History of Chemurgy . . . . . . History of Allergies, Chemurgy and Allergens Blog

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 ninth Chemurgic Conference of Agriculture, Industry and Science, meeting in Chicago last fortnight, changed its outlook without blinking. The veteran farm crusaders were absent or silent. Research men from major industries—rubber, alcohol, paints and varnish, plastics—dominated the scene with talk of shortages, grim calculations. Hopes were stirred by such performances as that of the soybean industry, a recent problem child of chemurgy, which now crushes ten million bushels of beans monthly, expects a crop of 175 million bushels in 1943 and the export of a billion pounds of soy flour and grits under Lend-Lease. From Time Magazine Article in 1943


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.”

From The Hemp Museum

Farm Chemurgic Council

An Inventory of Its Records at the MSU University Archives and Historical Collections of Michigan State University

University Arhives & Historical Collections

History of Allergens: In Non Food Corn Products see also products made from corn

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?

PLA was invented by a Cargill scientist who was trying to find new uses for corn. As an aside, industrial lactic acid, a by-product of fermentation, can also be made from wheat, beets and potatoes; but NatureWorks, which produces PLA, is owned by Cargill, the world’s largest corn vendor. It used to cost $200 per pound; it now costs $1 per pound."

From Vine Yard Picnics

"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."

From Manataka

History of Allergens: In Non Food Milk Products see also products made from milk

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."

A Short History of Casein

Milk Fiber

"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.

Today’s Milk fiber is environmentally friendly, superior in strength and has far better qualities than man-made fibers.

From Euro Flax


Avoiding Milk Blog

Allergy Safe


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.

Although casein is readily moulded to shape under moderate heat and pressure, it does not produce a stable material for manufacture until it has become hardened by soaking in formalin (5% solution of formaldehyde in water) for a long period. Unfortunately, this causes much distortion so casein plastics are almost always produced by machining stock material such as sheet, rod, tube or buttton blanks (small discs). After machining, casein may be polished either mechanically with abrasives or chemically with a 'dip polish'.

The material readily takes a surface dye, so coloured items can be quickly made from pale coloured stock items. This was especially important for the button trade which was the principal consumer of casein plastics.

As well as buttons and buckles, casein was also used for knitting pins, fountain pen and propelling pencil barrels, dressing table ware and a host of other items.


History of Allergens: In Non Food Nut Products see also products made from nuts


" 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."
From E How Dynamite

Peanut Fiber

"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.

The British Government also encouraged the project as part of an economic development program for East African farmers.

During the testing period, a sample of Ardil was sent to the director of an ICI plant in India for evaluation. To test its strength, he had a carpet woven from the fibre. For years, the carpet apparently showed little signs of wear.

From Ardil The Forgotten Peanut Fibre

Non food Items that contain nuts
List of products such as firelogs, paper, compost starters

Nut Free


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.

Below are given 105 ways of preparing the peanuts for human consumption, with the hope that every farmer will learn to appreciate them and raise large quantities for his own consumption; and also with the hope that the city folk will find the diet not only wholesome, satisfying, healthful and appetizing, but very economical. Fourteen recipes were selected from this number, and a five course luncheon served to ten food specialists; and each one without exception was enthusiastic over it, and said it was the most satisfying luncheon he or she had ever eaten."

From How to Grow the Peanut and 105 Ways of Preparing it For Human Consumtion

Bio Diesel

"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

Historical Perspective On Vegetable Oil Bassed Diesel Fuels

History of Allergens: In Non Food Soy Products See also products made from soy

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.

From Soy Info Center

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. soybean farmers."

From The United Soybean Board

About Biobased

George Washington Carver and Henry Ford helped pioneer biobased products in America. Today, U.S. companies offer hundreds of biobased products made from soybeans. Furniture and carpet backing, cleaning supplies for homes, industrial solvents, transformer oils and energy efficient roofing materials are just a few of the many products. From Biobased Products

More Information

Chemurgy and Allergens Blog

Precription and Over COunter Products That Contain Nuts

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