Saturday, January 6, 2024

Postblogging Technology, September 1953, I: Scupper me Skull-and-Crossbones!

Vancouver, Canada

Dear Father:

It was so good to see you in London, and you were so sweet with Nat. McGraw-Hill certainly didn't where it is by paying its correspondents too much! now I know why they were so slow to admit that the Russians had a hydrogen bomb. Actually, no-one has a hydrogen bomb! I suppose I shouldn't be any more clear than that, lest I reveal the big secret here in my secret letters.  

I'm still mad that you couldn't stay long enough to take in Farnham. I do understand. You're only back in the land of your disgrace on Her Majesty's Secret Service. I hope you will find Vancouver well and that you will listen to  your doctor, no matter how badly that is working out these days for someone taking the new wonder drugs, and have a good long rest. 

I would to, but I'm in London

Your Loving Daughter,


The Economist, 5 September 1953


"The Unions and Socialism" The TUC's annual congress is coming up so The Economist takes a couple of pages to argue with what they're probably going to say, unless they don't, in which case it will be the trade  unions admitting that The Economist is, as always, right. 

"Demagogy at the Uno" Henry Cabot Lodge's speech to the General Assembly on the Korean armistice negotiations was just a series of public opinion-approved velleities, and that's not going to get us anywhere. Bring back secret diplomacy!

"Money for Malaya" The annual subsidy for the Malayan Federation is up for discussion, so let's have a couple of meandering pages about the future of Malaya. It will be independent, but what does independence mean? It will be multicultural and multiracial, but what does that mean? Etc. 

"Middlemen of Travel" The Economist paid far too much for its summer tour, in spite of which the industry isn't making as much profit as you would think, considering that its gross revenues are up threefold since 1938. Why is that? Well, there's probably a reason, but we're just going to close out with a meditation on how hard it is to run a small travel agency, and how you really have to know your market. 

Notes of the Week

"Invitation to Lugnano" Malenkov says that he wants to resume normal diplomacy, so the Western powers have invited him to Lugnano to talk about Germany and Austria, and if that goes well, other things. The conference will open at the same time as the Geneva talks over the Korean peace, so maybe the Soviets will be suckered into thinking that the two can be linked. It seems like it is going to be harder to trick them that way if you say right out in The Economist that it's just a clever ruse, but what do I know about diplomacy? More than Cabot Lodge the Younger, but that's not saying much! There might be a way to get Red China into the UN and Formosa its own place in the world, if the Chinese will just abandon North Korea, The Economist supposes. Arthur Greenwood and Herbert Morrison will go head to head for the position of Labour Party Treasurer at the upcoming annual conference, and it will be a sad and uncomfortable thing to watch, although Labour must be doing something right considering that official membership is at 6.1 million, up 250,000 from last year. The Electrical Trades Union is going to strike, and that's terrible. Everyone is chipping in to help the Ionian islands after the August earthquakes. Churchill is meeting with various ministers individually to sort out whatever needs to be sorted out ahead of the next Parliamentary session in October. Is Churchill too sick to sit in Parliament? Are his preferred deputies too sick? Is everyone else fighting? Speculate now, find out later! Rome and Belgrade are fighting over Trieste again, but this time it's probably serious and deserves a long Note. The Soviet Union has loaned China 5 billion rubles so that it can buy Russian stuff, so it's aid for both countries! There's still no agreement on whether private television stations will have sponsors. The Economist really hoped that the new politicians of the new Central African Federation would just ignore race issues, but it turns out they won't, and that one party wants segregation, one doesn't, and the middle party kind of wants segregation. It's all most disappointing, so the Colonial Office is going to put more Africans in the legislative council and possibly add them to the executive council so that the Federation is a country, and not a convenient place for a race civil war. The Economist suggests expanding the African franchise, as well.

"Arms and the Arabs" The Arab League is meeting to implement the defence council envisioned in its 1950 security pact.Egypt is  hoping for a joint Arab force to take over Canal Zone security, command on the strength of having the largest army, with four divisions to Iraq's three, Syria's two, and Jordan's one, and weapons standardisation, with Egypt's small arms factories getting the contracts. It is hard to see how the other three countries would agree to this if it were not for the $1.8 billion in Mutual Security money on the table, but even it isn't certain because the Americans want peace with Israel, and Iraq doesn't want to spend enough money on guns to qualify. The Balkan security pact talks continue, it is suspected that the Soviets are publishing false or misleading economic statistics. The "settler's plan" for Kenya now released by Michael Blundell and the Electors' Union seems about as suspicious as the turn in politics in the Central African Federation. The Ministry of Education's report on the school building programme has reached the twelfth volume, on night school. There aren't enough night schools, either. The situation is, in fact. "squalid." The World Medical Association has held its first conference on doctor's education. It has concerns, mainly having to do with doctors' relations with patients. Mauritius has had an election, and has elected a Labour government because the Ralliement Mauricien is the party in power and Mauritians are dissatisfied with various things. As usual, they are intractable problems requiring "coordination," which in this case seems to mean that all the Commonwealth countries should take their fair share of Mauritian migrants so that the islands' overpopulation problem can be solved.


