Plastic Invented

1907 CEUnited States

"Belgian chemist and clever marketeer Leo Baekeland pioneered the first fully synthetic plastic in 1907. He beat his Scottish rival, James Swinburne, to the patent office by one day. His invention, which he would christen Bakelite, combined two chemicals, formaldehyde and phenol, under heat and pressure. Bakelite sparked a consumer boom in affordable yet highly desirable products. It had a dark brown, wood-like appearance but could be easily mass-produced, making it ideal for bringing new design trends such as Art Deco to the masses."

"The Rise of a Plastics Industry," Science Museum.

Image: Dan Brady via Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0 DEED, Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic