Men, Methods and Progress
As we approach the end of 1943, the question of measuring time comes to our minds. Five hundred years ago people did not know the cause of the day and year.
For centuries men believed the earth to be the center of the universe - and that the sun, moon and stars all revolved around it.
Calculating the time of the year, assumptions were very difficult. All this was changed by Copernicus about the time Columbus discovered America.
But long before the telescope and other astronomical instruments were invented, this Polish scientist and astronomer proved by simple observation and calculation that the sun is the center of our universe - and that the day is the result of the earth's rotation about its axis, and the year of its journey around the sun in its orbit.
This new idea explained the changes in the length of night and day and winter and summer, but left the need for a method of measuring hours - minutes - and seconds unfilled.
Devices of many kinds were constructed and I know of nothing that has tested man's inventive ability more than time-keeping.
By the end of the 17th Century, pendulum clocks for use on land were very well developed, but there was no instrument that would keep time at sea. Without such a clock or watch, it is extremely difficult for a ship to know its position.
The need for such a timepiece was so important that, in 1714 - through The Board of Longitude - the English Government offered a prize of $100,000.00 for a practical method of determining a ship's position. A young Englishman - by the name of John Harrison - heard about this prize and decided to try for it.
Harrison - when only twenty-two - had made a clock out of wood. In 1728, he took some drawings of a new design to London and showed them to Graham, a noted clock-maker, who urged him to build one in metal.
For seven years, he worked on this - and as the result of a test, he was given $2,500.00, to carry on his work. Starting in 1739 he built three more models, and in 1761 - twenty-two years later - Harrison showed The Board of Longitude his fourth model which he considered ready for actual trial.
Now to determine the location of a ship at sea, you compare the time on shipboard - obtained by observing a star or the sun - with the time at Greenwich, England. The Greenwich time is kept by the ship's chronometer.
In order to test this system, Harrison put his chronometer on a boat and made a test run from Jamaica, West Indies, to Portsmouth, England. The journey lasted more than two months, and during this time the chronometer varied only one minute and five seconds which was well within the limit required to win the $100,000.00 prize.
After this trip, the inventor was known as "Longitude" Harrison. He had started the design of his chronometer at the age of thirty-five - yet he did not receive all of the $100,000.00 prize until he was seventy-six. The Board of Longitude was unwilling to admit that his repeated successes were little more than lucky accidents, and it took the personal influence of King George III to get the final pay-ment.
While Harrison was having difficulties in collecting his money, his chronometer became a necessity for any long journey.
These long trips were the direct result of the theory of Copernicus which had been opposed for several hundred years. Most men now knew the earth to be round and the fear of becoming lost over its edges was gone. Navigation was one of the great new industries.
We have yet to develop instruments that will predict man-controlled events with any degree of accuracy. However, we can say of 1944 that it may well be one of the most important in the life of the present generation. We can do little about the number of days - or when the seasons come. The clockwork of the universe will take care of this just as it has since the beginning of time.
But there is something we can do a lot about, and that is how we use the hours that make up the day. Normally, these twenty-four hours are divided into three periods. We work eight hours - these belong to society. We sleep eight hours - as required by nature. The other eight hours are all our own, and what we do with these will determine - very largely - our success or failure.
Time and the Tree
At this very moment pilots in many lands are glancing at their watches to see if their airplanes are running on schedule. A locomotive engineer checks his watch as he passes a control tower to see if he is on time. We work, eat, play and sleep by the clock. And now since we can get accurate time by radio, we have a split-second check on our schedules.
Two hundred years ago very few people could afford clocks and those available had only an hour hand. In America at that time, since wealth was a rarity so was time keeping equipment. Thomas Harland came over from London and started to make clocks in this country just before the Revolution. As his business grew he took on some apprentices, among them was a boy by the name of Eli Terry.
After the usual seven years training, young Terry, at the age of 21, started his own business. In those days if you wanted a suit of clothes, a pair of shoes or a clock you went to the man who made such things and gave an order. Weeks later you were advised it was ready - no factory made goods were available.
This business of making one at a time didn't appeal to Terry, so he decided to start a factory. In an old mill at Plymouth, Connecticut he made four wooden clocks in 1803. But customers didn't rush to his factory to buy these because they sold for such a high price - $25.00.
