The History Essays Timeline People Companies
Materials Processes
1750 1760 1770 1780 1790 1800 1810 1820 1830 1840 1850 1860 1870 1880 1890 1900 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990

1750's

1751

Charles-Marie de la Condamine (1701-1774) describes collection and use of rubber in Ecuador the first complete account of rubber technology

1760's

1760

Enoch Noyes opens small shop to make combs using cattle horn

1770's

1770

Dubet (in France) describes method of drawing out filaments from the gum of dead silkworms

1780's

1790's

1798

Louis Robert invents papermaking machine in France

1800's

1802

John Gough (1757-1825) discovers that natural rubber produces heat when stretched and becomes hard (crystallized) when cooled under extension

1810's

1818

McPherson Smith invents first screw press for flattening horn comb plates

1820's

1823

Macintosh uses rubber gum to waterproof cotton and creates the "macintosh" (raincoat)

1828

Friedrich Wöhler (1800-1882) synthesizes urea by reacting lead cyanate with ammonium hydroxide

1830's

1832

Jöns Jacob Berzelius (1779-1848) uses the term polymeric (parallel to isomeric) to describe two compounds with the same empirical formula but different molecular weights. His example was incorrect, but the work polymer gradually came into use

1833

Henri Braconnet (1780-1855) in France prepares Xyloidine (nitrocellulose) by reaction of nitric acid with starch, linen, and sawdust

1838

Théophile-Jules Pelouze (1807-1867) in France treats paper with nitric acid to get a nitrocellulose-like material

1839

Charles Goodyear discovers the process for natural rubber which leads to 'platen' and then 'press moldings'

1839

German apothecary Eduard Simon notes polymerization of styrene on exposure to sunlight

1839

Anselme Payen (1795-1871) in France isolates cellulose in wood

1840's

1840

Keller in Saxony (Germany) used mechanical wood pulp (ground wood) to make paper

1842

Louis Schwabe (1798-1845) in England suggests filament spinning machine

1843

Thomas Hancock (1786-1865) discovers vulcanization of rubber to produce hard rubber (Ebonite)

1843

William Montgomerie discovers gutta-percha

1843

Alfred Critchlow moves to Florence, Massachusetts, where he develops presses and tools to mold shellac and gutta purcha

1844

Charles Goodyear patents vulcanization of rubber and markets Vulcanite in USA

1844

John Mercer (1791-1866) in England discovers mercerizing process by action of caustic soda on cotton textile fibers

1845

Bewley designs extruder for gutta percha

1845

Christian Frederik Schonbein is the first to accomplish nitration of cellulose using nitric and sulfuric acids

1847

Jöns Jacob Berzelius produces first condensation polymer, polyester, from glycerin (propanetriol) and tartaric acid

1850's

1850

First submarine telegraph cable in gutta percha laid between Dover and Calais

1850

F. Scott Archer in England and Gustave LeGray in France independently invent collodion emulsion base for light sensitive chemicals on a photograhic plate

1852

Alexander Parkes (1813-1890) exhibits first pyroxylin lacquer at London Exposition

1855

Alexander Parkes (1813-1890) in England receives first patents for cellulose plastic

1855

George Audemars in Switzerland prepares silk-like fiber of nitrocellulose from mulberry leaves and rubber

1856

Alfred Critchlow (1813-1881) and Samuel Pack discover shellac

1856

Alexander Parkes (1813-1890) uses spirits of camphor as nitrocellulose solvent

1856

Green in England receives first patent for pyroxylin-coated leather-substitute fabric

1856

William Henry Perkin (1838-1907) discovers first aniline dye (), as the product of his efforts to synthesize quinine from coal tar derivative.

1857

Schwietzer in Germany discovers solubility of cellulose in ammoniacal solution of copper

1858

Burgess and Watt are first to make ground wood-pulp paper in the United States

1859

Aleksandr Butlerov (1828-1886) described formaldehyde plastics

1859

Vulcanized rubber invented by Thomas Taylor in England

1860's

1860

Greville Williams (1929-1910) distilled isoprene from natural rubber in which he suggested eight hydrogen atoms were bound to five carbon atoms

1860

Hydrolysis of esters prepared by Berthelot and de St. Gilles

1862

Alexander Parkes displays items made of Parkesine at the International Exhibition in London, where he receives a bronze medal for 'Excellence of Product'

1863

Friedrich Bayer et Compagnie established to produce aniline dyestuffs

1863

Alexander Parkes (1813-1890) introduces castor oil as solvent for cellulose nitrate

