By Cults on February 25, 2019 20:35
Bakelite is an early plastic. It is a thermosetting phenol formaldehyde resin, formed from a condensation reaction of phenol with formaldehyde. It was developed by the Belgian-American chemist Leo Baekeland in Yonkers, New York, in 1907. One of the first plastics made from synthetic components, Bakelite was used for its electrical nonconductivity and heat-resistant properties in electrical insulators, radio and telephone casings and such diverse products as kitchenware, jewelry, pipe stems, children's toys, and firearms. The "retro" appeal of old Bakelite products has made them collectible. Bakelite jewelry was most popular during the Art Deco period, which began in 1909 and lasted until the 1940s. These pieces were created as costume jewelry, as a way to dress up clothing or an outfit without spending a lot of money. The pieces were popular during the heyday of the Art Deco period and many of the pieces remain popular today. The height of Bakelite jewelry was the late 1930s, up until the end of the Art Deco period. The designs were quite popular in mass merchandise stores such as Sears and Roebuck. However there were also some famous names working with the material and creating Bakelite jewelry including Chanel and Van Cleef and Arpel. Oddly enough Bakeland allowed the patent to expire and the Catalin Corporation bought it. They began creating their own Bakelite jewelry marketed as Bakelite-Catalin. The pieces were sold in both expensive stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and smaller stores such as Woolworth???s. Bakelite jewelry was available in a variety of colors, but brown, green, red, and white were the most popular color choices.
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