Terry travelled around the country on horseback until he found a customer and even then he had to sell his goods on the installment plan, by taking hand-woven cloth, meat or any other salable commodity as part payment.
Although he sold a good many clocks this way he realized the barrier to his business was the high price. People wanted timepieces but most of them didn't have that much either in money or equivalent commodities. Terry knew that Eli Whitney was making guns by a new system so he went over to see him at his factory only 30 miles away. Terry said to himself, "If Whitney can reduce the price and improve the quality of guns, why can't I do the same thing with clocks?"
In 1807 Terry began to install the Whitney system in his factory. Special tools were made for each part so that hundreds of exact duplicates could be made and any set of pieces, when put together, would make a perfect instrument.
5,000 clocks were made in three years, the price came down and sales were made in thousands of American homes.
By this time Terry was making several models the old reliable grandfather variety, wall clocks, and a new shelf-model. And to help with the growing business he took in Seth Thomas as a partner.
Later Thomas decided to go into business for himself and make a shelf model after one of Terry's designs. This clock was a novelty in those days because the works were enclosed. Thomas paid Terry $1,000 for the right to make this new type. Today, 134 years later, the Seth Thomas organization is still making clocks.
To some people the 200 years it has taken to develop and standardize a business may seem a long time. In the same period we have grown from a country of a few thousand settlers to the greatest engineering and manufacturing nation in the world.
In fact our production skill was a major factor in saving the World from chaos. Yet there are people who seem to think that because we have so many evidences of human progress around us the picture is complete and the final chapter has been written. They can clearly see what we have done but apparently they cannot see the many unfinished jobs and thousands of unborn ideas that lie in the Future.
The life of a nation is not measured in a few hundred years and if we get impatient we should go out to the West Coast and take a look at the giant Sequoias. We are told some of those trees were about 200 years old when Christ was born. They are, as far as is known, the oldest living things on Earth and have been growing continuously for over 2,000 years! Now if we take the "Sequoia" or long range viewpoint of a nation's development the years of real growth, the years in which America will attain its greater magnitude must lie ahead.
Men such as Whitney, Revere and Terry have given us our first industrial roots and since then American growth has been accelerated by thousands of men who have contributed countless inventions and ideas of all kinds. The Future will see a great expansion of this process if we will always keep in mind that the Tree of American Progress is still far from maturity.
Muskets and Machines
We speak of making large quantities of precision products as "Mass Production," and the ability of our industrial engineers to tool quickly for such a product as American "know-how." We call this "American" because, to a large extent, the development has taken place in our own country. It came about in four steps, roughly as follows:
More than 500 years ago, Gutenberg developed the art of printing, and to him goes the credit for the first step in the mass-production idea. And although this idea of "exact duplication" became firmly established in printing, no one seemed to have thought of applying it to anything else - that is, until Eli Whitney came on the scene.
Every American knows the story of Whitney's invention of the cotton gin and what that has meant to the textile industry. Very few, however, are as familiar with his later development.
It came about this way: In 1798, our government was in great need of rifles, It was then that Eli Whitney suggested the idea that has completely changed American industry. He offered to make 10,000 rifles for the government in two years - an amount which seems small to us now when we can produce that many in a day. But at that time production in such volume was unprecedented.
Whitney's plan was to build a set of special tools with which to make each part of the gun. These parts were to be very accurate and - as Whitney put it - they were to be "as much alike as the successive impressions of a copperplate engraving." By using this system, he would duplicate each piece of the very best gun available.
By the end of the first year he had produced only 500 acceptable guns. His contract called for 4,000 - and he was still designing machinery. The War Department and Congress became very impatient, so Whitney packed up the parts of ten guns - triggers, barrels, stocks, etc.- and went to Washington. On arriving at the Capitol, he placed a table in the conference room and on it he laid piles of each one of these parts. He asked the officials to take a part from each pile. Then he proceeded to assemble a perfect gun from them. With that demonstration, mass production passed its second test.
Almost 100 years later, the automobile was born - a machine of thousands of parts which must be fitted together as accurately as the parts of a gun.
The first automobiles were nearly all hand-built, and in those early days "hand-made" was a mark of excellence. Many people thought foreign workmanship superior to American, and would not buy an automobile unless it had been made abroad. It was this challenge to our industrial ingenuity that brought about the third step in the story of mass production.