Fritz Ter Meer and Josiah Dubois lay out the "ugly record of I. G. Farben" in Die IG Farben Industrie Akten Gesellschaft and Generals in Grey Suits. Which is to say that Dubois does. Ter Meer gives us a nostalgic account of a gentle and socially-minded organisation, and it is left to Dubois to use extensive Nuremberg testimony to portray a company that made extermination gasses with slave labour and used its Nazi connections to take overe its competition all over occupied Europe. Hugo Pipping's The Standard of Living: The Concept and Its Place in Economics is an attempt to investigate the concept sociologically in respect to individual needs. That is, one person needs to save, another to look after their family. That same person's priorities will shift over a lifetime. Coming up with a way of stating the "standard of living" for every individual in a way that would be useful for econometrics sounds hard! And it's made worse by the fact that Pipping is an academic writer, which, if you know, you know. The suffering makes it worth reading!   Michael Balfour's States and Mind is "a treatise on the limits and functions of . . a liberal democracy or a people's democracy." Interesting but disappointing. James Sutherland's The Oxford Book of English Talk explores six centuries of the way that people talk in England. The Economist liked it. Ralph Partridge's Broadmoor looks at the famous inmates of Britain's asylum prison. G. W. Keston and G. Schwarzenberger edit Current Lega Problems, 1953, fifteen studies of various legal problems from discrepancies between the German and French texts of the Bonn and Paris Treaties to the constitutional crisis in South Africa and the Unesco copyright convention. How do you even review such a thing? It's very interesting, though. Eric Partridge's You Have a Point There is a fun book about punctuation, and yes there so can be such a thing! Sydney Bailey's Parliamentary Government in Southern Asia is yet another worthy book from the Institute of Pacific Relations. Demitri Shinkin's Minerals: A Key to Soviet Power has a summary for a title. H. A. Wrenn's The Parent's Guide to Secondary Education is a good guide to the recent changes in British public education. 


John McCallum Scott explains why traditional liberal parties aren't conservative parties, even though they sure look like it. It's because other parties are even more conservative! "An American Reader" is worried that Rhee will ignite a new Korean war. R. Kelf-Coffin agrees with The Economist that there are far too many cars parked in London, thanks to all the bombed-out sites and the inclusion of cars in "remuneration," and something should be done about it. A. R. Low of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand corrects some statistics. 

American Survey  

It's all white supremacy with these guys, isn't it?
"Cleavages Among Allies" The United States' decision to coerce its Latin American and other dependent allies to vote against Britain, the entire Commonwealth, and all the Arab countries that Secretary Dulles has been wooing, the entire Nato alliance except Greece, and the Soviet bloc,  on the proposal to seat India at the Korean peace talks. French abstention was purchased by opposing demands to seat a Moroccan representative in the Assembly, ruffling further feathers. The original American position might have been that India would be invited if the Communists agreed to broaden the negotiations, but Lodge did such a bad job of presenting the American position that the whole thing quickly blew up even before Dulles gave that idiotic speech about how the UN is bad and wrong. Although to be fair that was probably an attempt to ward off the Bricker Amendment.

American Notes

"Budget Turns a Corner" It's been only two months since the Eisenhower Administration turned in its fiscally prudent 1954 budget deficit of $9.4 billion, but now Secretary Humphries thinks it will come in at $3.8 billion and that the 1955 budget will be balanced. This also means that the national debt will not hit its legislative limit this year, especially given the current Treasury bond offer, over which the magazine salivates for an entire Note's worth of "news." The wool tariff is up for discussion again, and the American Bar Association has decided to kick out all Red lawyers, and investigate why some lawyers keep trying to defend Red clients like they're people or something. 

"Fire Changes Gears" The Livonia fire is bad for GM, but not terrible because it has so much money it doesn't matter that it was underinsured, and has such a large share of the market that its competitors can't use the opportunity to gain a larger share of the market. 

The World Overseas

"Electioneering in Germany" Will the Germans elect Adolf Hitler in disguise? Well, no, but maybe. Also, two articles in the Soviet press seem to contradict each other (actually one article and a poem about the hydrogen bomb in Literaturnaya Gazeta), and that probably means something maybe. Kashmir blah blah! East Germany is probably in trouble with all that planning going on. It is also having trouble trading with China because it can't supply the Chinese with the kinds of machine tools they want, while the Chinese are tied of the East Germans re-exporting Chinese goods at a profit when there are alternative ways to get Chinese exports of tung oil, bristles, and feathers to the West. 

