Monday, January 30, 2006

I'd like a mustang made from edamame

Stay Free! has posted a former print interview with Jeffrey Meikle, author of American Plastic - "How we learned to stop worrying and love plastics" - that has a creepy photo warning against dry cleaning bag suffocation.

Henry Ford believed that ultimately cars would be made not out of steel but out of plastic, and that the plastic would come from soybeans grown by American farmers. Throughout his career Ford had a special interest in the American farmer. He didn't really see the Model T as the cornerstone of an urban transportation system, he saw it primarily as a boon for farmers, to modernize their life. Ford was thinking about and experimenting with making plastic from soybeans. He had a vision that all of the elements used in making the car could come from agriculture. And, in fact, he made an all-plastic experimental car right before World War II. He had plans to put it into production, but the war intervened. So in an odd sort of way, his idea connected new materials to very traditional ways of living, and therefore made them seem more natural or acceptable.