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History

American Zylonite

A site dedicated to the history of the American Zylonite Company of Adams, Massachusetts, including history, photos of Zylonite products, texts of patents and information and photos about the subsequent history of the manufacturing site.

Catalin Radio

The site provides information on the history and design of Catalin radios, especially popular in the 1930s. Scores of photos of different models are included.

Celluloid Forever

Website of antiques and collectable expert Julie Robinson, it includes many articles about plastic collectables from Celluloid to Polystyrene.

Honorable Company of Horners

HCH mission is to educate its members and the public about horn working and its history. The HCH has over 300 members and publishes a newsletter called The Horn Book, which comes out three times per year. Archives of past newsletters and other historical notes can be found on the website, as well as information about current activities and events.

Invicta Plastics

History of Invicta Plastics of England.

Mid-Atlantic Antique Radio Club

Good histories and lots of pictures of various radios that were designed and built using plastic casings and parts.

Plastics Academy's Hall of Fame

The Plastics Academy, Inc. was founded to administer and perpetuate the tradition of honoring individuals who have contributed significantly to the development of plastics or the plastics industry in the United States by inducting then into the Plastics Hall of Fame.

Plastics Historical Society

The Plastics Historical Society was formed in 1986 and was first to draw attention to the heritage of the plastics industry and to celebrate all things plastic. It is an independent society affiliated to the Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining, 1 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5DB, UK and run by a committee elected at the AGM each year.

Plastipedia

Hosted by the British Plastic Federation, this compilation is a source of vast information about plastics, with a good timeline of plastics history.

Plastic Warrior Magazine

Plastic Warrior was launched in 1985 as a non-profit making newsletter with the aim of putting plastic soldier collectors in touch with each other at a time when the established modeling and collecting press ignored their interests.

Sintetica: Early Plastics Online

A German site about early plastics, including publications and illustrations, with original plastic objects for sale.

U.S. Dimestore

A site dedicated to plastic dime store toys popular in the 1050 and 1960s. It includes extensive information on Islyn Thomas and the Thomas Manufacturing Company (makers of Thomas Toys) as well as other contemporary toymakers and their products. The site includes photos of hundreds of toys, as well as catalogues, advertisements and some company records.

"Food culture, supermarkets, and packaging: A researcher's perspective"

National Museum of American History Blog Essay by curator Cory Bernat about Food Packaging.

Celluloid Corporation Records 1892-1935

Celluloid Corp. records finding aid at National Museum of American History archives.

Earl S. Tupper Papers ca. 1914-1983

Earl S. tupper Papers finding aid at National Museum of American History archives.

Ken's Paper Boat Page

This site offers extensive information on the history of Elisha and George Waters and Waters & Son boat builders of Troy, New York. In the 19rth century the Waters family patented and produced popular laminated paper boats and observatory domes, the forerunners of later laminated and reinforced plastic shells.

plasticliving.com

This site includes a wealth of information about melamine plastics, especially kitchenware.

Art Deco Radios

Steve Davis' collection of 1930s and 40s Art Deco style radio, features stunningly crisp high resolution photos. The site showcases a range of models from manufacturers like General Electric, Fada, Truetone, Zenith, Emerson, and more. And it offers special sections on radios made with early trademarked plastic resins like Bakelite, Plaskon, Beetle, and Catalin. Also featured are some console and transistor radios, and early TV sets.

 

Industry Resources

American Chemistry Council, Plastics Division

The Plastics Division of the American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents leading manufacturers of plastic resins.

British Plastics Federation

The British Plastics Federation (BPF) is the leading trade association for the UK Plastic Industry, with over 400 members and 1200 affiliated members. Encompassing the whole plastic industry supply chain including raw material suppliers, processors, machinery suppliers and recyclers. BPF membership represents over 75% of the plastics industry by turnover.

Chemical Heritage Foundation

Located in Philadelphia, the Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) is an independent, nonprofit organization that fosters an understanding of chemistry's impact on society. The foundation maintains major collections of instruments, fine art, photographs, papers, and books with a museum open to the public. CHC also host conferences and lectures, supports research, offers fellowships, and produces educational materials.

Packaging Today

A site rich in news for packaging companies, packaging suppliers, and the packaging industry including extensive material related to plastics, as well as sections on history, recycling and other topics.

Plastics.com

Serving the needs of the professionals representing all segments of the global plastics industry, plastics.com is the world's largest online plastics community with over 70,000 members. The website features technical advice, blogs, calendars, resources, articles, news, forums and a marketplace.

Plastics Pioneers Association

The Plastics Pioneers Association is an organization of individuals who are persons of accomplishment in the Plastics Industry, and who wish to foster the bonds of friendship and fraternalism among them. The objectives of the organization are to recognize achievements in the fields of plastics and/or polymer science, engineering, technology, education, sales/marketing, or management; to support industry-wide educational programs; and to promote the study and improvement of plastics and/or polymer science, engineering, and technology in the plastics industry.

Recycler's World

A very good source on companies that recycle plastics and on the technologies and costs of plastic recycling.

Society of Plastic Engineers

The Society of Plastics Engineers is home to nearly 20,000 plastics professionals in more than 70 countries around the world. SPE is the "go to" resource for plastics technical information. The Website is an important portal to technical and professional information and resources.

SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association

SPI is the plastics industry trade association representing the third largest manufacturing industry in the United States. SPI's member companies represent the entire plastics industry supply chain, including processors, machinery and equipment manufacturers and raw materials suppliers. This is the primary industry website with up-to-date news on all aspects of plastics including economic, legal, health and political. The site links to directories, histories, guidelines, recommendations, studies, press materials and much more.

Western Plastics Association

The Western Plastic Association (WPA) is a trade association dedicated to representing the broad interests of the Plastic Industry in the Western States and Canadian Provinces of North America. The association's goal is to unify the Industry and educate legislators and the public through programs and newsletters. WPA was created out of the trade organization, the California Film Extruders and Converters Association (CFECA). CFECA has been in existence since the 1970's and represented the interests of the film and bag industry in California and the Pacific Northwest for over 30 years. CFECA had many successes in the legislative arena, and provided its members with the opportunity to network on a monthly basis. The new name for CFECA, The Western Plastics Association, represents our expansion as a plastics trade association to all the sectors of the industry.

 

Museums and Collections

Amsterdam Bakelite Collection

Filmmaker and photographer Reindert Groot has assembled collection of several thousand Bakelite articles, many of which have been the basis for important exhibitions. The well designed and well illustrated site has much important historical information about Leo Baekeland and the development of Bakelite.

Antique Comb Collectors Club International

The site provides links to several collectors sites with disparate information and varied photos of antique combs including many made of early plastics.

Arts Institute of Bournesmouth (AIB)

The Museum of Design in Plastics is located in the library. Its purpose is to provide a dynamic study and research resource to facilitate an understanding and appreciation of popular design and culture. It was created to enhance research and student learning and holds more than 8,000 (predominantly 20th Century) international, historical and contemporary design examples relating directly to the University College's specialist areas of study.

Deutsches Kunststoff Museum

The Kunststoff-Museums-Verein (German Plastics Museum Society) in Dusseldorf possess over 10,000 plastic items which comprising one of Germany's most extensive collections. A selection of these objects can be referenced on-line as part of a virtual museum. The German Plastics Museum is also a mobile museum, mounting exhibits to unusual locations: A shopping mall, a foyer of a cinema, a banking institute or a town hall.

Hagley Museum & Library

The Hagley Museum and Library located in Wilmington, Delaware, collects, preserves, and interprets the history of American enterprise. Its collections document the interaction between business and the cultural, social, and political dimensions of our society from the late 18th century to the present and include many items pertaining to the history of the plastics industry and the DuPont Company in particular. The library is organized into five departments: Manuscripts and Archives, Pictorial Collections, Imprints, Conservation, and the Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society. Holdings comprise 34,000 linear feet in the Manuscripts and Archives Department, 2 million visual items in the Pictorial Collections Department, and 280,000 printed volumes in the Imprints Department.

Museum for the History of Sciences of Ghent University

The Museum for the History of Sciences of Ghent University organized in 2007 an exhibition about Leo Baekeland and Bakelite.

National Museum of American History Archives Center

Houses the J. Harry DuBois Collection on the History of Plastics, ca. 1900-1975. See the website for a description of the collection holdings.

POPART: an international collaborative research project about the preservation of plastic artefacts in museums

The focus of this EU-funded project is on art museum collections created with synthetic polymers (such as cellulose nitrate, cellulose acetate and poly(vinyl chloride) with a special interest in polyurethanes objects and the application of coatings) and will focus on three dimensional objects as these frequently exhibit physical degradation. The objective is to develop a European wide accepted strategy to improve conservation and maintenance of plastic objects in museum collections. Based on scientific studies and experiences gathered from partners, it is proposed to evaluate and establish recommended practices and risks associated for exhibiting, cleaning and restoring these artifacts.

Sandretto Plastics Museum

Cannon-Sandretto Plastics Museum located in Pont Canavese, near Turin. It is the first Italian Museum of Plastics, founded in 1985. Today it houses more than 2,500 catalogued pieces. The Museum is a property of the Cannon Group, a leading manufacturer of industrial equipment for Plastics, Energy & Ecology, Aluminium Diecasting and Industrial Electronics. Hundreds of pieces from the permanent collection and storage areas can be viewed online. The website also has a display of 92 images of contemporary artwork made of plastic.

Bakelit100

Website on German the exhibition Bakelit100 Kunststoff aus Erkner erobert die Welt (Bakelite100 plastic from Erkner conquers the world). The exhibition celebrates the centennial of German production of the world's first all-synthetic plastic in Erkner (Brandenburg). The Friends of Erkner Chemistry Museum Association organized an exhibition.

The Bakelite Museum

The Bakelite museum boasts the largest collection of vintage plastics in Britain, with hundreds of different domestic items especially from the interwar and immediate post-world War II periods. According to the museum's limited website, there are "Thousands of quirky and rare items on show, including spy cameras, monstrous perming machines and the Bakelite coffin!" The collection is privately owned and packed in to a two story mill building in the small town of Williton, on the coast north of Exeter, at the junction of the A39+A358, north-west of Taunton. The museum is open from Easter to the end of October. It is best to call or email about opening hours before visiting. Tel: 01984 632133, email:

Phil's Old Radios

This extensive collection of antique radios includes beautiful photos and detailed historical descriptions. The site also provides answers to beginners' frequently asked questions, step-by-step restoration case studies, some vintage radio literature, and a vintage TV section.

Wisconsin Historical Society Doll Collection (Plastic Dolls)

A selection of 114 plastic dolls from the Wisconsin Historical Society's larger online collection of 1200 dolls.