24 October 2010

The Hemp Car - Myth Busted

A friend of mine told me about a car by Henry Ford that was made almost entirely of hemp. It was unveiled as a prototype, and proclaimed to be the car of the future. Unfortunately, World War II and the DuPont corporation killed what would have been a lighter, safer and more cost effective car. I was asked to research the validity of this claim.

I had not heard of this car, so I googled it. Nearly every pro-hemp website mentioned it, but didn't give sources. Even YouTube has a video of this "hemp car" from 1941. It sounded like a good idea, and Henry Ford was certainly a visionary, but I really wanted the truth (I'm not anti-hemp; I'm pro-facts and anti-myth.)





So I went as close to the source as I could without calling the Henry Ford Museum: Period Newspapers.

Turns out that Henry Ford loved the farmers, and wanted to help them during the Great Depression. He knew that cars were always increasing in popularity, and if he could make plastic cars out of farm products, he could benefit Americans twofold:

  • Cars would be safer and more affordable.
  • Plastic cars would help the struggling agricultural industry (the War was already beneficial to the steel industry).




An all-plastic car 300 pounds lighter than comparable models built of steel and having ten times the impact resistance of steel is near completion in the Ford plant at Dearborn, Mich., Popular Science Monthly announced last week. In a special interview, it was said, Henry Ford predicted that his test car, made of plastic body, hood and fenders, would be lighter, safer and less expensive. He added: "It will be a car of darn sight better design in every form. And don't forget the motor car business is just one of the industries that can find new uses for plastics, made from what's grown in the land!"
-New York Times, 2 Feb 1941


...Although it [the plastic] uses the same time of binder employed in some well-established plastics, which are not a Ford development, the remaining portion, that is, the fill, comes partly from the farm, in the form of strong fibers, such as hemp or ramie, and partly from the forest...

-Iron Age Magazine, 1941, as cited by Herbert Chase, Society of Automobile Engineers in 30 March 1941 New York Times.


We see that Ford was considering hemp as an element of his bio-plastic car. But was the car almost completely made of hemp? The hemp websites claim anywhere from 70% hemp to 100% hemp.

Let's search further...




[article continues]  Mr. Ford tested the pliability of the plastic panel by swinging on it with an axe. The panel was unchanged after the blow, but a similar experiment on a steel panel cut through the metal. ...Needed materials, he said, would include 100,000 bales of cotton, 500,000 bushels of wheat, 700,000 bushels of soy beans and 500,000 bushels of corn. "Plastic raw materials may cost a little more," he said, "but we anticipate a considerable saving as the result of fewer fabricating finishing operations."

-"Ford Shows Auto Built of Plastic - Strong Material Derived from Soy Beans, Wheat, Corn is used for Body and Fenders," New York Times, 14 August 1941.




Old Mr. Ford swings an axe at the trunk of his bio-plastic creation.

The bottom line, as I see it, is that the car was not comprised entirely of hemp; not even 50%. Nearly all of the websites are either misleading, or flat-out wrong. Does this mean hemp is not a useful material? No - there are many uses.

I just like checking the validity of claims to historical facts. Oh, and the part about DuPont probably being responsible for killing the bio-plastic industry? This is likely true.




Other sources include:
"Plastic Car in Making: Colorful, Paintless Body May Replace Steel for Defense," 2 Feb 1941.
Washington Post, Various Articles, 1941, accessed via ProQuest Historical

96 comments:

  1. The best part about using numbers in your argument is that no one bothers to question their validity. Did you know that 90% of American families support something?

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    1. And 5 out of 4 Americans are bad at math.

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  2. Oh yeah? Well, Santa Clause is your parents!

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  3. Just another skeptic shining a 1000 gajillowatt torch of fact on the candlelight vigil of cherished fiction.

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  4. You're a genius dude! Thanks for separating the truths from the myths!!!

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    1. I thank him too, but it doesn't take a genius, just a little appropriate research.

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    2. You're right - doesn't take a genius. I wish more people would put in an ounce of effort to research internet claims.

      Also, I'm female. ;)

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  5. One of the plastics developed by Ford chemists is a material composed of 70 per cent cellulose fiber and 30 per cent straw, 10 per cent hemp and 10 per cent ramie, the material used by ancient Egyptians to encase mummies.


    so... the car is a total of 120%?????

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    1. read it again, 70% Cellulose 30% binder, of the 70% ,now stay with me here, of the 70% (50% is pine 30% is straw 10% hemp 10% ramie) dumbasses :P

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    2. hemp stalk is 85% cellulose...

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    3. Well there you go. If it wasnt made of 100% hemp. I dare say it could be, and that really is the point. The viability of being able too.

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    4. Or to put it yet another way, only 7% (10% of 70%) was hemp.

