with rayon, cotton yarn, wool tops, woolen and worsted yarns amongst those freed by Britain. Also, we continue to update the consequences of devaluation on cotton manufacture, the natural rubber market, and trade with Jugoslavia.  Industry covers attempts to improve productivity in weaving with more automation, concerns about the use of wage "differentials" to evade wage controls, and a report by the team sent out by the Anglo-American Productivity Council to study American building methods. Apparently, even though American wages are four times higher and building costs 50% to 85% higher in America, nevertheless American productivity is fifty percent greater. Formerly this was blamed on increased mechanisation, but now the cause is "assembly line" production and incentives. British workers have no incentives, as American craftsmen and contractors risk being sent to the unemployment line if they fall short!!!! As if!!!! Material shortages are no excuse for the British not using American management techniques and "assembly line" production. Also, Americans use shoddy building methods that really should be introduced over here. "The question is whether the standards are not, in present circumstances, too rigid."

The Institute of Packaging has had an exhibition, which highlights the importance of packaging, while coal output last week was 4,241,400 tons, of which 263,000 tons was open-cast. The total output of deep-mined coal in the first 39 weeks of the year was 149.2 million tons, which is only 3.8 million tons higher than last year, meaning that it will have to average 4.3 million tons a week to hit the minimum target of 207 million tons for the year, which will be impossible because the labour force is falling again due to the Coal Board failing to find a method to recruit adult workers.

In conclusion, coal production is always a crisis, even when it is doing vastly better than The Economist predicted.

Flight, 13 October 1949


"Freeing Independent Commerce" Flight comes out in favour of the charter airlines on one thing or another.

A Hermes turned out for the demo, but a
Halifax dropped the box. Seems telling.
"Improvisation and Specialisation" Flight thinks that more places should be designed so that they can be used for multiple roles and built in large numbers, and also that more planes should be designed for specialised roles and built in small numbers. For example, it thinks that an "assault transport," basic jet trainr and jet-propelled target aircraft would be keen to have.

"Supporting Ground Forces"  Flight was invited out to the Senior Officer's Course at the School of Land/Air Warfare's latest little demonstration at the Westdown Ranges in Wiltshire to see the Air Force drop unusual objects from planes. Specifically, something called a "paratechnicon," which is not great-grandmother's grand piano, even though that's what it looks like. Actually, it is a box. Which is great, because you never know when the air assault troops will need a box! I mean, there's also the 6000lbs of stores that you can put in the box, but, let's face it, the box is more fun for kids and kitties. The rest is the usual ack-ack boom-boom stuff.

Here and There

The Berlin Airlift has ended again. "Heathrow" sighting. Lord Brabazon gave a speech to the Gauge and Tool Maker's Association last week in which he dwelt on the important fact that modern gliders aren't good enough when you compare them to seagulls. Poop less, though. The City of Yuma endurance stunt was supposed to end as Flight went to press, which means that it gets another round in the press. Someone, I think in Pennsylvania, sent five weather balloons packed full of cosmi-ray measuring instruments up to 136,000ft, which is a record.  W. J. Jakimiuk, chief designer at de Havilland Canada since 1940, has resigned. A boy who stowed away in the tail compartment of a trans-Atlantic York has been sentenced to three months imprisonment for endangering the aircraft, which had a dangerously-long takeoff run due to excessive tail load. Avro Canada gave a public showing of its Jetliner. C. D. Howe says it was "epoch-making." Glenn L. Martin has a new patent process replacing drop hammers in forming stainless-steel exhaust stacks.

"The French Aircraft Industry,Part II:  Basic Organisation Scheme: Improvements for the Future" If you were curious about what SNECMA, SOCEMA, SCAN and others mean, I have just the article for you! However, the french want to return most of these to the private sector, so if you do want to bother learning what the acronyms mean, it will still be of only historical interest in a few years.

"American Design Analysis" Ivan Driggs of the Research Division of the Bureau of Aeronautics of the Navy went over to London to give a talk to the R. Ae. S. Here is a five paragraph summary that, if you take it seriously, shows that the Navy's approach to design analysis is to plug everything into a magic formula and see if it comes out right. Math? Fluid dynamics? Who needs that stuff?

