In 1907, Dr. Leo Baekeland, a scientist from Belgium, discovered a new compound of carbolic acid and formaldehyde. He took out a patent and named it "bakelite" (pronounced bay-ka-lite). As the first synthetic plastic, it was wildly popular. It was touted as "the material of a thousand uses".
Here are just some of them:
Desk sets, dresser sets.
Handles for umbrellas, pots, and kitchen utensils.
Guitars, fishing reels, tape measures.
Electrical plugs and parts.
Dice, poker chips, dominoes, chess pieces & checkers.
And of course...jewelry!
During the Great Depression, when money was scarce, bakelite jewelry was affordable.
Bakelite pieces dating back to the 1920's to 1940's
show signs of having oxidized because their original colors have changed.
For example, pink became orange, white changed to butterscotch, and blue to green.
A really popular use for Bakelite was billiard balls.
Let's get back to jewelry, shall we?
How about this fantastic necklace overflowing with charms? Fun!
I'm lovin' the whimsy of this leapfrog pin!
...and belt buckles.
After World War II, new types of plastics such as acrylic, vinyl, Lucite and fiberglass were invented.
Today, vintage bakelite items are highly collectible.
I wouldn't mind owning a bracelet or two myself!