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Bakelite is a heat-resistant, thermosetting, chemically stable resin (polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride, the first plastic). Invented about 1907-1909 by Dr. Leo Baekeland, an American chemist of Belgian origin. It is formed by combining phenol and formaldehyde under heat and pressure. Radios, telephones and electrical insulators were made of Bakelite in the past due to its insulating and heat-resistant properties.

Bakelite Limited was formed in 1927 from the amalgamation of three suppliers of phenol formaldehyde materials: the Damard Lacquer Company Limited of Birmingham; Mouldensite Limited of' Darley Dale and Redmanol Limited of London. Around 1928, A new factory opened in Tyseley, Birmingham in September 1931. It was demolished in 1998.

Bakelite is little used in consumer products today due to the cost and complexity of its production and its brittle nature, but old Bakelite products, especially kitchenware, have become quite collectible in recent years.

see also phenol formaldehyde resin

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