It is strange how a change in fashion can cause a change in fortune. In the 1920’s, the fashion for weighted silk waned and as a consequence the demand for thiourea fell sharply. To avoid financial difficulties, the British Cyanides Co. needed an outlet for their thiourea and Charles Rossiter conceived the idea of reacting thiourea with formaldehyde to produce a resin. Samples of this water-white syrup were shown at the Wembley Exhibition of 1925 together with discs moulded with the resin compounded with slate-dust, chalk, sawdust or other fillers. The samples carried the British Cyanides trademark, a beetle, and moulding powders became known as "Beetle".
The breakthrough came at Christmas 1926 when tableware moulded by Brookes & Adams, Thomas de la Rue and Streetly Manufacturing were displayed in Harrods. British Cyanides, who had organised the display, subsequently formed a subsidiary company, Beatl Sales Ltd. to handle the sale of tableware and picnicware from these and other moulding concerns.
Similar moulding materials were introduced in Austria as Pollopas, in Germany as Resopal, and Cibanoid in Switzerland. Although Ellis in USA was working along similar lines, it was not successful commercially until after the collaboration with British Cyanides of a firm later absorbed into American Cyanamid Company.
Improvements to the manufacturing process enabled moulding compounds based entirely on urea formaldehyde to be produced – these had better water resistance and better odour and by the early 1930s had replaced the thiourea/urea materials previously used.
Thiourea formaldehyde admin 2016-12-06T05:35:21+00:00