By August, after only three months of growth, Timken’s hemp crop had grown to its full height – 14 feet!, and he was highly optimistic about its prospects. He hoped to travel to California to watch the crop being decorticated, seeing himself as a benefactor to mankind who would enable people to work shorter hours and have more time for “spiritual development.” Scripps, on the other hand, was not in an optimistic frame of mind. He had lost faith in a government that he believed was leading the country to financial ruin because of the war, and that would take 40% of his profits in income tax.
In an August 14 letter to his sister, Ellen, he said: “When Mr. McRae was talking to me about the increase in the price of white paper that was pending, I told him I was just fool enough not to be worried about a thing of that kind.” The price of paper was expected to rise 50%, costing Scripps his entire year’s profit of $1,125,000! Rather than develop a new technology, he took the easy way out: the Penny Press Lord simply planned to raise the price of his papers from one cent to two cents.