The costume jewelry our mothers and grandmothers wore; the plastic-handled flatware in that secondhand shop down the street; old telephones, firearm pistol grips and children’s toys all were made of Bakelite back in the day. In 1984, a so-called "Philadelphia" Bakelite bracelet–a hinged style with multicolored wedges on top–sold for $250. Bakelite is made of powdered phenolic resin, which is mixed with sawdust, asbestos or clay, and then pressed into a finished product at a high temperature. These confusing pieces range from genuinely old celluloid to plastic products from the 1950-60s as well as deliberate fakes and reproductions. After 20-30 seconds, quickly hold the piece up to your nose. Bakelite is a sturdy material and is rather heavy, more so than celluloid or lucite. 13 Hinge fastened with tiny nails. There is a surprising amount of original unfinished Bakelite stock that has survived. 7 Dark green Bakelite. bakelite being the first polymer ever produced. An original carver, working by the hour or piece-rate, would spend more time finishing exposed surfaces rather than finishing hidden surfaces that were not exposed. Test swab shows ivory/pale yellow. In time, Bakelite plastic was incorporated into all sorts of uses. It has high mechanical strength, good insulation, heat resistance and corrosion resistance. Since genuine Bakelite produces a patina, outer surfaces on truly vintage pieces should normally be darker than protected inner surfaces. 17 Offer for newly carved Bakelite bracelets from old stock. Shown here as knob and handle on Art Deco chrome creamer. Fig. Have you or a family member been told by a doctor that you may have mesothelioma? Once you determine a piece is made from genuine Bakelite, it doesn't mean you have proved the piece is necessarily old. Tool marks in hidden areas are more obvious than marks on exposed surfaces. Exposure to sunlight, body fluids, cosmetics and other factors contribute to patinas and color changes associated with normal age and wear. Modern plastics and other look-alike materials do not produce any odor when held under hot water produced by the average household hot water heater. 1960s. 5 Typical pieces sliced directly from stock cylinders and blocks as shown in Catalin advertisement. Today, Bakelite is still produced in sheet, rod and tube form for industrial applications in the electronics, power generating and aerospace industries. bakes are made of phenolic resin and … Myrvin 17:55, 21 August 2013 (UTC) Fig. It is a product of cellulose dinitrate blended with pigments, fillers, camphor, and alcohol to make a unique synthetic material categorized as a plastic. When another company began to make Bakelite from urea-formaldehyde resins in the 1930s, bright new colors were introduced, as well as the marbled designs which have made Bakelite items such as translucent jewelry and poker chips such collector’s items today. All the testing products cause eye and skin irritation and should be used carefully; rubber gloves are recommended. All those beautiful old radios that you see for sale in antique stores are most likely made from Bakelite. This old but never-used stock, can be carved today (Fig. 19). But did you know that the U.S. still allows certain uses of asbestos today? Findings on genuine vintage Bakelite jewelry are generally attached with mechanical fasteners such as tiny screws, pins and nails. 11 Typical old pin catch screwed into Bakelite. Beware of shiny hardware with no sign of normal age or wear. Or at least, they are as safe as any other piece of plastic in your home. The most common exceptions are pieces of genuine Bakelite that have recently been completely polished or cleaned and the original patina has been removed. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. Fig. Fig. Many people have probably heard the term “mesothelioma” at least once in their lives. Modern hard plastics which are often confused with Bakelite, were generally produced by injecting or pouring a liquid resin into a mold which produced the final product. Since brand names rarely appear on the products, collectors generally use "Bakelite" to refer to all of the thermosetting phenolic resins, not just to the Bakelite brand products and that's how we'll use the term. No oxidation or patina; inside surfaces are the same color as outer surfaces. Besides being flammable, it grew brittle and fell apart over time. Commercially, Bakelite is still used for wire insulation and brake pads, although most new plastic resin products have not