1851: Ebonite, the birth of the plastics industry? by
Plastics were around before 1851, as any collector knows, although they have only really become commonplace in the last fifty years. Before 1851 we had natural plastics – substances which could...login to read the full article.
75 Years of Polyethylene by
As the product celebrates the milestone this year it stands unchallenged as the highest volume and most widely used polymer worldwide. Despite the maturity that comes with these years, the industry retains...login to read the full article.
A Celluloid Factory At The Turn Of The Century by
In the early days at Homerton the employees of the Company were just one large family, on account of the small number employed and also working under one roof. Singing was encouraged by the foreman, but...login to read the full article.
A Close Call: How ICI Nearly Lost its Polythene Lead by
Britain was represented by its big names: Professors Rideal, Donnan and Lennard-Jones, and the up-and-coming young men of the day like Cecil Hawn, RGW Norrish, Geoffrey Gee, NJ Megson, CF Goodeve and...login to read the full article.
A History Of Fibre Reinforced Composites by
In 1940 I joined Micanite & Insulators of Walthamstow as a laboratory assistant at £1 a week. They were major manufacturers of high pressure laminates of paper, fabric and phenol formaldehyde...login to read the full article.
A History of Rotational Moulding by
Although patent research traces the rotational casting process back to early Egyptian times in respect of ceramics, the first application relating to plastics was developed in the USA in the early I950s....login to read the full article.
A History of the Golf Ball by
The introduction of the gutta percha ball or 'guttie' in 1848 by the Rev Adam Paterson of St. Andrews and the spread of the railways directly contributed to the expansion of golf. The guttie ball...login to read the full article.
A Personal Account by
I was born in Birmingham in February 1907, the youngest of four brothers. At first I did personnel work for Cadbury Bros. and later Tube Investments but about 1947 decided that I needed a change. My...login to read the full article.
A Resounding EKCO: E.K. Cole Ltd by
'We have been informed' said a rather stuffy little note, 'that a Leigh-on-Sea manufacturer of wireless apparatus has decided to produce his receiving sets in plastic materials in colours,...login to read the full article.
A Short History Of Philite by
Gerard Philips, one of the founders (Philips was a real family company) was a passionate believer in self-sufficiency and loath to rely upon others as a source of his raw materials, spare parts and other...login to read the full article.
A Stick In Time by
I n 1995 Norman Tulip presented what he called Victory Crook to the Horners' Company. Norman always felt this was the most important stick of an estimated 200 that he created (I) and it was his wish...login to read the full article.
A View From The Bridge by
The first type of spectacle frame rested on the bridge of the nose or was held in the hand, the lens not being individually prescribed as it is today. The example illustrated here is known as a rivet...login to read the full article.
A violin made of Plexiglas by
A violin made of Plexiglas® Friederike Waentig, Professor of Conservation at the Cologne Institute for Conservation Sciences, describes a fascinating project involving an unusual use of PMMA. The...login to read the full article.
A Working Horn Factory by
Although one can read many accounts of how hornworking was practised, to see the actual processes carried out was interesting in the extreme, and Bernard and I enjoyed out visit to Abbeyhorn enormously....login to read the full article.
A.H. Woody Woodfull - An Appreciation by
Albert Henry Woodfull was born in Birmingham in 1912. On leaving school he attended the Vittoria School of Jewellery and Silversmithing in Birmingham, his success can be measured by the fact that he won...login to read the full article.
AIRFIX, the early days by
Nicholas Kovespachi was a Hungarian Jew, who had been an officer in Emperor Franz Josef's army. Along with many thousands of Eastern Europeans he sought asylum in Britain in the late 1930's,...login to read the full article.
An Overview Of The Developments In Plastic Processing by
The importance of the manufacturing processes for converting plastics materials into useful products cannot be overstated. Plastics products are cheap but not because of the low price of plastics materials....login to read the full article.
Around the museums: by
Around the museums: Plastics feature prominently in Design Museum’s permanent collection display. Figure 1. Apple iMac designed by Jonathan Ive, 1998-9 Design Museum Collection: Extraordinary...login to read the full article.
Art and Plastics by
Art and Plastics Throughout history artists have always seized the opportunity of a new material to enhance their art. In this article artist Jim Ives gives an overview of the evolution of plastics in...login to read the full article.
Art Deco Decorative Plastics by
As new plastics supercede old in their functionality and cost effectiveness, the old are discarded, by both manufacturer and user. In time, what was common becomes rare and the rarer, often more expensive...login to read the full article.
Arthur Fleischmann International Artist And Sculptor 1896-1990 by
I first came to know Arthur Fleischmann when, from 1956 to 1975, I was secretary of the Plastics Institute, as it was during this period that he was doing much of his pioneering work in the sculpture...login to read the full article.
At the age of 79 Lea Stein continues to create her wonderfully distinctive pieces by
The 1970s style revolution saw much innovation in jewellery design and production using the evolving plastic materials. In Brazil, the colourful plastic jewellery, still popular today, began to appear,...login to read the full article.
Baekeland And Swinburne Men Of Genius by
A common denominator for all these new innovations was the need for materials which could be shaped in fast production processes to meet the needs of mass production; materials which had excellent electrical...login to read the full article.
Baekeland In Praise Of Hyatt by
Never has the Perkin Medal been better awarded than to John Wesley Hyatt. He created a distinctly American industry, chemical in its very essence. although the inventor never claimed to be a chemist....login to read the full article.
Bakelite at Brackley by
HV Potter, the Managing Director, with his wife Amy lived in The Lodge stables, refurbished and renamed by him 'The Dobbins'. Very near, up and down the High Street and its adjacent roads was...login to read the full article.
Bakelite Ltd., Cowley, Middlesex. by
Bakelite Ltd., Cowley, Middlesex. 1911 – 1916: The First English Bakelite Company PHS Committee member Ian Holdsworth celebrates the centenary of the establishment of the first Bakelite Company...login to read the full article.
Bakelite, The Hidden Agenda by
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...login to read the full article.
Bandalasta: Its Contribution To Art Deco Plastics by
The recent Art Deco exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London paid tribute to the great designs of Rhulnan, Lalique and Clarice Cliff: the exhibits were well received and antique dealers...login to read the full article.
Barbie At 50 by
The impact of plastics after World War 11 dramatically changed the design and manufacture of dolls. They became cheap to produce and, with injection blow moulding, jointed limbs easier to attach than...login to read the full article.
Beastly Designs by
Beastly Designs Pam Langdown Collections Manager at the Museum of Design in Plastics describes their current exhibition’s unusual take on plastics. Beastly Designs is the new exhibition at...login to read the full article.
BIPLE: A Pressing Story Part 1 by
Although BIPEL was founded in October 1949, its story began four years earlier. BIP, headquartered in Oldbury in the West Midlands, had a moulding company within the group, The Streetly Manufacturing...login to read the full article.
BIPLE: A Pressing Story Part 2 by
The next development of significance by BIPEL was the introduction of hydraulic pelleters. The pelleter was really a basic hydraulic press, turned through 90 degrees and laid horizontally. It contained...login to read the full article.
