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A Lesson in Bakelite

You might not know the word “Bakelite” but undoubtedly you’ve seen it.

Bakelite became popular in the 1930’s and 1940’s. It is a strong, fire resistant plastic invented by Leo Baekeland in 1909. At first it was used for industrial purposes until jewelry makers found that lightweight Bakelite made a perfect choice for designing inexpensive jewelry. Coco Chanel was one famous designer who created Bakelite jewelry and accessories.

Here’s are some Bakelite pieces in its various incarnations over the years.

Auctioneer John Haxell with the largest Bakelite object ever produced - a coffin with a guide price of £5,000 Read more: