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).