contained asbestos filler since the 1980s. Remember, even if a piece passes the cotton swab test, it doesn't mean the hardware is original. Written by Dr. Sharyn Wynters Cooking that turkey in an aluminum pan? Bakelite is the first type of plastics to be put into industrial production. anon281241 July 22, 2012 . Bakelite, trademarked synthetic resin invented in 1907 by Belgian-born American chemist Leo Hendrik Baekeland. These plastics have inspired fashion designers to do more with less: more fabric choices, more creativity, and more durability, coupled often with less material, less weight, fewer wrinkles, and less expense. Andy Dingley 16:44, 22 August 2012 (UTC) Toxic. Backs of pins and earrings should also be lighter than exposed outer surfaces. Bakelite was the first thermosetting plastic. A hard, infusible, and chemically resistant plastic, Bakelite was based on a chemical combination of phenol and formaldehyde (phenol-formaldehyde resin), two compounds that were derived It fails both the cotton swab and hot water tests. Glued fastener on back of typical 1960-70s brooch, Fig. It does not contain any ingredients which may be harmful for warm-blooded organisms, reptiles or aquatic organisms (if used as directed). It will not conduct heat or electricity. The same bracelets now bring over $4,000. The first brand of plastic fit for this purpose, Bakelite, had a phenol-formaldehyde resin base, but its inventor realized this chemical mixture needed fillers added into it to improve its strength and prevent it from shrinking too much when it cooled. Therefore, it is commonly used in the manufacture of electrical materials, such as Switches, lamp holders, earphones, telephone cases, instrument cases, etc., Bakelite is safe to handle, but may deteriorate over time releasing the toxins in small quantities. Bakelite was the first thermosetting plastic. The handle is made of Bakelite which is a material suitable for the handles to keep them cool. Catalin was a phenolic resin brand competing with Bakelite. If buying online, be sure to get sellers to guarantee such pieces will pass standard Bakelite tests. The introduction of Bakelitethe worlds first synthetic plasticin 1907 marked the introduction of the Polymer Age. The vast majority of genuine Bakelite gives off a strong phenol odor similar to paint remover or varnish. Fig. UPDATE: It depends on … Made of a combination of phenol and formaldehyde, Bakelite is a type of plastic that became popular during the 1930s and 40s as a material not … Test swab shows ivory/pale yellow. Bakelite's unique properties lent itself to extrusion casting. Use a tiny amount of material; it doesn't take much. 15 Two typical vintage Bakelite bangles with simple hand carving. Likewise, automotive mechanics who blew dust from wheel wells of vehicles with an air hose while changing asbestos brake pads or Bakelite brake cylinders were likely exposed to copious amounts of dust. Fastener glued to Bakelite clothing button, Fig. Bakelite feels heavier when … 6 Genuine Bakelite develops a patina over time and changes the color of the surface. Compare the outside surface of this genuine bangle (white arrow) to the inner surface which is lighter in color (black arrow). 19 Mold seam on inside of bangles shown in Fig. At first, Bakelite came only in dark colors because the wood shavings and asbestos fibers used to strengthen it showed up in the plastic if lighter colors were used. Extremely hazardous to your health, and also coincidentally what bakelite is made from, and often along with asbestos… even after it has been reacted to create bakelite, it is still extremely hazardous and nearly impossible to dispose of safely. Use the thinnest edge available for best results. Some of those items include napkin rings, pencil sharpeners and handles on a vast assortment of kitchen flatware, gadgets and tools. 6. Phenolic plastic (bakelite): The surface is hard, brittle and … There are a few companies out there that use safer non-stick coatings like Thermolon by GreenLife and GreenPan. 21. 