Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Fords Forgotten Jungle City by Greg GrandinThe stunning, never before told story of the quixotic attempt to recreate small-town America in the heart of the Amazon.
In 1927, Henry Ford, the richest man in the world, bought a tract of land twice the size of the U.S. state of Delaware in the Brazilian Amazon. His intention was to grow rubber, but the project rapidly evolved into a more ambitious bid to export America itself, along with its golf courses, ice-cream shops, bandstands, indoor plumbing, and Model Ts rolling down broad streets.
Fordlandia, as the settlement was called, quickly became the site of an epic clash. On one side was the car magnate, lean, austere, the man who reduced industrial production to its simplest motions; on the other, the Amazon, lush, extravagant, the most complex ecological system on the planet. Fords early success in imposing time clocks and square dances on the jungle soon collapsed, as indigenous workers, rejecting his midwestern Puritanism, turned the place into a ribald tropical boomtown. Fordlandias eventual demise as a rubber plantation foreshadowed the practices that today are laying waste to the rain forest.
More than a parable of one mans arrogant attempt to force his will on the natural world, Fordlandia depicts a desperate quest to salvage the bygone America that the Ford factory system did much to dispatch. As Greg Grandin shows in this gripping and mordantly observed history, Fords great delusion was not that the Amazon could be tamed but that the forces of capitalism, once released, might yet be contained.
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WLUC - Ford recently announced that dealerships across the country will soon stop selling a large majority of their cars, including the Ford Fusion, Taurus and Fiesta. Instead the company will turn their focus to SUVs and trucks. That slide is true nationwide but also in the U. For U. So there is still going to be a market for that.
Consequently, Ford was able to dominate the station wagon market as it had done with depot hacks. Other makes continued to rely on the independent bodybuilders, but many suppliers of wooden bodies soon died out as the Great Depression began. Those that did stay in business did so by merging with one another or taking on other woodworking projects, such as pianos and furniture, to supplement their wagon building business. They could also be found at wealthy estates, hotels, country clubs, and national parks and while not everyone could afford them, they began to attract a small but growing audience, and more auto makers decided to get in on the action. Pontiac and Studebaker both signed up in , followed by Dodge in for one year only, until ; Chevrolet in ; Buick, Oldsmobile, Packard and Willys in ; and Mercury, Hudson and Chrysler in Hercules and Ionia were usually called on to build the GM bodies, while U.
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I've spent half a century yikes writing for radio and print—mostly print. I hope to be still tapping the keys as I take my last breath. Henry Ford was a famously frugal man; he hated wasting anything. Each Model T that came off the production line used about board feet of wood for such things as wheel spokes, frame, floors, and steering wheels. Inevitably, there was a fair amount of waste wood and Ford turned his ever-inventive brain to finding a way of making money out of saw dust and shavings.