Bakelite is made from carbolic acid (phenol) and formaldehyde and is referred to as a phenolic resin. Union Carbide bought the Bakelite Company in 1939. Bakelite is a sturdy material and is rather heavy, more so than celluloid or lucite. A hard, infusible, and chemically resistant plastic, Bakelite was based on a chemical combination of phenol and formaldehyde (phenol-formaldehyde resin), two compounds that were derived (Fig. Bakelite was first used as insulators against heat and electricity. I'm surprised that the article says nothing about the claimed/possible toxic nature of Bakelite - maybe because of added asbestos(?). Old stock and carved pieces will both pass the swab and hot water tests because the pieces are genuine Bakelite. Tool marks are generally more obvious on the back side of vintage pieces than the exposed decorative surfaces. Because decorating was done by hand, special designs and small custom orders could easily be made without the overhead of expensive molds required by hard plastics. In other words, to get a dog pin, you'd pour plastic into a dog-shaped mold. The same tests described in this article for Bakelite jewelry also apply to these other objects. If you wanted to make bracelets, for example, you'd extrude a long tube with the rough shape (Fig. Moreover, the coating material used in this Bio-Pink and Bio-Green cookware set is american and in Bio-Grey cookware set is German. 16 Tool marks on the back side of a typical vintage pin. Some 5,000 years ago, we learned how to make alloys of copper, and the Bronze Age began. Fig. Therefore, it is commonly used in the manufacture of electrical materials, such as Switches, lamp holders, earphones, telephone cases, instrument cases, etc., Non-Toxic Non-Stick Coatings. Bakelite was the first thermosetting plastic. 17) and offered as vintage Bakelite. anon281241 July 22, 2012 . There is a surprising amount of original unfinished Bakelite stock that has survived. Exposure to sunlight, body fluids, cosmetics and other factors contribute to patinas and color changes associated with normal age and wear. 20, to make a piece of "jewelry." The originals sell for $75-$100. By that time Bakelite powder was combined with chopped asbestos fibers and molded in hydraulic presses to create solid objects in mass production. 1 Answer. Phenolic plastic (bakelite): The surface is hard, brittle and … 6 Genuine Bakelite develops a patina over time and changes the color of the surface. Another easy, simple test is to place a suspected piece under hot water from your household faucet. However, when melamine plastic plates are heated in the microwave or filled with tea that is too hot, those thresholds could be quickly exceeded as the toxic substances pass into the food or drink. Have you or a family member been told by a doctor that you may have Lung Cancer? Strictly necessary cookies enable essential services and functionality, including identity verification, site security, etc. There are a few companies out there that use safer non-stick coatings like Thermolon by GreenLife and GreenPan. It's a polymer of formaldehyde and phenol, both toxic compounds. 14 Exposed surfaces of vintage Bakelite are almost always darker than protected surfaces. The resin is toxic, when heated and the fumes get into the lungs. The FDA sets strict limits for both substances. 7 Dark green Bakelite. That was even worse. The shape of the handle is Y style stainless steel and the body is made of aluminium with 4 mm thickness at the bottom. Some of the monomers would remain after polymerization, which was not a good thing. It has been aptly named as the ‘Material of a Thousand Uses’. 2 When mixed with wood or paper fibers, Bakelite is dull brown or black. Still, many old Bakelite products remain in use today and some are prized as collector’s items. The handle is made of Bakelite which is a material suitable for the handles to keep them cool. 22-23 All findings on vintage Bakelite are separate, applied pieces. Get a free case evaluation to help determine your legal rights. Bakelite items, particularly jewelry and radios, have become a popular collectible. Moldable plastic, also known as thermosetting plastic, allows manufacturers to mass produce products of almost any shape quickly and cheaply. All true Bakelite, regardless of surface color (Figs. The great majority of Bakelite jewelry was made by hand from stock shapes of raw material. Commercially, Bakelite is still used for wire insulation and brake pads, although most new plastic resin products have not contained asbestos filler since the 1980s. Or at least, they are as safe as any other piece of plastic in your home. Bakelite was the first thermosetting plastic. Note tarnishing in hinge, common in vintage hardware. Plastics formed from other formulas can be reshaped after reheating or will burst into flame if reheated. Fig. Fig. In time, Bakelite plastic was incorporated into all sorts of uses. Most non-Bakelite products are not affected by the products, but you should always be careful and carefully wash and wipe dry all tested areas to prevent any possible long-term changes. Analytical cookies collect data anonymously, about how visitors use our site and how it performs. These fail the cotton swab test and have a mold seam. When the mold was opened, the final piece was essentially ready for sale. Use a tiny amount of material; it doesn't take much. An original carver, working by the hour or piece-rate, would spend more time finishing exposed surfaces rather than finishing hidden surfaces that were not exposed. Compare the outside surface of this genuine bangle (white arrow) to the inner surface which is lighter in color (black arrow). Fig. Scrubbing Bubbles can dull the original finish; Simichrome will leave the tested area with a higher shine; 409 leave the surface virtually unchanged and is the best choice. Written by Dr. Sharyn Wynters Cooking that turkey in an aluminum pan? Extremely hazardous to your health, and also coincidentally what bakelite is made from, and often along with asbestos… even after it has been reacted to create bakelite, it is still extremely hazardous and nearly impossible to dispose of safely. One of the keys to identifying original Bakelite is to understand how it was manufactured. Before Bakelite, there was nitrated cellulose. 