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This Day in History

World History

Tuesday, January 13, 1942. :   Car-maker Henry Ford patents the plastic automobile body.

     Henry Ford, born in 1863, was the founder of the Henry Ford Motor Comapany. He was one of the first to apply assembly line manufacturing to the mass production of automobiles. This had the effect of making the automobile more affordable for the average consumer. Ford was interested in plastics developed from agricultural products, especially soybeans. Ford utilised soybean-based plastics throughout the 1930s in plastic parts such as car horns and in paint. He took this to new levels when, on 13 January 1942, he patented a plastic-bodied automobile which was 30 percent lighter than ordinary cars. The design never became popular, but whilst most car bodies today are still made of metal, plastic components are becoming more common.

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