Each year, the Royal Automobile Club of London awarded the Dewar Trophy for the greatest advance made by any motorcar during the year. In 1906, Cadillac decided to try for this trophy and shipped three cars to London. After being tested, they were taken apart and the parts were all put in one large pile. American mechanics, with ordinary hand tools, assembled three complete automobiles from that mixture of parts. They all passed the prescribed test perfectly, and the American company was awarded the Trophy.
In the last 40 years, all industry has made tremendous strides. The techniques of mass production have accelerated the invention and design of thousands of new products, and provided work for millions of people. Our great skill in making special tools and gauges, coupled with the progressive system of assembly makes it possible to produce practically any type of mechanism in large quantities. This is the fourth step in the industrial revolution.
When this war came, although we had not previously made guns and tanks and airplanes in large quantities, we did have this important "know-how." That is why, when the government asked for thousands of items of war equipment, industry was already trained and strong through years of experience in serving our great competitive markets.
We all owe a vote of thanks to these pioneers of industry for the part they played in achieving our victory. Let us be sure we understand our system of mass production, and so learn to appreciate its great military and economic value that we won't lose it unintentionally.
"If At First You Do Succeed - "
When we undertake a piece of research work, nobody can tell how long it is going to take because we fail so many times. The one time we must not fail, however, is the last time we try. Our succeeding on the first attempt is not very good either because then we may overestimate our ability, or greatly underestimate the problem.
A young Englishman, Henry Bessemer, is a good example of the trouble one can get into when things go too well at the start.
A little more than a hundred years ago, steel was very hard to get and its use was limited to making swords, needles, springs and so on. The need for guns in the Crimean War brought steel to Bessemer's attention - the countries at war wanted stronger cannons than could be made from cast iron.
Bessemer was a practical metallurgist and inventor. His process for making bronze powder provided him with enough money to do experiments. He knew steel would make much better guns but there was no cheap method known for making it.
After studying the subject thoroughly, he learned how steel was made by the old methods; ultimately he revolutionized the steel business and opened the way for many new industries.
Now to give you a little background of the problem. Iron, as you know, is one of the elements - like gold, silver, copper and tin. Steel is an alloy of iron with relatively small amounts of such material as carbon, nickel and manganese, just as bronze is an alloy of copper and tin. Bessemer's idea was this. Since steel is an alloy of iron and other materials, why not start with pure iron and then add measured amounts of the alloying materials?
Now pure iron is hard to get because when the ore is reduced to pig iron, some of the original impurities remain, together with the carbon from the smelting process.
The new experiment which Bessemer tried was a method of getting pure iron. He melted pig iron in a crucible and blew air through the molten metal to burn out the carbon and the other impurities.
When the air was turned on, a great shower of sparks arose for several minutes and then stopped. Bessemer found this process gave almost pure iron. Success the first time!
For a second test, he used a crucible which would hold half a ton of molten pig iron, and with the aid of a very powerful engine-driven blower the air was forced through. With a tremendous roar, the sparks poured out as in the first test. Now, just as the sparks stopped, Bessemer added a calculated amount of the alloying material and, as a result, he had a good quality of steel. Success again!
Bessemer now took out patents on his process and sold licenses to many ironmakers. After he had gone to great expense to fit up crucibles and blowers, the process would not work. He had to return the license money and almost went broke. For months he was in disgrace, criticized and ridiculed on every hand. Bessemer knew his process had worked. What was wrong now?
After a great deal of experimental work, he found there was phosphorus in all the iron used by his licensees. Purely by accident, in his first experiment, he had used iron without phosphorus. With his new knowledge, he was able to repeat his results every time. Now the process was a success.
But the iron masters felt that they had been fooled before and no one would try the process again. However, a few of Bessemer's friends helped him build a steel works at Sheffield.
Soon he was selling a high quality of steel for $100 per ton less than his competitors. Now the very men who had criticized and ridiculed him asked for a renewal of their licenses. Whatever Bessemer received as royalties, the world at large profited 10,000 times more, for at this time the world was on the threshold of a vast industrial expansion.
While steelmaking has undergone many changes since Bessemer's process was first developed, his accomplishments started great industries which, in peacetime, have made possible our skyscrapers, our networks of railroads, our millions of motor cars and the thousands of everyday articles which we use. And it is this peacetime skill and "know-how" that made it possible for us to build ships, like the new 45-thousand ton Missouri, the latest armor-plate, and, in addition, merchant ships, tanks and guns.
The development of steel is a fine example of what the persistence of man can do to help build up a great country like ours - as well as to defend it under attack.
Twice a Patriot
Nearly every American, I believe, remembers the poem that begins:
"Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five. . ."
Longfellow, through that poem, has kept alive the name Paul Revere, and 170 years later a great many of us will pay respect to a great patriot.
Most of us remember Paul Revere as the man who rode through every Middlesex village spreading the alarm. There are not many who are familiar with his other accomplishments, while not so spectacular as the midnight ride, they were in the long run probably of more value to the American people.
As a boy of thirteen, Paul Revere was apprenticed to his father, a silversmith in Boston. An apprentice in those days spent seven years learning his trade and at the end of this period he was not expected to do any other kind of work. He became a lifetime specialist in a trade he probably didn't have much to say about.
When the American Revolution came along, Paul Revere found the Colonial Army in great need of gunpowder and cannon, not silver tankards and teapots - so he immediately turned his abilities to the war effort.
Revere naturally had a good knowledge of metals - today we call it "know-how." Special knowledge and skill are always valuable assets in any emergency. So the Government asked him to build two gunpowder mills and later he also cast cannon from iron and brass for the American Army.
Paul Revere and Eli Whitney were the two men who first brought to the attention of the World the fact that industry is very versatile - a most valuable National asset in both War and Peace.
After the War was over Revere returned to his trade of silver-smithing. However, out of his experience in the war work had grown a desire to continue experimenting with alloys, heat-treating and casting metals.
So in 1788 he established a foundry in North Boston. This plant had the first smoke-stack in the city. And out of this foundry came all kinds of things - household hardware, anvils, hammers, spikes, cogs and even 400 bells! These were some of the tools used in the building of America!
This foundry, being in the North End of Boston, naturally brought Revere into close contact with the shipyards. Right after the Revolution, the ship-builders had a hard time getting sheet copper from England for the bottoms of their ships. This shortage was a great handicap to the young industry. One American tried to get around this by just leaving off the copper but after the ship had been at sea for a short time it became so covered with barnacles that even with a strong wind it would travel only about two miles an hour. Copper sheathing seemed to be as important to ships as sails.
Although he was well over sixty, Paul Revere thought he could find a way to roll copper sheets and meet this urgent demand. And so he started his research work on a project that had far greater results than his midnight ride. In 1801, he wrote in a letter to a Member of Congress, which said in effect:
"It is the universal belief that no one in this country could make Copper so malleable as to hammer it hot... I determined, if possible, to find the secret and have pleasure to say that, after a great many trials and much expense, I have learned it."
In that year, at the age of 67, he built the first copper rolling mill in this country at Canton, Massachusetts. And the interesting thing is that 143 years later this company is still rolling copper sheets together with aluminum and magnesium and a direct descendant of Paul Revere is still in the business!
Out of Paul Revere's mill came sheet copper that went on the bottoms of many American ships, including the U.S.S. Constitution - copper for the boilers in Robert Fulton's steam boat - and sheathing for the domes of the State House in Boston and the New York City Hall.
As one writer says of the early American patriots after the Revolution - "Others had talked louder and longer about the new America they were planning to build, but Revere made the largest contribution to it."
Today, as after the American Revolution, men and industries have again turned from war to peacetime pursuits. Soon we shall all be resuming our task of building America. And from Paul Revere we can learn this lesson - America's growth has depended largely on individuals the man or woman who, like Revere, recognizes a job to be done, a problem to be solved, and is willing to devote the great amount of time and endless patience necessary to achieve this goal.
The News Gets Around
Today [April 23, 1944], when we are fighting in part for freedom of speech and freedom of the press, news is very important.
For that reason I believe we shall all be interested to know that editors and publishers from all over the United States will gather in New York this week to attend the annual convention of the American Newspaper Publishers' Association. Closely related to this is the fact that April 24th - tomorrow - marks the 240th anniversary of the first successful newspaper published in this country.
John Campbell, postmaster of the port of Boston, was in a good position to receive all of the latest news from abroad as travelers came and went through that port. He liked to summarize this news which he sent to various Government officials, such as Governor Winthrop of Connecticut.
