Film: 9774

Industry + Work | 1940 | Sound | Colour


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Rubber industry in Liberia Africa 1940's

Scenes of techniques of crafting of rubber. Trees and surveying land to be planted. Most soil is rich red loam. We see holes being made in preparation for planting. Trees grow rapidly. Ready for tapping at 5 years.

In the next scene, hundreds of men are seen walking through woods on their way to tap trees. Latex is collected in containers with and anti-coagulant. Latex is collected early in the morning before the heat of the day. In the afternoon, the men collect the latex in larger vessels and carry it to a station where it is collected and weighed. From here it goes in tanker trucks to a processing factory.

Latex is separated with different grades, depending on its ultimate use. Scenes of latex being reduced from 'cream' to a spongy form. This is dried and pressed, then compressed into ballots of 240lbs. Shallow draught lighters are seen carrying the rubber down the river to the Atlantic Coast. From the lighters, the cargo is loaded on to larger ships and taken to U.S.A.

The Firestone Corporation was started by Harvey S. Firestone in the 1920's. His son began to grow rubber in Liberia. 75,000 acres are owned by the firm. Research is important and Americans and Liberians are seen in the lab.

Scenes of schools and churches financed by Firestone on their 'plantation'. Workers are seen being examined, vaccinated and treated in a modern hospital.

Next scenes in Monrovia - government buildings, the American legation. Scene of President William S. Tubman addressing Congress. Links with U.S. system of government are stressed. Scenes of Monrovia harbour.

Absurdly tendentious commentary 'Liberia, a beacon of freedom is what was once The Dark Continent' and so on.

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