- Written by webmin
I’ve had this picture hanging around in my Inbox for a while, courtesy Geoff Hacker, and I thought today, the anniversary of Henry Ford’s patent (2,269,451) for a method of producing a plastic-bodied car, would be as good a time as any to post it. We won’t get into the details of the car itself, which we already discussed four years ago today, but we do have to wonder who the men in the picture are and whether that’s Henry himself at the wheel of the car.
It’s a good guess that the man on the left is Robert A. Boyer, who headed Ford’s soybean and plastics research from 1930 to 1945, and who later invented soy protein-based synthetic meat, an indirect result of experiments (cut short by World War II) in creating synthetic wool out of soybeans while he was still at Ford. “We tested the wool fabric for salt content and other factors and one day – I’ll never forget it – it occurred to me that if we could make something for the outside of man, why not for the inside,” Boyer told Ralston Purina Magazine in 1970.
Thank you, Mr. Boyer, for all that you have done.
UPDATE: Thanks to Hugo90 for uploading the below picture of the plastic-bodied car to the Hemmings Nation Flickr pool:
The photo appears to be taken at the same time as the above photo was taken. We see that the driver is not Henry Ford, rather he appears to be Lowell Overly, the designer of the plastic car. And judging from the people in the background, we’re going to assume that these two pictures were taken either at the public introduction of the plastic-bodied car at Dearborn Days on August 13, 1941, or later that year at the Michigan State Fairgrounds.