Henry Ford's Rubber Utopia
It all started in in nineteen twenty five. Henry Ford was having lunch and his Dearborn Michigan Mansion with his good friend business partner entire magnate Harvey firestone Harvey. RV and Ford had been friends and partners since Ford started building cars decades earlier. So yeah just remember like he invented the model t which I like cheap car and basically he brought the car to the mass. Exactly Mr Firestone had begun ranting this time primarily focused on the impending rubber cartel that had been proposing England by one Winston Churchill. I am not a crooked. You know that payments de Yeah with a cigar and he's like on this day I I am not a crook and it will live in infamy. Yep that's him. The purpose of also the was Churchill. The king no the purpose of the rubber cartel was to limit the export of rubber in order to not overextend national resources. In case there was another World World War One thousand nine hundred eighty five probably a good idea but harvey firestone didn't like that idea. He believed that rubber prices were going to spike in the US as a result and therefore negatively affect firestone tires. Not some things never change Harvey firestone was not alone in this fear even even presidential candidate. FDR feared the effects of a rubber tariff. Remember was viewed. As the automotive industry's chokepoint seen as even more crucial than oil it's crazy. The the automotive industry relied on vulcanized rubber for literally everything from tires to hoses gaskets. A price increase of any kind could sink the young business so there there was a legitimate fear of turtles. Pain passing seems somewhat reasonable. Also it's it's it's kind of like okay here newsflash guys. If you're listening to this this might lose some you know in. I believe in climate change. And it's SORTA like yeah making some changes like you know not dumping tons of poisons into rivers and stuff might be more expensive for some people but in the at the end of the day. It's good not to have poisoned rivers and it's also probably good to have like rubber to defeat the Nazis. Yeah Germany was totally destroyed and they were afraid of something all of Europe. Yeah they're afraid of something like that happening again because those wounds had not been healed all and Churchill was just saying like hey fellers hello. Hello how does he talk. Talk like this is how are we talk again elegant. Listen listen fellows. That women's of all are still fresh insulting. I say that maybe we just save some of US supplies in case of fruit bikes out to again rubber. Blow Hurrah. Yes that's always saying always saying. Hey guys the whole world was just at war four. I think it might happen again. Maybe we should just like chill and be ready and these guys are like a money so harvey firestone was fed up with living in constant fear of their so he decided the best course of action would be to grow his own rubber smart. This wasn't the first time he had some some crazy idea. In fact Harvey tried to declare economic independence from the UK and fly rubber under the American flag. A few years earlier but that was truly the ramblings of a madman who doesn't seem to understand that you can't just not claim another country's resources by saying this cheaper so I'm just going to say it's it's American now although now that I think back on it that's kind of how we did a lot of stuff so yeah but harvey actually had a plan. He decided that he was going to start his own plantation in Liberia where the conditions were almost perfect for growing rubber trees by keeping the production in house he could avoid all the access fees associated with importation from other countries. Henry Ford had also tried growing his own rubber a year earlier. In one thousand nine hundred eighty four he had purchased this large quantities of land in the Florida everglades only to eventually do nothing with them. It was cheaper for four to import. The rubber. The idea of dramatic price is increase was still only speculation. But Still Harvey's plans had peaked and reports interests and after the lunch meeting was over. He requested that it's personal aide aide Leopold would find out where the best place to grow rubber Leopold come over here boy. Where's the best place to go? Rob A AH go find out how Liberia was the obvious choice. Harvey firestone discovered. It had the perfect climate when he put his plantation there but unfortunately Henry Ford word was very very very racist and he would not dare step foot in such an uncivilised and African society so they came to the conclusion. I mean that the rubber should be grown where it originated in the Amazon. So rubber comes from both vines and trees and you let it grow and then when you chop it you squeeze the vines and Latex Literal Latex comes out trees yeah so it's a liquid and then they they put out onto like big flat drying areas than when it dries. You can pull it up like a sheet of Latex and then you take a bunch of latex yeah stack stack into bales. And then that's what gets shipped out to like Volkan Ization plants and stuff like that. So these plantations are really only concerned with drawing the vines and extracting latex from okay okay and Liberia had the per client. But what about the Amazon Amazon also. Very clearly great. Climate only problem. It's a lot harder harder to get into the rainforest than it is in Africa. Got You throughout the nineteenth century. The Amazon River Basin supplied all of the world's rubber and made up forty percent of Brazil's exports sports at the height of the rubber boom in the second half of the nineteenth century but the Amazon's rubber room quickly turned to bus as plantations in Asia and England. Were able to go. Rubber and much denser populations and much more efficiently in Amazon many natural species that are not present in other countries limit the growth of trees so but organizing united plantations and other countries the efficiency was greatly increased. Henry had another incentive to go to South America besides his racism in End Theodore Roosevelt's book through the Brazilian wilderness. He accounts his experiences traveling through the Amazonian rainforests. One of his most significant observations is that many fast-flowing rivers could provide an almost perfect power source for any industry bold enough to be born there. He claimed that the right kind of senators such his enterprising businessmen of foresight coolness and suggest city who would be willing to put migrants to work for an advantage that would be mutually beneficial will give rise to a a great industrial civilization money. If anyone thought they could fill that description it was Henry Ford art now. Henry Ford did not really make cars. Henry Ford thought that he made men the maker. Men's like me. This builder of meant the cars they produced produced were simply a byproduct of his training. He was praised as a sociologist manufacturer. If anyone could reshape the native Brazilians into prosperous factory workers it was Henry Ford. They don't want to be or so he thought they don't want that.