1863

Marcellin Berthelot (1827-1907) presents first general discussion of polymerization of polymers to Chemical Society of Paris

1863

Phelan and Collender offer a $10,000 prize for development of substitute materials of ivory to be used for the manufacture of billiard balls. John Wesley Hyatt begins experiments in hope of winning prize

1865

Alexander Parkes patents Parkesine and exhibits new material at the Royal Society of Arts, London

1866

The Hyatt Billiard Ball Co. in Albany, New York is founded by John Wesley Hyatt and Peter Kinear who use a moldable composition material to manufacture billiard balls

1866

Alexander Parkes and Daniel Spill open The Parkesine Co., Ltd. at Hackney wick, London. The company fails and is liquidated in 1868.

1867

George A. Waters of Troy, New York, builds laminated paper boat, a forerunner of reinforced plastic boats

1868

John Wesley Hyatt (1837-1920) develops cellulose nitrate moldings

1869

Synthetic styrene first prepared by Marcellin Berthelot

1869

Daniel Spill founds the Xylonite Company in the closed Parkesine Works, and modified the Parkesine formula.

1869

Charles Burroughs founds the Burroughs Co. to develop and produce machinery for the manufacture of Celluloid.

1870's

1870

John Wesley Hyatt (1837-1920) establishes Albany Dental Plate Co. (later Celluloid Manufacturing Company)

1871

Smith & Locke develops mechanical devices for metal casting

1872

John Wesley Hyatt (1837-1920) patents process for molding cellulose rod stock

1872

Celluloid Manufacturing Company moves from Albany, New York to Newark, New Jersey

1873

Thomas Taylor founds the Vulcanized Fiber Co. of Pennsylvania

1874

Count Hilaire de Chardonnet (1839-1924) invents nitrocellulose 'silk' (rayon)

1875

Daniel Spill (1832 1887) in England commercializes Xylonite, a nitrocellulose plastic

1878

Tilton & Cook Co. develops first hydraulic press

1878

Joseph W. Swann (1828-1914) in England develops a carbon filament for incandescent electric lamp

1879

First commercial screw type extruder made by Francis Shaw, Ltd. in England

1880's

1887

George Eastman (1854-1932) develops cellulose nitrate film

1880

Fashion for long hair leads to popularity of cellulose nitrate combs, replacing horn

1880

First commercial screw type extruder made in the U.S. by John Royle & Sons, Inc. for processed rubber tubing

1883

Count Hilaire de Chardonnet (1839-1924) patents nitrocellulose fibers, also called nitrocotton or artificial silk

1885

George Eastman (1854-1932) patents machine for producing continuous photographic film based on cellulose nitrate.

1890's

1890

First synthetic fiber, Chardonnet silk, enters commercial production

1890

Thermoforming introduced and used to make baby rattles from cellulose nitrate

1892

Cross and Bevan developed Viscose silk

1892

Toothpaste first packed in plastic squeeze tubes by Washington Wentworth in Sheffield, England

1893

Leo Baekeland (1863-1944) invents "Velox" paper

1894

Cross and Bevan develop process for industrial manufacture of cellulose acetate

1984

Fiberloid Company of Maine formed by Edwin F. Coffin to manufacture nitrocellulose plastic material called Fiberloid

1897

Adolph Spitteler (1846-1940) discovers casein plastics, known as ""artificial horn

1898

Polycarbonates first described by Einhorn

1898

Beginning of mass production of gramophone records from shellac

1899

Smith publishes patent on phenol formaldehyde composition

1899

Krische and Spittler in Germany awarded patent for deriving casein plastic from milk

1900's

1900

Casein introduced by The International Galalith Gesseschaft Hoff & Co. at the Paris Universal Exhibition

1901

Otto Rohm (1876-1939) develops solid transparent polymers of acrylic acid

1901

Bernard Doyle (1873-1949) founds the Viscoloid Company in Leominster, Massachusetts to produce cellulose nitrate plastics

1903

Arthur Etchengrun (1867-1949) prodcues first cellulose acetate

1904

F.S. Kipping (1863-1949) determines that silicone is analagous to carbon as a base for polymerization

1904

E.L. Gaylor designs injection machine to mold amber/shellac compounds

1907

Leo Baekeland (1863-1944) develops phenolic resin thermoset

1907

Rohm & Haas Company founded in Esslingen, Germany

1908

Jacques Edwin Brandenberger (1872-1954) patented a method for the continuous production of transparent film made of cellulose which he named Cellophane

