ECONOMICS: The Turn of the Screw

The U.S. and Britain are going to standardize screw threads. No great oratory attends this homely step, no military pageantry, yet it may be as important as half a dozen formal treaties.

The Americans will sacrifice their cherished Sellers screw thread profile in favor of a slightly modified British Whitworth profile, and the British will give up their 55° angle of thread in favor of the U.S. 60° angle. The agreement will eventually save millions of dollars, make cooperation in war & peace easier.

Universal & Permanent. Eli Whitney, an 18th Century Massachusetts Yankee, went broke after his cotton gin invention was...

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