Many more people were just as eager for such news, but Campbell couldn't find time to write letters to all of them. He hit upon a happy solution. He would print these letters and distribute copies. So on the 24th of April, 1704, John Campbell published, in the back room of his home, the first successful newspaper in the United States. He called it "The Boston News-Letter."
But there is more to the industry than just the paper you buy. To make accurate and timely news available to everyone, many men have had to explore and pioneer hundreds of new things. For instance, the news must first be gathered. Highly trained men must rewrite the news and editors must make the final check. Next it goes to the composers and makeup men and finally to the operators of the intricate presses. The matter of paper and ink alone has been the object of years of research. Lastly, there is the distribution by every known means of transportation. The newspaper is truly a cross section of practically all American industry.
Because a newspaper has to bring out several editions a day, speed is one of the prime elements in the business. One of the common machines used by these newspapers to meet the deadline is the Mergenthaler Linotype.
Mergenthaler came to this country at the age of 18, and through his skill in repairing clocks and watches he became connected with August Hahl who made models in Washington, for in those days models were required with patent applications. However, following the panic of 1873, Hahl and young Mergenthaler moved to Baltimore where they came in contact with printing devices.
At the time Mergenthaler was working in Baltimore many people were trying to invent some sort of typesetting machine. One of the early efforts was that of Moore. His machine struck impressions on pieces of paper with a typewriter. The paper was then cut into strips and used much the same as type. A man by the name of Clephane helped finance Moore but the project failed. Mergenthaler, although he had no experience in printing, told Clephane he thought he could produce a typesetting machine that would work.
Clephane agreed to finance him and then began the long years of cut and try for the young inventor. He started off much the same as Moore but made many mechanical changes. He tried typing on papier-mâché and used this as a mold in which to cast the type - something like a waffle iron. But, as in the case of some waffles, the paper stuck to the hot metal and spoiled everything. By this time Mergenthaler was 30 years old and his problem was far from solved.
The project looked like a failure, but inventors as I know from personal experience, can think fast in an emergency. It was perfectly evident to Mergenthaler that type was cast every day in regular metal type molds. Why not use these instead of paper? Why not set up individual metal type molds in a line and cast type a line at a time?
At last he had these ideas built into a working model which he tried out in the composing room of the New York Tribune in July 1886 - ten years after he had first started to work on the idea.
It was at this time that Whitelaw Reid, publisher of the Tribune, is said to have coined a name for the machine - the "Linotype." The next morning, July 3, 1886, Tribune readers received the first copies of a paper in which the casting of the type and the composing had been done by machine instead of by hand.
Every phase of our modern civilization owes much to the hard work and teamwork of several groups of men. First to those who invent, second to those who provide and risk money on what appears at the time to be a foolish idea, third to the skilled craftsmen who help build the devices - and fourth, to the managerial ability of those who know how to put them into practical form, thereby making them available to the public and, at the same time, providing jobs for thousands of people.
George Washington Patriot, Statesman and Scientist
Last Tuesday, Americans at home and abroad paid tribute to the men who drew up the Declaration of Independence. These men realized that they were embarking on a struggle of life or death. But they had Freedom and the hope of Constitutional government as their goal. They also knew that it would require all of their physical resources and ingenuity to win. No one appreciated these facts more than the Commander - George Washington. Fortunately, for us today, Washington was a long range thinker. He realized that Governmental enthusiasm and idealism were practically worthless unless they were backed up by physical things such as guns, ammunition and other military equipment.
Compared to England, our resources in those days were small - both in men and material, but we did have a peculiar kind of mechanical ingenuity. This was, in a way, a product of our environment. A gun was not an ornament over the fireplace - it served as a means of subsistence and a weapon against the constant threat of hostile Indians. Consequently these ingenious pioneers developed a gun unlike any other in the world. By 1750 skilled Pennsylvania gunsmiths had produced a very light and accurate rifle far superior to the heavy musket then in military use. Equipped with this unique rifle the men of the Colonies in the next twenty-five years became the most deadly sharpshooters in the world. When the Revolution came along, Washington sent out a call and ten companies of riflemen responded. These experts proved to be the backbone of the Continental Army. It was the combination of these new rifles and Washington's strategy that paved the way to final Victory.