Birkbys: A Name For 130 Years by
The Birkby family purchased an existing small tannery and chemicals works in Liversedge in 1867 which was the basis of the business over the next 40 years. But on hearing of Dr Baekeland's development...login to read the full article.
Bois Durci A Fine Medium by
Many members of PHS will already be familiar with Bois Durci. For those who are not, a brief account. Bois Durci (hardened wood') was among the most successful of a number of semi-synthetic mouldable...login to read the full article.
Bois Durci, A Plastics Antique by
That there was a great interest in mouldable compositions is evident from an examination of the UK patent applications. For example, in 1853 out of a total of 3000 patents claimed, no fewer than 276 refer...login to read the full article.
Brighter Homes by
“There is still much Formica in evidence” – a statement made about the Popham Little Chef revived by Heston Blumenthal (Michelin 3 star chef) recently and fitted with 1950s retro-style...login to read the full article.
British Plastics Federation by
The BPF was formally constituted in 1933 in the middle of what Robert Graves dubbed ‘The Long Weekend’ of the inter-war years, coinciding with the invention of Polyethylene, the first screening...login to read the full article.
Bullo Pill : A Vintage Restorative by
Bullo Pill is a small cluster of dwellings on the western banks of the Severn about ten miles south of Gloucester, but little remains in evidence of its former heyday. The Forest of Dean has been an...login to read the full article.
Button Making In Halesowen: A Glimpse Of A Family Business by
In October 1923 Mr G.F. Grove recorded the history of the company established by his father in 1857 and notes that there is evidence of work in horn buttons in Birmingham Street, Halesowen, as early as...login to read the full article.
Buttons and Bows by
This technique for producing bows continued to be used for thousands of years. The composite bow was made by surrounding a core of wood with strips of sinew and horn, and some were covered with birch...login to read the full article.
Cast Phenolic Resins by
The process of casting dates back to prehistoric times, first with copper and bronze; then later with precious metals, as with gold and silver in ancient Egypt; iron for weapons and armour; and, more...login to read the full article.
Casting Phenolic Resin: A Short Study Of The Napkin Ring by
Although the history of phenolic resins is well documented it is not easy to find pragmatic, 'how we actually did it' information. I have drawn some of this account from the American Plastics...login to read the full article.
Celluloid And Photography Part 2 by Colin Harding
Subsequent articles will explain how this revolutionary film came to Britain and finally the role played by celluloid in the invention and development of moving pictures.The celluloid material produced...login to read the full article.
Celluloid And Photography Part 4 by Colin Harding
The invention of cinematography was the result of the convergence of several areas of technical development However, while the underlying principles of moving pictures were understood by the 1880s,...login to read the full article.
Celluloid And Photography Part 1 by Colin Harding
Photographers soon, however, began to look for a practicable alternative to glass as a support for light-sensitive photographic emulsions. The weight and bulk of glass plates added greatly to the...login to read the full article.
Celluloid and Photography Part 3 by Colin Harding
By the autumn of 1889, rumours about a new transparent film, sufficiently flexible to be rolled on to a spool but requiring no stripping or special treatment, had begun to circulate in Britain....login to read the full article.
Cellulosics - A Classic Centenary by John Morgan, Charles Hampton and John Acres
1924, they switched entirely to the US where acetone and acetic anhydride were cheaply available. In the same year, rayon became adopted as a generic term for 'artificial silk'. Cellulose acetate...login to read the full article.
Cellulosics In The USA by G Marshall Naul
In 1942 the sole product at Amcelle was cellulose acetate (CA) mainly in the form of yarn but with a minor amount of flake for moulding. The site on the North Branch of the Potomac river was...login to read the full article.
Charles MacIntosh and Co: The History of the company by John Loadman
By 1792 Glasgow had begun to introduce gas lighting into the streets, as well as a few prestigious properties, and in 1817 the Glasgow Gas Light Company was formed. The gas was produced from...login to read the full article.
Chasing The Sunrise Industries by Tony Mclelland, Of Morning Plastics, Talks To John Russell About Entrepreneurship In The Plastics Industry.
Morning Plastics was founded in 1957 by five Croydon businessmen clubbing together to set it up as a trade moulder, based on mouldings for the lighting industry. In 1966, Tony McLelland merged his...login to read the full article.
Chinese Lacquer: An Age-old Polymer by Peter H Pesch
Modern polymer scientists have yet to meet the difficult challenge of producing a material which is as hard, durable, versatile and decorative as the lacquer made since before 2000 BC in the Far...login to read the full article.
Collecting Bakelite by Carolyn Clark And Ian Holdsworth
Collecting bakelite like most forms of collecting, can at one level be a benign and fun way of acquiring some interesting objects – whilst at the other extreme it can be a manic and compulsive...login to read the full article.
Collecting Carvacraft by
It all started over 15 years ago, I had for some time been interested in Art Deco as an art form and also in old plastics items. A career move to a moulding company in 1978 (GPG, now part of LinPac) rekindled...login to read the full article.
COMBMAKING IN SCOTLAND by
COMBMAKING IN SCOTLAND PHS Comb expert Jen Cruse explores the development of the Scottish comb-making industry. Figure 1. Pair of horn twin-cut combs being parted – Jen Cruse collection Introduction The...login to read the full article.
Conducting Polymers by Ralph Kay
1 Introduction The use of insulating mouldable plastics has been crucial for the growth and distribution of industrial and domestic power and communication systems in peace time and war since then.(1,...login to read the full article.
Conrad Poppenhusen by James E Haas
Born in Hamburg on 1 April, 1818, Conrad was introduced to very basic business principles by his father Heinrich, but that education was interrupted when his father died in 1829. A close family...login to read the full article.
Conservation Challenges by Brenda Keneghan
The Victoria & Albert Museum appointed its first “plastics conservator” in 1992 with the brief of surveying the plastic objects within the various collections in order to get an overview...login to read the full article.
Deck the Halls – with Plastic! by
Deck the Halls – with Plastic! Carolyn Clark owns up to her addiction to Christmas plastics. For many people plastic at Christmas time means children’s toys and presents which may be anything...login to read the full article.
Decorative Laminates: 1911-1981 by Anthony Walker
Decorative laminates, which were to play a major role in the post-war revolution in kitchen and furniture design, were an offshoot from the early industrial phenolic laminates which were first...login to read the full article.
DECORATIVE PLASTIC HAIR COMBS FROM THE LATE 1800s TO 1950s by
The use of hair combs began at the dawn of humanity, probably for practical reasons, but they soon became used by powerful and important people either as an ornament or as a symbol of one’s social...login to read the full article.
Diatite: the First Name in Thermoplastics by
Diatite: the First Name in Thermoplastics G. Marshall Naul Retired plastics development engineer On December 15th 1868 United States patent number 85018 was issued to John J. Merrick Jr. for “Improved...login to read the full article.
Distillers Impact On The Plastics Industry by Ted Westnedge
The years immediately following the end of the second world war are of particular historical significance. The move away from the traditional thermosets and semi-synthetics towards the newer thermoplastics...login to read the full article.
Dr Jekyll & Formaldehyde by Bernard Hollowood
The easiest way to make a plastics manufacturer bristle, I have discovered, is to refer to his wares as substitutes. He doesn't like to be reminded of his industry's growing pains and wild oats. There...login to read the full article.
