10 x Stronger Than Steel In The 1940’s: Henry Ford’s HEMP Car.


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url-2When we think of cars we think of gasoline, steel, pollution, etc. Well, maybe you don’t, but that’s what comes to mind for me. Even though we have some innovative and visually pleasing cars on the road today, it is difficult to ignore the sheer environmental impact that modern cars create. What if cars didn’t have to be the way they are today? If you are a researcher of any kind of alternative information, you already know this to be true -especially given that the technology already exists today to make cars smarter, safer and more eco-friendly (no fossil fuels necessary.) But did you know that Henry Ford spent more than a decade researching and building his Model-T car which was not only constructed from hemp but was also designed to run off hemp bio-fuel? Whatever happened to this idea?

According to Popular Mechanics, Henry Ford’s first Model-T was built to run on hemp gasoline and the CAR ITSELF WAS CONSTRUCTED FROM HEMP! On his large estate, Ford was photographed among his hemp fields. The car, ‘grown from the soil,’ had hemp plastic panels whose impact strength was 10 times stronger than steel.

To think that even one of the founders of a major car manufacturer was trying to give the world a vehicle that was safe, strong and clean for the environment, yet his invention was so suppressed that it is somewhat disheartening. How did we go from such an obvious and intelligent discovery, to using gasoline, steel and other non-harmonious materials? It’s important to remember, not only do we need to look at the pollution factor of a material while in use, but also in the manufacturing and creation of it from raw materials. Looking at hemp, it complies with every eco-standard that exists today; in fact, it blows them out of the water. The suppression of this technology is largely due to the fact that hemp was outlawed in the US in 1937 due to the potential damaging effect it would have on many powerful industries at the time. I highly recommend you check out the the full story on how hemp became illegal to get a better understanding.

Here are a couple of videos showing the sheer strength of Ford’s hemp vehicle as well as the possibility of hemp based vehicles and fuels. Hemp has a bright future. The prohibition of it certainly won’t last forever given the amount of awareness being raised around the subject.


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CE provides a space for free thinkers to explore and discuss new, alternative information and ideas. The goal? Question everything, think differently, spread love and live a joy filled life.

  1. Katsu999

    Depends – he did build a car containing hemp, so that’s not a myth. The article disclaims websites that claim “the car was 100% made from hemp”, which is fine, as it simply wouldn’t be physically possible, then or now. Still, I haven’t seen a website that claims the 100% bit anyway, so I can’t see the point of the disclaimer.

    The one thing most people don’t know is that Mr Diesel designed his engines to run on hemp oil, which is why now they have to run on a petrol/oil hybrid mix.

  2. steve

    sorry to burst your bubble but the so called Hemp car by ford is a MYTH http://theangryhistorian.blogspot.com/2010/10/hemp-car-myth-busted.html

    • I Suppose the Lotus also Made of the Hemp is a myth too…Some People just cant admit Hemp can replace every resource needed by man…Energy, Food, Housing & Medicine…We would never have to cut down another tree never drill another hole in the earth’s surface…Were so easily deceived that’s why its all coming to an end soon:)

  3. Maurice Newport

    The car built by Henry Ford was not built almost exclusively nor even primarily from hemp. The car’s plastic was 30% resin and 70% cellulose, the cellulose being comprised of numerous substances, including 10% of which was hemp. That makes the plastic car’s hemp content just 7%…

  4. yaasmyn fula

    I am teaching all that i can about hemp and its history, and how we can use it to help mankind and save our planet. Please put me on your list of supporters. California just signed new law to grow industrial hemp but waiting on feds and dea to issue permits? What to do now? I want to start preparing!

  5. Vince Teron

    As a car nut, I have to say that this is a very misleading article. According to the Henry Ford Museum, “the car in question was referred to as the ‘Soybean Car’ The frame, made of tubular steel, had 14 plastic panels attached to it. The car weighed 2000 lbs., 1000 lbs. lighter than a steel car. The exact ingredients of the plastic panels are unknown because no record of the formula exists today. One article claims that they were made from a chemical formula that, among many other ingredients, included soybeans, wheat, hemp, flax and ramie; while the man who was instrumental in creating the car, Lowell E. Overly, claims it was “…soybean fiber in a phenolic resin with formaldehyde used in the impregnation.