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    5. That would be 7% of the plastic part of the car - the body, hood, and fenders, not the entire car. And it says that one of the plastics developed contained hemp. It isn't definitively stated that the plastic containing hemp was exclusively used in the fabrication of the ax-resistant prototype...OR THAT IT WAS USED AT ALL.

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  6. Ask the source - all are posted. I read it to mean that of the 70% total cellulose, the materials ramie, straw and hemp are components.

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    1. it says exactly what it means "70% Cellulose fibre" ... "The cellulose fibre consists of 50% southern slash pine, 30% straw, 10% hemp, and 10% ramie" So 7% of the body is actually hemp (10% of 70%).

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  7. If that was the case, it would only be showing 50% of the 70%, either way the numbers are wrong. If it was just made of 30% straw, 10% hemp and 10% ramie, thats only 50%.....so where is the other 20% components of the so called 70% total cellulose?

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    1. The numbers aren't wrong... 50% southern slash pine fibre, 30% straw, 10% hemp, 10% ramie... looks likes 100% of the cellulose to me... Regardless of that, your statement makes absolutely no sense...

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  8. I've checked the original source, and I'll take out what I've written, and replace it with a screen shot of the actual New York Times from 1941 (NYT found via ProQuest subscription).

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    1. Ya know even if it was only a small % it's still pretty damn impressive that you could build AND run a car like this. Think of where we would be on the clean energy crisis if these cars hadn't been railroaded by all the pot hating straight folk, corporations who's wallets where about to get lighter if not empty, the government and all the other things and groups? If cars were being developed that ran on clean fuel that far back and we had continued down that road we could have the cleanest vehicle humanly possible by now! Not to mention the fact that we never would have had a reason to invade Iraq(and if anyone says 9/11...your retarded.)

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  9. Hello, This is very interesting and well researched. Was there any information anywhere about the type of resin binders ?

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  10. I've found a good source that says it was a soybean resin, but I don't have more information on it at this time.

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  11. While it was never credible to believe the car was 100% hemp - it is not stated in more credible books such as Hemp for Victory: History & Qualities of the World's Most Useful Plant - which avoids the myths - hemp is a viable source of cellulose - one of the best in terms of biomass per acre per season.
    It would benefit the US if it were legal whether or not it makes car bodies - that is not its main purpose.
    To help make it legal - please sign the petition to the White House along with Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney and Mina Hegaard - at www.minawear.com/about-us/ and help make it legal!
    Also great hemp facts and activism info at www.hempforvictory.blogspot.com

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  12. I signed it! That is a great idea, whether or not a car can be made of it, tons of other things are.

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  13. Thats such a nice roundup esp the shots of the newspapers thank you! What fertilisers were we using in 1941 to grow hemp? Can u do the math on the petro chemical fertilisers needed to grow that car? Its sort of built of 'waste' plant matter in that we cant eat cellulose. Maybe its also awful hard or impossible to recycle.

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    1. Dude, hemp doesn't NEED petrochemical fertilizers or pesticides to grow in abundance. In fact, cotton is far more hard on the land vs. hemp AND consumes far more pesticides and fertilizers than hemp also! Also, the hemp SEED is second only to SOYBEANS in its PROTEIN and NUTRITIONAL value. Do the math on that!

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    2. I assume the same fertilizers that were growing all the other crops. I am uncertain why it matters for this specific discussion.

      Why would I do the math on chemical fertilizers (which, btw, we don't even *know* if that is what was used in the first place)? I am discussing resin components and cars, not crop fertilization practices of the mid-20th century.

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  14. The problem here is that people blur the lines between proper moral usage like medical and industrial hemp farming, and immoral or getting "getting high" usage. Getting high is wrong.

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    1. you cannot get high from industrial hemp.... Further more if you think getting high is wrong, I would assume you believe getting drunk is wrong and smoking is wrong, drinking coffie is wrong, Drinking soda is wrong, consuming to much sugar is wrong. etc.. All of which are more harmful to oneself then getting high. The propiganda spread through out the world after world war 2 was all false. It was all political propiganda to prevent other industries from being beet out of the market.. To put in a moral conversation would mean you are basing your morals on lies. There is no scientific proof that marijuana,(not industrial hemp)does anything that we all have been brainwashed to believe... I say this with the utmost respect and apologize for going off topic...

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    2. Anonymous, you are correct that medical and industrial hemp are important, however you are just plain silly when you declare getting high morally wrong. That is strictly a matter of opinion. Many folks feel the same way about getting drunk by using alcohol, or shooting meth with needles. While I don't get high, shoot drugs and drink moderately, I think it foolish to try to force my opinions on others as if they are facts.

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    3. nothing is wrong with getting high grampa anon. SO FUCK OFF AND GO DRINK YOUR BOOZE YOU LOSER.

