Historical Note: George Washington Carver

George Washington Carver, Tuskegee Scientist and Father of Chemurgy.

Automaker Henry Ford began to test farm crops for their industrial potential around 1930, and soon settled on hemp and the soybean as particularly promising (the famous Hemp Body or Soybean Car). The Ford Motor Company used soybeans in such parts as gearshift knobs and horn buttons, and hemp for the body of the car. The automobile was designed to run on hemp diesel. Ford Motor Company accessed these innovations via the discovery and ingenuity of George Washington Carver, Tuskegee Scientist and Father of Chemurgy.

Originating in a time of farm oversupply and agricultural depression, chemurgy was a vision promoting the expansion of the use of plant and livestock agriculture products as feedstocks for industry. Its early advocates were lab scientists, industrialists, and agricultural editors and economists. The Chemurgic Council and 1937 Farm Chemurgic council meetings at the Council offices in Dearborn, Michigan. From the same decade are the proceedings of the 1936 Southern Chemurgic Conference, held in Pensacola, Florida. These are followed, within the collection's documents issuing from the Council, by national conference proceedings dated 1949 and after.

Henry Ford predicted in the first decade of the chemurgic movement that before many decades, the feedstocks for the entire manufactured automobile would be agricultural materials. Two excerpts from the collection's materials from the 1970s are illustrative of the final active decade of the Council.


It is apparent from this excerpt that one benefit the Farm Chemurgic Council offered was a networking hub among individuals, companies and institutions interested in industrial use of agricultural and livestock products, and more recently renewable resources and effective waste utilization.