    “The famous picture of Henry Ford hitting a car with an ax is NOT a picture of the soybean car. It was actually Ford’s personal car with a plastic rear deck lid made to fit it. He liked to demonstrate the strength of the plastic, and the ax he used would fly out of his hands, about 15 ft. (a rubber boot was placed on the sharp end of the ax) into the air.”

    I realize you have an agenda here, which is fine. But please, check your facts and report the truth. These fluff articles where you extoll the virtues of hemp by misrepresenting the facts only takes away from any veracity you or your cause have.

    • Woodhippie

      maybe they are misinformed sure he used soy beans with hemp fiber to hold it together

    • I agree Vince. Growing up, I lived within walking distance of Fairlane, the Ford Mansion in Dearborn and also within walking distance of Ford’s birthplace (both in Dearborn). In fact, Ford’s barber was my childhood barber. The only thing surrounding those areas were soybean fields, for miles, for years and years. If there was hemp, there wasn’t enought to build anything of the sort described here.

    • fra cimma

      wow you are amazing!

  6. Thank you for the article joe . Would you please consider doing a follow up article as to why today the same mind set still exists and why it does and the reason for no real change despite the direction our economy is heading in.

  7. Sebastian

    hemp may be a good material to re-enforce plastic or fiber glass but 10 times stronger than steel ? For which kinds of force? Where are the independent lab tests?

  8. T

    “10x”? I need some peer review on these numbers, man.

  9. …now that Industrial Hemp has found its way into an agricultural bill, regardless how minimal it seems at this time, it is too late to stop educating the general public about the benefits that the nation will derive from the crop. The internet will simply not allow ignorance, lies and deceit to take hold of this as there are way to many benefits to be derived from it.
    Just as medical marijuana already has 19 states that have been given the green light thus far as a bona fide medicine, industrial hemp as a legitimate resource will ride right alongside with it and the US job outlook AND the economy will be better off for it…

  10. rhobere

    First let me be clear: I read this article believing that it was true because you’re not the first person that I’ve heard this from. Hell, I even wanted it to be true. But now I question the legitimacy of any of this information for one reason: where is this Popular Mechanics article?

    I’ve seen many people cite it. Most simply do what you did and say “According to Popular Mechanics…” None give a link. Most just say 1941, and a few say December, 1941. WELL, I went to the Popular Mechanics’ archive on Google and narrowed it down to all published in 1941 (https://www.google.com/search?tbm=bks&hl=en&q=popular+mechanics+1941&btnG=) and started reading (yes I read everything that wasn’t an ad in all twelve editions). You’ll be very disappointed to know that not a single word was mentioned about hemp in 1941 and the only mention of plastic was an article in the December edition titled “Magic Plastic” on page 88 talking about some hydrochloride-based, rubberized plastic used in casts. I found at least three articles that cited the Magic Plastic story as being about the Hemp Model T. I assure you that it is not. In addition, nowhere in the December 1941 edition is Henry Ford so much as mentioned, nor does his name come up in any of the other stories in 1941. As far as I can tell, the fabled Henry Ford Hemp Car article does not exist.

    If someone finds the article in the archive, please correct me. As I mentioned above, I would like very much if the hemp Model T was a real thing, but as far as I can see, its just propaganda put out by pot enthusiasts and perpetuated by people who don’t do thorough research.

    You will, however, be happy to know that another fabled hemp article in Popular Mechanics about it being the next big cash crop DOES exist and can be found in the February 1938 edition. Its important to note that the article was written the year that hemp, and cannabis in general was outlawed in the states. This brings me to another interesting point. Hemp was illegal in 1941. illegal materials don’t yield themselves to popular application which makes the whole idea of the 1941 hemp article in popular mechanics bogus. I hate to shit on your parade, but I think I already did. Sorry.

