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In this work the British Trade Corporation should be of great service. It is advisable also to consider some of the deficiencies in our existing methods of doing business, which prevent our financial strength from assisting the general business as much as it should do. In the first place we should desire to associate the British investor more closely with British industry than has been the case. It is curious that foreign industry receives in some directions more support from us than does British industry. It has been said, and we believe it has been true, that in many cases where an English investor holds some 15,000l. or 20,000l. in commercial securities, a very large proportion of these securities will be in the bonds of concerns which represent industries carried on in foreign countries, and that, while there will be some in securities of companies and corporations in the Dominions, only a small proportion will be in British industries. This is not merely a question of the return made to the holder from his investment. Frequently the foreign investments are not more remunerative to the British holder than are British investments. The large investments recently made in our War Loans have doubtless made a great difference in this, while the sale of the foreign securities has been of great service to the country by providing capital abroad where it was needed.
But we hope that, when better days come, the habit of assisting foreign rather than British industries will not revive. It is an unfortunate thing that in the majority, if not in the whole, of the drapers' shops in our large cities, including London, it is a matter of indifference to the shopkeeper from what source, whether foreign or English, his commodities come. The price and the expectation of sale at a profit are all that he considers. Foreign countries protect their industries; but this raises too large and controversial a question to be discussed here and now. Yet, before we leave the subject, we may point out that the requirements of our laws governing the manner in which our principal industries are carried on, in the way of air-space allotted to each worker and similar arrangements for their comfort, with health and accident insurance, cause an expense to our manufacturers of fully 20 per cent. on
the labour-cost of production, from which foreign competitors are free. We are thankful that our operatives are thus assisted, but is it fair to our manufacturers that they should have to meet these charges when their competitors are exempt because they live in another country?
While we should develope our connexion with foreign business, we should not forget that our own country requires equally assiduous care. With regard to business abroad, we are glad to see that some of our banks have established foreign branches. These branches are generally, we might almost say universally, confined to Europe. There is room for similar industry further afield. For example, we may mention the Commercial Bank of Spanish South America, an English bank with an office in the City, which is but little known to the general public. It is not a deposit bank in the ordinary sense of the term. It advances money to planters and industrial firms guaranteed by mortgages on the borrowers' properties. The bank markets the crops and other products of the customers, and acts as agent for the purchase of manufactured and other goods in Great Britain and elsewhere. In this way it has created a considerable British trade with the smaller South American countries. This has been very useful to our commerce, and we hope to see the example followed.
No very distinct arrangement has yet been mentioned as to the method by which the funds which will be required by the British Trade Corporation for carrying out its operations are to be raised. Care must be taken that it does not compete unduly with the existing banks of the country, which depend almost entirely on their deposits for their power of usefulness. In this respect, might not the system followed by the Credit Societies of France be employed here? Their resources are, to a large extent, procured by the issue of Premium Bonds. This method has not at present been favoured in this country. The system may be sketched out as the issue of a large number of small bonds, for 10l., or 201., bearing a low rate of interest. At fixed periods a considerable number of these bonds are drawn for payment. Of the number paid off, a very small number, perhaps only two or four of a total of, we will say, 50,000 or 60,000, are paid off at a very high premium, say 10007.
each; a large number receive a smaller premium; and the remainder are paid off at par. Such a system is likely to attract the working classes, to whom the offer of a moderate rate of interest does not appear to offer a sufficient inducement to put by against 'a rainy season.' At all events, no one who invests his money in this manner ought to lose anything.
Nor must we forget the need of greater enterprise among our own industrial concerns. We are apt, for instance, to think that in a textile industry, when we have obtained the newest and best looms and other machinery, and also the best raw material, we have dore all that is necessary, not only for safety but for progress. This is far from being the case. In all industries there should be a department for research work; that is to say, for discovering new methods of applying existing materials and new developments generally. Work like this is very expensive, and requires the employment of great scientific ability and of considerable business aptitude. We are thankful to know that further developments are being made in these directions. Such research work frequently exceeds the power of any individual concern, yet it is essential to success. While the separate concerns cannot venture on the outlay which may be necessary, it is no less essential that the outlay should be made. This is another branch of enterprise which a well-developed industrial Trade Bank institution should bear in mind. In doing this it may assist in carrying out the work of the Committee of the Privy Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.