"Interplanetary Rockets" Flight turned out for a session of the British Interplanetary Society and was "genuinely surprised" by the amount of practical work being done. K. W. Gatland, A. M. Kunesch and A. E. Dixon gave a paper on "step rockets," which break down progressively, shedding parts to reduce weight, as it climbs out of the Earth's gravity. It sounds like a more complicated but efficient version of the "stage" idea, where entire stories of the rocket drop off one by one. R. A. Smith and H. E. Ross showed plans for a manned version of the V-2, first designed in 1945--46. It would carry an observer 180 miles into the upper atmosphere before plunging him or her into the heart of London at many times the speed of --Or it might have a parachute. Hard to say for sure. It's for science. And for more science, the observer could wear a "space suit," which H. E.  Ross has also designed, although he won't tell anyone about it until next month's session.

"Starting the Brab" Since the Brab flies on the efforts of a job lot of Bristol Centaurus engines, some of them coupled, it takes a lot of power to start, and needs to be fired up at 4000rpm give or take a few percent, or the "Iso-speedic" governor flings itself on the bed, presses its palm to its forehead, and is down for the count or until teatime. (Which is a dinner they have in England.)  So Bristol rigged up a two litre "Bristol" car to fire up at 4000rpm, perhaps with an electrical motor in the middle for better rpm control. The explanation could be clearer, but I don't see what else the 200-volt three-phase alternator in the middle is supposed to do.

American Notebook

"Favonius" is back to share details of what's up in America, where we are to assume he now is again. He was down to Santa Monica to see the Super DC, which has acquired another 1500lbs all up weight pending auto-feathering airscrews starting to work reliably, and a new and very ugly but also larger tail. Seems like a lot of work to keep the same aircraft flying, but if it keeps the old girl flying and kills all the would-be DC-3 replacements (the Ambassador ducks its head), it will do what Douglas needs it to do since it's already given up on its own DC-3 replacement in favour of vaulting forward into the future, wherever it is.

"Pilot's Pay"More exciting details of recent developments in pilot pay, also known as "Don't encourage your fiance to leave the Navy just yet." Slipped in at the bottom is mention of a reorganisation of British Messier, which is owned(ish) by Rotol whicih is partially owned(ish) by Bristol. 

"Corporations' Accounts: British Airlines Losses for Year Ended March 21st 1949" The British airlines lost money last year, but less than the previous year, which is more-or-less in line with long term plans. 

"Princes for the Navy" As suggested last week, Percival has flogged off some of their white elephants on the Navy. In completely unrelated news that is just below this, the latest Avon variant gives 6000lbs static thrust at sea level, the latest Ghost gives 5000. The Meteorological Office reports that a study shows that heavy rain really does cause aircraft to sink in flight. No word yet on what makes Hunting Aerosurvey share prices sink in flight.

"Noroway O'er the Faem" Some RAF planes went to Norway, which had pretty scenery. It's also possible to reference an old song and show that you are either very learned, or know how to look something up in Bartlett's. 

"Souvenir of Switzerland" Some very rich British people think that it's not snobby enough to just vacation in Switzerland when you can fly there and then vacation in Switzerland.

"Jet Bomber Cockpit " The B-45 sure has a complicated cockpit! What? That's not enough for an article? Okay, the dashboard is oriented 15 degrees from vertical, which makes it easier for the pilot to see it. In conclusion, our plane may be inferior to the Canberra in every way, but the USAF should buy it anyway, because you can seek the instruments better. Unless it turns out that the Canberra has its dashboard oriented for easy viewing, in which case we here at Martin just have egg on our faces.

Civil Aviation News

BOAC has reorganised to have fewer employees. KLM is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Hunting Aerosurvey is expeditioning to aerosurvey Iran again. Or the same. I'm so confused. Is this the same mission from last time, or another one? Raymond Hoadly, promoted from Aviation News to the New York Herald Tribune, points out that while the British have a passenger jet in development, an American one is five to eight years away(!) and that with devaluation it will be even harder for American firms to compete. A publicly-subsidised jet transport might be necessary, but the industry hates that idea because it might lead to nationalisation. It would prefer to just bid on Service contracts, because there you can count on the customer actually coming through with the money. BOAC expects its first Stratocruiser this weekend. Residents of Chipping Sodbury, which is absolutely not a name of a place in Britain, no matter how much the British pretend otherwise, and is probably actually a pseudonym for "Springfield," are assured that Stratocruiser testing at Filton won't be that loud. Meanwhile, the City of Bristol assures everyone that it is mad keen on the future of helicopter air services. Sabena is buying two more DC-6s to bring its fleet to 61 aircraft including five DC-6s, seven DC-4s, six Convair 240s, 17 DC-3s, one C-54, seven C-47s, six Doves and twelve "other." The company lost £135,000 last year.

