Science: Chemurgy: 1943
The war, changing the U.S. farm problem from surplus to shortage, has also reversed the chemurgy-movement. For eight years the National Farm Chemurgic Council has tried to solve the farm problem by promoting diversified crops of use to industry. But today the farmer needs manpower, not new markets. It is industry that needs chemurgy, not the farmer. Without agricultural help, rubber, alcohol and explosives programs would be facing disaster.
The Chemurgic Movement
In the early 1900s, hemp proponents began to promote a new industry based upon innovative fiber separating technologies such a Schlichten’s decorticating machine. This fledgling industry was based upon the science of chemurgy (a term coined by Dow Chemical biochemist William Hale), which sought to combine agriculture and organic chemistry.
Founders of the chemurgy movement included Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and George Washington Carver, who shared a dream of seeing farm products replace timber and imported oil as sources for fibers, plastic, fuels, and lubricants. The chemurgists operated on the premise that “anything that can be made from a hydrocarbon can be made from a carbohydrate.”
Farm Chemurgic Council
An Inventory of Its Records at the MSU University Archives and Historical Collections of Michigan State University
some truths about PLA - compostable corn plastic
"As I continue to research eco-friendly packaging for vineyard picnics, I have came across an article in the Smithsonian Magazine
which exposed some unfortunate truths about PLA. These are the corn plastics Newman’s Own Organics, Wild Oats, Wal-Mart, DelMonte,
Kentucky Fried Chicken - and vineyard picnics to go - use because they’re made from
a renewable resource, are compostable, and use 65% less energy to produce than conventional plastics. But are they compostable?
"Plastics" from Corn and Soy
"The technology that turns corn into blankets--and so many other consumer goods--is actually decades old. In the 1920's and '30's, Henry Ford experimented with using crops, mostly soy,
to make auto parts. But petroleum proved easier to convert into plastics; at the time, it also seemed a much more modern, forward-looking material. Plus, it was cheap. As late as 1970,
oil cost about $3 a barrel--not much more than a bushel of corn. These days, corn still costs about $2 a bushel. It makes a good substitute for $60-a-barrel oil because, like petroleum,
it contains carbon, the essential building block for plastic."
A Short History of Casein
"Krische, head of a large firm of printers in Hanover, Germany was looking to waterproof paperboard in an attempt to replace the slate and chalk used in schools with a washable white board and pencil. He collaborated with Adolf Spitteler, a chemist in Bavaria and a patent for plastic compositions was taken out in Germany on July 15th 1899."
"Milk fiber was invented in 1930’s in Italy and America to compete wool. The fiber known as ARALAC, Lanatil, Merinova all different brands for the same fiber manufactured from milk casein fell victim to their minor flaws and the war.
Avoiding Milk Blog
Casein: Plastics Historical Society
"Casein plastics were introduced at the beginning of the 20th century, their starting material being the protein in cows milk, precipitated by the action of the enzyme rennin.
After a factory explosion killed his younger brouther in 1864, Alfred Nobel sought a way to safely handle nitroglycerine. He invented dynamite
in 1866 and patented his creation in 1867. Dynamite is actually the packaging of nitroglycerin, a highly explosive liquid. In 1866, Nobel
realized that mixing nitroglycerin with diatomaceous earth stabilized the explosive by actually soaking it up and therefore reducing its
volatility. He named the product dynamite which is derived from the Greek "dynamis" meaning powder."
"In 1937, Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) patented a technique to make a synthetic fibre from peanuts called Ardil which could be woven like wool.
The shortage of wool for uniforms during World War II encouraged ICI to invest heavily in the project.
Non food Items that contain nuts
Uses for Peanuts
"By reason of its superior food value, the peanut has become almost a universal diet for man, and when we learn its real value,
I think I am perfectly safe in the assertion that it will not only become a prime essential in every well-balanced dietary, but a
real necessity. Indeed, I do not know of any one vegetable that has such a wide range of food possibilities either raw or cooked.
"Despite precise written sources, the concept of using vegetal oil as an engine fuel likely dates when Rudolf Diesel (1858-1913) developed the first engine to run on peanut oil, as he demonstrated at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1900. Unfortunately, R. Diesel died 1913 before his vision of a vegetable oil powered engine was fully realized." FromBio Diesel
Henry Ford and His Employees: Work with Soy
Henry Ford, born 30 July 1863 on a farm near Dearborn, Michigan, was one of America's foremost soybean and soyfood pioneers. From the late 1920s until many years
after his death in 1947, Ford's name was closely linked with soybeans, for he developed a host of new ways to use the crop industrially and was one of the most
creative of the original soyfoods pioneers. In those days when soyfoods were not yet respectable (are they yet?), Ford had to take a lot of abuse and become the
butt of many jokes and newspaper cartoons for his firm belief in the soybean. A man of great vision and influence, Ford and his huge publicity machine, plus his
unique ability to attract media attention, gave soybeans and soyfoods extensive and exciting nationwide publicity. He reached both farmers and the general public
in an area when soy was still largely unknown.
Soy Products Guide
"Perhaps the first well-recognized new soy product was an automobile panel made from soy plastic by Henry Ford in 1933. Although soy had been used in products such
as paints and lubricants in the past, petrochemicals were lower in cost and more readily available after World War II. Since then, new technologies have been discovered
to include soy in many industrial products. Relatively little research on soybean oil and protein as industrial ingredients were conducted until formation of the United
Soybean Board (USB) in 1991. USB, comprising 69 volunteer farmer-directors, oversees investments of the soybean checkoff, a research and promotion program funded by U.S.
Chemurgy and Allergens Blog
Precription and Over COunter Products That Contain Nuts