Virtual Museum

Two Natural Plastics: Tortoiseshell and Horn


Tortoiseshell and horn are referred to as ‘natural plastics’. Their thermoplastic properties allow them, when heated, to be worked, stamped, pressed or refashioned, retaining the desired shape on cooling. They have long been recognised as [...]

Chinese Lacquer: An Age-old Polymer


Chinese lacquer, which hardens by polymerization, has been known for over 4000 years. In its finished form, it has a toughness and inertness which are not easily achieved even by modern synthetic resins. Many beautiful [...]

Bakelite, The Hidden Agenda


When Leo Baekeland, after many years research, published his famous ‘heat and pressure’ patent in 1907, he revealed to the world a product and processes that would revolutionise the way in which we live. It [...]