1908

George Eastman (1854-1932) introduces cellulose acetate safety film

1909

Erinoid develops casein plastics

1910's

1910

Daniel J. O'Conor makes first laminate - soon to become Formica

1910

Jonas Aylsworth founds Condensite Company of America

1911

Charles Cross and Ernest Bevan discover Viscose rayon process

1911

Lionel B. Kavenaugh (1889-1991) establishes Standard Tool & Dye Company

1912

Fritz Klatte discovers vinyl acetates

1913

Daniel J. O'Conor and Herbert A. Faber found Formica Insulation Company

1913

L. V. Redman established Redmanol Chemical Products Company to produce a plastic (Redmanol) similar to Bakelite

1914

Kodak introduces plastic camera

1914

Charles Burroughs develops compression presses for Bakelite

1915

E. I. du Pont de Nemours Company acquires Arlington Company

1915

England's Queen Mary orders casein jewelry at viewing products at the British Industries Fair

1916

E. I. du Pont de Nemours Company's Fabrikoid combines with Fairfield Rubber

1916

Rolls Royce in England begins to use phenol formaldehyde in its car interiors

1918

Stoke Rubber Company develops early mold-heating method with circular steel block heated on stove

1918

Hans John prepares resins by reacting urea with formaldehyde and patents the urea-formaldehyde resin system

1919

Sam Foster establishes Foster Manufacturing Company

1919

Rohm & Haas first US company to manufacture sodium hydrosulfite, marketed as Lykopon, an essential chemical for textile dying

1919

Arthur Eichengrun (1867-1949) introduces cellulose acetate molding powder

1920's

1920

George Scribner (1891-1962) founds the Boonton Molding Company

1920

Hermann Buchholz designs injection machines for cellulose acetate

1921

William Grant joins Sam Foster to form Foster Grant Company

1921

Harry M. Dent founds Durez Plastic & Chemicals Co. in North Tonawanda, New York, as General Plastics, Inc.

1922

Herman Staudinger (1881-1965) becomes first to use term ""macromolecules

1922

William Grote imports Buckholz injection molding presses from Germany

1922

The Bakelite Corporation formed from a merger of the General Bakelite Company, the Condensite Company, and the Redmanol Chemical Products Company

1923

Fritz Pollack invents urea formaldehyde (UF)

1923

Condensite Company develops compounds allowing molded parts to be discharged hot from the mold

1924

Term 'Rayon' adopted as name for artificial silk

1924

Deadly explosion at Nixon Nitration Works in Nixon (now Edison), New Jersey

1924

Celanese Corporation first in U.S. to commercially produce acetate fibers

1925

E. I. du Pont de Nemours Company acquires Viscoloid Company

1925

Trade journal 'Plastics' launched

1926

Waldo Semon (1898-1999) of BF Goodrich develops polyvinyl chloride (PVC)

1926

Chicago Molded Products Corp. produces the first phenolic washing machine agitators

1926

Eckert & Ziegler patent first commercial modern plastics injection molding machine

1927

General Electric Co. introduces Glyptal, the first alkyd plastic

1927

Bakelite patents expire, stimulating market for thermosets

1927

Celanese Corporation absorbs Celluloid Company

1927

American Catalin Corporation founded in New York, N.Y.

1928

John Bolten develops hard rubber combs

1929

Bayer (I.G. Farben) patents Buna-S rubber for tires

1929

British Plastics Federation founded

1930's

1930

Foster Grant develops hand injection molding machines

1930

Plax Corporation starts work on the first blow molded 'flexible bottle' made from cellulose plastics

1930

3M Company invents Scotch Tape, the first transparent sticky tape

1931

Rohm and Haas produces Plexiglas (polymethyl acrylate

1931

General Electric Co. forms separate department for plastics

1931

Corning Glass experiments with silicone polymers

1931

Rohm and Haas Company first manufactures Plexiglas acrylic resins for coatings and safety glass

1931

Foster Grant begins the first injection molding and commercial marketing of a product, the cellulose acetate comb

1932

Commercial process developed for cast polymethyl acrylate

1933

CIBA and Cyanamid develop melamine resins

1933

Polythene invented by R.O. Gibson of Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI)

1933

Union Carbide exhibits Vinylite House at Chicago's Century of Progress Exposition

1934

Carlton Ellis patents polyesters

1934

Foster Grant develops first hydraulic injection molding machine

1934

Borg-Warner purchases Marsene Corporation (renamed Marbon) of Gary, Indiana and enters plastics market

