Did you know that a portion of Henry Ford’s first cars was composed of hemp fibers? Yes, it’s true. It was during a time when hemp was an important part of the American economy, which many people don’t realize existed before the prohibition against cannabis was passed by the U.S. federal government.
Characteristics of Henry Ford’s Hemp Car
The hemp fiber made for a durable, strong car. While it was not a car that ran from petrol-based plastics, the way “eco-friendly vehicles” do today, the hemp feature was certainly good for the environment.
Henry Ford’s car was touted on commercials and other promotional materials as being “plastic.” The plastic was lighter than steel but was must stronger against dents than steel. The car was built in 1941 and contained cellulose fibers that came from sisal, wheat straw and hemp.
Also, the car ran on ethanol made from hemp. Ford was optimistic of the uses of hemp as an economic resource if cultivated widely, as per Hemp Car’s biography of him.
Today we know that ethanol is better for the environment and our health. We also know that hemp withstands heat well and is more durable than cotton.
Undercutting Hemp’s Potential
Unfortunately, the federal government has since changed its views on anything to do with cannabis. It is too bad as hemp is very versatile and could have been a contender as an alternative to synthetic fibers and plastics. When campaigns started against weed and the film “Reefer Madness” was seen by Americans, it gave marijuana a bad name. Marijuana was prohibited soon afterward, including growing hemp.
But the use of hemp fiber in Hendry Ford’s car is proof of the potential of hemp for creating strong, quality products. The history of hemp is complex and for many people, its outlaw by the U.S. government as a Schedule I drug does not make sense.
Henry Ford’s Hemp Car Videos