Dupont Bicentennial by
A mix of change and continuity has helped DuPont evolve over the years. Its products have become entirely different but the company's core values and scientific base remain. It all began with a young...login to read the full article.
EARLY PLASTIC JEWELLERY – FAKES AND FORGERIES by
EARLY PLASTIC JEWELLERY – FAKES AND FORGERIES Jewellery dealer Caroline Henney guides us through the use of early plastics in jewellery. Figure 1. L to R Two moulded Celluloid bangles, (1930s...login to read the full article.
Early UK Glassfibre Carshell Production by
It appears that the first applications of glass reinforced plastics (GRP) really began around 1951. An Allard was fitted with a GRP nosecone and a company operating in London called Universal Laminations...login to read the full article.
Ebonite Revisited by
The nineteenth century industrial expansion throughout eastern America was no more evident than in the areas around Massachusetts and Connecticut where we find the town of Colchester. The settlement was...login to read the full article.
Experiences with Plastics 1958-1978, Part 1 by
Experiences with Plastics1958-1978, Part 1 Former PHS committee member Ralph Kay reflects on exciting times in his career in the plastics industry. Figure 1. Worcester Ware decorated metal containers The...login to read the full article.
Experiences with Plastics Part 2 by
Experiences with Plastics Part 2 Former PHS committee member Ralph Kay brings us the second of a series describing some of the earlier years of working with polymers and plastics through exciting times...login to read the full article.
Faked Plastic Part 2 by
Faked Plastic Part 2 Carolyn Clark enlightens us on various issues regarding different types of fake plastic collectables. Figure 1. Fake (on left) next to an original rocking horse. The fake...login to read the full article.
Form and Transparency: the acrylic creations of Abraham Palatnik by
Form and Transparency: the acrylic creations of Abraham Palatnik Carolyn Clark continues our exploration on the use of plastics in artworks. Figure 1. Abraham Palatnik Acrylic lends itself well...login to read the full article.
From Bakelite To Teflon by
Before I joined Bakelite Corp, then a division of Union Carbide & Carbon Co. in 1940, I believe I understood the basic difference between thermosets and thermoplastics, but not very well. I was hired...login to read the full article.
From Cyanide To 'Beetle' by John Hayes, Plastics Journalist
Production started making sulphocyanide by combining carbon bisulphide and ammonia. This could easily be converted to sodium or potassium sulphocyanide but making cyanide of potash directly from...login to read the full article.
From Germany to England, from Ceramic to Bakelite by
From Germany to England, from Ceramic to Bakelite – Grete Loebenstein-Marks and Linsden Ware Grete Marks’ daughter Frances, talks about her mother’s remarkable...login to read the full article.
From Milk to Manicure Sets: The Casein Process by
Casein was patented in 1899 and first produced in Germany as Galalith. In England, a wet process to produce Syrolit from milk curd was patented in 1909, but this was never very satisfactory. A new company,...login to read the full article.
General Electric Company (USA) and Plastics by G Marshall Naul
General Electric (GE) began the production of plastics products at least as early as 1910 with laminated electrical sheet insulation based on phenolic resins. In the late nineteenth century earlier...login to read the full article.
Great Designs Of The Twentieth Century by Sylvia Katz, Martin Rowlands
The Hille stacking chair The Hille stacking chair, designed by Robin Day, was first manufactured in 1963. There had been earlier moulded plastics chairs, notably the glass-reinforced one by Charles...login to read the full article.
Gutta Percha, The Plastic Of Its Time by
Gutta percha, a natural thermoplastic with a softening point of around 80 degrees C was first introduced into this side of the world in 1843 from Singapore. Produced from the latex of the Isonandra and...login to read the full article.
Home Of Xylonite by Antony B Merriam
Hale End was a village, the last stop but one on the line from Liverpool Street to Chingford. Here, just a hundred years ago, The British Xylonite Co. bought Jack's Farm, some 60 acres at about £100...login to read the full article.
Hermann Staudinger by
Although the centenary of plasics was celebrated in 1962, this appears to have been mainly of academic interest outside the UK. It is true that in 1862 Parkes exhibited at the great International Exhibition...login to read the full article.
Hilary Page & Kiddicraft by Chas Saunter
Hilary Fisher Page was born in 1904 at Sanderstead, Surrey. He was the first child of Samuel Fisher and Lillian Maude Page. As a child he showed an interest in making toys and inventing his own games....login to read the full article.
History & Development of the Vinyl LP Record by
The Beginning Vinyl resins were first identified in 1838 and the first gramophone record was made in 1877, but the two did not come together until the 1930s. Long playing vinyl records were first made...login to read the full article.
Horn & Plastics - The Natural Connection by
For a thousand years the Craft Guilds, or Livery Companies as they are known today, have been part of the working life and traditions of the City of London. The Guilds originally came into being to regulate...login to read the full article.
Horn an Everyday Plastic by
Horn an Everyday Plastic David Oxley, Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Horners, reports on last summer’s exhibition at the Frederick Parker Gallery, London Metropolitan University. The...login to read the full article.
Horners Corner - Buttons And Bows by
When reading about ancient technologies that were practised for millennia by our ancestors, one is struck by their resourcefulness in adapting the raw material that was available. They observed and experimented,...login to read the full article.
Horners Corner: Royal Connections by Len Smith
The Worshipful Company of Horners was in a parlous state in the middle of the nineteenth century. The decline in the horners' trade had reduced the membership to only fifteen and the then Clerk,...login to read the full article.
Horners' Corner: Additions to the Horners' Collection by
The Horners' Collection of Horn consists of over four hundred artefacts, all of which have been carefully catalogued by Adele and for most of them she has traced their provenance. Apart from a few...login to read the full article.
Horners' Corner: City Press 4th November 1949 by
The plastics industry has enjoyed a close relationship with the Worshipful Company of Horners since the early days after the end of WWII, by which time the industry had come of age largely due to the...login to read the full article.
Horners' Corner: Horners on active service by
Who and how? The answer was that the contingent of English archers wielded a supreme weapon – a longbow with a weighty draw of 100 lbs to 150 lbs with a rate of fire of six arrows a minute. The...login to read the full article.
I Wish I Had Met by
He married in 1854 and, in 1863, engaged in a partnership to export American-made paraffin and oil lamps, which job took him to Genoa. The business must have prospered sufficiently for him to return to...login to read the full article.
ICI Croydon by John Bryon
I started work there, straight from school on December 20 1943 at a salary of £90 per annum. My work was interesting and my fellow laboratory workers were a lively bunch and were great...login to read the full article.
Impressions In Horn And Other Organic Materials by Adele Schaverien
Horn is a natural thermoplas tic protein with similar properties to some synthetic poly mers: it can be moulded when heat and pressure are applied or reapplied. Its most interesting use is...login to read the full article.
In A Spin At Kew by E. Ann Morgan
Quite by accident, I recently came across a copy of Edwin J Beer's The Beginning of Rayon, largely written in 1955 and published privately by his wife in 1962. Unfortunately, in 1934 Edwin had...login to read the full article.
In The Borch! by
Horn Bands were established during the middle of the eighteenth century by Russian landowners. They were based on the principle of present-day handbell ringing. Each player was provided with a horn of...login to read the full article.