Tourism set a record in 1949, and the crash of Lancaster III G-AIIJW of Flight Refuelling on high ground at Conholt Park on 22 November, killing all seven aboard, was probably due to the plane being homed on the wrong Eureka beacon. Various services are being improved and expanded in every way, including being reduced for the winter, and having fares lowered, or sometimes raised.

"Airwork Comes of age" Airwork is twenty-one years old and is going out on the town tonight. Airwork wants its room-mates to know that it is avoiding calls from Airwork's mother, which wants to know why Airwork hasn't found a nice manufacturing and engineering conglomerate to merge with and settle down.

"Safe Outlook: Current Developments by Triplex in Glass and Perspex in Aircraft" Flight was invited out to the Triplex plant at King's Norton to see the latest trends in tough and laminated glass production. Triplex wants everyone to know that it has a new laminating material --that is, the interlayer that goes between glass sheets to hold it in place so it doesn't shatter in all directions. It is called "Vinal," and as far as I can tell the fuss is about the improved temperature range it will tolerate. It also has a new process for blowing "bubble" canopies of Perspex, which it is applying to Sea Fury production to give better optical qualities. Also, there's something about toughened glass, but I think that was just an impressive display, and not something new.


I. B. Church is very disappointed in the quality of Airmet[?] transmissions. Which must be a continuous radio weather report that aviators use? First I've ever heard of it! Dennis Powell takes issue with "Favonius" being reminded of the Boeing 314 when he quotes various American designers who think that the Comet will need a new tail. He should also be reminded of the DH91, Boeing Stratoliner, DC-4 and Avro York, all of which needed new tails before they entered service. "Patient," being English, is concerned that there isn't enough "ventilation" on proposed air ambulances. If they're not blue and shivering, they're not ventilated enough! "Vibratrix" points out that the reason that there's lots of noise near airports is that modern airliners are very, very noisy for very good reason. The good news is that the industry is working on fixing the problem, and everyone will be able to get a good night's sleep again in ten or twenty years.

Business Roundup

In Fortune's read of the steel strike, it is going to be bitter, because of the principles which were at stake, the difference between "a welfare state" and a "welfare economy." Except that non-contributory pensions are vital to the "welfare economy," which is good, whereas the "welfare state" is bad. Hunh. I scratch my head. The 10 cents an hour, we're told, will lead to an increase of $3/ton on the price of steel, and the coalminers' strike, which is to secure money to top up their pension fund, which ran out of money last month,  is an indication of how far this could go. 

As for devaluation, on the one hand, it cut the price of sterling area exports. On the other, it triggered an avalanche of orders which had been deferred in expectation of devaluation. US exports are put at a disadvantage, the price of bread in Britain is going up from 4 1/2 to 6d, and the TUC is in trouble for backing the government's "hold-the-line" wage policy. However, taken together, Fortune is pleased as punch that the 'international log jam created by artificially high exchange rates ha[s] been broken." The usual Americans are upset, but, as Fortune points out, something has to be done if America expects to be paid for its exports. 

Also in the news, more signs that the business recession is over. More building, more inventory demand, car sales up, railways showing signs of revival due to the five-day week, which seems to be reducing pressure rather than traffic. In good old-time (as in, 1947-time) technology news, Chrysler's new disc brakes get a story that makes a lot more sense than Flight's entries on the subject thanks to including a drawing that you can actually grasp. 

Another bumper crop means high farm incomes in spite of sagging prices, thanks to price support. Farmers have become such an affluent set that the ailing brokerage industry has set up ads at state fairs to attract their money. Emery Flight Services is the latest nonsked to get a magazine write up. It only started making money this year! 

Off the Record reports that the A and P is having trouble satisfying the SEC that it isn't acting like a monopoly, while GM has decided not to cut its employees' wages under the cost-of-living clause, because the BLS says that it overestimated the fall in the cost of living by precisely enough to offset the planned cut, and "let well enough alone." The colour television fight continues. CBS is going to go ahead and broadcast test pictures when the FCC inquiry starts. RCA just says that it will demonstrate its screen projection system when the FCC asks to see it. A new San Francisco outfit, Colour Television, Inc, is selling its own line-by-line system. If the CBS system is approved, Teletone Radio Corporation will sell an adapter to convert existing televisions for under $100. Yugoslavia's price for being a "nuisance" to Russia a $20 million loan from the Export Import Bank. The FTC reports more monopoly and competition than it can hope or choose to fight. Fortune notes the way that Uncle Henry has profited from the FTC's attempts to reduce Alcoa's control of the aluminum industry by buying three plants from the General Services Administration for no-money-down deals, which isn't helping the taxpayer much. The FTC is also cracking down on Toni Co. for misleading ads suggesting that you can't tell the Toni Twins apart. It's true, you can't, but it is because they both went to the salon.

