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Plastic fantastic? Bakelite

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It's time to make a confession. You might not expect it from a environmental conscious person like me: but I have a bit of an obsession with plastic. To be more precise: with Bakelite.

My Bakelite collection:


This truly can be called a big guilty pleasure. I am very aware of the impact of plastic on the environment, both in the production process as in the lack of biodegradability.

What is Bakelite?
Bakelite is the first fully synthetic plastic. It got it's name from the Belgian chemist Leo Baekeland, who was working in the US at the time. Bakelite is a resin, built from phenol and formaldehyde. The most important quality was its heat resistant properties. This made it useful in industrial applications like electric appliances. There already had been earlier discoveries of other plastics, like the semi synthetic celluloid, but these were extremely flammable. Beakeland did his discovery in 1907 and also patented the name Bakeliet.

For me Bakelite always had been: black (or some…