      YOU CAN NOT GET HIGH FROM HEMP FUCKTARDS.

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    4. lol.. oliver is the reason We thing pot heads are morons. Using words like fucktards in public and all caps. You're a loser and a drain on society - get a job hippy loser

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    5. Okay let's follow your crooked path of reason... we should no longer grow Hops (which is, by the way, a cultivated perennial HEMP), wheat and barley which are ALL used to make that devil's brew... BEER! Do you drink beer? Do you get a buzz? Sinner! Sinner! Well, we better not grow corn or rye either, because they can also be fermented, and made into WHISKEY! and, yes, you can GET HIGH! REALLY HIGH drinking just a little WHISKEY. No more potatoes you immoral farmers... because you can use them to make VODKA. No more Agave for TEQUILA, and NO MORE SUGAR CANE for RUM! Best start slashing all those wicked juniper trees... their horrible blue berries can BE MADE into GIN!!! I guess we'll have also have to outlaw the growing of grapes, too! No wine highs allowed in the good ole USA!
      Yep! Stay ignorant! Believe and cling to the FEAR based PROPAGANDA spewed by our bought and paid for corporate sponsored government and throw common sense to the wind. INDUSTRIAL HEMP could save America... are you willing to reject a simple SOLUTION that could turn things around in this country, because you are afraid of a few dope smoking fellow AMERICANS? and, one last thought... Marijuana gets you high, HEMP does not! and FYI in clinical trial after clinical trial, Marijuana proved itself to be a miracle drug, that cured everything from Parkensons to Cancer, without the dangerous side effects! Does it Sound to good to be TRUE! Well why do suppose the industries that have a choke hold on the American dream, the Corporate DINOSUARS that produce oil, gas, coal, plastic, sheetrock, chemotherapy, toxic pharmaceuticals, food additives, etc, DO NOT WANT US to GROW or USE this INCREDIBLE GOD GIVEN WEED, that provides just about EVERYTHING we need, from food to fuel!

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    6. Bravo! Well done.

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  15. Getting high can be wrong if you waste your life consuming it. sure. But in moderation, its better than mcdonalds. Which much worse for your body and mind.

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    1. I've lost weight eating mcdonalds. It's all about moderation.

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    2. Don't want to know what you were eating before....

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  16. should have gone to Henry Ford Museum to be 100% sure before publishing this as you are just making assumptions from from newspapers do you believe everything you read in newspapers I don't they have always printed what they are told to print by the editor who is controlled by advertisers.

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    1. Museums are controlled by donors (I've worked in several). Everything is controlled by money somehow.
      I have friends at the HFM, and none of them found fault with this article. If you have a different valid source, I would be happy to review it and make revisions if necessary.

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    2. Popular Mechanics Magazine, VOL. 76 DECEMBER, 1941 NO. 6

      Over in England it's saccharine for sugar; on the continent it's charcoal "gasogenes" in the rumble seat instead of gasoline in the tank. Here in America there's plenty of sugar, plenty of gasoline. Yet there's an industrial revolution in progress just the same, a revolution in materials that will affect every home.
      Auto Body Made of Plastics Resists Denting Under Hard Blows
      After twelve years of research, the Ford Motor Company has completed an experimental automobile with a plastic body. Although its design takes advantage of the properties of plastics, the streamline car does not differ greatly in appearance from its steel counterpart. The only steel in the hand-made body is found in the tubular welded frame on which are mounted 14 plastic panels, 3/16 inch thick. Composed of a mixture of farm crops and synthetic chemicals, the plastic is reported to withstand a blow 10 times as great as steel without denting. Even the windows and windshield are of plastic. The total weight of the plastic car is about 2,000 pounds, compared with 3,000 pounds for a steel automobile of the same size. Although no hint has been given as to when plastic cars may go into production, the experimental model is pictured as a step toward materialization of Henry Ford's belief that some day he would "grow automobiles from the soil."
      When Henry Ford recently unveiled his plastic car, result of 12 years of research, he gave the world a glimpse of the automobile of tomorrow, its tough panels molded under hydraulic pressure of 1,500 pounds per square inch (psi) from a recipe that calls for 70 percent of cellulose fibers from wheat straw, hemp and sisal plus 30 percent resin binder. The only steel in the car is its tubular welded frame. The plastic car weighs a ton, 1,000 pounds lighter than a comparable steel car. Manufactures are already talking of a low-priced plastic car to test the public's taste by 1943

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    3. ALSO READ THIS. I'm sure they did there research.