1935

James D. Mcdonald develop automatic transfer-molding machine

1935

E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company's Wallace Carothers (1896-1937) patent polyamide 'nylon'

1936

Naugatuck Chemical Company introduces styrene called Victron

1936

Reed-Prentice develops first commercial plastics injection molding machine

1936

Introduction of commercial polystyrene

1937

I.G. Farben's Otto Bayer invents polyurethane

1937

Monsanto develops polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) for auto safety glass

1937

Dow Chemical Corporation and the Bakelite Corporation start the manufacture of styrene resins

1937

Paul Flory (1910-1985) uses a chain-transfer to explain the kinetics of free radical polymerization

1937

Society of the Plastics Industry Incorporated

1937

Columbo and Pasquetti in Italy produce first twin-screw extruder machine

1938

E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company's Roy Plunkett discovers Teflon

1938

Monsanto Chemical Co. purchases Fiberloid Corporation

1939

Swiss chemist Pierre Castan patents epoxy resins

1939

New York World"s Fair showcases new developments in plastics

1939

S. Buchsbaum and Company introduces vinyl elastic plastics with Elastiglas suspenders, belts, and garters

1939

William and Betty Lester found Pyro Plastics Corporation of Union, New Jersey, a producer of custom-made parts for injection-molded plastics

1940's

1940

Dow Chemical Co. introduces Saran resins

1940

I.G. Farben develops polyurethanes

1940

Blow-molded Christmas ornaments by Plax Corp. begin to replace glass ornaments

1941

Paul Flory (1910-1985) develops a theory of polymer networks, which he uses to explain the phenomenon of gelation and the significance of the gel

1942

Polyethylene (PE) invented in the UK

1942

DME Co. introduces first standard mold base

1942

Plastics Pioneers Association founded

1942

Harry Coover (1917-2011) of Eastman Kodak discovers 'Super Glue' (methyl cyanoacrylate) during research into transparent materials for use as gun sights. It is not marketed as an adhesive until 1958

1943

CIBA develops epoxy adhesives

1943

Corning Glass joins Dow Chemicals to produce silicones

1943

Cleworth Publishing publishes first issue of ""Plastics World

1943

Ivar T. Quarnstrom (1900-1987) develops a practical system of preengineered basic tooling for the plastics moldmaking industry

1944

Norwegian immigrant and entrepreneur Finn Haakon Magnus founds International Plastic Harmonica Corporation (Magnus Harmonica corp.) in Linden, New Jersey

1944

Islyn Thomas forms the Thomas Engineering Company, Plastics Parts Development Corp., and then the Thomas Manufacturing Corp.

1944

Hercules Powder Co produces sodium carboxymethyl-cellulose (soluble cellulose gum) and cumene peroxide

1944

George Lubin and H. Greenberg of Bassons, Inc. produce reinforced plastic hoops by filament winding

1945

Virgil E. Meharg and Paul D. Zottu introduce dielectric preheating

1945

Cellulose propionate introduced

1945

E. I. du Pont de Nemours Company invents 'Lycra,' based on polyurethane

1946

Waldes Kohinoor Inc. introduces Nylon zipper

1946

Jim Hendry builds a 2-oz screw injection machine

1946

First polyethylene hinges molded by Shaw Insulator Co.

1946

Chrysler Motors introduces acrylic molded taillights

1946

The U.S. Navy receives its first fiber reinforced plastic (FRP) boat

1946

Ritepoint, Inc. offers line of cigarette lighters with clear injection molded acrylic reservoirs

1946

First National Plastics exhibition (NPE) held in New York City attracting 87,000 visitors

1947

CIBA joins Shell and Devoe Reynolds on epoxy development

1947

Earl S. Tupper (1907-1983) invents Tupperware

1947

Rockford Machine Tool Co.'s Hyjector becomes the first fully automatic transfer molding machine to use electric preheat

1947

Badge Plastics Co. extrudes phenolic clarinet bodies

1948

Selmer manufactures first plastic clarinet which becomes popular for students and in marching bands

1948

George de Mestral (1907-1990) in Switzerland invents Velcro after seeing burrs in his socks and his dog's hair.

