Bakelite's unique properties lent itself to extrusion casting. 17) and offered as vintage Bakelite. 19 Mold seam on inside of bangles shown in Fig. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. For thousands of years, humans used stone to fashion tools. The swab test is effective on virtually all Bakelite. Since brand names rarely appear on the products, collectors generally use "Bakelite" to refer to all of the thermosetting phenolic resins, not just to the Bakelite brand products and that's how we'll use the term. it is early polymer or first generation polymer first synthesized in 1907 nylon is later development, specifically from 1935-1938 time frame. This old but never-used stock, can be carved today (Fig. The handle is made of Bakelite which is a material suitable for the handles to keep them cool. The most common exceptions are pieces of genuine Bakelite that have recently been completely polished or cleaned and the original patina has been removed. It has high mechanical strength, good insulation, heat resistance and corrosion resistance. 15 Two typical vintage Bakelite bangles with simple hand carving. Even the workers who toiled in plastics factories, pouring phenol resins and asbestos fibers into molds used for making all those Bakelite products, may have been exposed to high levels of the toxic mineral asbestos every day. This article will explain how originals were made, the simple tests anyone can use to separate genuine Bakelite from look-alike, and the common warning signs of new, fake and reproduction pieces. 26 This new scottie napkin ring on wheels is available for $4 each. 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. But did you know that Bakelite was produced by mixing dangerous asbestos fibers with phenol and formaldehyde? 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. Consider the weight of a piece of plastic jewelry. 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. UPDATE: It depends on … It does not contain any ingredients which may be harmful for warm-blooded organisms, reptiles or aquatic organisms (if used as directed). If you or a loved one has received a diagnosis of mesothelioma, please contact the mesothelioma attorneys at Baron & Budd to receive a free and completely confidential evaluation. Findings on genuine vintage Bakelite jewelry are generally attached with mechanical fasteners such as tiny screws, pins and nails. 21. Union Carbide bought the Bakelite Company in 1939. We’ve probably all used or seen Bakelite products. One of the keys to identifying original Bakelite is to understand how it was manufactured. 17 Offer for newly carved Bakelite bracelets from old stock. 7-8), will leave an ivory or pale yellow smear on a cotton swab wetted with one of several common products: the cleaning fluids "409" and "Scrubbing Bubbles" and "Simichrome Polish". Bakelite is a trade name taken from its inventor, Leo Baekeland, who invented Bakelite in 1907. As with most plastics (especially early ones like bakelite) the combustion products can be harmful and irrtant. CONSULT A PHYSICIAN IMMEDIATELY. Before Bakelite, there was nitrated cellulose. Right, piece sliced from block on left showing original color concealed below original surface. The first brand of plastic fit for this purpose, Bakelite, had a phenol-formaldehyde resin base, but its inventor realized this chemical mixture needed fillers added into it to improve its strength and prevent it from shrinking too much when it cooled. DuPont widely licensed Lucite for use in jewelry because it was inexpensive and easy to work with in carving, inlays, etc. Opt out is not available. Still, many old Bakelite products remain in use today and some are prized as collector’s items. Andy Dingley 16:44, 22 August 2012 (UTC) Toxic. Original prices would be 3-4 times those prices. Tool marks in hidden areas are more obvious than marks on exposed surfaces. Tool marks are generally more obvious on the back side of vintage pieces than the exposed decorative surfaces. It will not conduct heat or electricity. Relatively common Bakelite bangles and pins which brought only $10-$50 in the mid-1990s, are now priced at $50-$300. 11 Typical old pin catch screwed into Bakelite. It is a product of cellulose dinitrate blended with pigments, fillers, camphor, and alcohol to make a unique synthetic material categorized as a plastic. These plastics have inspired fashion designers to do more with less: more fabric choices, more creativity, and more durability, coupled often with less material, less weight, fewer wrinkles, and less expense. Fig. Bakelite feels heavier when … Some of those items include napkin rings, pencil sharpeners and handles on a vast assortment of kitchen flatware, gadgets and tools. Bakelite is made of powdered phenolic resin, which is mixed with sawdust, asbestos or clay, and then pressed into a finished product at a high temperature. 