Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride

Eh?????????? (That's the Canadian response....)

Unless you have a degree in chemistry, that's Bakelite (pronounced Bay-Ka-Lite). One of the first plastics made from synthetic components, Bakelite was originally used for its electrically non-conductive and heat-resistant properties in radio, telephone casings and electrical insulators. Also in such diverse products as kitchenware, jewelery 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 has made them quite collectible in recent years. Due to it's lightweight properties, it is perfect for designing and making jewelery. Particularly popular in the 30s and 40s, the wide array of colors that were introduced were an immediate hit - not to mention, the cost was considerably lower than precious jewels. Something Ms. Coco Chanel was in tune with!
Here are some lovely items, all now available on ebay.

2 comments:

Brittany_Va-Voom Vintage said...

I recently bought a 50's toaster with bakelite handles. Too cute! I wonder if bakelite children's toys posed a danger. I've seen bakelite rattles and things like that. There's nothing that my daughter loves more than to chew on my bakelite bangles but I try to keep them away from her as much as possible!
http://vavoomvintage.blogspot.com

Stefanie Valentine said...

I have only a tiny amount of bakelite pieces, and I wish I had more. They have gotten really expensive lately, I should get some before the prices go through the roof!