1930's picture-holder, Macassar and orange catalin

 

SOLD

 Contact us about this item

Nice picture holder with solid rectangular Macassar ebony base and orange amber catalin elements

1930

Base : 25 x 6,3 cm - 9 7/8 x 2 1/2 in
Glasses : 18 x 13 cm - 7 1/8 x 5 1/8 in

Bakelite & Catalin :

Bakelite or polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride, is an early plastic. It is a thermosetting phenol formaldehyde resin, formed from an elimination reaction of phenol with formaldehyde. It was developed by Belgian-born chemist Leo Baekeland in New York in 1907.

One of the first plastics made from synthetic components, Bakelite was used for its electrical non-conductivity and heat-resistant properties in electrical insulators, radio and telephone casings, and such diverse products as kitchenware, jewelry, pipe stems, firearms, and children's toys. Bakelite was designated a National Historic Chemical Landmark in 1993 by the American Chemical Society in recognition of its significance as the world's first synthetic plastic. The "retro" appeal of old Bakelite products has made them collectible.

In the early 20th century, it was found in myriad applications including saxophone mouthpieces, whistles, cameras, solid-body electric guitars, telephone housings and handsets, early machine guns, pistol grips, and appliance casings. In the pure form it was made into such articles as pipe stems, buttons, etc.

Beads, bangles and earrings were produced by the Catalin Company, which introduced 15 new colors in 1927. The creation of marbled Bakelite was also attributed to the Catalin Company. Translucent Bakelite jewelry, poker chips and other gaming items such as chess sets were also introduced in the 1940s under the Prystal Corporation name; however, its basic chemical composition remained the same.

When many people think of plastic Art Deco radios, the word Bakelite immediately comes to mind. That’s understandable enough, since Bakelite was the first molded plastic used in radios, and it’s the oldest of the most common early-20th-century industrial plastics, the others being Catalin, Plaskon, and Beetle.

One of the limitations of Bakelite for 1930s designers was its dark color. Bakelite radios from that period are invariably brown or black, the product of their carbon-based ingredients, phenol and formaldehyde, being mixed into a resin, cooled and crushed, and then heated again under intense pressure, a process called thermosetting. Marbling and other surface variations could be produced by adding fillers to the recipe, from rags to sawdust, but the earliest Bakelite radios were somewhat somber in appearance.

The look of plastic radios changed dramatically, however, when Plaskon was introduced in 1933. Originally developed by the Toledo Scale Company as a replacement material for its heavy porcelain and iron scales, Plaskon allowed radios to be white or beige.

While some Plaskon radios were also made in colors such as red, the plastic most associated with brilliant hues was Catalin, which could be dyed in a variety of colors. Catalin radios were cast rather than molded, which meant their edges and seams had to be finished by hand. Initially used in costume jewelery (many so-called "Bakelite bangles" are really made of Catalin), by 1937 Catalin was favored by radio manufacturers such as Emerson and Fada to create colorful cabinets, behind which hid their radio’s wiring, speaker, and tubes.

Because Catalin was cast as a solid resin with no reinforcement, cracks were common, making surviving pieces highly collectible. Also, many of the originally vibrant colors have faded, due to the lack of UV light protection in the resin.

Source :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bakelite
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catalin
http://www.collectorsweekly.com/radios/catalin-bakelite

 Learn more about Bakelite & Catalin(e)

<< Back to category

Search

Focus