Hemp helped humanity’s artistic drive. Hemp was widely used in canvases for painting. In fact, the word “canvas” can be traced to the Anglo-French word “canevaz” and ultimately the Latin word “cannapaceus” which means “made of hemp.” Given hemp’s almost limitless utility, we think the phrase “blank canvas” is particularly fitting. Hemp not only can provide the canvas, it can provide the paint as well. This unique paint is ecofriendly and natural using hemp oil as the main ingredient instead of harsh chemicals or heavy metals.
Many people have heard of hemp rope. But the hemp plant contributed to historical ship construction and operation in a far more comprehensive manner. The canvas used for sails relied on hemp. Caulking the wooden hulls of the ships involved hemp. Ships frequently, if not always, carried stores of hemp seed. Over 100,000 pounds of hemp went into the construction of America’s oldest naval ship, Old Ironsides, launched in 1797 and still a fully commissioned Navy ship with a crew of 60 officers and sailors.
There is a famous photograph of an old Ford being hit with a hammer to demonstrate the astonishing strength of the car’s body built from—you guessed it—industrial hemp. Yet, few realize that automotive bioplastics is a growing aspect of car building. Recent data shows that 20% of an average car’s weight is composed of plastics. BMW, Mercedes, Audi, and Volkswagen make use of hemp in door panels, dashboards, and other components. Hemp is poised to be an even more important part in car building’s future.