    • History

      Henry Ford first put Eugene Turenne Gregorie of his design department in charge of manufacturing. Ultimately he was not satisfied with the proposed project, and gave the project to the Soybean Laboratory in Greenfield Village. The person in charge there was Lowell Overly, who had a background in tool and die design. The finished prototype was exhibited in 1941 at the Dearborn Days festival in Dearborn, Michigan. It was also shown at the Michigan State Fair Grounds the same year.[2] Patent 2,269,452 for the chassis of the soybean car was issued January 13, 1942.[6]

      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.[2] According to Lowell Overly, the prototype car was destroyed by Bob Gregorie.[2]

    • Joel50PR

      @rhobere…. the magazine issue is December 1941, Vol. 76, No. 6 and the Article’s tittle is “Pinch Hitters for Defense” in Page 1. In page 3 you will see the photo of the car and its description mentioning hemp and the hemp-based plastic panels strength 10x greater than steel. Or check it at http://books.google.com.au/books?id=9dkDAAAAMBAJ&printsec=frontcover&hl=en#v=onepage&q&f=false

    • It’s Popular Mechanics: FEB 1938! .. SMH …

  11. yabbadoody

    I’d like to see Anderson Cooper roll up in a hemp car and “smoke the competition”…

  12. tim

    The model T was not made out of hemp plastic do a Google search the model T is much older than that. The video has nothing wrong but the author of this page is spouting nonsense.

  13. Mark

    What a steaming load of BS.
    There is no recorded or known activity with hemp plastic until Paul Benhaim developed the ‘High Fly’ hemp plastic frisbee in 1999.

    • So are you suggsting Popular Mechanics published a fabricated story?

      • “According to Popular Mechanics, Henry Ford’s first Model-T was built to run on hemp gasoline and the CAR ITSELF WAS CONSTRUCTED FROM HEMP!”

        Please site your source for this alleged Popular Mechanics article stating the Model T was constructed from hemp. Having ridden in several Model Ts myself (all made of metal), I would be very interested to read this.

        • rhobere

          its difficult to cite a source that was published in 1941 with a convenient link for you to click on. and I WAS going to call that good enough and berate you for questioning sources. But then I found an archive of all the popular mechanics editions ever published and searched for ones released during 1941 and guess what I found…

          NOT A GODDAMN THING. I found only one article published about plastic in 1941 and it had nothing to do with hemp…

    • Amber
  14. “But did you know that Henry Ford spent more than a decade researching and building his Model-T car which was not only constructed from hemp but was also designed to run off hemp bio-fuel?”

    The Model T was constructed from brass, wood and steel (later wood and steel). Not sure where you got this hemp claim…

    As for the car that actually was composed partially of hemp, that was from later (the 1940s). Do you have a source stating that it was entirely hemp? Because I’ve never seen a genuine source validating this.

  15. Hi Kimberly Shoemaker ! Absolutely agree with you …. MONEY and POSSESSION/of RIGHTS, too .. if it’s your own idea turned into a successful business it’s all right … you deserve (as you SERVE) others … These are the same Gluttony Monsters … Henry Ford, the Rockfellers, The Pentagon, Oil Magnates … who could not buy for ANY Money the Patent of the real Inventor – Maer Stanly a while ago who REFUSED ‘to FUSE with them’ … a year later he was POISONED to death and there’s no record what happened with his documentation or legacy … I cannot believe my eyes … and joe@collective.evolution … M. Stanly .. not quite sure of the name … I have the info, just can’t find it … http://www.realfarmacy.com/hemp-could-free-us-from-oil-prevent-deforestation-cure-cancer-and-its-environmentally-friendly-so-why-is-it-illegal/

    • rhobere

      so… many… ellipses… … none… necessary… at… all… …credibility… in… question…

  16. Mandra

    http://theangryhistorian.blogspot.com/2010/10/hemp-car-myth-busted.html according to this research, the car was 1/7th hemp.