In The Service Of Women by Richard Schoevaart
Rubber-related materials dominated contraceptive devices during the 19th and early 20th century. Many other polymeric materials have been, and continue to be, used in this field since different plastics...login to read the full article.
Independence! by Deborah Jaffe
During the last 150 years, vulcanised rubber and then plastics have inadvertently played an important role in women’s increased independence and their aspirations for modernity. It started with elastic...login to read the full article.
Jessie's Story by Percy Reboul
I was born on 3 July 1892 at Wenlock Street, Hoxton, London. There were seven children in our family and my father was an outworker for a tailor called Mein in Fore Street in the City. He was...login to read the full article.
John Smith, Casemaker by John Hannavy And Dennis Firkins
This article was first published in The Photographic Journal in 1995 and then in extended and revised form in Photographica World, no. 74, September 1995, as reproduced here with kind permission. Dr...login to read the full article.
John Trier : Artist and Crafstman in Horn by Adele Schaverien
John was born in 1932 in Weybridge, Surrey. He emigrated to Australia in 1948 and managed sheep stations in Western Queensland for almost 20 years. In 1966 he purchased a property south-west of Brisbane...login to read the full article.
Kelacoma Ltd by
Eric Balley is researching Kelacoma Ltd and would welcome information about the company and its products. An early plastics factory in Welwyn Garden City (probably the earliest) was that of Kelacoma Ltd...login to read the full article.
Keratin Kitsch by
While listening to Peter Ward' s interesting and amusing lecture on 'Plastics and Kitsch' at the 1996 PHS Christmas Event certain horn items came to mind which could also easily be so described....login to read the full article.
LAMINATED ACRYLIC SCULPTURES by
LAMINATED ACRYLIC SCULPTURES To start the series of articles about plastics and art, we invited an artist who has been creating stunning acrylic sculptures since 1967 to contribute. Vasa makes the most...login to read the full article.
Lanthorns, Warnings And Whistles by Adele Schaverien
Sounding horns have been used to communicate or as a warning signal over long distances for countless generations, for instance by herdsmen in hilly terrain. During Saxon times, if a traveller...login to read the full article.
Lego The Ultimate Toy Building Brick by Deborah Jaffe
Stacking one cube upon another is mastered at an early age. Probably from the earliest times children copied the construction of their homes by making miniature versions for themselves. Roman...login to read the full article.
Let Polymers Face The Music by
Early history of the 78 rev/min record As is well known, Thomas Alva Edison was the first to record sound and reproduce it mechanically. And the first to succeed commercially with recorded sound as a...login to read the full article.
Let There Be Light by
Spurred by estimates of a potential market running into billions of dollars, researchers at some of the polymer industry's most powerful players have been battling to bring light-emitting polymers...login to read the full article.
Little White Plastic Collars by Sylvia Katz Interviews Mary Quant
For a young fashion designer in love with the texture, structure and movement of fabrics, PVC would appear a risky choice of material to present to the world’s top haute couture editors in her first...login to read the full article.
Looking To The Future by Sir Geoffrey Allan, Brian Parkin, Bill Watson, James Maxwell, Susan Mossman
Thoughts at the beginning of the twenty-first centuryOn the roller-coaster ride of the twentieth century, plastics materials became a major segment of the chemicals industry, boosted by high...login to read the full article.
Made For Each Other? by James Maxwell
In fact, the motor industry was using polymers from the outset, in such forms as wood, cotton, leather, wickerwork and rubber. Engine and chassis apart, it was very much a non-metallic world. For...login to read the full article.
Making Plastics Work: Two Views From The Marketplace by Percy Reboul
As a background to Roy's remarks, we may perhaps remind readers that, although it was ICI who discovered PE in 1933, the exigencies of the war years meant that ICI had to share their PE know-how...login to read the full article.
Martyn Rowlands and the Trimphone: Genesis of an Iconic Design as recorded in Patents by
Martyn Rowlands and the Trimphone: Genesis of an Iconic Design as recorded in Patents By Alan Wells The early sixties were a boom time for the General Post Office, (GPO) with Subscriber Trunk Dialling...login to read the full article.
Mass-produced Pens by
Not until the industrial revolution did the metal stylus become generally available, the metal nib being attached to a non-metallic shaft such as wood or bone. The pen became an increasingly important...login to read the full article.
Material Improvements 1974-94 by Robin Penfold
European Plastics News was born in a year that marked a real watershed for plastics. Before 1974, there were industry pundits who blithely predicted more or less perpetual continuation of the...login to read the full article.
Members' Collections by
Teaching children embroidery sounds harmless enough, but one day in the early 1970's something caught my eye in the class button box. It was a soft-topped dark green oval with a transparent striped...login to read the full article.
Messing about in Plastics by
MESSING ABOUT IN PLASTICS In March 1995, Dr Len Smith, a founder member of PHS and a Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Horners, gave a lecture to PHS members entitled "Messing About in Plastics"...login to read the full article.
Metallised Helium Filled Balloons by Alan Griffiths
The metallised helium-filled toy balloons, as we know them today, were not a readily identifiable product until about 1979, when they were being produced by a few manufacturers in the U.S.A.One...login to read the full article.
MR. SWINDON’S BAKELITE MACHINE by
MR. SWINDON’S BAKELITE MACHINE Not many people can compression mould Bakelite at home but Darryl Swindon can. Ian Holdsworth and Dr Andy Barhill investigate. Above left: Darryl Swindon and his...login to read the full article.
My 25 Years by
'After returning from the Great War in 1919, my first thoughts were of work. Thinking I had already learned all there was to know about Bakelite materials, I applied for a job at the Cowley factory,...login to read the full article.
MYSTERY OBJECT by
MYSTERY OBJECT Hello Sailor(s) In our last edition (June 2012), we showed a little sailor made of vulcanized rubber. He is in fact one of a set of skittles (Figure 1). Irene Cornelius correctly...login to read the full article.
Nanomaterials And Polymers by
Nanomaterials (from the Greek for 'very small' or 'dwarf') are in the range of 1-100 nanometres, where one manometre is equal to one-billionth of a metre. A human hair is typically five...login to read the full article.
Natural Rubber: The Years That Changed The World by
Natural rubber has been an important commodity in a multitude of societies for well over a thousand years, and its development from playballs of the 6th century Aztecs through waterproofing material for...login to read the full article.
Nature’s Plastic: the Collection of The Worshipful Company of Horners by
Nature’s Plastic: the Collection of The Worshipful Company of Horners Curators at the Museum of Design in Plastics describe the wonderful objects in their current exhibition. The Museum of Design...login to read the full article.
Necessity Is The Mother Of Invention by Mandy Haberman
The Anywayup Cup Mandy’s innovations began in earnest in 1980 when her third child Emily was born with a congenital condition that resulted in sucking difficulty. Frustrated by the absence of a...login to read the full article.
New Sounds in Moulding Shops - Silence! by John Whitehead
From the late 1990s onwards a modern facility, moulding for the medical sector for example, was presenting a much quieter working environment. The reason for this sudden peace reflected the biggest...login to read the full article.
