Explore Henry Ford's ill-fated attempt to bring cheap rubber to his own industry--and to bring a Utopian society to the Amazonian basin in Brazil.
The sawmill at Fordlandia never turned out to be the profit center Ford hoped it might be. Even beyond the economic challenges of the Great Depression, trees of the same species were not located together but scattered through the jungle, making harvest cost-prohibitive, and many were not appropriate for milling.
In the mid-1930s, Ford established a second rubber plantation, Belterra, about 70 miles from Fordlandia. Having learned lessons from the first attempt, social engineering was eased at the new plantation, and experts were brought in. Some new and promising methods of propagation, such as grafting, were investigated.
From The Henry Ford Archive of American Innovation™.
Thanks to author Greg Grandin for his excellent book Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City, which provides much more information about the whole enterprise, and draws on many of the source materials of The Henry Ford, among others.