  17. “Mainstream media will never tell us about this”
    >quotes a Popular Science article about the car

    “invention was suppressed”
    >there are a dozen patents for hemp plastics, several hemp plastic production facilities and a multi-million dollar industrial hemp industry

    stay paranoid, stoners

    • Jhimmi the Dhimmi

      Popular Science didn’t write about this recently. It was a long time ago, during cheap oil days. Or, didn’t you read my post about the tour on the Estate? Wait, when do you think Henry Ford died? Last year?

      And the invention WAS suppressed. Ever heard about marijuana prohibition? That’s spanish for hemp, dipshit. The multi-million dollar hemp industry should, by rights, be a multi BILLION (or even trillion) dollar industry. But it’s illegal to grow on american soil, thanks to know-nothings like yourself. Therefore those multi millions of dollars are fattening the pockets of Canadians and Chinese and.

  18. Kent Stork

    Please add a reference for the Popular Science article.

  19. Lisa Lisa Thunderbolt

    hemp food is the strongest weak link we are missing

  20. The car shown is not a model T – it was a concept car built in 1941 that used soy to create bio-plastic panels. The model T was only ever intended to run on gasoline, although the Model A was designed with ethanol in mind – although Ford never specified that ethanol be best derived from hemp. Sorry to burst your bubble.

    • MetalTeK

      Really? Wikipedia is your source of info?
      No one said the car shown in the video was a Model T.
      The panels were made from hemp and soy. Why do you twist info, or leave specific things out to make it look like you know what you’re talking about?
      Maybe you should re-read and make sure you understand before you speak.
      “According to Popular Mechanics, Henry Ford’s first Model-T was built to run on hemp gasoline”.
      Ford never did not specify ethanol is best derived from hemp either. So sorry. Nice try though.

      • Part of the tour of Henry Ford Estate that was given as part of my environmental sciences class at Henry Ford Community College (which is only a mile or so away) was where the guide explained how Ford had a huge hemp field (that we were walking in) that he was using to create METHANOL as part of his experimental fuel project. Rockefeller caught wind of it and told Ford it was bad to try to compete with him. He proved it by dropping the price of gas by half for a couple of weeks until he got his point across. Thus died the hemp-fueled Ford.

  21. James

    Yeah, in reality, putting mainstream corruption aside, Hemp has a THC content of around 0.05% while very potent cannabis buds for smoking contain around 20%. This is ignorance at a sickening level. There is no reason other than the profits of some very wealthy that the plant is illegal. Cannabis-Sativa very well could be the solution to most of our world’s problems, no underestimation!

    • James Gambino

      I advocate marijuana use as well though. I believe people should be able to do what they want to do especially when it harms nobody and Delta-9 Tetrahydracanabinol (THC), which is the main chemical that gets you high, has cancer fighting properties alone. Although Cannabinidiol (CBD), found in cannabis-sativa, is proven to reverse aggressive cancerous tumors. It hinders reproduction and they begin to die off. The best part is CBD is not psychoactive, meaning that it isn’t a chemical that will give you the high effect. How would pharmaceutical companies make so much money if nobody was sick and buying their chemicals to get more sick to buy more drugs? Where would the prisons be if nobody was in them? They would be poor! Money is the root of all evil, friends! Colorado and Washington state should serve as great role models.

      The people of this nation must take back control, because we are headed toward tyranny. This nation is supposed to be free. Do research of your own and always stay away from mainstream yellow journalism. There is a reason congress is proposing Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) and have proposed to censor anything on the internet so Americans could only see what they want them to. This new CISPA would give the government access to all private messaging of every person online. They would have access to even the most personal information without a warrant and you would have no idea when they request the information or when your online behavior could come back to legally bit you, or even worse. Our government has already killed 3 American citizens on American soil with predator drones without a warrant. What did Adolf Hitler do before the Nazis took over almost all of Europe? He took the guns from the citizens. Disarming is tyrannical evidence in history. Open your eyes. Get your news from NaturalNews.com, Infowars.com, etc. These are independent news sources who are for the people.