Parkesine & Celluloid: From Britain To America by Susan Mossman
Parkes displayed his Parkesine - also known as pyroxyline - in 1862 at the International Exhibition in Hyde Park, where he was awarded a bronze medal for excellence of product; later gaining a silver...login to read the full article.
Parmali: Progress Towards Permanence by
The manufacturing process consisted of immersing beech veneers, generally of 1/32 inch thickness in a phenolic resin solution. The veneers were held vertically and separate from each other in a wire rack...login to read the full article.
Passion For Plastics by
The author is senior lecturer in theoretical studies at the Arts Institute at Bournemouth Design Museum, items from whose extensive collection illustrate this article. In recent years a plethora of innovative...login to read the full article.
Patents & Plastics by
Many researchers and collectors are familiar with the use of a patent or registered design number as a method of dating items bearing such a number. However, some may not have looked at the actual patent...login to read the full article.
Perspex Jewellery by
I was interested to read the feature on Perspex in Plastiquarian 14, and in particular about the large scale production of the material for the aircraft industry during the Second World War. As a collector...login to read the full article.
Phenolics in the 1930s by Percy Reboul
A S Withington was involved with the production of 'Indurite', a venture subsequently to become part of the Distillers project at Barry, South Wales, and presents a laboratory-based view of its...login to read the full article.
PHS makes a start by
Clifford Welch "Looking back at my text (Ed. Clifford was the main lecturer at the meeting) written as a former journalist in the technical press, I note two major themes. The first was a concern...login to read the full article.
Plastic Materials, A Personal Journey by Willie Kessler
I was 11 when I had my first experience of plastics. As a ‘Saturday boy’ I was working in my father’s factory in Stoke Newington, North London. One of the things he produced were...login to read the full article.
Plastics & World War 2: The Holley/Cornelius Collection at Bletchley Park by
David (known to all as Mark) Cornelius met Irene Holley at Bath Academy of Art in 1957. They married in 1959, and their circumstances made buying household items at jumble sales a necessity. Such places...login to read the full article.
Plastics Afloat by Albert Attwood
Roanoid Plastics Limited was founded by Rowan & Boden Limited, well-known suppliers of furnishings and floor coverings to the shipping industry. It was in the 1920s that the company saw the...login to read the full article.
Plastics As A Medium For Toys by
PLASTICS HAVE SOLVED the greatest problems for the designer and manufacturer of toys for babies and young children. For generations we have tried to find some type of paint or enamel which cannot be sucked...login to read the full article.
Plastics Cap Badges Of The British Army by
In 1941 Britain was suffering from a severe metal shortage due to our isolation after the evacuation from Dunkirk. The government appealed for all scrap metal to produce munitions; pots and pans were...login to read the full article.
Plastics for Gold by
Plastics for Gold A Timely New Exhibition at the Museum of Design in Plastics by Susan Lambert. Plastics are the most used group of materials in the world yet they are seldom given a second thought....login to read the full article.
Plastics Hall Of Fame: Posthumous Nomination of Alexander Parkes by Glenn L Beall
The evolution of mankind creates an ongoing need for new materials. In some instances increases in population exceeds the available supply of natural materials such as wood, ivory, horn, tortoise...login to read the full article.
Plastics Imitating Gems by Maggie Campbell
From the time they were invented, plastics have been used to copy organic gem materials - that is, gem materials of plant or animal origin. Many organics (as they are commonly known) are light in weight...login to read the full article.
Plastics in Britain – the earliest days by
Plastics in Britain – the earliest days Percy Reboul Figure 1. Pricelist of the British Xylonite Company for the year 1896 In 1983, an article entitled ‘The British Xylonite Company Ltd of...login to read the full article.
Plastics In Dentistry 1 by
Mankinds’ first efforts utilised ‘donated’ human teeth held in place with gold bands, and whether the replacements are real or artificial, they need to be held in place by a denture...login to read the full article.
Plastics In Dentistry 2 by Dr David Brown
Dr Brown started by drawing attention to St Apollonia, patron saint of dental patients, to remind us of the longestablished nature of toothache as an enervating illness. For many years dental decay...login to read the full article.
Plastics In My Blood by
This January saw the Design Classics range of stamps launch by the Royal Mail and one of the ten products featured formed a major part of my childhood: the Hille polypropylene chair. As an only child...login to read the full article.
Plastics In Retrospect And Prospect: A 1964 View by
It is almost inconceivable today to look at the gigantic industries which are engaged in the production and working of plastics, and the equally gigantic industries which but for plastics could never...login to read the full article.
Plastics In The Nursery by David Harman Powell
The plastics industry in the 1930s was often criticized for its tendency to camouflage the nature of its materials and processes by various forms of imitation, and certainly from the mid 1930s to 1960s...login to read the full article.
Plastics making a splash! by
Plastics making a splash! As we look back on the Olympic year Brenda Keneghan dips into some of the history of synthetic materials used in swimming. Figure 1. Lastex advertisement The swimsuit...login to read the full article.
Plastics Power And Gender: A Swedish View by
Plastics have proved a blessing for many. not least housewives. since they became common after the Second World War. However, most of the literature on them has been written from a technological viewpoint,...login to read the full article.
Plastics Processing Machinery - The Vital Partner by John Morgan
Celluloid was successful because Hyatt, together with the Burroughs Co., developed machines such as this blow moulder specifically for cellulose nitrate plastics. Various internal mixing machines...login to read the full article.
Plastics Repair Update by
With reference to Paul Clark's article on the repair of plastics (plastiquarian 3) he mentions a proprietary adhesive called Poly Zap and says that it is specifically formulated for adhering certain...login to read the full article.
Plastics Repair Update by
This letter is prompted by the Repair Update article in plastiquarian 5. The information given is a good introduction to the subject for someone who is inexperienced in repairing plastics. However, some...login to read the full article.
Plastics Setback 1948/49 by
June 1948 showed signs of a fall in demand for plastics. Up to that time plastics materials were in short supply and all that could be produced could be easily sold: in fact our customers in all...login to read the full article.
Plastics, Products & People, The Social Acuity Of A Material by Ian Holdsworth
First PhaseEarly designers using plastics either tried to invent new products, or more often copied existing products made originally in other materials, thereby creating a dichotomy, and setting...login to read the full article.
PLASTICS: The Way We Live Now by
PLASTICS: The Way We Live Now Brenda Keneghan on a new exhibition at the Design Museum which highlights some of the plastic ware introduced to British homes by Sir Terence Conran. Figure 1. 1964 poster...login to read the full article.
Pocket Knives: Simple But Vital by
Originally the knives were employed for cutting the quill to what is recognised as a 'nib' shape, and a degree of skill was required both to produce a quill pen and to refine it as the points...login to read the full article.
Polyethylene - The New Insulating Material by
The author left school in the 1930s and started work as an assistant at the Telcon/Submarine Cables laboratories at a time when gutta percha was still the predominant insulator. An informal connection...login to read the full article.
Polyethylene, A Phenomenon by Colin Richards
How can the following conflicts be rationalised? A polymer that can be stiffer than steel yet as soft as candlewax! A polymer that is produced at high pressure (greater 1500 atmospheres) using a simple...login to read the full article.