 Whiskey prices are down, the Mid-Western Stock Exchange has been born, and Westinghouse has hired a girl "atom smasher," Frances Pecjak, who is very young to be smashing atoms at 23. 

New Products

The Armour Research Foundation has found a way to add a magnetic sound track to the edge of a 16mm film so that home movie makers will be able to make "talkies," although recording conversation instead of voiceovers will have to wait for new cameras. Lostro, Inc, offers an electric blanket that "automatically adjusts to the heat needs of their bodies" with thermometers controlling four separate heating zones. GE has combined a fan with a heating coil to create a protable electric heater. New Yorkers can now buy Western Union's new Desk Fax, a facsimile machine less than a cubic feet in size with no operator, hooked up to the Western Electric lines. Pittsburgh Plate Glass's new double-entry silica pigment, Hi-S replaces carbon black for toughening rubber goods and can dye them every colour of the rainbow. The latest three resignations from Sewell Avery's board are noted as part of the "great tradition."

Fortune's Wheel

The publisher leads off with a story about fly fishermen being crazy before leading into the story about the Missouri Valley, which all the letter writers liked. This month's cover is by Walter Murch. 

Russell W. Davenport, "The Greatest Opportunity on Earth: There Exists in the American Tradition, a Realistic Alternative to the 'Welfare State:' And American Business can Provide it" As usual, Fortune's "brown pages" start off with some ideological piffle. This one takes up five pages at the head plus a long tail at the end of the magazine to say that maybe non-contributory pensions are okay if the alternative is higher social security payments. 

"Coal vs. The People" John L. Lewis isn't so bad. Mainly because he is easing the coal industry into its inevitable decline vis-a-vis oil and natural gas, when no-one else can. Also, Fortune is kind of okay with his pension fund. 

"New Chance in Germany" Things are going kind of okay in Germany, too. The Germans have avoided the nationalisation of the Ruhr industries, and are well on their way to setting up competing companies to divide businesses in the Ruhr into competing units, avoiding the dangers of "super state planning." Some guy named Ludwig Erhard is Fortune's hero.   

"SCAPitalism Marches On" It's Fortune's turn to take a swing at MacArthur. SCAP is an "economic bureaucracy," and Japan doesn't need an economic bureaucracy. 

"Mr. Keyserling's Position" Mr. Keyserling's defence appears on a page that didn't come out of the mimeograph any too well, so I have to rely on Fortune's response. It points out that Mr. Keyserling might think that he is on top of the business cycle, but the 1948 recession has a lot to do with the CEA's slowness to recognise a deflationary trend. Fortune agrees that the Eightieth Congress' tax cuts were ill-timed, but thinks that they  had a "healthy" motive. If Mr. Keyserling wants a smaller budget deficit, the solution is a smaller budget. Also, the American economy doesn't need anything like as much planning as Mr. Keyserling thinks. 

"Don't Fall in Love with your Product" Ekco makes nice kitchenware. 

Paul Drucker, "Keep the Carrot Dangling" High taxes apparently create an incentive to raise wages, because you  have to give a man $12,000 so that he can take the $3000 he deserves home. Workers hate pay differentials, executives seek secure jobs with "deferred compensation" in the form of pensions instead of striking out on  their own. Therefore tax cuts are the cure to pretty much every problem we have, although the conclusion is refracted through a cloud of more arcane proposals, like a cap of 50% on the effective income tax burden, income tax deductions on pension payments and/or bonuses. 

"The Golden Coast" A regional profile of the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and Texas, which is basically an article length version of those Chamber of Commerce-style "Why you should move your business here" ads. Nice pictures. 

"Conversation About Copper" Fortune drops around the big names in copper to see who they are. They're swell guys. Next, Fortune finds out what they think about copper. They think it's great. It's true that there might be a copper glut in 1950, but it is also true that the world might run out of copper before you know it. Who can say?