      • Roisin Robertson

        I always thought that Henry Ford had designed the cars to run on corn oil, as he knew farmers grew corn to feed the animals….or was that the ‘official’ version…Where did he get hijacked by the Oil industry…would be interesting to know…

        • My mother’s partner told me that the first cars were designed to run on either gasoline or alcohol with a switch built in to change for which type of fuel was used. So that a person who was travelling in a rural area where no gas was to be found could just drop by the nearest farm for some alcohol. However Rockafeller at that time wanted to sell more gasoline and to expand so he made a sizable donation to the Women’s Temperance league so they could work toward getting Alcohol banned bringing on Prohibition.
          Pop (as I called him) lived through those times and actually sold bootleg alcohol. He said He drove along the area that was called Thunder road but instead of racing through it went what would have been the speed limit. He would buy barrels which he would make some of into chairs and the rest he would use to carry his alcohol in. He got stopped by the a highway patrol officers who wanted a look at the chair he had made out of a barrel and the guy actually stood on a barrel of about 300 gallons of bootleg alcohol that Pop was carrying. He bought the chair from him and let him go on his way without ever knowing about the alcohol.

        • And Diesel’s diesel was derived from hemp as well!

          • Max Lewis

            Unfortunately not. Rudolf Diesel’s engine was designed using peanut oil. However, Hemp is also a fantastic fuel for gasifiers.

      • Money is the root of all evil, friends! <—indeed!!

        • Paul

          No, it’s not. That is a common misconception of what the bible says. Actually, it is “the LOVE of money that is A root of all evil.” Notice that he says “A root”, not “THE root”. The writer there was making the point that greed was just one of the huge problems afflicting the human race.

      • infowars.com is a crackpot website, Adolph Hitler did not disarm his citizens…read a history book not from Texas…..

      • Meister Omega

        As a condition of the Treaty of Versailles, and the 1919 “Regulations on Weapon Ownership” the Germans were disarmed totally, and possession of a firearm was punishable by prison time, a fine, or both until 1928. In 1928 gun ownership was reinstated by the “Law on Firearms and Ammunition” which effectively relaxed the total gun ban and implemented a strict licensing system. Ten years later in 1938, the Third Reich instituted a law which abolished the previous legislation under the Weimar Republic, and permitted only trusted, non-Jewish German citizens to own weapons. It also included a strict licensing system no different than the system under the Weimar Republic.

        Get your facts straight before posting BS propaganda.

      • mike

        Very well said!

    • Technically just Cannabis Sativa is illegal, and if you look up in any law book that is all that is listed. Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Ruderalis are not in law books, just Cannabis Sativa L. THC, stands for The Hemp Cover-Up…use the one mind latering substance about it to lead it on a path to condemantion. CBD is the real reason pot is illegal, for CBD is an immune molecule, which has no affinity for CB receptors, unlike THC. CBD can act as both agonist and antagonist.

    • John McGrath

      In my Catholic grade school we studied all the benefits of hemp (in Economic Geography) and how it would be the material of the future. but I am old and all that has been suppressed or ignored.

      • Shirley

        Hemp seeds are rick in omega’s and good for your health

    • chris

      yes but its the oil lobby who pay the most taxes and therefore control the market and goverments

      • Tom B.

        They aren’t paying much by way of taxes these days . . . but bribes and campaign contributions, yeah, those are pretty persuasive.

  22. Susan Gregory

    Of course mainstream media will never share this jaw dropping information…isn’t hemp that hippie stuff? Why I bet some people think if you rode in that car you’d get stoned!

    • Peter

      True He He

    • chris

      no it isnt? it is related? but if you know anything about history the ropes etc on sailing ships where made of hemp?

      • They still, to this day, use hemp rope on Naval vessels.

        • And they have to import it from other countries because growing it here is illegal. Stupid, isn’t it

        • Samawry

          What’s called Manila Hemp,made from an agave, replaced regular hemp rope in sailing vessels before it was made illegal.

    • the seed

      Industrial hemp doesn’t get you high. If you smoked it you would get a major headache and you’d feeling like crud. Marijuana (cannabis) and hemp are related but hemp has no THC in it. THC is the property in cannabis that gets you high. There are 170 species grouped in about 11 genera within the family of plants that share a relation to cannabis and hemp. Hackberries, hops and dandelions are some just to name a few.

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