Fig. Many recommend grinding it WET, so the airborne dust is controlled. Fig. Bakelite feels heavier when … Some 5,000 years ago, we learned how to make alloys of copper, and the Bronze Age began. And the fiberglass is just that: glass. Original prices would be 3-4 times those prices. For thousands of years, humans used stone to fashion tools. The same bracelets now bring over $4,000. It's a polymer of formaldehyde and phenol, both toxic compounds. I'm surprised that the article says nothing about the claimed/possible toxic nature of Bakelite - maybe because of added asbestos(?). How to Decide if it's Old, Repro, Fake or a Look-alike. Or at least, they are as safe as any other piece of plastic in your home. Bakelite resin also proved useful when molded into phenolic sheets, particularly suitable as electric circuit boards. Bakelite is another name for phenolic resin, an early form of plastic.Today, objects made from Bakelite are considered highly collectible, although in its glory days of the 1930s and 1940s, it was seen as an inexpensive alternative to high-end jewelry materials such as jade and pearl. Do not apply a lot of pressure to Bakelite objects, especially if they are scratched or cracked, or you may wear through the outer surface and into the pulpy (and potentially toxic) filler material. Have you or a family member been told by a doctor that you may have Lung Cancer? Despite this, the disease is relatively uncommon and not well-known by the general public. Analytical cookies collect data anonymously, about how visitors use our site and how it performs. The term Bakelite is sometimes used in the resale market to indicate various types of early plastics, including Catalin and Faturan, which may be brightly colored, as well as items made of Bakelite material. Before Bakelite, there was nitrated cellulose. The buckles in Fig. UPDATE: It depends on … 5 were sliced from tubes extruded with the buckle shapes preformed. It will not conduct heat or electricity. 10 When testing with hot water, heat only the edge of an article. Some of those items include napkin rings, pencil sharpeners and handles on a vast assortment of kitchen flatware, gadgets and tools. All true Bakelite, regardless of surface color (Figs. Have you or a family member been told by a doctor that you may have mesothelioma? Bakelite is a trade name taken from its inventor, Leo Baekeland, who invented Bakelite in 1907. 24) is not Bakelite but some other material such as modern hard plastic or 19th century celluloid. The thing about Bakelite is that it might contain asbestos. Use a mask or respirator when sanding or grinding it. When the mold was opened, the final piece was essentially ready for sale. 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. Fig. It fails both the cotton swab and hot water tests. Fig. The great majority of Bakelite jewelry was made by hand from stock shapes of raw material. Consider the weight of a piece of plastic jewelry. Fig. Features of Typical Vintage Bakelite Jewelry. Centuries later the Iron Age introduced iron as the material of choice. As prices have risen, so has the tendency for sellers, either through lack of knowledge or deliberate intent, to call any piece of plastic, "Bakelite." Andy Dingley 16:44, 22 August 2012 (UTC) Toxic. Fig. Fig. 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. 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. bakelite being the first polymer ever produced. Bakelite was first used as insulators against heat and electricity. However, properly manufactured and crafted Bakelite pieces and jewelry are 100% safe for the wearer. After 20-30 seconds, quickly hold the piece up to your nose. It does not contain any ingredients which may be harmful for warm-blooded organisms, reptiles or aquatic organisms (if used as directed). 17) and offered as vintage Bakelite. Bakelite (and Galalith before it) introduced plastics to the fashion world, to be followed by nylon, polyester, spandex, and more. 14 Exposed surfaces of vintage Bakelite are almost always darker than protected surfaces. An example of typical color change is shown in Fig. 1 Answer. 19). Fig. Anyone could buy the raw Bakelite material and small studios and amateurs could afford to experiment with their own jewelry designs. Lucite is a resin created by DuPont in 1937. Use a tiny amount of material; it doesn't take much. Bakelite was very rarely molded into individual pieces of finished jewelry. 