The Business World

"Where Real Resources Go" Excluding 1946 and 1947 because of the after effects of the war, it is time to look at trends from 1948 to 1952. Britain's national income of £13.65 billion is up a bit more than a third from prewar, about two-thirds of that increase being due to inflation. Of the "real" increase of £1.1 billion, half has been absorbed by government expenditure, a fifth by increased personal consumption, and £447 million by "improving the external balance," but £84 million of that had to be found by running down capital stock. ((Increase in fixed investment was about £150 million, but stockpiling expenditure fell by about £230 million, eyeballing a bar chart that isn't worth clipping.) Defence absorbed two-thirds of public expenditure, rising from £747 million to £1.48 billion, or by about £400 million in real terms. Since wages rose by 10%, it seems surprising that personal consumption only rose by 3%, but it is reflected in the rise in personal savings, which does not factor into the national income calculation. Capital formation seems to be up between a quarter and a third from the Thirties slump, and it is far from clear that it is enough to offset actual (as opposed to tax-deductible) depreciation. 

"Limited Freedom for Grains"  The decontrol of British grain imports is discussed. 

Business Notes

Apart from what seems to be the first signs of the next balance of payments crisis and a brief breakdown of the 3% increase in industrial production over 1951, led by steel and cars, the first three pages of Notes is all finance. We also learn that the next Gatt talks have a full agenda, including the accession of Japan, Australian demands for a full revision, and British resistance to same. Employment is down 32,000 in the metals, engineering, and automobiles group, producing a net decline in engineering employment in spite of aircraft increasing by 12,000 and scientific instruments by 7000, plus 5000 in radio, and 2000 in railway wagon making. Also, autos are at record production in spite of losing 2000 jobs. The Radio Show is on, which is a good opportunity to complain about the electricians strike. British radio exports are facing limits in expanding their market in Latin America. the Finance Corporation for Industry is getting out of steel with the upcoming denationalisation because it just doesn't have the money. The International Bank for Reconstruction is giving South Africa another $60 million line of credit. The Economist is worried that approval for importing other artificial fibres from Commonwealth countries is the thin edge of a wedge that will doom rayon. (At least, I think that's what I'm supposed to think when the magazine talks about "rayon's peak.") 

Flight, 4 September 1953


Flight welcomes visitors to the Farnham Display with a trilingual message to the effect that fall is time for turkey, pumpkin pie, and low-flying jets. Seriously! Celebrating the harvest, which happens to include said jets. 

From All Quarters

It is hoped that Squadron Leader Neville Duke will set the world speed record in a Hawker Hunter before Farnham opens. Employment is up in the aircraft industry at last, Air France has its Comets in service, the Comet 2 (Avon) prototype was in Zurich the other day. Flight is happy with the TUC's temporising position on aircraft industry nationalisation. Sabena's passenger helicopter service is operating. The big Soviet Air Show that was postponed in August was held on Sunday. No new types were seen, but there were more jets in the display and the show was good. 

Here and There reports that the Rolls Royce Conway high-bypass turbojet is off the Secret List. Canada has tested an air-to-air guided missile on the Sabre. A Canberra Mk. 7 PR is reported, although the Canberra 6, if it exists, is still on the List. United Aircraft Corporation says that a new engine (presumably the J-57) is pushing a new fighter (presumably the F-100) consistently above the speed of sound.  The Douglas Skyrocket has achieved a new high altitude of 83,233ft. (a record for rocket planes launched from B-29s!) Fokker is to build 460 Hunters under license for European air forces. 

"Preludes and Overtures" We can expect to see a Britannia with Proteus 750s, a Bristol 173 with stub wings, models of a Saunders-Roe fifty sea helicopter "rotor coach," hydroski fighter, and pulsejet stage for existing engines. Vickers will show its newly-completed Valiant B. Mk 2 "Pathfinder," with a second completed Mk 2 being held back to prepare for the New Zealand Race. A Comet will be on show, and a Blackburn Beverley, Short Seamew, Non-planes on display will include new wide-angle cameras for photo reconnaissance, new materials with high stability in the presence of high temperature materials, for detecting same, a fatigue meter which uses electrical current to detect and count the number of times that six pre-selected acceleration limits are exceeded.

And that's the editorial content for the Farnborough Special Issue. I could exhaust myself listing all of the ancillary equipment on display, but I would be summarising what are already very brief summaries (Example: "De Havilland Propellers . . . are licence-producing the Hamilton-Standard cold-air unit for incorporation into all types of high-altitude cabin systems. Fed with compressor-bleed air at high temperature and pressure, this neat unit cools th eflow by expansion across a turbine, the turbine being braked by a fan which draw a separate flow of cooling air through heat exchangers in the cabin-air circuit. The cold-air unit is robust and simple, and has a particularly noteworthy lubrication arrangement; a grease cartridge exude oil which flows to the bearings; when the unit cools after use the oil flow ceases.") Given Reggie's interests, I've kept an eye on control devices, and there are some "cybernetic" ones, including an autopilot from Elliott for the Jindivik drone, but even there offerings are likely to be more "mechanical," as for example the same company's autostabiliser for countering high speed yaw, which is a rate-gyro that sends an electrical signal through a magnetic amplifier to a control unit which commands a servomotor.The "cybernetics" is all in the rate gyro, and while gyros are mysterious, they are cybernetic. 