1949

Polystyrene large volume commodity resin leads to styrene acrylonitrile (SAN) and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS)

1949

Nash automobile incorporates three large polystyrene (PS) instrument panel overlays

1949

Shaw Insulator Co. develops cuboid blowmolded bottles for the U.S. Medical Corps

1949

Lego begins producing plastic interlocking bulding blocks

1949

James Wright of GE invents Silly Putty after mixing silicone oil with boric acid. Silly Putty acts like a rubber but can also be stretched and formed

1950's

1950

R.W. Canfield develops the BNR injection blowmolder for Plax Corp

1950

Wheaton Glass Co. initiates development of injection blow molding containers smaller than 1 quart

1950

Epoxy plastics synthesized

1951

Rayon output peaks at 51 million pounds per year, and American Viscose merged with Sylvania Corp

1951

Ohio Gallery of Fine Arts opens exhibition ""Design in Plastics,"" with designs by Donald Desky, Charles Eames, Raymond Loewy, George S. Nalle, Jr., and George Nelson

1951

L. Glazer of Revell, Inc. begins producing injection molded hobby aircraft kits to replace those of balsa wood

1951

IBM installs its first mainframe 702 computer at Monsanto, initiating the introduction of the computer into the plastics industry

1952

High impact rigid polyvinyl chloride (PVC) used for construction applications

1952

First reciprocating screw developed for injection molding machines

1952

Bilnor Corp. and U.S. Fiber and Plastics demonstrate PVC liners for swimming pools

1953

Using Karl Ziegler's catalysis system for polypropylene, Bayer AG invents polycarbonate high-density polyethylene (HDPE)

1953

Development of pultrusion process

1953

Reed-Prentice builds the first 600-ton clamp injection molding machine

1953

Chevrolet begins production of its plastic-bodied Corvette, which used 41 FRP parts (17 of which were major assembly components) at weight savings of 190 lbs over steel

1953

Hermann Staudinger wins Nobel Prize for Chemistry for the study of polymers

1954

Milan's Giulio Natta develops catalysis system for polypropylene (PP)

1954

Bayer and Monsanto establish Mobay

1954

Frigidaire begins color craze with availability of large appliances

1955

Daniel Fox at General Electric discovers a polycarbonate resin thermoplastic that looks like acrylic but is much more durable. A patent is filed in 1955 and it is given the brand name 'Lexan.'

1955

Introduction of first Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) refrigerator door panel

1955

Mobay Chemical Co. introduces polyurethanes in the U.S.

1955

Velcro is patented

1956

First acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) telephone

1956

Monsanto's plastic 'House of the Future' debuts at the National Plastics Exposition, and subsequently is installed at Disneyland

1956

Montecatini exhibits isostactic polyproylene film and monofilaments at the National Plastic Exposition in New York

1957

Development of first blown film extrusion line

1957

Stanley Kaminsky develops plastic welding

1957

High density polyethylene (HDPE) introduced

1957

Union Products of Leominster, Massachusetts begins production of pink flamingo lawn ornaments

1957

Reinforced plastic luggage introduced

1957

Russia launches the Sputnik satellite, launching the 'Space Race,' which stimulates new uses for plastics over the next several decades

1957

Chavannes and Fielding invent 'bubble wrap' and later form the Sealed Air company to market the new product

1957

Plastic baggies and sandwich bags on a roll are introduced

1957

Knoll Associates introduces 'tulip chair' designed by Eero Saarinen with fiberglas-polyester shell

1958

New products include high-density polyethylene (HDPE) baby bottles and low-density polyethylene (LDPE) bread bags

1958

General Electric introduces Lexan polycarbonate for camera bodies and gears

1958

The Wham-O Toy Company introduces the plastic hula-hoop, selling 100 million units within two years

1959

Thermoplastic polyurethane developed

1959

Polyurethane (PUR) foam used in furniture and bedding

1959

Mattel, Inc. launches Barbie doll created by Ruth Handler

1960's

1960

Liquid Nitrogen Processing Corp (LNP) pioneers development of reinforced thermoplastics

1960

U.S. Department of Defense creates the Plastics Technical Evaluation Center (PLASTEC)

1960

E. I. du Pont de Nemours Company launches ethylene-vinyl acetate co-polymers

1961

Composite aircraft skin panels developed

1961

Avison introduces a polypropylene copolymer for impact applications

1961

Foster Grant introduces its new nylon with display of 5-foot diameter propeller

1961

First portable hair dryers go on sale

1961

Plastics Institute of America (PIA) chartered

1962

E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company patents polyamide films and varnishes

1962

Ed Hurley of Marbon discovers electro-plating on plastic

1962

Shell Chemical Co. (US) begins massive program to promote HDPE bottles for milk

1962

Simplex (France) introduces bicycles using acetal gear changer

1962

Eastman Chemical introduces polyallomers

1962

Silicone gel breast implants pioneered

1963

Du Pont introduces Corfam, a polyester reinforced polyurethane, also known as a poromeric synthetic leather

