One hundred years ago, inventor Thomas Edison, auto maker Henry Ford and industrialist John D. Rockefeller recognized the need for the United States to have its own domestically grown source of natural rubber for manufacturing and for national security at a time when war was becoming increasingly mechanized. At that time, most of the world's rubber was grown in Brazil, and the trade was monopolized by Great Britain.

Move along the timeline to trace the growth of guayule over the last 100 years.

*Photos courtesy of National Archives.
** Photo courtesy of Thomas Edison National Historical Park.

For more information of the history of guayule and other sources of natural rubber, see Mark R. Finlay, Growing American Rubber: Strategic Plants and the Politics of National Security (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2009).

  • Rockefeller Invests in Guayule

  • Guayule brought to U.S.

    Botanist William McCallum brings guayule seeds to the Southwestern U.S, and has one million guayule plants in the field by 1913

    Photos courtesy of National Archives.
  • War Causes Spike In Rubber Prices

    World War I Breaks Out. U.S. Loses Access to Indonesian Rubber and German Chemicals to Process It. Price of rubber skyrockets worldwide.

  • First Guayule Planted in Arizona

    Photo courtesy of Thomas Edison National Historical Park.
  • Restricted Rubber Exports Raise Prices

    British rubber producers announce plan to restrict rubber exports and raise worldwide prices. Thomas Edison and leaders from the U.S. military and industrial leaders like Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone launch campaign for America to grow its own rubber.

    Photo courtesy of Thomas Edison National Historical Park.
  • Hoover Acts To Break British Monopoly

    Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover writes to the Secretary of War about granting military land in California for guayule growing because of the plant's strategic importance.

  • British Rubber Monopoly Broken

    Non-British rubber producers expand production and prices plummet again along with interest in developing an American rubber crop.

    Read New York Times Article

  • Ike Weighs In On Guayule

    U.S. Army Major Dwight D. Eisenhower submits a report endorsing a government commitment to maintain 400,000 acres of guayule for war-preparedness and a permanent addition to the rural economy in semi-arid regions. The report gathered dust for 13 years.

  • Guayule Research Cut After Market Crash

    After the stock market crash of 1929, government turned away from research, and Congress tries to remove appropriations for rubber plant investigations.

  • New York Times Touts Guayule

    Just as people are waking up to learn the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, the New York Times profiles how guayule could make the U.S. independent of imported rubber.

    Read New York Times Article

  • Emergency Rubber Bill Signed

    In response to Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt signs Guayule Bill, buying the Intercontinental Rubber Company and putting its guayule seeds and plants to work for the war effort.

  • Funding for Emergency Rubber Project Ceases

    At the end of World War II, Congress liquidates the guayule production facility in California, destroying 23,000 acres of guayule as worldwide rubber prices declined again.

  • LBJ Calls for Guayule Investment

    Senator Lyndon Johnson Preparedness Subcommittee calls for major investments in guayule seeds to shave off time needed to restart domestic rubber production.

  • Low Oil Prices/Profits Vault Synthetic Rubber

    Petroleum-based synthetic rubber gains a majority of the market share due to low oil prices and the clout of the oil industry.

  • Natural Rubber Emerges From OPEC Oil Embargo

    OPEC oil embargo causes a resurgence in interest in guayule as prices for petroleum-based synthetic rubber rise.

  • Congress Passes Native Latex Commercialization Act

    Congress passes Native Latex Commercialization Act to invest in genetic research for domestic rubber, but funding was never appropriated because of intergovernmental disagreements.

  • Medicine Needs a Better Rubber Solution

    Rubber glove use in medicine spikes due pandemics like AIDS, but because of allergic reactions to latex from rubber trees, alternative rubber sources like guayule became profitable alternatives.

  • PanAridus Launches

    PanAridus launches. Within 18 months of breeding, the company comes up with strains that yield more guayule rubber than Hevea (rubber tree).

  • PanAridus Opens Guayule Industry for Business

    PanAridus first to grow more guayule per acre than Hevea rubber.

    PanAridus becomes first in the industry to publicly offer guayule samples for independent testing.

  • Tire Companies Experiment With PanAridus Guayule

    PanAridus produces SRR quality natural rubber, verified independently by tire companies.

    PanAridus joins $6.9 million USDA grant with Cooper Tire, Arizona State University and USDA-ARS to develop guayule polymers for use in tire manufacturing

  • PanAridus Produces Patent Portfolio

    PanAridus granted the largest number of patents ever for its guayule plant phenotypes and for extraction and measuring technology.

  • See What Happens Next

    Return back to the site regularly, and learn how PanAridus is breaking new ground.