"Printing" The American printing industry consists of 13,000 plants, or maybe 37,000 if you expand your definition. Fortune reviews the main branches of the industry. They do it in a neat feature with lots of pictures. They don't come out well in Uncle Henry's mimeograph, but be sure to check out your copy when you get home if you're interested. And if you really are going to go in with a paper mill, you should!

"C. J. Duncan, at the University of Durham in England,
 was a pioneer. The earliest applications of computer-controlled
phototypesetting machines produced the
output of the Russian translation programs o
f Gilbert King at the IBM Research Laboratories. . ."
--Wikipedia. What the hell?
"Phototypesetting Machines" These have shown up in Fortune and Time before. You can appreciate why journalists would be interested, and they were a big part of the Chicago strike story. Fortune got its first Fotosetter from Intertype this year. It uses as mechanical-optical systemm with an adjustable lens turret with eight different lenses allowing eight different type sizes in a single font. Letters are focussed one by one on a moving strip of film, with lateral movement controlled by precision gearing and vertical spacing by perforations on the film. It's really only one step away from an old-fashioned typesetter, but replacing type-casting plates and pots with a camera unit is still a big step, and will lead to more radical electronic scanning equipment with a speed of 600 words a minute in the next years. They might also be adaptable to letterpress, if some way of deep-etching on letterpress plates is developed.

"The Future in Offset" This article features Reader's Digest's new Webendorfer offset press, designed to automatically produce four-colour pages up to 49 inches wide.  

"Philip Morris Comeback" "It pays to advertise --Philip Morris" The Philip Morris Tobacco Company is coming storming back on the strength of "sledge-hammer advertising."

Louis Ernst, "Inside a Soviet Industry" Louis Ernst went to work in the Soviet coal byproducts chemical industry in 1925.  From then until 1937 he was heavily involved in expanding the industry under the impetus of successive five year plans, working in several plants. When the Great Purge started, he was sent down to run a laboratory in the Ukraine, which is where he was when the war stared and he was put in charge of evacuating the plant and producing toluene for TNT. 

The Don basin was evacuated on four hours notice on 17 October as the Germans outflanked the basin, and were only 40 miles away. Ovens had their doors ripped off, glass retorts were smashed, mines flooded, furnaces frozen. Then came word that the Germans had been held, and that the evacuation could go a bit more slowly. Turbocompressors, steams turbines, pumps, tools, instruments, cables and motors were packed and loaded on flatcars, one leaving each day in a forty-to-fifty car train, accompanied by some 500 engineers and functionaries. Ernst left on the 28th and last train on a 2500 mile trip to Kuznetsk. The train spent two weeks skirting the front on a double-tracked line, the only one still operating out of the Donbas. One line was crowded for its full 300 mile length with freight cars loaded with wheat, sugar, machinery, apparatus, hides and industrial raw materials. On both sides of the train were the carcasses of catle and horses. The cargo on the cars was a dead loss, becaue the Russians could not move them for lack of locomotives and hopeless overloading of the east-west railroads. 

. . And then he skips ahead to his return to the liberated Voroshilvosk plant in May of 1945! Food was scarce, moral at an all time low, a single 30-cent American K ration selling for 8 rubles at the official price, 30 on the black market. 

Francis Williams, "The Moral Case for Socialism" I know that my youthful idealism exasperates you almost as much as your son's does. (Frankly, I wouldn't be so youthfully radical in these commentaries if i though you read them!) So I won't bother you with an extended summary of this article by the former editor of the Daily Herald. Except that the business recession threatens all of us.There is no bulwark an individual can build that will infallibly save them from ruin in a depression. The notion that opportunity is so abundant in American capitalism that it can do this is pie-in-the-sky idealism worse than the cloud castles built by many Communists. 

"Timing a Fair Day's Work" Remember Taylorism? Here comes Methods-Time Measurement to do all of that unscientific old-time industrial engineering on its head by substituting real science. Inventors Harold B. Maynard, G. J. Stegemerten and John L. Schwab's Methods-Engineering Council can bring you all the accuracy and efficiency that the industry  has promised since Frederick Taylor. 


  1. Were you aware of this?

    1. More!

  2. . . . Maybe? I had a vague impression that "about now" is when the first glimmerings of GUI were seen. I've no idea where I might have gleaned the impression, though. Annals of the History of Computing maybe? Someone at ASWE wrote a great article about torpedoes that ran sometime in the war years, and I've always wanted to follow that up, but not to the extent of tackling the indexes of Engineering and The Engineer.