I don't totally agree and I'm still digging up info on the early years of phenolic resin
Re: Cast phenolic plastics that imitate amber largely post-date 1926 (!). -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Rosanna Post Reply
03/24/2019, 18:54:36

I recently found three references, in French journals (thank you Marie-Jose Opper!), to Faturan, one dated 1913, naming it a "product imitating amber", and two dated 1919. Faturan was a German trade name for phenolic resin. I inspected a bead card labeled Faturan in the Jablonec Glass Museum archives and this product was a cast resin. Also a number of other German commercial phenolic resins products are described in Die Perle, a German jewelry trade magazine (started in 1924). All sound like cast products and some specifically were for faux amber.

Baekeland's original patents (1909) described cast resins as well as the compression molded versions with and without fillers. Patents by others in the US and Europe followed almost immediately and Baekeland was vigorously defending his by 1914. The Bakelite factories did not produce a lot of cast products, but Bakelite was described as available in different "gleaming" colors (which sounds like cast products) in a 1924 book.

In Carleton Ellis' industrial chemistry book published in 1923, cast phenolics are specifically mentioned for beads, indicating that these products were available prior to that date in sufficient quantity to merit mention.

My investigation found that Bakelite Corp did not abandon its cast product line until 1929. The Catalin Corp. began to manufacture cast phenolics around 1926. However the Catalin Corp early years were considered "stormy" with an "inefficient plant" and not an especially viable business until the early 1930s.

IMHO beads were being produced from the new faux amber resins as soon as they were available in the 1910s. I might agree that the quantities were larger starting in the 1920s, but 1926 is not a magic date. It certainly appears that the 1920s and 1930s (and maybe into the 1940s) were the "hey-days" of cast phenolic beads. I don't think 1926 has any particular significance except perhaps for the Catalin Corp. It's also a mistake to be too "US-centric" when looking into phenolic bead production.

Modified by Rosanna at Sun, Mar 24, 2019, 19:51:50

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