Washington possessed the faculty of approaching War, even then, on a scientific basis. In fact, he was probably one of the first soldiers to recognize the value of camouflage. In order to utilize his comparatively small force of men to the best advantage, he specialized in guerrilla warfare. He was quick to realize the superior qualities of the buckskin hunting shirts as a uniform for they blended so well with the underbrush. In contrast there were no better targets than a company of Hessian soldiers in their bright red uniforms marching along in military order.
But camouflage was not the only modern weapon Washington used in his warfare - he even included the submarine in his experimental tactics.
One morning in 1776, some British soldiers stationed at Governor's Island were mystified by what appeared to be a large metal object equipped with windows floating towards Admiral Howes' flagship, the "Eagle." As they got out a boat to investigate, the metal object withdrew but left floating on the tide what looked like a very large egg. Soon there was a tremendous roar - the "egg" had exploded. The large metal object was probably the first military submarine and the "egg" was a time-bomb containing 130 pounds of powder.
Washington had financially aided the inventor, David Bushnell, in developing the weapon. The pilot of the submarine was to come along side of the" Eagle," attach the time-bomb and then escape. But its discovery by the British soldiers had frustrated the plan. Later Washington in writing to Jefferson said "One accident or another always intervened. I then thought, and still think, that it was an effort of genius." Washington did not have sufficient experience in developing new ideas to know that Bushnell's submarine was just going through the usual troubles incident to the development of any new device. Recently, the pictures of the British two-man torpedo brought to mind Bushnell and his submarine of 168 years ago.
While we all regard Washington as one of our most outstanding patriots and statesmen, the Father of our Country was a far sighted man in many ways. He realized that that growth of his new country depended not only on building cities and carving farms out of a wilderness, but also on the pioneering of new ideas, which would ultimately produce new tools for the great task that lay ahead. He accordingly advocated and signed the first patent law framed by Congress to protect the ideas of American inventors.
Today the Allies are harvesting the fruits of his wisdom and foresight. If we were to geographically locate the homes of the important inventions made in the last 150 years, we would find that parts of our Country form one of the two great "inventive" areas in the World.
Our outstanding position today can be attributed to the opportunity and incentive offered to inventors by a sound patent system. The products of this system have given us the highest living standards in times of Peace - they are helping to win the World's greatest War - and in addition they offer high hopes for the Future. Let us treasure this heritage along with our Constitution and guard against losing either of them, unintentionally.
Broadcast from Loudonville, Ohio, August 27, 1944
Loudonville is a town of 2200 people. It is the trading center of a prosperous farming community. Thousands of such places make up rural America. What has taken place here is typical of what has happened everywhere, for we must remember that every city was once a small town. The development of this community is an example of what Agriculture, Industry and Labor can produce in cooperation with Science, Engineering and Management.
As a farm boy I attended the high school here and can remember what the town was like fifty years ago; no paved streets in town - only dirt roads in the country. We had no modern conveniences. There were two means of transportation; horse and buggy and the railroads. Of course, you could always walk. Our communications consisted of the telegraph at the depot and one telephone in a drug store.
After graduation when I was teaching a district school several miles from here, an incident happened which shows some of the thinking at that time. For one day only, Friday, a railroad car of the California Land and Fruit Growers Association was exhibited at the depot siding to stimulate interest in California as a new place to live and prosper. The car must have been a great success if it was responsible in even a small way for California's great development.
As an added attraction in the car, they had one of the very early X-Ray machines, so Friday afternoon at recess, I dismissed the school and walked to the depot with the older boys and girls. The pupils had a wonderful time with the X-Rays looking at the bones in their hands, and the nails in their shoes. I believe everyone of them learned much from the experience.
On the following Sunday, after church, the Minister called one of the school directors aside and in a disturbed voice said, "I understand that the teacher dismissed school and walked down to see that California exhibit without your permission. That was bad enough," he continued, "but why did he show the boys and girls that infernal machine they call an X-Ray ? You know it must be the work of the evil spirit because if human eyes were intended to see through boards, Nature would have given them that power." That was less than 50 years ago. Today, doctors everywhere are constantly using this "infernal machine" and many other similar scientific devices in their successful fight against disease, and the X-Ray is an everyday tool in industry even to internally examining slabs of steel a foot or more thick.