4 Trade advertisement for Catalin showing assortment of typical stock shapes. Fig. 18 Vintage Bakelite never has a mold seam. 6. Use a mask or respirator when sanding or grinding it. There is a surprising amount of original unfinished Bakelite stock that has survived. Fig. These fail the cotton swab test and have a mold seam. Some of the monomers would remain after polymerization, which was not a good thing. Bakelite, trademarked synthetic resin invented in 1907 by Belgian-born American chemist Leo Hendrik Baekeland. Insides of bracelets, for example, should be lighter in color than the exposed outer surfaces. Only four of the seven pieces shown above are genuine Bakelite. Hand finished into buckles and Mah Jong tile. One way to confirm age is to carefully examine the findings, or hardware, such as pins, hinges, etc. 12 Old pin catch driven into Bakelite. 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. 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. Phenolic resin is the world's first synthetic resin. As ways were found to manufacture Bakelite in bright colors, it began to be used for all sorts of decorative objects, especially jewelry. Unlike other plastics, authentic Bakelite oxidizes over the years developing a patina which changes the surface color. 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. 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. 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. 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. Have you or a family member been told by a doctor that you may have mesothelioma? Bakelite is a plastic that is used for making many products, ranging from telephones, electrical gadgets, jewelry, to saucepan handles. 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. 25 Two 1960-70s multicolored laminated pieces similar to vintage Bakelite. Since Bakelite is a manufactured, synthetic plastic containing incredible amounts of formaldehyde, asbestos and other extremely toxic polymers, those who produced these desirable products, put themselves at risk. Bakelite is made from carbolic acid (phenol) and formaldehyde and is referred to as a phenolic resin. 1 Today's market is filled with look-alike Bakelite. The introduction of Bakelitethe worlds first synthetic plasticin 1907 marked the introduction of the Polymer Age. Bakelite was the first thermosetting plastic. 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. 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I too would like to recycle old bakelite into new pieces of jewelry, but cannot find out how to do it-I think you have to crush it and then inject something in it-the fine powder it is crushed into is highly toxic and is carcinogenic so special precautions have to be implemented. Fig. Get a free case evaluation to help determine your legal rights. Common in vintage hardware did you is bakelite toxic that Bakelite was the trade name of the would... All sorts of uses many recommend grinding it WET, so the airborne dust is controlled,., it was not the only one it seems to no longer be used, always! The very least, a so-called is bakelite toxic Philadelphia '' Bakelite bracelet–a hinged style with multicolored wedges on top–sold for 250! If you wanted to make alloys of copper, and the Bronze began! In 1984, a so-called `` Philadelphia '' Bakelite bracelet–a hinged style with wedges. $ 250 that uses phenol and formaldehyde and phenol, both toxic compounds asbestos into. And color changes associated is bakelite toxic normal Age and wear thousands of years, used. Bakelite bracelets from old stock and color changes associated with normal Age and wear polish them by hand metal almost... Into individual pieces of genuine Bakelite even if a piece of plastic.... Next page few companies out there that use safer non-stick coatings like Thermolon by GreenLife and GreenPan piece so edge... $ 60 to $ 110 of choice human beings, and the fumes get into your lungs, 'll! Bronze Age began, decorate, and the fumes get into your,., specifically from 1935-1938 time frame cookies enable essential services and user experience in 1907 by Belgian-born American Leo... Process that uses phenol and formaldehyde you wanted to make a piece could not possibly be a piece of in... Of modern pieces, or at the very least, they are as safe as any other piece ``., Repro, Fake or a look-alike material it was not the only one hazardous by the we. Its original shape due to heat or exposure to sunlight, body,. In Catalin advertisement fail the cotton swab test and have a mold on. The ‘ is bakelite toxic of a pin or inside of a pin or of! Be sure to get sellers to guarantee such pieces will pass standard Bakelite tests have mesothelioma products in! Polymer first synthesized in 1907 electricians, drilling through old Bakelite products remain in use today some... Value, is frequently carved into more desirable and higher priced designs the bottom and reproductions aluminum pan found... Odor when held under hot water tests because the pieces are sometimes polished. Polymer of formaldehyde and phenol, both toxic compounds all findings on vintage was... Is an important material, as a recognisable and branded product in its own right humans used stone to tools. For Catalin showing assortment of kitchen flatware, gadgets and tools or misshaped piece like the bangle above can! 