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Original Message:   More on Faturan
Decided to start a new thread on faturan -

It seems that an Asian branch of the German chemical company Raschig GmbH is still making a product called Faturan - Bakelite. They also are making phenolic resin rod stock and other shapes under the trade name Catalin, which is one of the trade names for cast phenolic resins that dates back to the late 1920's. After the patent for the original Bakelite product ran out, a large number of companies began to produce all sorts of phenolic resin in raw stock and finished parts, and Catalin was one of them. Catalin appears to be one of the amber-substitute materials from which many trade beads to Africa were made.

Back to Faturan - the Wikipedia article says, "Originally, Faturan was a brand of cast thermosetting phenol formaldehyde resin, similar to Bakelite, manufactured by Dr. H Traun u. Sohne of Hamburg. Faturan was the invention of Dr Friedrich Adolf Traun, Dr Heinrich Traun's son, hence the name FATuran.

The Faturan being produced today is mostly clear, in contrast to the Catalin which is mostly opaque or marbled, but clear material is also produced. At any rate, there still seems to be a demand for a product called "Faturan" and this company is filling it, with a phenolic resin material. And, the name has its roots in a German chemical company, so it makes sense that a German company is still making the product today. Or at least they were in 2001 which is the date stamp on the web site.

The main issue for bead collectors, IMHO, is that phenolic resin beads from the inter-war period can be very hard to distinguish from more recent phenolic beads, which I believe are still being made, given that the materials are readily available. The newer beads are probably coming out of Asia and India where labor is cheap. As with a lot of things in the bead world, one has to rely on personal experience with the older beads, and develop an eye for wear, patina, shape, etc.

As an added note - I am searching for information that would establish the company names and/or location(s) of phenolic resin bead production in Germany, in the interwar period of the 1920's - 1940's. Any leads would be helpful. It seems that many people believe the beads were made in Germany, but I have not been able to substantiate that. Examples of the large wheel-shaped beads traded to Africa are shown in the picture.

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