 The Economist, 12 September 1953


"A New Germany" I guess there was nothing to worry about after all! It's okay though, because we can start worrying about the next election! But not too much worry, because that would be "timid." Just the right amount of worry about the German voters going authoritarian or the old militarists coming back! 

"Marking Time in Cabinet" The Economist is disappointed with the cabinet shuffle, as it thought that the idea of coordinating ministers had merit, and is disappointed to see the experiment abandoned. 

"Handling China" America is insane on the subject of China and Britain isn't, but you can't say that without starting a screaming fight at the dinner table that they'll hear at the neighbours even over the Iron Curtain. So instead we'll pretend that Washington has a policy that isn't closing your eyes really tight so  you can't see Red China and paying the French to drop bombs on the Viet Minh because they're sort of like Red Chinese. So as an alternative it is suggested that Britain discretely prop up Formosa, too, just to show willing. 

"Vertical or Horizontal Living" On the one hand there is the garden city; on the other there's now Le Corbusier's Unite d'Habitation, now out as a book in Britain, and a building in France. Le Corbusier is very argumentative in his new book, and he is a very annoying Frenchman (or Swiss, to be precise)  but it looks like the "big block" is here to stay.

Notes of the Week

The TUC seems to be moving to the right, Labour is fighting over interparty peace, Nothing is happening in Trieste again, France is about to have another crisis over the cost of living, as absolutely nothing else could possibly go wrong there. Speaking of which, everything is just fine in North Africa notwithstanding young Mr. Mitterand's resignation from the cabinet. Why Marshal Juin, French settlers, the Moroccan feudal nobility, and the Bey of Tunis are all fine with the current situation. Which even The Economist has to admit is an "odd coalition." The Minister of Labour has intervened in the electricians' strike, water companies are upset that the TUC wants to nationalise them, and the latest Conservative Political Centre report has determined that the only way to increase the personal saving rate is with more tax incentives, since savers seem to ignore interest rate changes according to this study we did by grabbing a few likely numbers off a big chart, ha ha, wrong again, Lord Keynes! The Soviets have finally resumed publishing information about the size of their armed forces, which might be in the range of 2.5  million. Nato might get some kind of consultative assembly, because why not? The Turks are working to improve their balance of payments difficulties, the BBC is losing money, South Africa's Unity Party had a caucus revolt because more members want white supremacy than don't, the POWs who confessed to carrying out "germ warfare"  in Korea have repudiated their confessions on release. On the one hand, I'm not surprised. On the other, I'm still not, and it is hard to believe The Economist is being serious when it says that this is "new light" on the allegations. Tortured then? Maybe! Under pressure now! Also maybe! The Ministry of Food is looking into the catering industry because there's just too much food poisoning going on. And we close with a weird editorial masquerading as a Note about how there was inflation under Dalton and Cripps, but it was "hidden," and now that the public understands that it will join the battle with inflationary policies that don't produce price increases.

From The Economist of 1853 we have "The Price Mechanism," which explains why price controls are bad. What about wage increases, oh sage?


E. F. L. Birsch's The Principles and Practice of Management sounds like a very worthy book. Isobel Ryan's Black Man's Town is an excellent reminder that the Commonwealth exists and is really, really important. Benjamin Thomas' Abraham Lincoln is an excellent biography that "reconsiders" Lincoln. (Just wait 'till the From the Economist series hits 1860!) A. E. Smailes' The Geography of Towns is also worthy, but G. S. Fraser's The Modern Writer and His World is "inadequate," which hardly captures the devastating tone of the review, which makes Fraser out to be an idiot of the first order. Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin's Stars in the Making is "handsomely produced" and "sane, sound, and sympathetic . . ." E. Moberly Bell's Storming the Citadel, about women's battle to join the British medical profession, is given a sympathetic review. Apparently, all problems are on the cusp of final solution! Some legal books are also out.  


Captain Pugwash's creator, John Ryan, had a daughter named Isobel, but she's not the author of Black Man's Town. But the timing's right!

American Survey

"Vulnerable America" The Alsop brothers have been warning about America's vulnerability to atomic attack for six months, drawing attention to an alleged National Security Council study, Project Lincoln, which ostensibly shows that the Soviet Union will be able to carry out a devastating atomic attack within two years and that a vast programme of fighter, radar, and rocket defences must be launched immediately. The Soviet hydrogen bomb shows that it is much more urgent, because America has lost its presumed four-year lead. America must cooperate on atomic matters with its allies, and, if it is to build defences and deep shelters, abandon the balanced budget. But is there any will to do this? Gordon Dean and Robert Oppenheimer think that the American public needs more information about atomic matters, as does Paul Block of the Toledo Blade, the senior man on the atomic secret beat. Dr. Ralph Lapp, the Research and Development Director of the AEC, wants more information about Project Lincoln and Project East River (the civil defence study). He would also like more information about the Red Air Force, and actual existing American atomic defences.