Polymer Study Tours for Science and Design & Technology Teachers by
Polymer Study Tours for Science and Design & Technology Teachers Alison Green, Business Manager at the Sir John Cass Faculty of Art, Media & Design, at London Metropolitan University tells us...login to read the full article.
Polymer Training For The Future by
The latest in a long series of initials and acronyms which litter the educational sector, Pinsa is charged with delivering training to world class standards for the polymer, chemical, and pharmaceuticals...login to read the full article.
Polymer Yarns or The Accidental Discovery of Polymers by
Throughout the history of polymers, important discoveries have been made as a consequence of completely unforseen sequences of events. This is probably true of chemistry in general. Long ago it was realised...login to read the full article.
Polythene Discovery And Early Development by Plasiquarian
In 1932, Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) began a speculative research programme at its Winnington, Cheshire laboratories to examine reactions at unprecedently high pressures and temperatures....login to read the full article.
Portrait of a Pioneer: E Elliott by
Many members will be familiar with the distinctive trademark of E Elliott Ltd. but few will he aware of the pioneering work of this company which started in Birmingham in the early years of this century...login to read the full article.
Post War Plastics: Meeting the Challenge by
The First Challenge My first Works Management appointment was to a small chemical plant at Dagenham in Essex. The date: 1 April 1953. The firm, Solvent Products Ltd, was owned by The Distillers Company...login to read the full article.
Precursory Experiments In Electronic Encapsulation: A Historic Retrospective by Armand G.W. Winfield
INTRODUCTION The electronics industry takes the process of encapsulation for granted even though new methods and materials are continually being sought for improvement. Electronics encapsulations...login to read the full article.
Prerequisites & Style by
Nail varnish or polish is mainly based on cellulose nitrate, also known as nitrocellulose. The nitrogen content is controlled to reduce hazards found in the more explosive forms. Nitrocellulose dopes,...login to read the full article.
Progress in Auto Glazing But the Future Still Not Clear by John Whitehead
The list of remaining targets for plastics' inexorable march was diminished still further by this penetration of the headlamp market. Real volume use in the car body area remained the elusive...login to read the full article.
Puck among the Plastics by
Puck among the Plastics Percy Reboul delves into the PHS archives and comes up with this gem from the Xylonite Magazine 1935. Probably every manufacturer receives from time to time suggestions...login to read the full article.
Rapra Technology by
AT Plastics and Rubber Weekly, the toll has sadly become a regular feature of columns once filled with news of start-ups, investments and ambitious plans. But in March of this year came news of a failure...login to read the full article.
Red Rubber by John Loadman
In 1865 King Leopold II of the Belgians came to power on the death of his father, Leopold I. He resented the fact that when Belgium had been created in 1835, it had been given no foreign colonies...login to read the full article.
Reflections On A Consultant's Role In The Plastic Industry by
It is well over thirty years now since I answered an advertisement in the daily press, was interviewed and engaged for work at the BX Plastics Research Station, Lawford Place, roughly midway between Colchester...login to read the full article.
Reviewing Horn History by Adele Schaverien
The publication of History of the Horn Book by Andrew Tuer in 1896 (it has since become the definitive work on the subject) and subsequently a history of the Company written by the Reverend ...login to read the full article.
Ron Copleston, An Engineer's Engineer by
I have known Ron Copleston for just a short time, but his reputation as a fine plastics design engineer goes before him. It was a great privilege to be invited by Ron to talk at his home about his life,...login to read the full article.
Rubber & The Domestic Goddess by John Loadman
Today the term ‘Domestic Goddess’ seems to be reserved for the lady who has excellent culinary abilities, but this is only part of a larger picture, To be a true goddess the lady must excel...login to read the full article.
Rubber (et al) in 1886 by
The pianoforte featured several times in this year. The first observation refers to what could be the first 'plastic' piano: 'Pianofortes are now being built from compressed paper pulp which...login to read the full article.
In the US, Stephanie Kwolek developed the research begun by the Carothers team in the 1930s. In 1966 she patented Aramid fibres. These very strong fibres are now known by the trade name Kevlar and used...login to read the full article.
Scotland's Rubber & Plastics Heritage by John Campbelton and Charlie Geddes
Just 100 years ago saw the birth of synthetic plastics materials when Baekeland registered, in the United States, a series of patents including his famous “heat and pressure patent”. This new...login to read the full article.
Seeing A Problem Through - 'Perspex', The First Sixty Years by John Acres
The name Perspex was derived from the Latin ' to see through' and the product was the result of a 1930s research project, in the hands of John Crawford of what was at that time the Explosives Group...login to read the full article.
SELLING CELLULOID: A SNAPSHOT by
Celluloid Xylonite toilet articles The Plastiquarian has had many articles about the people who created, designed, made and used plastic items, but less about the retail side. Items which now hide...login to read the full article.
Shellac Union Cases by
As the daguerreotype gave way to the wet collodion (cellulose nitrate solution) on glass, or ambrotype, so photography boomed, especially in the USA. Many experiments were performed to try to replace...login to read the full article.
Small is Beautiful: The Birth of ABS by Robert K Multer
In 1950 I joined the Marbon Division of Borg-Warner Corporation in Gary, Indiana, fresh out of the chemical engineering school of Cornell University. Borg-Warner had just bought a small...login to read the full article.
Some Viscose Personalities Part Two by E ANN MORGAN
At Station Avenue, Kew, the managing director of the Viscose Spinning Syndicate Ltd. (VSSL) was Charles Henry Steam. Born in Jamaica in 1844, he became a bank clerk but his spare time was spent...login to read the full article.
Some Historical Aspects Of The Horner's Craft by
No-one doubts that the working of horn was practised from early in man's history. Antler, bone and other byproducts from butchered animals were also used. The evidence of the latters' use is more...login to read the full article.
Some Notes On Bakelite Corporation by G Marshall Naul
As one who spent nearly 45 years in the plastics industry, starting with Bakelite Corporation in 1940, I am disturbed by the misinformation appearing on the internet and in print concerning Bakelite....login to read the full article.
Some Viscose Personalities Part One by E Ann Morgan
The first laboratory, Station Avenue, Kew 1900 Charles Frederick Cross was born in 1855. His father was a schoolmaster turned soap manufacturer. After graduating from King's College, London, ...login to read the full article.
Synthetic Fibres, From Dreams To Reality by Susan Mossman
In the seventeenth century, Robert Hooke remarked in his Micrographia (1665): “A pretty kinde of artificial Stuff I have seen, looking almost like transparent Parchment, Horn or Ising-Glass...And...login to read the full article.
The Poppit Experience by Plastiquarian
Chelton Electrostatics, the original company, was formed in London after the Second World War by two ex-RAF officers, Geoffrey Charles and Bill Sanderson, to design and develop aircraft radio...login to read the full article.
The American Plastics Academy's Hall Of Fame by
Election to the American Plastics Academy’s Hall of Fame is an honour bestowed on those individuals who have shown consistent dedication and extraordinary accomplishments contributing to the stature...login to read the full article.
The Animal Magnetism of Horn by
The Animal Magnetism of Horn Jeweller Armelle Ellison - this year’s winner of the Horners Jewellery Award tells us about working with horn. Figure 1. Zebra Horn cuff, winner of Horners’ Jewellery...login to read the full article.
