Welcome to The Plastics Historical Society

PHS was formed in 1986 and was first to draw attention to the heritage of the plastics industry and to celebrate all things plastic.

News & Announcements

November 2018

PHS/Horners meeting at London Guildhall to include a guided tour of the Guildhall

Details TBA

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History of Plastics

History of Plastics

When we talk of a substance being “plastic” (the adjective) most people would agree on its meaning, but when we turn to defining “plastics” (the noun) we have problems. Read more…

Plastics and Education

Virtual Museum

Many ancient peoples worldwide used naturally occurring plastics for a range of decorative and functional purposes. Read more…

Articles & Papers

Articles & Papers

Articles on this site are premium content restricted to registered members. Articles and papers on this website are regularly updated.. Read more…

Plastics in Society

Plastics in Society

In today’s society we have a tendency to take plastic materials for granted. In fact it is probably true that most of us cannot imagine our lives without them. Read more…

People & Poylmers

People & Polymers

Many discoveries are made accidentally, whilst others result from the ideas and work of many people, often over a long period of time. Read more…

PHS Library

PHS Library

The library is located at the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, The Boilerhouse, Grantham. Read more…

Experiencing Plastics

Experiencing Plastics

Plastics differ from each other in their care needs. The exact recipe of each plastic, including its range of additives, influences how it will age. Read more…

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Design & Manufacture

Design & Manufacture

Plastics have become major design materials of the 21st century and they are increasingly shaping the objects we use and rely on every day. Read more…

Join the PHS

Members receive regular copies of the Society’s journal Plastiquarian (published twice yearly) together with Newsletters (published four times per year) and unlimited access to the Society’s archive of articles and newsletters on this website. In addition, PHS holds an extensive library of books and other publications, all of which are available for members to see.

Membership is open to all and costs between GBP 20 and GBP 40 per year.

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Premium Content for Members

Recently added articles and newsletters.

THE PHS PRESENTS Wednesday 23rd May 2018 The Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining                  297 Euston Road, London NW1 3AQ  Adolph Spitteler & the History of Galalith  by Dr Guenter Lattermann We are [...]

Illustrating an Industry

Illustrating an industry with humour the cartoons of John Mulroy Contributed by Colin Williamson and Carolyn Clark Figure 1. John Henry Mulroy " His Royal Highness the Prince Philip, Fellow of the Plastics Institute, [...]

Bakelite: Everybody Knows it

Bakelite: Everybody knows it Gerson Lessa a PhD student from Brazil reviews the recent exhibition of PHS member Reindert Groat's Amsterdam Bakelite Collection in Rotterdam Figures 1-7 illustrate the scale and variety of content. [...]


Stenogravures -   miniature works of art, technology and plastic. Carolyn Clark gives introduces us to an unusual use of Bakelite Figure 1. Patent application (1919) for machine to produce stenogravure Stenogravures are miniature pieces [...]