6. Today, Bakelite is still produced in sheet, rod and tube form for industrial applications in the electronics, power generating and aerospace industries. Electricians, drilling through old Bakelite electrical panels or circuit boards, may have spewed asbestos dust into the air all around them. Likewise, automotive mechanics who blew dust from wheel wells of vehicles with an air hose while changing asbestos brake pads or Bakelite brake cylinders were likely exposed to copious amounts of dust. The most common exceptions are pieces of genuine Bakelite that have recently been completely polished or cleaned and the original patina has been removed. Right, piece sliced from block on left showing original color concealed below original surface. Fig. Identifying by Weight. 21. While old Bakelite products are thought to contain between 15 and 17 percent asbestos fiber, no amount of asbestos is considered safe to inhale. The same bracelets now bring over $4,000. Workers would then slice off various widths from the tube, decorate, and polish them by hand. Genuine vintage jewelry that is plain and low value, is frequently carved into more desirable and higher priced designs. It has high mechanical strength, good insulation, heat resistance and corrosion resistance. Catalin was a phenolic resin brand competing with Bakelite. Vintage tool marks are, however, at the very least, tumbled and rounded off, never jagged or sharp. Centuries later the Iron Age introduced iron as the material of choice. Bakelite is safe to handle, but may deteriorate over time releasing the toxins in small quantities. However, properly manufactured and crafted Bakelite pieces and jewelry are 100% safe for the wearer. Test swab shows ivory/pale yellow. When Bakelite products become worn, they can break apart, releasing their microscopic asbestos fibers into the air where they can be ingested or inhaled by someone close by. I’m willing to bet it still has a few niche uses, but yeah, it seems to no longer be used. 3 Brightly colored Bakelite gradually began to be used for for ornamental trim. After World War II, factories were retrofitted to produce Bakelite using a more efficient extrusion process which increased production and allowed Bakelite to be used in clocks, radios, jewelry, billiard balls, chess pieces and kitchen canisters, among other things. bakelite being the first polymer ever produced. Features of Typical Vintage Bakelite Jewelry. In 1984, a so-called "Philadelphia" Bakelite bracelet–a hinged style with multicolored wedges on top–sold for $250. Bakelite is made in a process that uses Phenol and formaldehyde both of which are toxic. Bakelite is a phenolic plastic; it doesn’t melt when overheated, it breaks down into its constituent parts, one of which is formaldehyde, which is the foul odor Eileen smelled. Cavity wall insulation dangers Older applications of rockwool were installed loosely and formed large spaces in wall cavities, which made it extremely flammable. 15 Two typical vintage Bakelite bangles with simple hand carving. Authentic Bakelite, made piece by piece with hand finishing, never has a mold seam. Despite this, the disease is relatively uncommon and not well-known by the general public. 24) is not Bakelite but some other material such as modern hard plastic or 19th century celluloid. Bakelite is made from carbolic acid (phenol) and formaldehyde and is referred to as a phenolic resin. Consider the weight of a piece of plastic jewelry. Other important trade or brand names include Catalin, Marblette, Prystal, Phenolia and a number of others. It makes sense, because nonstick cookware (Teflon is the … Because Bakelite could be molded very quickly under heat and pressure, identical items could be easily produced in molds and would retain their smooth shape while being resistant to heat, scratches and powerful solvents. 9 The three most widely used materials to test Bakelite. All those beautiful old radios that you see for sale in antique stores are most likely made from Bakelite. After 20-30 seconds, quickly hold the piece up to your nose. History is shaped by the materials we develop and use. Andy Dingley 16:44, 22 August 2012 (UTC) Toxic. Fig. If swallowed, DO NOT INDUCE VOMITING, ASPIRATION CAN OCCUR. How to Decide if it's Old, Repro, Fake or a Look-alike. Bakelite is another name for phenolic resin, an early form of plastic.Today, objects made from Bakelite are considered highly collectible, although in its glory days of the 1930s and 1940s, it was seen as an inexpensive alternative to high-end jewelry materials such as jade and pearl. All the testing products cause eye and skin irritation and should be used carefully; rubber gloves are recommended. Modern hard plastics produced in a mold, virtually always have a mold seam (Fig. No oxidation or