On This Day, Jan. 13, 1943 – Henry Ford Patents ‘The Soybean Car’
1942 – Henry Ford patented the plastic automobile referred to as the “Soybean Car.” The car was 30% lighter than the average car.
The Soybean car, more recently referred to as the Hemp body car, was a car build with agricultural plastic. Although the formula used to create the plasticized panels has been lost, it is conjectured that the first iteration of the body was made partially from soybeans and Hemp.
The body was lighter and therefore more fuel efficient than a normal metal body. It was made by Henry Ford’s auto company in Dearborn, Michigan, through the work of scientist/botanist George Washington Carver and was introduced to public view on August 13, 1941.
Because of World War II all US automobile production was curtailed considerably, and the plastic car experiment basically came to a halt. By the end of the war the plastic car idea went into oblivion. According to Lowell Overly, the prototype car was destroyed by Bob Gregorie.
Others argue that Ford invested millions of dollars into research to develop the plastic car to no avail. He proclaimed he would “grow automobiles from the soil” — however it never happened, even though he had over 12,000 acres of soybeans for experimentation. Some sources even say the Soybean Car wasn’t made from soybeans at all — but of phenolic plastic, an extract of coal tar.One newspaper even reports that all of Ford’s research only provided whipped cream as a final product.
The Henry Ford Museum gives three reasons for Ford’s decision to make a plastic automobile, the plastic car made from soybeans.
Ford was looking to integrate industry with agriculture;
Ford claimed that his plastic made these cars safer than normal metal cars;
Ford wished to make his new plastic material a replacement for the metals used in normal cars. A side benefit would have been easing of the shortage of metal during World War II.
1128 – Pope Honorius II granted a papal sanction to the military order known as the Knights Templar. He declared it to be an army of God.
1794 – President George Washington approved a measure adding two stars and two stripes to the American flag, following the admission of Vermont and Kentucky to the union.
1854 – Anthony Faas of Philadelphia, PA, was granted the first U.S. patent for the accordion. He made improvements to the keyboard and enhanced the sound.
1893 – Britain’s Independent Labor Party, a precursor to the current Labor Party, met for the first time.
1898 – Emile Zola’s “J’accuse” was published in Paris.
1900 – In Austria-Hungary, Emperor Franz Joseph decreed that German would be the language of the imperial army to combat Czech nationalism.
1906 – Hugh Gernsback, of the Electro Importing Company, advertised radio receivers for sale for the price of just $7.50 in “Scientific American” magazine.
1928 – Ernst F. W. Alexanderson gave the first public demonstration of television.
1966 – Robert C. Weaver became the first black Cabinet member when he was appointed Secretary of Housing and Urban Development by President Lyndon Johnson.
1979 – The Y.M.C.A. filed a lawsuit against the Village People over their song, “Y.M.C.A.” The suit was later dropped.
1986 – “The Wall Street Journal” printed a real picture on its front page. The journal had not done this in nearly 10 years. The story was about artist, O. Winston Link and featured one of his works.
1990 – L. Douglas Wilder of Virginia, the nation’s first elected black governor, took the oath of office in Richmond.
1992 – Japan apologized for forcing tens of thousands of Korean women to serve as sex slaves for Japanese soldiers during World War II.
1998 – NBC agreed to pay almost $13 million for each episode of the TV show “E.R.” It was the highest amount ever paid for a TV show.
1998 – ABC and ESPN negotiated to keep “Monday Night Football” for $1.15 billion a season.
1998 – One of the 110 missing episodes of the British TV show “Doctor Who” was found in New Zealand.
1999 – Michael Jordan (Chicago Bulls) announced his retirement from the NBA.
2002 – The exhibit “In the Spirit of Martin: The Living Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” opened at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. More than 100 artists supplied the collection of 120 works of art.
2002 – President George W. Bush fainted after choking on a pretzel.
Source: On-This-Day.com; readtiger.com/wkp/en/Soybean_Car