The Bakelite Co. made cast phenolic resin
Re: Sigh.... -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Rosanna Post Reply
03/17/2020, 19:05:17

As I've documented (see BEADS volume 28), Bakelite made cast phenolic resins. There were many competitors making this material by the 1920s, and there is no way to know which company made the resin in any specific bead.

Since Bakelite was the first trade name for phenolic resin, I think it's OK to use Bakelite the way we use a trade names like Kleenex for tissues, or "Xeroxing" for copying. In the vintage and antique jewelry business, the term Bakelite is very widely used for phenolic resin items and everyone knows what the term means.

Another old plastic based on the milk protein casein and formaldehyde is widely referred to as Galalith, which was only one of several trade names. Celluloid is yet another example of a trade name for cellulose nitrate that has passed into generic usage. Lucite (Perspex in the UK) is a term widely used for any acrylic plastic. Using trade names generically is very irritating to the original patent owners but the practice is so widespread that trying to stop it from happening it rather futile.

You may not agree with using Bakelite to indicate generic phenolic resin but it is not true that there was never any Bakelite casting resin.

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