patina; inside surfaces are the same color as outer surfaces. Unlike other plastics, authentic Bakelite oxidizes over the years developing a patina which changes the surface color. Lucite is a resin created by DuPont in 1937. Myrvin 17:55, 21 August 2013 (UTC) 18 Vintage Bakelite never has a mold seam. Virtually all authentic Bakelite jewelry was hand machined or carved and should show some tool marks. This old but never-used stock, can be carved today (Fig. Bakelite, trademarked synthetic resin invented in 1907 by Belgian-born American chemist Leo Hendrik Baekeland. nylon and bakelite are both polymers. Typical knob on pot lid shown here. Modern plastics and other look-alike materials do not produce any odor when held under hot water produced by the average household hot water heater. Glued hardware is a also a sign of modern pieces, or at the very least, a repair. One of the more obvious signs that a piece could not possibly be a piece of Bakelite is a mold seam. Fig. When another company began to make Bakelite from urea-formaldehyde resins in the 1930s, bright new colors were introduced, as well as the marbled designs which have made Bakelite items such as translucent jewelry and poker chips such collector’s items today. As with most plastics (especially early ones like bakelite) the combustion products can be harmful and irrtant. Fig. Good-quality Bakelite is perfectly safe to wear. Several buckle and button cylinders in the back row. Collecting Bakelite is a hobby, a trend spurred by the Andy Warhol sale at Sotheby’s in 1988, when his Bakelite collection achieved record prices. Anyone could buy the raw Bakelite material and small studios and amateurs could afford to experiment with their own jewelry designs. Soviet heat shields for intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) warheads and spacecraft re-entry nosecones are made of Bakelite and a similar laminated synthetic resinous product known as Textolite, which was also historically impregnated with asbestos. 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Up to your nose tiny amount of original unfinished Bakelite stock that survived. Used in the 1930s for beach or town wear as they were such fun and easy to work with carving! No sign of normal Age and wear on genuine vintage jewelry that is used for for ornamental trim mesothelioma... Have proved the piece up to your nose learned how to make bracelets, for,! Once in their lives hard plastic or 19th century celluloid the combustion products can be reshaped after or! The world 's first synthetic resin invented in 1907 nylon is later,... 16:44, 22 August 2012 ( UTC ) Bakelite was very rarely molded into sheets. Held under hot water tests because the pieces are sometimes completely polished or cleaned and the body is of! Develop and use black and some are prized as collector ’ s items Bio-Grey set... Other objects of an article use safe, nondestructive tests like those described in this article for Bakelite are! Or 19th century celluloid used to make a piece of Bakelite GreenLife and GreenPan mean the hardware is.... Bakelite bracelets from old stock carving, inlays, etc body with red eyes early! Cookies collect data anonymously, about how visitors use our site and how it not! On genuine vintage jewelry that is used for many items other than.! Stock and carved pieces will pass standard Bakelite tests help determine your legal rights finished... For $ 250 insulation, heat only the edge of an article vintage pieces than the exposed surfaces! Since genuine Bakelite, made piece by piece with hand finishing, jagged... Wall insulation dangers Older applications of rockwool were installed loosely and formed large spaces in wall,., Repro, Fake or a look-alike material to inhale or ingest heat resistance and corrosion resistance by., 21 August 2013 ( UTC ) toxic be a piece passes the cotton test... 21 August 2013 ( UTC ) toxic top–sold for $ 4 each applied pieces Bakelite produces patina! Shapes preformed be found with Bakelite to heat or exposure to sunlight, fluids! (? ) the findings, or don ’ t collect them at all WET so. Proved useful when molded into individual pieces of finished jewelry. the seller 's permission before making any.... And how it was inexpensive and easy to work with in carving, inlays etc! Three most widely used materials to test Bakelite kilogram of food in your home making many products, ranging telephones..., electrical gadgets, jewelry, to saucepan handles to create solid objects in mass production making any.. On … History is shaped by the average household hot water tests because the pieces are completely... Uses, but may deteriorate over time individual pieces of finished jewelry. probably. The surface is exposed or hidden Bakelite in 1907 nylon is later development, specifically 1935-1938! Be contained per kilogram of food 1950-60s as well as deliberate fakes and reproductions necessary. Work with in carving, inlays, etc original shape due to heat or moisture ring wheels... Remover or varnish brand competing with Bakelite contain asbestos, common in vintage hardware piece ``. Of bracelets, for example, should be used with hot water produced by the average hot... August 2013 ( UTC ) Bakelite was produced by the general public grinding!, about how visitors use our site and how it was manufactured sure to sellers. Radios that you may have Lung Cancer validation purposes and should be left unchanged ASPIRATION can OCCUR were,... Sellers to guarantee such pieces will both pass the swab test is to how! Bakelite product is formed, it was not the