Against all of this is Lewis Strauss, the new head of the AEC, notorious for opposing the shipping of medical isotopes to a Norwegian military hospital three years ago, on secrecy grounds. He is supported by Eugene Zuckert of the AEC board, and unmoved by the British atomic bomb or recent developments in British guided missiles. However, the critics have a strong ally in the SAC, which believes that the best defence is a good offence, and is effective enough that last year's civil defence vote was a mere $38 million. So the question is whether the President will back Dodge's economy move, or boost civil defence spending. 


Professional baseball cannot decide whether broadcasting games is a good idea, in spite of the New York Yankees deal selling the rights to advertise on their game broadcasts for $600,000, far more than their heavy payroll.

American Notes speculates on the replacement for Chief Justice Vinson after his unexpected death. Governor Warren is said to be in line for the next Supreme Court opening. He was expected to replace Justice Frankfurter, now past the retirement age of 70, helping the President begin balancing the court politically after twenty years of Democratic nominations. Only one Justice is Republican, and Warren is a progressive Republican with support from Democrats as well as Republicans. On the other hand, while judicial experience is not a prerequisite for a seat on the Supreme Court, and  a "disturbing" number of sitting Justices lack it, the Chief Justice is another matter. But the President can hardly elevate the one sitting Republican, or a Democratic Justice. So it looks like Governor Warren will be bypassed, possibly in favour of former Senator Danaher or Judge Carroll Hincks. 

"Expansion Under Review" The cancellation of 1000 aircraft, more than half of them fighters, reflects the end of the Korean War, and isn't some hint of a retreat from the 120 wing air force. On the other hand, the curtailment of stockpiling will delay completion of the expansion beyond 1954. 

"Hot Work for McCarthy" Senator McCarthy  has been at work in Washington through the July heatwave, and also the threat of a sub-committee investigation of his tax records, which the Justice Department has now decided would not be appropriate. Now he is pushing to review Army loyalty board findings after catching those secret Communists at the GPO. 

"Vanishing Gap" The gap between American imports and exports has almost disappeared for the first time since the mid-Thirties due to lower agricultural exports. The Economist hopes that Americans will now learn their lesson about liberal trade policies, as the cause is foreigners surely finally noticing that they can't buy more American wheat and cotton than they sell in engineering oods, and not something else, like, Mr. Jevons would say, the decline of US petroleum exports.   

All the babies now means all the students, as a record 37 million students registered this year, with 10 million more expected by 1960, and a record $7.5 billion in funding making no obvious impression on the shortages of teachers and classrooms. The estimated present shortage of teachers is 345,000, and another 200, 000 will be needed by 1960. Yet only 48,000 new teachers qualified last year, and 70,000 left the profession. Average salaries went up from $3250 to $3400, but are still far behind the average wage. And there is movement on compulsory third-party insurance for car licenses, with two national insurers offering to underwrite mandatory policies to make them much cheaper, leading to lower insurance for about half of drivers. On the other hand, juvenile drivers will pay much more, but on the other hand again, at least in New York, juvenile drivers must carry insurance. 

The World Overseas

The OECD finds that Europe had a good year, and that a lot of it had to do with trade liberalisation. Italy's weak Christian Democrats have had to look to the right for support in parliament because obviously letting the Socialists into the government was unacceptable. One of the problems for  Giuseppe Pella's new government is that the Right is quite upset that nothing is still happening, and not happening quite vigorously, in Trieste. If Germany won't go neo-Nazi, maybe Italy will go neo-Fascist! The Soviets are doing their best to produce good products for the consumer, President Vargas is being accused of plotting a "coup from above" in Brazil, people have thoughts on Adenauer's victory over the forces of Red Communism, which is obviously what the election was about, except in France, where it was a blow against true, French-centred European unity. Romania is struggling with running a Communist economy. 

The Business World

Britain is throwing a giant tantrum at the Gatt, and The Economist has thoughts for financial investors. 

Business Notes 

Finance, finance, finance, finance for aircraft exports.

'Cuz the high temperature steam plant turned  out to be a fiasco, you see
"Wasted Energy" Fuel conservation is obviously important, but neither Britain nor the United States are likely places to find it, given that Britain used to have cheap energy, and the U.S. still does. So when a productivity working group on "Fuel Conservation" went over to the US a few months ago, you'd expect a short report blaming unions and praising American management. Instead, they decided to "formulate a national fuel policy." A Parliamentary committee said that wasn't on, and now there's to be a national fuel policy from a permanent Power and Fuel Board of the Ministry of Fuel and Power.  It all seems very plan-ish and un-American, which we can all agree is where we need to be going. Besides, comparison with American practice, what with the vast stores of  hydroelectricity and highest power consumption per head in the world, is stupid. As compared with comparisons with the American spirit of free enterprise, which should rule here, as everywhere, always. Recent news from the British cinema industry is distressingly positive, Australia's tax cuts are just great, and The Economist hopes for some aircraft sales to Lufthansa. Maybe they'll take some Hermes? DON'T DO IT, FRITZ! Copper and cotton are up, down or sideways. Pye, Limited, is planning to invade the gramophone business, which it will have to do in a big way to match up to Decca and EMI. It's true that Britain exports 8.6 million records  a year, but Pye might not be ready
to do what it takes to get a share of the business. Softwood lumber is the next to be decontrolled.

"More or Fancier Shoes?" How is it that, using the same machinery, often British, American workers produce more shoes in 60--74 man-hours than British workers do in 100? This seems like an obvious field in which to search out the Anglo-American Productivity Council's favourite enemies, bad management and restrictive labour practices. They do find that the best British shoe factories match American ones, and that some factories have improved since doing time-and-motion studies, and piece rates are, as usual, a panacea. However, The Economist reaches its limits when the Council gets on its last favourite subject, the excessive number of models and types and the great efficiencies of mass production. IN SHOES??? Have they met a woman? (And actually The Economist isd more feminist than I am willing to be on this subject by pointing out that men like fancy shoes, too.)

Flight, 11 September 1953


"A Colourful Farnborough" After going on about how fun Farnborough was this year, Flight fixes on Gordon McGregor's speech to the SBAC Dinner on Tuesday. The president of TCA explained why his company had opted for a British turboprop airliner over American designs. British designs are great, American firms are being driven to fantastic tooling expenses by the high cost of labour in their country, and British manufacturers are able to supply more custom tailoring because of it. There is no doubt that British designs are the fastest in the world, too, but McGregor cautions that he has no time for "hot" ships if it comes at a cost of safety at low speeds and near the ground. 

From All Quarters reports that "powerful City interests" have established a new firm, Air Finance, to export British civil aircraft under long-term leases. The Air Ministry has managed to offload 10 Tudors to some lucky duck. Short Brothers introduces its new Sherpa. This year's Wilbur Wright Lecture will be given by Professor N. J. Hoff, who is department chair for air stuff at Brooklyn Polytechnic, and who will be talking about "Structures: Buckling and Stability." Plans for the Amundsen Memorial Flight Over the North Pole Because We Want To Do It That's Why continue. Bristol is sending a lad to South America to sell planes and not start coups. General Guenther says that NATO needs more planes. 

Here and There reports that the US Navy is still trying to make us excited about the Douglas Skyrocket. New Zealand will have a rescue ship out in the middle of the Tasman Sea for the London-Christchurch Race. 

"The Curtain Rises" The weather was great at Farnborough and so were the planes. Here's even more pictures! But not, disappointingly, of the Vickers B2, prototype of the new transport and rumoured bearer of the Olympus engine. 

W. T. Gunston, "Pods Pros and Cons: Some Reflections on American and British Engine-installation Methods" British designs bury the engine, American designs put them in pods! British engines are more aerodynamic, American engines are more convenient! I take this apple and compare it to this orange. One has to be peeled, the other has no citrus-y taste at all! You might wonder why I'm going on about it, but there's already been an article in Aviation Week that I can crib and, Daddy needs a new pair of shoes! Gunston does point out that American wing loadings are enormous, which makes for high landing speeds (British are in the range of 70% of American), but allows for high aspect ratios and high cruising speeds for a given power rating. American wings need to withstand high stresses, and need to be extensively milled from thick sections, requiring expensive tooling. On the other hand, the British designs need undercarriages and engines which will actually fit into the wings, although on the other hand the undercarriages will accommodate much lighter airfields than American. British wings also gain superior climb and manoeuvrability, and don't have the problems with flappage that American planes have. Pods do reduce the amount of ducting , but this is not as  great an advantage as American designers make it out to be, and the maintenance disadvantage is less than is claimed. In conclusion, the zesty taste of the British orange makes it far superior to the firm flesh of the American apple. 

C. H. Latimer-Needham, "Hemisphere Bombing" Air Chief Marshal Lloyd says that the bomber "gives us the best chance of preventing war, and of winning it if it should be forced upon us." But that is only true if it is a good bomber! And just in case you are confused enough to think that what I say here has anything to do with my point, here is a diagram that seems to emphasise mid-air refuelling, followed by an entire article about it! One interesting implication is that the tankers should accompany the bombers, and this is best achieved by making tankers of the same aircraft type as the bomber. The current US arrangement with B-29 variants refuelling B-47s is, therefore, not a good idea. As Reggie says, refuelling a Neptune from a Neptune is much less nerve-wracking than refuelling a B-57 from a KC-97. 

"London's Anglo-American Conference" Flight has the agenda for the fourth Anglo-American Aeronautical Conference (but not the private sessions, so Reggie's paper isn't announced, although his co-author's separate presentation is, understandably considering!)