      Popular Mechanics Magazine, VOL. 69 February, 1938 NO. 2

      American farmers are promised a new cash crop with an annual value of several hundred million dollars, all because a machine has been invented that solves a problem more than 6,000 years old.
      It is hemp, a crop that will not compete with other American products. Instead, it will displace imports of raw material and manufactured products produced by underpaid coolie and peasant labor and it will provide thousands of jobs for American workers throughout the land.
      The machine that makes this possible is designed for removing the fiber-bearing cortex from the rest of the stalk, making hemp fiber available for use without prohibitive amounts of human labor.
      Hemp is the standard fiber of the world. It has great tensile strength and durability. It is used to produce more than 5,000 textile products, ranging from rope to fine laces, and the woody "hurds" remaining after the fiber has been removed contain more than 77 percent cellulose, which can be used to produce more than 25,000 products, ranging from dynamite to Cellophane.
      Machines now in service in Texas, Illinois, Minnesota, and other states are producing fiber at a manufacturing cost of half a cent per pound, and are finding a profitable market for the rest of the stalk. Machine operators are making a good profit in competition with coolie-produced foreign fiber, while paying farmers $15 a ton for hemp as it comes from the field.
      From the farmer's point of view, hemp is an easy crop to grow and will yield from three to six tons per acre on any land that will grow corn, wheat, or oats. It can be grown in any state of the Union. It has a short growing season, so that it can be planted after other crops are in. The long roots penetrate and break the soil to leave it in perfect condition for next year's crop. The dense shock of leaves, eight to twelve feet above the ground, chokes out weeds. Two successive crops are enough to reclaim land that has been abandoned because of Canadian thistles or quack grass.Under old methods, hemp was cut and allowed to lie in the fields for weeks until it "retted" enough so that the fibers could be pulled off by hand. Retting is simply rotting as a result of dew, rain, and bacterial action. Machines were developed to separate the fibers mechanically after retting was complete, but the cost was high, the loss of fiber great, and the quality of fiber comparatively low.
      With the new machine -- known as a decorticator -- hemp is cut with a slightly modified grain binder. It is delivered to the machine where an automatic chain conveyor feeds it to the breaking arms at a rate of two or three tons per hour. The hurds are broken into fine pieces that drop into the hopper, from where they are delivered by blower to a baler, or to a truck or freight car for loose shipment. The fiber comes from the other end of the machine, ready for baling.
      From this point on, almost anything can happen. The raw fiber can be used to produce strong twine or rope, woven into burlap, used for carpet warp or linoleum backing, or it may be bleached and refined, with resinous by-products of high commercial value. It can, in fact, be used to replace foreign fibers which now flood our markets.
      Thousands of tons of hemp hurds are used every year by one large powder company for the manufacture of dynamite and TNT. A large paper company, which has been paying more than a million dollars a year in duties on foreign-made cigarette papers, now is manufacturing these papers from American hemp grown in Minnesota. A new factory in Illinois is producing bond paper from hemp. The natural materials in hemp make is an economical source of pulp for any grade of paper manufactured, and the high percentage of alpha cellulose promises an unlimited supply of raw material for the thousands of cellulose products our chemists have developed.

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    4. Also.....Cont.from above

      It is generally believed that all linen is produced from flax. Actually, the majority comes from hemp -- authorities estimate that more than half of our imported linen fabrics are manufactured from hemp fiber. Another misconception is that burlap is made from hemp. Actually, its source is usually jute, and practically all of the burlap we use is woven from laborers in India who receive only four cents a day. Binder twine is usually made from sisal, which comes from the Yucatan and East Africa.

      All of these products, now imported, can be produced from home-grown hemp. Fish nets, bow strings, canvas, strong rope, overalls, damask tablecloths, fine linen garments, towels, bed linen, and thousands of other everyday items can be grown on American farms. Our imports of foriegn fabrics and fibers average about $200 million per year; in raw fibers alone we imported over $50 million in the first six months of 1937. All of this income can be made available for Americans.

      The paper industry offers even greater possibilities. As an industry it amounts to over $1 billion a year, and of that, 80 percent is imported. But hemp will produce every grade of paper and government figures estimate that 10,000 acres devoted to hemp will produce as much paper as 40,000 acres of average pulp land.

      One obstacle in the onward march of hemp is the reluctance of farmers to try new crops. The problem is complicated by the need for proper equipment a reasonable distance from the farm. The machine cannot be operated profitably unless there is enough acreage within driving range and farmers cannot find a profitable market unless there is machinery to handle the crop.

      Another obstacle is that the blossom of the female hemp plant contains marijuana, a narcotic, and it is impossible to grow hemp without producing the blossom. Federal regulations now being drawn up require registration of hemp growers, and tentative proposals for preventing narcotic production are rather stringent.

      However, the connection of hemp as a crop and marijuana seems to be exaggerated. The drug is usually produced from wild hemp or locoweed, which can be found on vacant lots and along railroad tracks in every state. If federal regulations can be drawn to protect the public without preventing the legitimate culture of hemp, this vast new crop can add immeasurably to American agriculture and industry.

