Friday, October 13, 2006


Early Unsigned Haskell Clip

Bakelite is a name for synthetic resin, phenol-formaldehyde.

Dr. Leo Hendrik Baekeland discovered the synthetic plastic while trying to produce synthetic shellac. When he combined carbolic acid and formaldehyde, the mixture would not pour out of the test tube. When neither heat nor any solvent would soften the new material, Baekeland realized that he had discovered something important - the first thermosetting plastic, a synthetic that would not melt once it had been heat set. Its initial use was in electrical insulation, and phenolic resins are still used today for that purpose.

In 1910 Baekeland founded the General Bakelite Company (later changed to the Bakelite Corporation), which became established in the United States, England, Germany, and Canada. Union Carbide acquired the Bakelite Corporation in 1939.

Bakelite Testing
NEVER PIN TEST BAKELITE…It ruins the value

Friction- rub piece vigorously to create heat and smell the piece immediately. If it has a smell like the old black telephones, it is bakelite. Hot water works creates the same smell.

Simichrome is available in a tube at your local hardware store. Use a tiny bit on a "Q" tip on the underside of the piece you are testing. When rubbed against bakelite it will turn a yellowish colour. Simichrome is great for polishing bakelite. You can use it on silver and other metals too.

Formula 409 is an all-purpose cleaner also can be used to test bakelite. Test put a small amount of 409 on a swab and rub it on a small area on the back of the piece you are testing. The “Q” tip will turn yellowish if it is bakelite. Wash the area afterwards with mild dishwashing soap and warm water. Towel dry immediately afterward. 409 does not strip the finish.


Bakelite Pieces for Sale

Bakelite Flickr Album

Find this designer at Designer of the Week & FauxJewels

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