Some facts & discussion
Re: Re: "The Bakelite Co. made cast phenolic resin" -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Rosanna Post Reply
03/18/2020, 12:01:38

Some other items that need clarification / correction:

1) There wasn't a 20-year gap in development of cast resins following the molding compounds. Patents as early as 1910 (1907 for Baekeland) clearly describe the cast resins, and their use as artificial amber, etc. The patent literature was chock-a-block with patents about phenolic resins for many decades.

2) And as far as the Bakelite Co. not being a producer of cast resins, here is a direct quote from the March 1936 issue of Fortune (page 72) that indicates clearly that they produced cast resins for almost 20 years, not "about a year":

"But in 1909, when he was breaking new chemical ground, Dr. Baekeland patented among the ultimate 400 patents on which the Bakelite Corp. eventually built its monopoly, a cast phenolic. This was produced in small but profitable poundage until 1929, when the industrial molding materials had so far overshadowed it that it was abandoned. And this was just before the burgeoning of other cast phenolics, upon whose 1935 production of 5,000,000 pounds the Bakelite Corp. now looks with a slight case of industrial nostalgia."

Note: The Fortune article only discusses US production. Bakelite may have had a monopoly on cast resins in the US, but there is ample evidence that other European manufacturers were cranking out cast resins starting right after WWI.

3) One concept that you favor is that there were essentially no phenolic resin beads before about 1930. I have found a lot of documentation that shows bead production before then. My current hypothesis is that many, if not most, of the beads that have turned dark red with age (so called cherry "amber") were made from the earliest casting resins that were not color-stable. And I think there were a LOT of them made. This does "push back" the earliest dates for phenolic resin beads to the late teens & 20s. I also think it's fairly easy to identify the "later" phenolic beads because they started to appear in brighter colors (like green) that were in some cases, more color stable with time. Most of these have browned somewhat rather than turned dark red.

We can certainly debate about the "vast majority" of beads production issue. I think beads were made continuously from the earliest production of cast resins. It would be lovely to find some production statistics...but until then I disagree that "most" were made after the late 1920s -1930s.

4) I have never asserted blanket statements about you - I have addressed specific comments and brought forth information that I have gathered about them. I clearly state when I am forming hypotheses, and show the data I am using to support them. I am always eager to see the documentation that you have, to add to the discussion. I continue to search for documentation of phenolic bead production of all sorts and am perfectly willing to change my basic view of things if new data is unearthed. Scientific inquiry is a continuous process of having one's hypotheses challenged and/or disproved, so bring it on!

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