As I look down Main Street here today, I see many automobiles parked where the hitching rails used to be - over there is a Motion Picture Theatre and nearly every home and farm has a telephone and electricity. Large airplanes pass overhead and the smaller ones can land here. A thousand radios bring us the best in music and entertainment as well as news from the fighting fronts. The farmers in the neighborhood are very up-to-date and because of fine highways, are an integral part of the community. In town there are churches, new schools, paved streets - as well as sewers, waterworks, natural gas and all the other things that have followed in the wake of the automobile and electric power.
This little community has not had to go out and get these things - they have come to it. The radio and other developments appeared here almost as soon as in New York and Chicago. We sent out the products of our farms and small factories in exchange for the products and ideas of the rest of the world.
We sent out good citizens to other cities and towns and in turn received many new members to our own community. Taken individually, the contributions of one such group may seem very small - but when multiplied by thousands, they add greatly to the might of America, which has no equal in the world.
We, in this community, are very appreciative of the concerts which Maestro Toscanini dedicated to the Armed Forces because some 600 boys and girls from our Main Street and farms are in the war. They are in the four corners of the earth and on the seven seas. Some are actually fighting in the Maestro's native land.
Although the battle fronts against the dictators are far from home, the boys are also fighting for the continuation when they get back of the privilege of deciding if they want to live on a farm, in a small town or a big city - what they want to do to earn a living and how they want to think and worship. On the battle fronts they are seeing first hand what happens to people who have been deprived of these very simple, but tremendously important things.
Much that science will discover is yet to come to the farms, towns and cities of America. Much is already here. We should analyze the process which has produced such amazing progress in the last 50 years and make sure it continues. If there is anything wrong with the system, let's fix it, and not unintelligently or willfully destroy it.
Every year at this time [November, 19, 1944], we observe Thanksgiving - a day of thankful prayer initiated by our forefathers in New England more than 300 years ago. This year Thanksgiving is one of mixed joy and sorrow - joy because we are on the road to final victory - sorrow because this American holiday has always meant a family reunion but today so many are away in the camps and overseas.
As the years have gone by, our knowledge of the Pilgrims and their early trials may be only the recollection of a chapter in an old history book. So on the eve of this Thanksgiving Day, let us take a look at the life of those hardy ancestors of ours - perhaps it may show us something interesting and helpful.
The trials and tribulations of the Pilgrims after they landed on Plymouth Rock in 1620 of course are very well known in New England - during that first bitter winter they suffered from cold and disease. But unlike the settlers in some of the other colonies, they had already conquered one thing despair. This spiritual enemy had been defeated long before they came here as the result of religious persecution in the Old World. England in the early 17th century had undergone a church reform and the Puritans and others had been forced to leave England and go to Holland. But this was not the solution to their religious problem, so when they heard of the colonies in the New World, they formed a company to finance an expedition to this new land, and while they faced terrible physical hardships, they found here something they had never known before - real religious freedom - so despair was gone.
With this background we can understand why they felt it a privilege to build and live in huts of mud and thatch, to till the ground with improvised tools, to hunt and fish for food and make almost everything they used in their daily life with their own hands. After they had passed through that first bitter winter, they planted their crops in the spring. A busy summer followed and the harvest was good. So, as fall came, it was natural for these people to set aside a day of Thanksgiving.
As the years passed, the Pilgrims were joined by hundreds of others - all kinds of people, educated and illiterate, gentlemen and peasants, artisans and scholars - all in search of freedom.
The colony grew and the villages became towns - all prospered. In the middle of the 17th century, the usual house had one or two rooms and a garret. The principal room was the "hall" - the main feature of which was the huge fireplace. This room served as a dining room, living room, kitchen and bedroom. The cooking was done in the fireplace. There was little or no chinaware - just wooden dishes and bowls. Illumination was supplied by pine-knots or mutton tallow candles and a tinderbox took the place of matches. Because of the difficulty in lighting a fire - it was almost a crime to let one go out.
In early Boston there was very little money - most business was conducted on a barter basis. As an example, a carpenter would make a bench and take some beaver skins for pay; these in turn would be shipped to England or traded for some other commodities. Because money was scarce, wages were low. A skilled workman would get two shillings or about 50 cents a day. But in those days food was also cheap - those two shillings would buy a thirty pound Thanksgiving turkey! Wages and prices, then as now, followed economic law and adjusted themselves to each other
Clothing, like the furniture, was in most cases home made. In every house there were a hand loom and a spinning wheel. The housewife's duties, like her husband's, began at daybreak and went on until after dark - cooking, spinning, weaving, making clothes; and, very often she had to be the family doctor even to the extent of preparing her own medicines. As one historian puts it, "The basic principles of human conduct in the Puritan civilization were Work and Piety."