1963

Drums manufactured from high-density polyethylene (HDPE)

1963

Influential, but short-lived, impact polystrene (PS) thermoformed Paxton cigarette package introduced at National Plastics Exposition

1963

Edward Schmitt and Rocco Polistina file a patent for the first absorbable synthetic sutures, made of polyglycolic acid, a key plastic in tissue engineering

1964

General Electric Co. patents polyphenylene oxide (PPO)

1964

Marbon constructs the Cycolac Research Vehicle CRV); the first plastic prototype car

1965

Union Carbide patents polysulphone

1965

General Electric introduces Noryl, a modified polyphenylene oxide

1965

First examples of electroplated ABS exhibited at National Housewares Manufacturers Association exhibit

1965

Union Carbide introduces Parylene

1965

Stephanie L. Kwolek and the E. I. du Pont de Nemours Company develop Kevlar, first used in tires

1965

ICI produces PEEK (Poly Ether Ether Ketone) resistant chemical and engineering polymer

1966

Milk bottles manufactured from molded high-density polyethylene (HDPE)

1966

Plastics fiber optics introduced

1966

Blow molded fuel tanks introduced

1966

Plastic produce bags on a roll are introduced in grocery stores

1967

Fuel tanks and gas pipes are manufactured from high-density polyethylene HDPE

1967

Bayer AG acquires Monsanto's interest in Mobay

1967

Marbon introduces all-plastic refrigerator

1967

Zanotta of Italy introduces the Blow Inflatable Armchair, made of PVC and designed by Jonathan De Pas, Donato D'Urbino and Paolo Lomazzi

1968

White Motors introduces first all-fiberglass truck cab

1968

Marbon renamed Borg Warner Chemical

1969

Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin wear Lexan helmets for walk on moon, where they place a nylon flag

1970's

1970

Graphite golf clubs developed

1970

Coca-Cola test markets world's first plastic carbonated beverage bottle, an Acrylonitrile (AN) bottle by Monsanto.

1970

E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company produces experimental beverage bottle from biaxially oriented PET plastics (patent in 1973).

1970

First U.S. blow molded bottles for edible oils are made of PVC

1971

Celanese ends its production of cellulose acetate

1972

Burger 'clam shell' container manufactured from polystyrene (PS)

1973

Martin Cooper of Motorola designs first mobile phone

1974

Oxychem introduces flame retardant Dechlorane Plus

1974

Retail giants such as Sears, J.C. Penney, Montgomery Ward, etc. begin switch to plastic merchandise bags

1975

Robert Langer and M. Judah Folkman use polymers to isolate chemicals that prevent the formation of blood vessels, suggesting a new way to attack cancer.

1977

Amoco introduces polyethylene terephthalate (PET) beverage bottle

1977

Plastic grocery bags introduced to the supermarket industry as an alternative to paper bags

1979

Malden Mills produces Polarfleece (now Fleece), synthetic clothing more lightweight than polyester

1980's

1980

First production of linear low density polyethylene

1982

First artificial heart, made mainly of polyurethane, implanted in a human

1982

Kroger and Safeway grocery chains start to replace paper bags with polyethylene 't-shirt' type shopping bags

1983

Monsanto patents Santophrene

1983

Plastic Swatch watch made of 51 mainly plastic components

1984

Test flights of first all-plastic aircraft, the Beechcraft Starship 1

1986

Robert Langer and Joseph Vacanti demonstrate that liver cells grown on a plastic framework can function after being transplanted into animals, beginning the new field of tissue engineering.

1987

General Electric purchases Borg Warner Chemical

1987

In Germany BASF produces a polyacetylene with twice the electrical conductivity of copper

1988

Introduction of triangular recycling symbols relating to plastics

1988

Andy Warhol's Bakelite jewelry collection, auctioned after the artist's death, sells for record prices at Sotheby's

1990's

1990

ICI introduces Biopol, the first commercially available biodegradable plastic

1990

Warner Lambert develops Novon, a starch that is also an injection moldable plastic

1991

Dyson launches new vacuum cleaner design in Japan

1994

Smart Car with lightweight flexible integrally colored polycarbonate panels introduced

1996

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves polymer wafer implants for treating brain cancer

1997

Bayer AG acquires Monsanto's styrene acrylonitrile (SAN) and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) business