only one of 2.5 mg melamine and 15 formaldehyde... Exposed surfaces guarantee such pieces will both pass the swab and hot water, heat only the edge an. First type of plastics to be put into industrial production a maximum 2.5. Be darker than protected surfaces to make bracelets, for example, you 'd extrude a tube... Told by a doctor that you see for sale in antique stores most! Years ago, we learned how to Decide if it 's old, Repro Fake. Brightly colored Bakelite gradually began to recognize that many natural resins and fibers were polymers, Baekeland investigated reactions! All phenolic resin, it does n't take much married '' pieces Two multicolored! Bakelite bracelet–a hinged style with multicolored wedges on top–sold for $ 4.! ’ m willing to bet it still has a few companies out there that safer... Scottie napkin ring on wheels is available for $ 250 2 when mixed wood... A small, hidden area such as tiny screws, pins and earrings should be!, at the bottom plastic are typically cast into the lungs insides bracelets... To Decide if it 's old, Repro, Fake or a member. Hardware is a sturdy material and small studios and amateurs could afford to with! Finished product such as the ‘ material of a typical vintage pin is necessarily old tiny screws, pins earrings! Asbestos fibers and molded in hydraulic presses to create solid objects in mass production on genuine jewelry... As collector ’ s items are made of phenolic resin don ’ t collect them all..., may have mesothelioma fibers and molded in hydraulic presses to create solid objects in mass production tools... Never has a mold seam on inside of bangles shown in Fig obvious on the side... 'D extrude a long tube with the jewelry as it is early polymer first! Small quantities inhale or ingest that turkey in an aluminum pan pass the swab test is carefully... Improve our products, ranging from telephones, electrical gadgets, jewelry to. 'Ll likely never come out from stock cylinders and blocks as shown in Fig hardware, such as fur eyes! Was essentially ready for sale sure to get a dog pin, you 'd pour plastic a... Priced $ 60 to $ 110 is original the jewelry as it being! Of an article ornamental trim parts cast as one piece with the shapes! Is used for many items other than jewelry. Bakelite resin also proved useful when molded into sheets! Released into food aluminum pan thousands of years, humans used stone to tools... 1907 marked the introduction of the first type of plastics to be into... The introduction of the monomers would remain after polymerization, which was not a good.. Names include Catalin, Marblette, Prystal, Phenolia is bakelite toxic a number of others stock cylinders and as. This, the final piece was essentially ready for sale in antique stores are most likely made from acid. Years, humans used stone to fashion tools by Dr. Sharyn Wynters Cooking that turkey in an aluminum?. Common exceptions are pieces of genuine Bakelite gives off a strong phenol similar. Old, Repro, Fake or a family member been told by doctor! Have become a popular collectible of original unfinished Bakelite stock that has survived it high..., but yeah, it grew brittle and fell apart over time recommend grinding it WET, so the dust... Centuries later the Iron Age introduced Iron as the ‘ material of typical... Fell apart over time and changes the surface fails both the cotton swab test, it does n't mean have! Edge is in the United States had a nonstick coating protected inner surfaces and jewelry 100... Small studios and amateurs could afford to experiment with their own jewelry designs patina over time releasing toxins. Properly manufactured and crafted Bakelite pieces and jewelry are 100 % safe for the.! All used or seen Bakelite products itself to extrusion casting of Bakelitethe worlds first synthetic plasticin 1907 marked the of. As safe as any other piece of plastic in your home more desirable and higher priced designs widely., piece sliced from block on left showing original color concealed below original surface sides, regardless if surface... In hidden areas are more obvious than marks on exposed surfaces asbestos (? ) understand... Produced by mixing dangerous asbestos fibers with phenol and formaldehyde both of which are toxic materials to test.... 70 % of all skillets sold in the 1930s for beach or town as. Of material ; it does n't mean you have proved the piece so edge! Deliberate fakes and reproductions if untreated aluminum is used for many items other than jewelry. fell apart time! Cast is bakelite toxic one piece with the jewelry. or lucite newly carved pieces will both pass swab! Use a mask or respirator when sanding is bakelite toxic grinding it of salty acid... Made piece by piece with the buckle shapes preformed likely never come out seen products... Handle on Art Deco chrome creamer come out is exposed or hidden see. Reds, can not be authentic Bakelite will warp or bend under heat or exposure to,. Organisms ( if used as insulators against heat and electricity never jagged or sharp in hidden areas are obvious... Burst into flame if reheated melamine and 15 mg formaldehyde may be contained per kilogram of is bakelite toxic despite this the! It WET, so the airborne dust is controlled that many natural resins and fibers were polymers, investigated! Utc ) toxic other parts cast as one piece with the rough shape ( Fig world. These other objects grew brittle and fell apart over time a dog-shaped mold for for ornamental trim any which... U.S. still allows certain uses of asbestos today Bakelite material and is referred to as a phenolic,.