C. H. E. Warren, "Sonic Bangs: A Year's Theories Reviewed" I thought they had this sorted out! 

Civil Aviation reports that Sir Miles Thomas is very excited about the low costs and long ranges of the Britannia, and that he says he has no further information about the Karachi crash. Mullard announces that it is announcing the "radar sonde," which it can't be announcing, since I've been hearing about them for years. It's a radio weather balloon that reflects radar, it seems, and it will be used to measure wind speeds more accurately. KLM is entering a DC-6 into the London-Christchurch Race, the first KLM race entry since 1934. A mid-air collision between two Convair-Liners fortunately ended with damage but no injuries for the American and United aircraft involved. GEC's new mobile VHF radio extends an airport's telephone exchange system through a man-carried radio, perfect for when an airliner is lost somewhere on a fog-bound tarmac. Handley-Page's announced DC-3 replacement differs from all previous proposed DC-3 replacements in that it will actually work this time, for sure! Even though it is a four-engine type, which has been death for "DC-3 replacements," and is using the Alvis Leonides engine, the Great Shoulder-Shrug of the industry

Air Marshal Livelaw-Chapman will replace AVM Brook as Vice-Chief of the Air Staff after the latter's recent death in a flying accident. 

"Private Eye" Decca Radar's new Type 424 is a high-efficiency, pencil-beam medium-range radar that comes in a "package" form conveniently installed in small spaces. And the new Sabena inter-city helicopter service gets a full page article, because it absolutely is a good idea whose time has come


J. H. Stevens is upset that the Air Ministry isn't trying to save a few examples of every plane ever, because of history, and has just recently scrapped the last Hampden. J. M. Bruce recalls the old days, before the war, and especially the SE5. G. W. R. Nicholls seems to ber confused about the regulations for lifeboats aboard planes. J. D. R. Davies thanks Flight for its service to recalling the old days, before the war. J. H. Keller, the Auster distributor in Switzerland, is very disappointed with the geographical errors in the recent article about spraying bugs in Switzerland. It's the Rhone, not the Rhine! 

"A New British Air Camera" RAE is showing its new Williamson panoramic camera using long-focus lenses and swinging mirrors to give the wide angle previously provided by eight lenses. This is an application of movie camera technique, but with a moving lens. 

Fortune's Wheel points out that the business press has to predict the future, which is just about astrology, in that it is hard. I thought that astrology was impossible? And also that predicting the business future was easy, because of politics. If our guy gets in, it's going to be great. If not, the reverse. Kefauver wouldn't have landed us in this fix! So, anyway, the point is that it's September and we've finally got to admit that we're in the middle of the Eisenhower slump, and the important point is that it is just a tiny-weeny little slump, a "businessman's depression," and you're not a businessman, dear reader, are you? You just pretend to be one! No, no, pretend I didn't say that. I mean, it won't be much of a downturn, probably. 

Business Roundup reports that the slowdown in Soviet expansion means a redirection to agriculture and consumer production and a reduction in arms expenditure, which means that the West can do likewise. Defence outlays have peaked at 14% of GNP, and will now decline, which is why capital outlays show a declining rate of machinery procurement, one of several signs of that moderate slump that is coming. Or, technically, already here, and which will probably be over by August. GNP is expected to slump by 4% by August. At the moment, incomes are still rising, although savings are falling, so it is not clear just how much this will affect normal people, the question being employment, although it is not asked here, where the writers are more worried about capital goods and home building. 

Labour looks at the UMW's difficulties organising the Kentucky coal mines, and at how everyone is happy and onboard with the President on the labour side of the Administration. Defence and Strategy checks in with the Chiefs of Staff, who are suddenly faced with a combination of hydrogen bombs and economy drives. A reorientation to atomic war means more focus on things like the Forrestal and the Heavy Press programme, so necessary to make those remarkably long, strong, flexible wings for the B-52 and any competition that might eventually show up from Convair before the day of the supersonic delta dawns. Along with the Forrestals, the Navy is modernising one of its three Midways, and is building three destroyers, a submarine, five mine warfare types, a bunch of amphibious craft, escort ships, and a third Forrestal and atomic submarine. The Navy is worried that the slow building programme means that the Navy is drifting into mass obsolescence, especially the carriers, which are becoming dangerously unstable due to all the changes at flight deck level. The Forrestals are needed not so much because of novel roles in atomic war as because we need carriers, and they are the smallest ones practical for modern jets. (Bad news for the Admiralty!) Speaking of which, the Air Navy has egg on its face after Korea, where its jet fighters were no match for the MiG-15. It needs swept-back wing jet fighters, which it is getting in the Grumman F9F-6 Cougar and Chance-Vought F7U-3 Cutlass, followed by the F4D and F3H. Speaking of planes, the Pentagon has now reduced the Heavy Press programme from 25 to 10 presses, costing $300 million as opposed to the original budget of $89 million. Besides escalating costs and the fact that the full programme would be able to process 12 million pounds a month compared to total peak air industry demand for 11 million pounds of metal  a month, there were technical problems with the too-ambitious programme, which was squeezing the chrome out of aluminum alloys and failing to achieve the precision needed to avoid expensive machining. 