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  17. I saw a car once made up of 100% hemp . . . Oh wait that was a Cheech and Chong movie

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  18. I noticed no actual mention of the fuel that Henry Ford planned to use. Was the car actually designed to run on hemp ethanol?

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    1. I have found no evidence that it was designed to run on anything different than what all other cars were using in the 1940s. In my opinion, it would be too difficult to handle the logistics of a different fuel requirement for a car considered for mass-production prior to the highway system's creation in the 1950s.

      If you find a source stating something different, I'd be happy to read it.

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    2. I am sure the sources for that have not been uncovered in a long time. Here genius, take it from Henry himself:

      Why use up the forests which were centuries in the making and the mines which require ages to lay down, if we can get the equivalent of forest and mineral products in the annual growth of the hemp fields? - Henry Ford

      It is very difficult to sit here and pretend you are anything but ANTI-HEMP acting like we are supposed to find sources on the inernet or in some corporately stitched together old crusty newspaper articles. The suppression of Hemp was no accident - it was the largest conspiracy in modern times, possibly ever. Big Oil, Big Paper, BIG Pharma and the Prohibitionists who got rich off of the alcohol prohibition designed the attack on hemp and anything positive was obviously suppressed. So quit clinging on to half ass sourcing and acting like you aren't just up here trying to say something negative about Hemp.

      HENRY FORD KNEW THE VALUE OF HEMP. HE DEFINITELY MADE A CAR THAT WAS FUELED BY ETHANOL. Is there a test out there that shows the makeup of that ethanal? Probably not, but if you find a source that claims it was corn ethanol, I WOULD NOT FUCKING BE SURPRISED ONE BIT.

      HEMP IS FUEL> HEMP IS MEDICINE> HEMP IT FIBER> HEMP IS LIFE> OIL IS DEATH> BIG PHARMA IS SATAN>

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  19. Okay... so the bottom line is: Henry Ford created the Hemp car, and it would have revolutionized the automobile industry and set hemp on a more lucrative course for mankind, if not for the power elite of the time... DuPont, Mellon, Harry Anslinger, Hearst. Please add these guys to your research.

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  20. This blogger looks to have confused a few things. One issue is hemp fuel (not discussed) and the other is hemp fiber for construction (discussed). Personally I have not seen the claim of 100% hemp as a manufacturing material, but as a fuel, 100% hemp oil as a source for diesel fuel is certainly possible. I didn't see any sources cited that referred to the 100% hemp construction, but if they said that, sure, they're wrong. The fibers would be used like in fiberglass I would think.

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    1. How did I confuse anything? The terms "car" and "fuel" are not easily confused. The site to which I link specifically refers to the car separately from the fuel. A simple google search of "hemp car" or "car made from hemp" will turn up the claims of construction.

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    2. Google is not research. Peer reviewed articles. Your RESEARCH is nill, a 1940s paper article is crap. sorry

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    3. Where the hell is someone supposed to get a peer reviewed article on the type of fuel that a car used in 1940, a car that never made it to mass production? Seriously though, if a source from that time period isn't good enough, what the hell is? Wouldn't any other source feasibly be skewed by the same influences of the time? That's like saying that the writing in the pyramids isn't a good enough source for learning about the ancient Egyptians because the scribes were controlled by the Pharaoh.

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    4. "That's like saying that the writing in the pyramids isn't a good enough source for learning about the ancient Egyptians because the scribes were controlled by the Pharaoh."

      excellent point.

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  21. It's hard to believe so many people are criticizing your article. It is well written and informative. I too am anti-myth and would like to know the truth about how the use of hemp has been suppressed for so many years.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, Marty. I think the whole bio-plastics industry has probably been suppressed, starting around WWII. If you know of any books on the topic, I hope you'll share.

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    2. The Elkhorn Manifesto has "it" the common thread going all the way back to the 1700's.... a must read ! Nazis uniforms were hemp, who wooda thunk ?

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    3. PottsAntiques......I'd like to tell you a little that I know about this vehicle. If you look at the picture above, you'll see a short man, in the window over Henry Ford's right shoulder, looking out with others. I met that man twice. I'm sorry I can't remember his name but he was responsible for "finishing up" the car, after HF became upset about the length of time it was taking the "crew" that was building it initially. This man, told his boss he could make much more progress than the crew building it could. His boss, told HF, what this guy said. Next day, he was called up to HF's office.....he was asked if he thought he could do a better job and his response was, "yes sir, Mr. Ford." He was then told to go downstairs and get that car finished. He told me about sending his crew out to every junk yard around to scavenge horsehair from buggy seats, etc......and then used that to "finish" the interior. When they were finished he sent word to "Mr. Ford" that they had completed the car. HF came down and went outside the building in the background of the above picture. It was warm that day and when HF stuck his head in the car to look around, he backed out and yelled, "What the hell is that smell from"? This guy tells him it's horse hair, since Mr. Ford wanted to build this car off the American farm. He told me, "Mr. Ford yelled, get that the hell out of there!" I'm sorry I can't remember the guys name.....I'll see if I can contact my buddy to see if he remembers. It was pretty amazing talking to someone who had directly worked for Henry Ford......not that HF was a god .......but he certainly was important to our country's history.