We have ventured on these remarks in order to give hints as to some of the work which has to be carried out unless this country is to drop behind in the race for success. A century ago, and even more recently, such work was not needed. Our trade institutions were competent for the task which they had to perform. We are now passing into a different stage of both mental and business activity; and it lies with us either to meet and overcome the difficulties which confront us, or else to be surpassed by other nations. We cannot doubt what course this country will take.
R. H. INGLIS PALGRAVE.
Art. 9.-COMMERCIAL AERONAUTICS.
IF, after the war, any appreciable volume of land and sea traffic is to be transferred to the air, it will only be so transferred, in the majority of cases, if the speed of air travel, compared with that of land or sea, is very materially greater. Small savings of time will certainly not prove sufficient to bring about that revolution in ideas which will be necessary before the express transport of the world is diverted from the earth to the air. For a commercial air service, therefore, speed will, if dividends are to be earned, prove all-important.
High-speed vehicles on land have two forms of friction with which to contend, those of earth and air; but in flying the friction of a contact with the earth is eliminated, while the resistance of the air is lessened by a system of stream-lining or tapering the hull and external parts of a machine. It is also a fact that an aircraft may be driven at very high speeds with greater safety than is possible on land. When land vehicles are driven very rapidly there is the risk that they may overturn, or that a wheel or axle may break. A flying machine, however, moving as it does in, and not on, the medium it is navigating, runs no risk, as may a train, of reaching a speed so high that oscillations throw it from its track. It has, indeed, no track. An increase in speed, with well-built aircraft, implies in fact greater safety rather than a greater risk. It enables the machine, for instance, to make headway against a wind, and to resist the impact of abnormal gusts. What has to be remembered, however, is that there is a limit to the speed at which it is safe for a machine to move across the ground before ascending, and an even more definite limit to the speed at which, in alighting after a flight, it can make its contact with the ground. With existing methods of construction, for example, should an aeroplane be built to attain a maximum speed while in flight of 200 or 250 miles an hour, it would require to move across an aerodrome at a high and under some conditions dangerous speed before the pressure on its wings would lift it into the air; while in alighting it would have to glide down so rapidly that it might sustain damage through the force of its impact with the ground. A very large aerodrome
would also be required on which to manœuvre such a machine.
A ship, once it has been launched, remains in its element, but an aeroplane, gaining support only so long as it is in forward motion, and being unable to continue perpetually in flight, has to return to earth at the end of each of its journeys. Aeroplanes must be designed, therefore, so that they will navigate two elements. They must move across the ground on wheels before ascending; they must fly rapidly when, once aloft, they are in their real element; and they must be so constructed that they will alight again on the ground, without damage, even when moving at a comparatively high speed.
Aeroplanes are now in use which fly at appreciably more than 100 miles an hour, but aviators of considerable skill are needed to handle these. Such pilots, by dexterity in checking the speed of their machines before alighting, can make their contact with the ground at 30 or 40 miles an hour; whereas an aviator of less skill or experience, if put in charge of such machines, might find he had to alight at 60 miles an hour or more, a speed likely to prove dangerous on any but a specially-prepared ground of large size.
The difficulty for the designer is that, with existing systems of construction, an aeroplane has an unvarying wing area, and this must be sufficient to enable a craft to alight at a reasonably slow speed, as well as to fly fast. So far, it is true, this difficulty has not become acute; in other words, machines have not yet attained such speeds as prevent skilled pilots from bringing them to the ground in safety. In aeronautics, however, constructional progress is very rapid; and, when a craft can be fitted with engines which develop thousands of horsepower instead of hundreds, it should be possible to increase very materially the maximum speeds at present attained. A great deal of experiment, scientific and practical, will, of course, be required for structural improvements, and for lessening the resistance a craft offers to its own passage through the air. This will take time, and cost money, but if aeroplanes can be built so as to alight fairly slowly, as well as to fly very fast, there seems no reason why speeds should not be attained of 200 to 250 miles an hour, and ultimately, perhaps, of