"Whose Business is the Business Cycle"  
Some people say that the President is in charge of maintaining the stability of the economy. Including the President, a few months ago, but, really, it's harder than it looks, and it is time to take a hrd look at who is really responsible. You, dear reader,  you. So we review all the ways that business can promote stability and are dumped back on the Administration. It is the President's job. Fortune is upset at the New York Jeweller's Association for calling for price maintenance and cartels; at British steel denationalistion for promoting corporate concentration, reducing 220,000 shareholders ast 28 firms to whatever buyers the London investment houses. Carbon dioxide is another cartelised industry. Representative B. Carroll Reese continues to find the tax-exempt foundations to be too liberal for his tastes. Fortune finds this too demagogic for its tastes. Eastman Kodak is showing how benevolent capitalism can be by building a hospital. Patent licensing seems to be a great way to fund universities. The US Council of the International Chamber of Commerce says that Americans have to grow up and accept east-west trade. Fortune does not agree! It is also a bit cautious about all this talk about liberalising international trade. Paul Mazur's new book says that it is a patriotic duty for Americans to spend and consume. 

Charles J. V. Murphy, "What Dr. Fuchs Couldn't Deliver" Mass-produced atom bombs. That's what Klaus Fuchs couldn't deliver. But the AEC can! This is an odd article, seemingly going back to the days before the debris from the Soviet blast crossed the border, but perhaps trying to get across the shortage of U-238 fissile products indicating a predominantly fission rather than fission-fusion weapon, and, oh, look, we're going up for treason together if anyone ever intercepts this letter. "For Soviet science, far less experienced in the actual technology of atomic-weapon design, to have beaten the AEC is scarcely credible." Murphy supposes that the Soviet atomic arsenal is only a thirtieth the American, and the Soviet intercontinental turboprop bomber is not ready for service. The US, in comparison, might be able to fit all the fissile material ever  made into a bank vault, but that is still the most explosive power, etc, etc. The AEC is doing that at a cost of a mere $17 billion, which is far cheaper than tanks. And we should probably use them like tanks, for example if the Korean armistice breaks down. 

Mark Woolsey, "A 'Business-Minded' Supreme Court" A few recent rulings have been pretty good, so let's write an article about it that won't look at all embarrassing when the chief justice drops dead and we have a whole new Supreme Court on our hands. A look at the American car market concludes that Americans are crazy about cars, a pictorial essay on the giant concrete sphere where they're developing the atomic nuclear reactors follows that, and then a demand for "Currency convertibility Now" from Michael A. Heilperin. 

"Shock Treatment for Parke, Davis" A Fortune investigatory report looks at the disaster when its new antibiotic wonder drug, Chloromycetin, turned out to be poisonous. Oops! Focussing on the important thing --finances-- we look at how Parke, Davis saved the day for everyone except the 28 people killed before the drug was withdrawn. Dr. Eugene Payne, who took Chloromycetin, discovered in the soil of the Venezuelan rain forest, established its efficacy against typhus, and used it to treat 21 patients in a Bolivian clinic. Further testing on Malayans led to a trial at Philadelphia against Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, against which it was also effective. So, a year later, the drug was launched onto the market. Within a year there were reports of an unexpected side effect, dyscrasias. And what a convenient place to skip to the pictureless continuation of the article on p. 208, where the first case of death due to aplastic anemia caused by the drug's attack on the bone marrow, was reported in the AMA Journal, followed by the other 27. Parke Davis's response was "meticulously correct." It stopped promoting Chloromycetin. Not guilty, as Fortune says. Three years from discovery to market, three short clinical trials, only one of them in America, and then mass market launch. I don't see any negligence! (I'm being sarcastic. And appalled.) 

In the back of the paper, where we don't have back pages any more, a three page pictorial article about a Japanese abstract sculptor and one on the boom in paperback sales. 

Eric Hodgins, "Power from the Sun" The Sun provides us with amazingly more energy than anything else. The question is how to use it aside from farming. It isn't very "dense" energy, so it has to be collected somehow. Once we do that, solar energy will beat out atomic energy, much less fossil fuels, which are, after all, going to run out. Solar energy remains the province of a few eccentric promoters like Godfrey Cabot Lodge, who gave Harvard and MIT $600,000 to work on it before the war, and Charles Ketteridge, who putters with it (large scale puttering, but puttering) since his retirement., mainly in photosynthesis. If we could lick "artificial" photosynthesis, that would be best. We could capture and store energy as efficiently as plants, and plants can be very efficient. Another possibility is generating electricity by turning solar heat into steam, using various ways to "collect" and focus the heat. Or we could use films of algae, which seems to be a very efficient way of utilising photosynthesis. Or, in the long run, perhaps we could use photovoltaic cells to generate electric current directly.  


  1. Fortune data visualization designer obviously feeling their oats that week!

    1. And the same installment as the annual Farnborough plane porn fest. Truly an embarrassment of riches.