The Bakelite Women by
My grandfather, J E Kingsbury, was vice chairman of Bakelite Limited for 17 years, until 1945. He had been associated with Sir James Swinburne in the earliest days of the company and was previously vice...login to read the full article.
The Birth And Development Of The Frido Vinyl Playball by Harry Grimshaw
ln 1954 he visited the annual toy fair at Nurnberg, Germany, and saw a vinyl ( pvc) playball on the stand of a Dr Priemer of Frankfurt. He asked Dr Priemer to sell him the manufacturing "know-how",...login to read the full article.
The Birth Of The Plastics Industry? by
That gutta percha is a plastics material, there can be no doubt. Unlike its geometric isomer, natural rubber ( which has chronological precedence), gutta percha exhibits the classical properties of a...login to read the full article.
The Bogus Butterfly Collector by
Percy Rebaul writes: I am particularly grateful to Peter Ashlee and to Plastics & Rubber Weekly for permission to publish this abridged version of an article on one of the earliest essential raw materials...login to read the full article.
The British Plastics Federation: The Early Years by
In 1929 MP Macfarlane (Mac) and EJ Wilkins (Wilkie) set up The Plastics Press in one room on the third floor of 19 Ludgate Hill in the City of London. Their publication British Plastics & Moulded...login to read the full article.
The Building Of An Industry by
Percy Reboul writes: 'It is a particular pleasure to be able to feature in this issue some memories of the early days of British Xylonite which I recorded with Colin Glover, BXL's first Managing...login to read the full article.
The Burden Of Recycling by
'The intention was to bring to a close the days when the individual could freely dump cars, refrigerators and mobile phones'. Pressures imposed on the plastics sector to recycle a sizeable proportion...login to read the full article.
The Centenary Of Casein by John Morgan
If cellulose nitrate in the form of Parkesine was in 1862 the first semi-synthetic plastics material then casein came second, almost 40 years later. Nobody remembers the names of runners-up,...login to read the full article.
The Changing Nature Of The Plastics Industry by David F Oxley
The early materials that we now know as plastics were derived from natural materials such as cellulose to give cellulose nitrate (Schonbein 1845). This was refined by Alexander Parkes, a metallurgist...login to read the full article.
The Delrin Half Century by Plastiquarian
The existence of polymers of formaldehyde had been known for nearly a hundred years. The Russian chemist Butlerow first reported them in 1859 and noted their most characteristic feature, a tendency...login to read the full article.
The Design & Manufacture of the GPO 162 Telephone by Ian Holdsworth and Graham Trafford
They say that early users of the network were relatively naive, amazed by the new service which offered them communication as if by magic. Subscribers rented their telephones from the GPO for 50...login to read the full article.
The Early History Of The Damard Lacquer Company by Sir James Swinburne Frs
Somewhere about 1902 I went into the office of the late H Woltereck. He was a patent agent by profession, but he was also an inventor of a wild character. I came across him first as an inventor...login to read the full article.
The Early Years Of Artificial Fibres by
One of the earliest artificial fibres was the artificial silk based on cellulose developed by Sir Joseph Swan as a suitable filament for his light bulb, and patented in 1883. Swan decided that his invention...login to read the full article.
The Future of Manufacturing in Europe and the UK by George Kessler
This article explores the future of European and British Manufacturing. For reasons of space it has not been possible to include an anlysis of nanotechnology, climate change and 3 D printing (rapid ...login to read the full article.
The Futures For Plastics Market by John Whitehead
However polymers, for all their similarity of use and application to metals in areas such as packaging, have never successfully been offered this opportunity until the mid 2005 launch of the...login to read the full article.
The Gutta Percha Story by Richard H Chambers
Essentially, what Montgomerie had done was to introduce to the western world an entirely new type of material which could be subjected to technical and commercial appraisal by an entrepreneurial...login to read the full article.
The History Of Combs: An American Perspective by Glenn L Beall
It would be difficult to exaggerate the importance of combs to the commercial success of the plastics industry. At least two major companies survived and prospered in the early days by making...login to read the full article.
The Kleeware Story by
During the war the factory turned out combs for the Forces and radio parts for the MOD. Afterwards, production turned to hair slides, toothbrushes (a disaster, later sold to Addis), toys and housewares....login to read the full article.
The Manufacture Of Balata Belting by W. F. Harris
Surprisingly, such belts are still in use today and are even still manufactured by the original Victorian techniques. The great days are over, however, and it is uncertain how much longer the product...login to read the full article.
The Michelin Centenary 1905-2005 by
Originally in business to make rubber-based products such as hose and drive belts, the brothers perfected in 1891 the first detachable pneumatic bicycle tyre which soon proved to be vastly superior to...login to read the full article.
The Museum of Design in Plastics by
The Museum of Design in Plastics. In the last issue of Plastiquarian Steve Akhurst discussed the long-term loan of a significant number of Plastics Historical Society’s objects to the Museum of...login to read the full article.
The Notebooks of Alexander Parkes by
His first mention of a plastics composition is in August 1849 when he comments on Thomas Charles Clarkson combining 'certain vegetable substances with leather, India rubber . . . . in the manufacture...login to read the full article.
The Notebooks of Alexander Parkes by
THE PHS COLLECTION OF PLASTICS ARTEFACTS By Steve Akhurst Over the twenty-two years of the existence of the Plastics Historical Society there has always been a dream of setting up a National Museum of...login to read the full article.
The Palitoy Story by
The Palitoy Story Ieuan Hopkins - Archivist at the Museum of Childhood at Bethnal Green, on the development one of the UK’s most famous toy companies. Figure 1. Diddums – first produced in...login to read the full article.
The Plastes Story by
I started my working life in one of the oldest trades known to man, tanning, and in 1920 served a four year apprenticeship with one of the best known firms of leather manufacturers in the Midlands. I...login to read the full article.
The Plastics Historical Society (PHS) Collection Online by
The Plastics Historical Society (PHS) Collection Online Louise Dennis, Assistant Curator, Museum of Design in Plastics (MoDiP) guides readers through the process of accessing the PHS collection on the...login to read the full article.
THE POPART PROJECT by
Ever since they were created, polymeric materials have been used in the fine arts and the design world and currently represent a significant part of museum collections in terms of values and/ or numbers....login to read the full article.
The Poppit Experience by
Chelton Electrostatics, the original company, was formed in London after the Second World War by two ex-RAF officers, Geoffrey Charles and Bill Sanderson, to design and develop aircraft radio antennae....login to read the full article.
The Post-war Plastics Industry: Plastic Pay-days by
1939-1944: When World War II was declared in September 1939, I was a grammar schoolboy due to commence my final year' s schooling prior to sitting the matriculation examination . But that autumn I...login to read the full article.
The Repair of Plastics: Part 1 by
We would all like perfect examples of antique plastics, but often have to make do with blemished pieces, or worse, accept accidental damage that may happen to a prized possession. If a repair is an acceptable...login to read the full article.
The Repair of Plastics: Part 2 by
POLYESTER RESINS: These are the resins used to bond glass mat into socalled 'fibreglass' and come in paste form or liquid. A convenient type of the former is Plastic Padding General Purpose which...login to read the full article.