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  22. With this car popping up more and more on facebook I wanted to do some research myself on the validity of it. I tend to be highly skeptical of claims made by any group with an agenda because they ALWAYS skew the facts in their favor, if they don't come out with complete falsehoods. While I haven't gotten very far as of yet, I have quickly learned that objective source material is hard to come by. Being pro-hemp I would love to believe what I read, but that would be foolishness.

    I personally feel that this is a very well researched and written piece. I agree that given the time period it is doubtful that Ford would have tried to introduce an entirely different fuel type. He certainly probably desired an alternative fuel world, but likely wouldn't have had the resources to implement such a thing. There simply were too many forces working against hemp at the time. I would think that criticizing the author for what someone may consider incomplete research is ignorant and rude. Truly reliable sources are difficult to find.

    I basically just want to thank the author for what I feel is a well written blog on the authenticity of the "100% hemp" car.. It is unfortunate that you have to deal with people on here that have nothing better to do then try to criticize others. They must live a pretty sad life to feel so bad about themselves. Should I come across any interesting information I'll try to find a way to get it to you (the author). Thanks again!

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    1. Scott, I appreciate your thoughtful response. I honestly would appreciate any interesting information you happen to find on this topic. It is unfortunate that Ford wanted to investigate bio-plastic cars (which would have helped our farmers without resorting to subsidies), but that instead we ended up with oil-based plastics.

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  23. http://www.thehenryford.org/research/soybeancar.aspx

    Maybe a little more research, would tell you that the ingredients are not known.

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    1. That's a great link, and I appreciate your taking time to post it. I don't know if you noticed, but that was posted in 2013, and mine in 2010. I don't think my 2010 research would have come across this new source.

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  24. I think this is a very well researched article. Nothing is ever perfect and complete, but this is a far step up from people glorifying hemp more then it needs to be.
    I love hemp, I have worked with hemp for 12 years. It has great properties. And it has no need to take false glory.
    The seeds taste good. The building material needs a bit more research yet. The clothing is comfortable, if a bit heavy.
    As for growing it, hemp DOES use fertilizer, as one farmer said "it's a nitrogen hog" (using something like 40 bushels worth for 90 bushels harvested) and, yes, they use pesticides as well, but less. It has it's own risks, for example it's very static (whoever worked with hemp fabric might have noticed) and this static can cause quite a few field fires during harvest.
    Still, I plan on building my house out of hemp and I make my clothes out of hemp fabric-undies to sweaters....
    A question to those glorifiers: what do YOU do other then smoke it?

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    1. Hemp is a legume so it puts nitrogen back into the soil, also you can grow hemp with little or no fertilizer and it does not need the use of sprays and pesticides...
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRysD6TuhHU

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    2. "Hemp is a legume so it puts nitrogen back into the soil"

      Wrong. It's part of the Cannabaceae family, not the Fabaceae (Leguminosae) family.

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  25. "Plastic" was a very different product in the first half of the twentieth century. Cellophane and Bakelite were made from plant products. It was not till after WWII that it was made increasingly from synthetic, or petrochemical, products.

    So when they refer to plastic in this article - what exactly are they referring to?

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    1. Did you read this article? The components of this bio-plastic are pretty specific...

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  26. ...more importantly the Hemp Car was fueled by hemp.

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  27. https://www.google.ca/search?q=ford+hemp+car&client=firefox-a&hs=3NH&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=OG5VUpm7KoiuqgGO3YCoCQ&ved=0CAkQ_AUoAQ&biw=1063&bih=738&dpr=1.2#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=zKW1S9LkM72ZtM%3A%3BAtUcJ2hZuJvPMM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fhempforyou.com%252Fwp-content%252Fuploads%252F2010%252F10%252Fford-hemp-car-sm.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fhempforyou.com%252Fhemp-industrial-hemp-and-henry-ford-cars-and-fuel%252F%3B700%3B938

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  28. Am I missing something? I don't understand the outrage over the article. There is nothing anti-hemp in what the author wrote. Even if the car was not 100% hemp, it doesn't destroy the fact that hemp could be a very useful product.

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  29. The Elkhorn Manifesto should be required reading and the Main Point is the Fuel is Hemp Oil ! Diesel designed it to run on a clean sustainable plant sourced fuel ! No Gulf Oil Spills, and spreading the wealth to American Farmers instead of War sounds like a Great Idea !