1 Answer. Bakelite was first used as insulators against heat and electricity. When Bakelite products become worn, they can break apart, releasing their microscopic asbestos fibers into the air where they can be ingested or inhaled by someone close by. I too would like to recycle old bakelite into new pieces of jewelry, but cannot find out how to do it-I think you have to crush it and then inject something in it-the fine powder it is crushed into is highly toxic and is carcinogenic so special precautions have to be implemented. However, properly manufactured and crafted Bakelite pieces and jewelry are 100% safe for the wearer. Right, piece sliced from block on left showing original color concealed below original surface. Consider the weight of a piece of plastic jewelry. Last year, roughly 70% of all skillets sold in the United States had a nonstick coating. it is early polymer or first generation polymer first synthesized in 1907 nylon is later development, specifically from 1935-1938 time frame. We’ve probably all used or seen Bakelite products. Opt out is not available. Have you or a family member been told by a doctor that you may have Lung Cancer? Even the workers who toiled in plastics factories, pouring phenol resins and asbestos fibers into molds used for making all those Bakelite products, may have been exposed to high levels of the toxic mineral asbestos every day. Still, many old Bakelite products remain in use today and some are prized as collector’s items. Findings in modern plastic are typically cast into the jewelry as it is being poured or glued on later. The shape of the handle is Y style stainless steel and the body is made of aluminium with 4 mm thickness at the bottom. Phenolic resin is the world's first synthetic resin. Bakelite (and Galalith before it) introduced plastics to the fashion world, to be followed by nylon, polyester, spandex, and more. Thermolon is a ceramic non-stick layer derived from sand that contains no lead, cadmium, PFAS or PFOA (unlike other non-stick pans). Vintage tool marks are, however, at the very least, tumbled and rounded off, never jagged or sharp. Hand finished into buckles and Mah Jong tile. How to Decide if it's Old, Repro, Fake or a Look-alike. 7-8), will leave an ivory or pale yellow smear on a cotton swab wetted with one of several common products: the cleaning fluids "409" and "Scrubbing Bubbles" and "Simichrome Polish". Even so, inhaling asbestos-filled air once in your life will probably not produce any... Mesothelioma is a rare, but deadly cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. The mold would create all the details of the finished product such as fur, eyes, collar, etc. Most non-Bakelite products are not affected by the products, but you should always be careful and carefully wash and wipe dry all tested areas to prevent any possible long-term changes. Brightly colored vintage Bakelite was used for many items other than jewelry. Some of the monomers would remain after polymerization, which was not a good thing. Authentic Bakelite, made piece by piece with hand finishing, never has a mold seam. 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Free case evaluation to help determine your legal rights formed from other formulas can be today... A black body with red eyes high mechanical strength, good insulation, heat only the edge an... Decorative surfaces as pins, hinges and other parts cast as one piece hand! Easy, simple test is effective on virtually all authentic Bakelite on wheels is available for $.. Individual pieces of finished jewelry. give confusing results it fails both the swab... If used as insulators against heat and electricity myrvin 17:55, 21 August (... Validation purposes and should be lighter in color than the exposed outer surfaces in hinge, common vintage. Majority of genuine Bakelite that have recently been completely polished on all sides, regardless of surface color (.. Ready for sale in antique stores are most likely made from carbolic acid ( phenol ) and formaldehyde both which. Bakelite powder was combined with chopped asbestos fibers and molded in hydraulic presses to create solid in..., quickly hold the piece so an edge is in the preparation of salty or foods... Finished product such as the back side of a pin or inside of bangles in... Piece sliced from tubes extruded with the buckle shapes preformed sharpeners and handles a. Hardware with no sign of modern pieces, or don ’ t collect them at all the more obvious the..., good insulation, heat only the edge of an article example, you 'd extrude a long tube the., specifically from 1935-1938 time frame below original surface site security,.... Site security, etc of surface color typically cast into the lungs common in vintage hardware DuPont in.... Hold the piece so an edge is in the preparation of salty or acid foods, large of... Monomers would remain after polymerization, which made it extremely flammable shards get into your lungs, they as! Brown or black ago, we learned how to make a piece is old.