It is difficult for us today to realize that this was America three centuries ago. Try to imagine ourselves in that civilization with no transportation, or communication, no stoves, furnaces or running water. There were no newspapers, telegraph or telephone.
Of course this doesn't sound like modern America - the land of Plenty. We know that industry, labor, and science have worked a miracle and for that we are very thankful. But also, as we look back at that first Thanksgiving, we can see in it a much larger meaning.
Whether we realize it or not, when we observe Thanksgiving now, we are paying tribute to those ancestors of ours who emphasized, in addition to work and piety, one of the most important of all our New World possessions - Freedom.
Scouts of the World - Brothers Together
Next Thursday [February 4, 1945] marks the beginning of Boy Scout Week. This year commemorates the 35th anniversary of its founding in the United States. Since the Boy Scout Movement has become an integral part of America and has exerted such a constructive influence, I feel we should review its objectives with respect to the changing world today, and also its hopes for the world of tomorrow.
The Boy Scout movement was established in England in 1908 by Lord Baden-Powell to actively promote good citizenship - among the youth of that nation. There are many ways that this could be accomplished, but the originator felt they all fell into three fairly definite classes. Let us take a look at these objectives and see what they mean today.
First of these aims is the development of character and initiative. The fundamental result of Scout training is the cultivation of individualism without developing egotism - a thing not easily done but one so important in a Democracy.
The movement fosters self-expression and emphasizes the desire to learn rather than a passive reception of instruction. In other words, young people are encouraged to think and act for themselves rather than to follow blindly a fixed pattern of thought and action.
This philosophy is certainly at odds with the creed of dictatorship and no doubt is one of the reasons why neither Hitler nor Mussolini would tolerate scouting in place of their own youth movements.
Second in the list of scout objectives is the development of individual skill and handicraft. When we stop to analyze education, I believe we all recognize the existence of two schools: the formal school set up by the competent educators, the classroom in which our young people learn, in addition to the classic three R's, many other facts that are useful to them in later life. The other school in which the scout is interested is the limitless field of nature. Among the special studies are wood lore and the practice of living outdoors. In both of these schools, handicraft - that is the making of things - is encouraged. Americans have always been noted for their ability and resourcefulness under all conditions. We know how to improvise and to make the best of any situation. Nothing has emphasized the importance of this training more than the present war where steaming jungles, sandy desert and stormy seas have taxed man's ingenuity to the limit.
The third objective is health and sports. We in this country have always made much of sports and physical training. There is an old saying that a healthy mind resides in a healthy body, and it is part of the creed of the Boy Scout to keep them this way through proper exercise and self-care.
The love of games is the natural heritage of all American youth and the Boy Scouts supplement these with hiking, camping, and wood-craft - all things that mean stronger and healthier bodies - things we should never neglect in a world full of mechanical and electrical conveniences.
We are coming into a new world with rapid communication and transportation and will have many new problems. It will be a smaller world - a world in which formerly distant peoples of different races and customs will almost become our neighbors. And the Scouts by a practical demonstration here at home have shown us one way to meet this problem. The Boy Scouts, recognizing no barriers of race, color or creed, have been successful in fusing these elements into a great cooperative group whose members are today fighting for our country on all the World's battlefronts.
When the war came, it threatened to destroy the scout movement in many countries because the Scouts stood for so many things which the dictators opposed. But the scouts, like so many democratic institutions, have managed to survive. They survived in the Philippines and were waiting to welcome General MacArthur when he returned. In Holland they met secretly under unknown leaders and although their activities were forbidden by the Nazis in Belgium, there was a scout group there ready to go to work when the country was liberated.
Over here we have been more fortunate. The value of all forms of youth training has been clearly revealed. We see their helping hands everywhere - in Civilian Defense, Paper and Scrap Drives, as Bond salesmen and in nearly all of our homefront activities.
The youth of today will be our citizens of tomorrow and this group will supply statesmen, scientists, engineers, business and professional men, industrial workers and farmers. Let us encourage them because they are America's future and I know it's in good hands.
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