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Bakelite

 

Bakelite is a synthetic resin chemically formulated and named after its Belgian inventor, Chemist L.H.Baekeland c.1909. It is pronounced "Bay Ka Lite". Originally it was used for molding items that were previously done of celluloid or hard rubber. One of the original uses was for pool balls. It is collectible in all its forms including jewelry, buttons, radio cases, lamps, dresser sets and many more items. It was used commercially for parts especially in electrical wiring.

Bakelite (pronounced /'b??k?la?t/ ), or polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride , is an early plastic. It is a thermosetting phenol formaldehyde resin , formed from an elimination reaction of phenol with formaldehyde , usually with a wood flour filler. It was developed in 19071909 by Belgian chemist Dr. Leo Baekeland .

One of the first plastics made from synthetic components (although phenol can be extracted from biological sources), Bakelite was used for its electrically nonconductive and heat-resistant properties in radio and telephone casings and electrical insulators , and also in such diverse products as kitchenware , jewellery , pipe stems, and children's toys . In 1993 Bakelite was designated an ACS National Historical Chemical Landmark in recognition of its significance as the world's first synthetic plastic.

The "retro" appeal of old Bakelite products and labor intensive manufacturing has made them quite collectible in recent years.

 

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