Hemp Carpet and Rope


np328
 

Yes that title is not a typo.

I have a question that I am looking for straightforward answers.

On the stretch of railroad I would like to model are two industries in different towns. I would believe these are owned by the same company. The product is hemp carpets, as the buildings are plainly listed as such.

Photos and written data providing this information are dated to the late 1920's and 1940's respectively.

I know in 1970, the Controlled Substance Act outlawed hemp and growing hemp in the US.

The date of my modeling is fall of 1953. I would like to get the date down tighter however I have to do further research regarding crop harvesting and weather reports of that time frame. (OK, three questions if you can provide research sources for that last sentence.)

My main question is with hemp and hemp carpets - Was it a going if marginal concern in 1953, or an already collapsed industry?

I have talked with former Navy personnel who spoke highly of hemp rope on Navy ships and am aware of the hemp rope industry.

I guess I'll add a fourth question and ask: When did (the commercial use of) hemp rope fall out of favor.

Thank you - Jim Dick - St. Paul


Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
 

Jim Dick wrote:
I know in 1970, the Controlled Substance Act outlawed hemp and growing hemp in the US.

The date of my modeling is fall of 1953. I would like to get the date down tighter however I have to do further research regarding crop harvesting and weather reports of that time frame. (OK, three questions if you can provide research sources for that last sentence.)
My main question is with hemp and hemp carpets - Was it a going if marginal concern in 1953, or an already collapsed industry?
As with so many things, Jim, Google is your friend. Try Googling hemp or hemp carpets and you will find out a lot. There are more than 2000 species of hemp plants, 90% of which contain so little cannabis as to be useless for drug purposes. The U.S. permits importation of fiber and flour, and even whole grain if it is sterilized.
Your Navy friend who "remembers" he;mp rope must be pretty old. Around the time of the end of sailing ships, hemp rope, which tends to rot when wet, was replaced by Manila rope.
You are right about the 1970 Act, though of course it doesn't affect your 1953 period. Here is what Wikipedia says:

"In 1937, the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was passed in the United States. It levied a tax on anyone who dealt commercially in cannabis, hemp, or marijuana. This law was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in a unanimous verdict decided in Leary v. United States, and ultimately superseded by the Controlled Substances Act of 1970."

Note that hemp was taxed, not prohibited.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@...
Publishers of books on railroad history


Douglas Harding
 

Jim, hemp was a cash crop in Iowa during WWII. Farmers raised hemp for use
in manufacturing ropes, etc. for military use. Not sure when it fell out of
favor, but once the war ended I suspect.



This link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemp_for_Victory talks about a film
made by the US Ag dept to encouraged growing hemp for the war effort because
other natural fibers were in short supply due to them being imported.



Doug Harding

www.iowacentralrr.org