The Rise And Fall Of GPG International Ltd. by Peter Weetman
GPG International was the outcome of the foray of the Dublin brewer, Arthur Guinness, into the plastics industry. In the early 1960s the distribution of beer was changing. Beer was sold in aluminium...login to read the full article.
The Rise And Fall Of Melamine Tableware by Steve Akhurst
Melamine Formaldehyde (MF) moulding materials were developed in Germany and the US just prior to the Second World War. Afterwards, this new 'wonder' material was there to be exploited in the...login to read the full article.
The Rise And Rise Of Synthetic Rubbers by John Loadman
The Victorians had that ultimate faith that anything God could do, they could do better. As early as 1860 rubber had been thermally decomposed to give spirit, oil and tar and the ‘spirit’...login to read the full article.
The Rubber Doll by
...login to read the full article.
The Search For The Unbreakeable Doll by
A fter Charles Goodyear patented the vulcanisation process in 1842, making rubber less brittle, his brother Nathan applied it to toymaking. Indeed, he thought it might lead to the production of an 'unbreakable'...login to read the full article.
The SF1 System and the Elgin Estate by Anthony Walker
Three estates were proposed as a first contract: the Watney Estate in Hackney; Tindal Street, Lambeth; and the Elgin Estate in Westminster. In the event only four blocks were built, two on the...login to read the full article.
The Story of ICI Plastics Division: Part 1 by Plastiquarian
History and Growth The Plastics Group of ICI was formed in 1938 to co-ordinate the many interests in plastics materials which were developing in different parts of Imperial Chemical Industries...login to read the full article.
The Story Of ICI Plastics Division: Part 2 by
The early 1970s, like the 1960s, continued to be a time of optimism and growth, with Welwyn as a major centre for polymer research, development and processing technology. Indeed, many of the more exciting...login to read the full article.
The Story Of Sandwich Moulding by David Oxley
In 1965 ICI Plastics Division was expanding its technical marketing of thermoplastics into the automotive industry, with particular reference to increased use of polypropylene. It was well known...login to read the full article.
The Stuff of Legends by
This is an abridged version of an article originally published in Photographic World 2004. There is a legend about the little VP Twin camera - that it was originally sold in two parts by Woolworth’s...login to read the full article.
The Thomas De La Rue Story Part 4: 1959-1982 by Plasiquarian
Inevitably redundancies followed the takeover by Courtaulds. But with the injection of fresh capital and management expertise from GF Sly ( works manager and later managing director) who had...login to read the full article.
The Thomas De La Rue Story Part 1: Early Days - 1939 by
The De La Rue history goes back to 1819 when Thomas de la Rue, a native of Guernsey and owner of a small printing company, came to London to make his fortune. By dint of hard work and a sound knowledge...login to read the full article.
The Thomas De La Rue Story Part 2 : De La Rue At War by Plastiquarian
Components moulded by the Plastics Department of Thomas De La Rue during the Second World War Percussion hand grenade (Grenade 69). Relay 60 (limpet bomb'). Housing and loop-aerial for Wellington...login to read the full article.
The Thomas De La Rue Story, Part 3: 1945-1959 by Plastiquarian
The approach of the end of the war in Europe in 1945 found Thomas De La Rue's plastics factories in full production with approximately 3000 employees on three-shift working. Even before peace...login to read the full article.
The Timpo Trail by
Figures in their lead ranges were gradually replaced with ones using a polythene based material filled with approximately 13% talc. These 54 mm figures sold well but hand painting tended to slow things...login to read the full article.
The Tupperware Burp by Sylvia Katz
One of the most iconic products ever to be made from polythene is Tupperware, and most of us have a beaker or bowl somewhere in our homes. But behind the image of jolly Tupperware parties and picnics...login to read the full article.
The Way We Changed The World by David Bowsher, John Loadman, Ralph Kay , Percy Reboul, Dick Chambers, Colin Williamson
Another problem has been the fact that there are few materials more taken for granted than plastics.To redress slightly the balance, we proffer the contributions that follow - all of them reminders...login to read the full article.
The World Of Tomorrow: by Plastiquarian
Devised during the height of the art deco years, the architecture, street furniture, products and souvenirs reflected that age and stand out as a beacon. Set in 1216 acres at Flushing Meadows...login to read the full article.
The Worshipful Company Of Horners At The New Millennium by
Through the years, Livery Companies have repeatedly reinvented themselves. In much earlier days they were Employer Federation, Trade Union and Office of Fair Trading rolled into one - hardly a politically...login to read the full article.
The Xylonite Catalogue: 1882 - 1930 by Plastiquarian
It is a fact now generally acknowledged in modern business that an attractive Catalogue well got up and artistically arranged, is a powerful selling agent, which is always at the hand of the...login to read the full article.
The Xylonite Magazine (1925 and 1937) by
The Xylonite Magazine (1925) The Early Days of the Company by Miss L Edwards When I first entered the service of the Company in 1879, the business was a very small one. The premises consisted of two old-fashioned...login to read the full article.
Thetford Pulpware - Forerunner of today's plasticware by
The site of Thetford Moulded Products still lies in Mill Lane, Thetford, Norfolk, between the two rivers - the Little Ouse and the Thet - which over the years have powered the manufacture of a wide variety...login to read the full article.
Thomas Hancock And Marlborough Cottage by
We do not know when Thomas Hancock moved to Marlborough Cottage, Green Lanes, Newington Green but it was probably soon after he arrived in London around 1819. Certainly he died there on 26 March 1865,...login to read the full article.
Topper Revisited by
TOPPER REVISITED This article is based on a talk given to The Manchester Polymer Group by Peter Bean, Financial Director of the North of England Plastics Processing Consortium. It covers three years...login to read the full article.
Tupperware : The End Of The Party by Robin Penfold
Tupperware made its debut in the USA in 1946. It was the invention of Earl Tupper, the initial products being the Wonderlier Bowl and the Bell Tumbler. The revolutionary feature was the airtight...login to read the full article.
Two Natural Plastics: Tortoiseshell and Horn by Jen Cruse
Tortoiseshell The term tortoiseshell is a misnomer as it derives not from a land tortoise but from certain species of marine turtle, principally the relatively small hawksbill (eretmochelys imbricata),...login to read the full article.
Wallace H. Carothers by
Wallace H Carothers In less than a decade the fundamental work of Wallace Hume Carothers, with whom I had the privilege of working, began the real development of polymer chemistry in the USA by opening...login to read the full article.
What about the workers? by
What about the workers? PHS chairman Percy Reboul reflects on the early days of the UK’s plastics industry. Figure 1. Higham’s Park where the British Xylonite Company Limited was a large...login to read the full article.
When Is A Greenhorn Not A Greenhorn? by
There is no one definitive meaning of 'greenhorn' and the term has slightly different meanings in various parts of the country. He was correct in assuming that the temperature at which the horn...login to read the full article.
Will The Last Moulder To Leave The Country Please Turn Out The Light? by
Few issues created such a furore in UK plastics circle as the 2002 decision by James Dyson to switch manufacture of his iconic vacuum cleaner to Malaysia. Plastics and Rubber Weekly was forced to devote...login to read the full article.
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