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  30. While Ford may not have planned for the car to run on a different type of fuel common in the 40s, it is entirely possible to make fuel made from hemp oil - I have seen it in a Mercedes diesel that drove 10k miles from DC to SF and back. And, in fact the first Diesel engines were made to run on veggie diesel.

    Furthermore, since the USDA was actively promoting farmers to grow Hemp for the war effort (for ropes, uniforms, bags etc) one added benefit of hemp could have been fuel production. Perhaps there was no such need back then, but consider the 70s oil embargo and modern wars in the middle east and its easy to see that hemp fuel would have been able to produce clean biofuel (instead of using corn which takes lots of inputs to produce.)

    There was a R&D company in the UK that was actively producing hemp-based plastics, not sure if they are still around (Paul Benheim http://www.hempplastic.com )

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    Replies
    1. Nobody saidvit isn't possible to run machinery on hemp fuel. This article focuses on historical fact rather than what might have been or could be.
      I agree that corn in as inefficient biofuel; still, potential fuels are not the point of this writing.

      Delete
    2. Apologies for typos. I'm responding from my mobile.

      Delete
  31. A very good researcher, Winston Clinch, has done some very interesting sleuthing work, including finding the patents for the hemp car, here: https://www.facebook.com/rosie.purchas/posts/707826025896044

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  32. I didn't see but 1 source

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    Replies
    1. Perhaps having your eyes examined in the near future should be a priority.

      Delete
  33. The World’s Most Eco-Friendly Car: It’s Made Entirely From HEMP - See more at: http://www.collective-evolution.com/2013/11/01/the-worlds-most-eco-friendly-car-its-made-entirely-from-hemp/#sthash.bXYfqG3X.dpuf

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    1. You know that article is complete bunk, right? And full of false information?

      Example: The article writes that the Model T was produced during the 1940s. NO. We stopped production of Ts in the 1920s.

      Delete
  34. thanks for the information. but it still stands to reason that the other materials are extremely cheap. 30% straw and 50% pine? No problem. Hemp, every knows is cheap. The only thing that might be expensive is the Egyptian formaldehyde.

    In other words: way fuckin cheaper than steel.

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  35. If Henry ford could develop a car like this back then, it's a crying shame that we aren't doing more of this these days... it's all about status as opposed to sustainability... thanks for sharing!

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  36. The car in the photo was the steel car, not the hemp one. And they do make cars out if hemp today. Dummies

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  37. Good blog. There is an immense plethora of grand claims on "cars from the soil". The internet is a breeding ground for conspiracies.

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  38. Good blog. There is an immense plethora of grand claims on "cars from the soil". The internet is a breeding ground for conspiracies.

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  39. While the Ford car may not have been "all" hemp, it does show that the Cannabis plant has many more uses than just "getting high". For example, "Marihuana" was legalized in 1942 to make equipment for the US military during World War II. Watch the 1942 USDA film, Hemp For Victory.

    Also, look into the 2010 Lotus Eco Elise- a car made with much more than only 10% hemp products.

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  40. Thanks for going to all the trouble Potts.

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  41. You are completely missing the point! Henry Ford's "Hemp" car was made WITHOUT using petroleum products. It was instead, made from an aggregate of plant fibers and resins! NO PETROLEUM. Although we didn't know it then, this was an important crossroads for America. In my opinion, the WORLD would be a better and CLEANER place today if we had followed Mr. Ford's direction. Imagine! After WW11, if the leaders of the "free world" had mindfully considered the depth of damage done to our planet and its people by the destructive "innovations" of the petro / chemical industry. Imagine if those leaders had been stewards of the land, who had wrestled with the serious moral and strategical dilemmas posed by the accumulation and safe disposal and / or storage of toxic nuclear waste and chemicals of mass destruction. Imagine if they had considered the paramount importance of the oceans to the rest of life on the planet... as a whole vital integrated living system to be protected at all costs... instead of an "infinite" dumping ground to be abUSED wantonly for the disposal of "TOXIC NASTIES" and other unmentionables of the modern industrial world!
    What if our leaders had chosen to PROTECT and DEFEND the BEST interests of the American People, instead of lashing our country to greedy, self-serving Corporate criminals and industries that required the destruction of pristine natural beauty and important eco-systems to yield raw materials.
    "We the People" have made mistakes! We swallowed the Propaganda Pill, and abandoned REASON and COMMON SENSE! We forgot how to think for ourselves, we accepted the intentional destruction of small family farms and the communities that surrounded them. We accepted an economy based on planned obsolescence, extreme consumption, and an addiction to EASY and CONVENIENT, with an emphasis on disposable and throw away! We accepted the Corporate purchase of our "Elected Officials", and everyday, our nation, faces the grave consequences of the wrong and immoral choices of those leaders, and the growing apathy of an unhappy, disenfranchised American public regarding their power to create CHANGE.
    Oil is OVER! It's a "CRUDE" way to supply our energy and raw materials.
    SOLUTION: Save AMERICA! Bring back industrial Hemp! CHINA is currently the world's #1 producer of industrial HEMP! HEMP can replace ALL products manufactured by the filthy, PETROCHEMICAL industry, including fuel and plastics! It is an amazing building material, stronger than wood, insect and mold resistant. Hemp has thousands of industrial and agricultural applications... everything from a HIGH-PROTEIN food source, to raw materials for textiles and automobiles. PLUS, it grows prolifically in marginal soils and it's an amazing phytoremediator - while it's growing the raw materials necessary for the manufacturing industry, it's cleaning and removing toxins (including nuclear material) from contaminated land. It could replace forest products as a source for paper pulp, and leave our TREES to do their job as "the lungs of the planet". IMAGINE the possibilities! NEW industry! NEW jobs! CLEANER ENVIRONMENT! Healthier population! HOPE! HOPE for the FUTURE! The happiest people on EARTH live simply, eat LOCALLY, and share COMMUNITY! "We the People" are too BIG to FAIL! It's not too late to turn back! Stand up AMERICA let's re-think those post WW11 choices... Henry Ford's road leads us back to the "heart and soul of America". It connects us to the LAND, to our roots! Remember REAL TREASURE is found in Family, Community, Honor, Integrity, Personal Responsibility, Hard Work, and HOPE! Please consider and commit to a new way of being... the FUTURE of America's Children's Children depends on the choices that we make RIGHT NOW!