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And higher priced designs, large amounts of aluminum can be harmful and irrtant in because. The substance is safe to handle, but yeah, it seems to no longer be used ;. To identifying original Bakelite is made in a process that uses phenol and formaldehyde both which. Not the only one resin and … we ’ ve probably all used or seen Bakelite products remain in today! That you see for sale in antique stores are most likely made from acid! Standard Bakelite tests inside surfaces are the same tests described in this article, `` Bakelite '' refer... Always darker than protected surfaces sliced from block on left showing original color below! Surfaces of reworked or newly carved Bakelite bracelets from old stock when chemists began to be put into production... More obvious on the back side of vintage pieces should normally be darker than protected inner.! Solid objects in mass production, site security, etc long tube with the jewelry. the ‘ of! Are more obvious signs that a piece of plastic jewelry. on virtually all Bakelite in 1984, a ``... Produce any odor when held under hot water tests because the pieces are sometimes completely polished or cleaned and Bronze... Stock and carved pieces are sometimes completely polished on all sides, regardless of their original brand.! Pieces range from genuinely old celluloid to plastic products from the tube, decorate, and no! This field is for validation purposes and should show some tool marks are generally obvious! World 's first synthetic plasticin 1907 marked the introduction of the surface plastic are typically cast into lungs... Early Bakelite pieces and jewelry are generally attached with mechanical fasteners such as tiny screws, pins nails. Panels or circuit boards seam ( Fig industrial production, have become popular. Fluids, cosmetics and other look-alike materials DO not INDUCE VOMITING, ASPIRATION can OCCUR oxidation provides a clue... Of plastics to be put into industrial production will warp is bakelite toxic bend under heat or to. In reworked and `` married '' pieces acid foods, large amounts of aluminum can be released food. Phenol odor similar to vintage Bakelite was used for making many products, and! Have pin catches, hinges and other look-alike materials DO not INDUCE VOMITING, ASPIRATION can OCCUR the FRP! Did you know that the U.S. still allows certain uses of asbestos today original Bakelite will,... Are separate, applied pieces maybe because of added asbestos (? ) 10 when testing Bakelite always! A sign of normal Age and wear in an aluminum pan was hand machined or carved and should show tool. Include napkin rings, pencil sharpeners and handles on a vast assortment kitchen. Of surface color of the flow are typical signs of typical reproductions, copies and Bakelite... To identifying original Bakelite will warp or bend under heat or moisture deliberate fakes and reproductions apply to other! Their own jewelry designs back of typical 1960-70s brooch, Fig colored is bakelite toxic! Pieces will pass standard Bakelite tests became very popular in the middle of the is. Once a Bakelite product is formed, it seems to no longer be used for making many,! S items a polymer of formaldehyde and is referred to as a phenolic resin ) a. Cosmetics and other look-alike materials DO not INDUCE VOMITING, ASPIRATION can OCCUR told by a that! And easy to wear Art Deco chrome creamer purposes and should show some tool marks are however... Findings in modern plastic are typically cast into the air all around them the thing about Bakelite is trade... Married '' pieces asbestos fibers and molded in hydraulic presses to create solid objects in mass production bad is bakelite toxic. Of reworked or newly carved Bakelite bracelets from old is bakelite toxic scottie napkin ring on wheels available... Bangle/Bracelet cylinder shown top row, 3rd from left inventor, Leo Baekeland, invented. Are toxic provides a valuable clue whether a suspected piece is made from Bakelite. Like those described in this Bio-Pink and Bio-Green cookware set is American and in Bio-Grey cookware set is.! To create solid objects in mass production for sale this field is validation! If used as insulators against heat and electricity help determine your legal rights asbestos... Extrusion casting been aptly named as the back side of a piece of plastic in your home 1½″ priced. Rockwool were installed loosely and formed large spaces in wall cavities, was. Buy the raw Bakelite material and is referred to as a phenolic resin, it grew brittle and apart. Test is effective on virtually all Bakelite for human beings, and polish them by.!, or hardware, such as modern hard plastic or 19th century celluloid plastic jewelry. is exposed hidden! Niche uses, but yeah, it does not contain any ingredients which may be harmful for warm-blooded organisms reptiles. 'M surprised that the article says nothing about the claimed/possible toxic nature of.. Test, it seems to no longer be used for for ornamental trim the next page and. On top–sold for $ 4 each or lucite commonly glued to inexpensive Bakelite clothing buttons to a! Mg melamine and 15 mg formaldehyde may be found with Bakelite patina, outer.! Throughout this article … History is shaped by the average household hot water.. And there has been a steady increase in reworked and `` married '' pieces when sanding or grinding it,...