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    Replies
    1. This article is solely about the car itself and the claims made regarding its COMPOSITION. She's not missing the point at all because that point was never even really addressed... on the contrary the author even supports the idea of using hemp as a material.

      Learn to read, hippie.


      ""The bottom line, as I see it, is that the car was not comprised entirely of hemp; not even 50%. Nearly all of the websites are either misleading, or flat-out wrong. Does this mean hemp is not a useful material? No - there are many uses.""

      Delete
  42. Thanks for a very well written article Potts. I'm a mature age (female) student (returned to University x 3) who has seen the use of period newspapers, as reliable sources of information, in peer reviewed articles. Also it's not uncommon for the newspapers articles to be listed as essential reading in the units of university courses. I think you did a great job here, my only addition is that I think the person who originally questioned the types (if any) of fertilisers and pesticides used in the growth of Hemp may have been simply reasoning for themself if it would be damaging to the soils to grow the hemp - but that's just what I gleaned from the conversation, cheers J

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  43. This attempt to spin the concept of hemp as a commodity negatively and say "myth busted" is illogical and off-base. In fact, you actually contradict yourself. In the documentation provided it specifies the basic fact; the material was made from "70% cellulose material" and in the mix only specifies 10% hemp. But actually, it is the 70% cellulose that is the important number. Cellulose is cellulose, so it could be 10%, 40$ or even 70% of any cellulose material, including hemp. While I doubt that the material had anything to do with the restriction upon hemp, your argument is one that is not based in scientific fact. You get a mostly false.

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  44. Regardless whether this car was 100% hemp, 10% hemp etc...this car was just a PROTOTYPE...Just stop to actually think for a moment about the vast positive Environmental possibilities that this prototype could of given us today given today's technological advancements if it had not of been suppressed by the Petrochemical Industries way back then (and still to this day).

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  45. Hemp being used in today's prototypes - http://www.lotuscars.com/gb/engineering/eco-elise

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  46. I think what gets lost in all of this is another number. 10 times stronger than steel is really impressive for 1941. Fuck just how it's done and if hemp is even in the mix. You have to admit that this is worth exploring and hemp as a fuel is worth exploring.

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  47. well and can you update some Scaffolding & Aluminium Scaffolding Chennai related keyword update your blog. Why means your blog is more attractive to me. Thanks...

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  48. The point you are all missing it that a natural fibre car whatever it was was so far better than steel.

    It never got made. That was because your government protected and still protects corrupt monopolists and really does not left full competition occur.

    Hemp can produce with new technology 7600L per acre and using simple distillation techniques probably halve the price of fuel.

    But look at how much the oil industry has corrupted government, all starting with its corrupt father Mr Rockefeller. Yep right from day one.

    if you think the families later philanthropy was for the common good, you are juts dolts who have never even done any real research. You will be shackled to the history they have written for you.

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  49. https://www.thehenryford.org/research/soybeancar.aspx

    the above gives some insight, it wasn't designed to be a hemp car but a lighter car from farm products. i think hemp will eventually stand on its own merits, we need not glorify it for that to happen. no matter what we do today can not change the past and when activists learn that they will stop this foolery.

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