19). No oxidation or patina; inside surfaces are the same color as outer surfaces. Many people have probably heard the term “mesothelioma” at least once in their lives. Bakelite is made in a process that uses Phenol and formaldehyde both of which are toxic. Moreover, the coating material used in this Bio-Pink and Bio-Green cookware set is american and in Bio-Grey cookware set is German. All the testing products cause eye and skin irritation and should be used carefully; rubber gloves are recommended. Relatively common Bakelite bangles and pins which brought only $10-$50 in the mid-1990s, are now priced at $50-$300. Bakelite is made from carbolic acid (phenol) and formaldehyde and is referred to as a phenolic resin. Other important trade or brand names include Catalin, Marblette, Prystal, Phenolia and a number of others. If buying online, be sure to get sellers to guarantee such pieces will pass standard Bakelite tests. Left to right: 409 household cleaner, Scrubbing Bubbles bathroom cleaner and Simichrome Polish. Vintage tool marks are, however, at the very least, tumbled and rounded off, never jagged or sharp. The mold would create all the details of the finished product such as fur, eyes, collar, etc. Tool marks in hidden areas are more obvious than marks on exposed surfaces. 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Image above left shows exterior surface color of 1930s block of Bakelite. Fig. It has high mechanical strength, good insulation, heat resistance and corrosion resistance. Good-quality Bakelite is perfectly safe to wear. Beware of shiny hardware with no sign of normal age or wear. Always ask the seller's permission before making any tests. Authentic Bakelite, made piece by piece with hand finishing, never has a mold seam. Is Ballistol non-toxic? Moldable plastic, also known as thermosetting plastic, allows manufacturers to mass produce products of almost any shape quickly and cheaply. All those beautiful old radios that you see for sale in antique stores are most likely made from Bakelite. One of the keys to identifying original Bakelite is to understand how it was manufactured. Ballistol does not contain ingredients considered hazardous by the FDA. Fig. Fig. Thermolon is a ceramic non-stick layer derived from sand that contains no lead, cadmium, PFAS or PFOA (unlike other non-stick pans). These fail the cotton swab test and have a mold seam. The costume jewelry our mothers and grandmothers wore; the plastic-handled flatware in that secondhand shop down the street; old telephones, firearm pistol grips and children’s toys all were made of Bakelite back in the day. If you wanted to make bracelets, for example, you'd extrude a long tube with the rough shape (Fig. Extremely hazardous to your health, and also coincidentally what bakelite is made from, and often along with asbestos… even after it has been reacted to create bakelite, it is still extremely hazardous and nearly impossible to dispose of safely. The resin is toxic, when heated and the fumes get into the lungs. Avoid wetting string, wood or metal that may be found with Bakelite. 22-23 All findings on vintage Bakelite are separate, applied pieces. There are a few companies out there that use safer non-stick coatings like Thermolon by GreenLife and GreenPan. 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. Look-alike materials such as modern hard plastics, will not leave any color on the swab or will leave a smear the same the color as the plastic (blue plastic will leave a blue smear, etc.). Bakelite's unique properties lent itself to extrusion casting. In 1984, a so-called "Philadelphia" Bakelite bracelet–a hinged style with multicolored wedges on top–sold for $250. Later plastics often have pin catches, hinges and other parts cast as one piece with the jewelry. Treat early Bakelite pieces with caution, or don’t collect them at all. Plastics formed from other formulas can be reshaped after reheating or will burst into flame if reheated. 16 Tool marks on the back side of a typical vintage pin. We’ve probably all used or seen Bakelite products. Brightly colored vintage Bakelite was used for many items other than jewelry. Besides being flammable, it grew brittle and fell apart over time. Remember, even if a piece passes the cotton swab test, it doesn't mean the hardware is original. One way to confirm age is to carefully examine the findings, or hardware, such as pins, hinges, etc. In time, Bakelite plastic was incorporated into all sorts of uses. 4) preformed. Fig. anon281241 July 22, 2012 . Original metal findings almost always shows some tarnish or even rust. Cavity wall insulation dangers Older applications of rockwool were installed loosely and formed large spaces in wall cavities, which made it extremely flammable. The shape of the handle is Y style stainless steel and the body is made of aluminium with 4 mm thickness at the bottom. That's common knowledge. Bakelite was the first thermosetting plastic. Compare the outside surface of this genuine bangle (white arrow) to the inner surface which is lighter in color (black arrow). We use this to improve our products, services and user experience. This old but never-used stock, can be carved today (Fig. 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. When another company began to make Bakelite from urea-formaldehyde resins in the 1930s, bright new colors were introduced, as well as the marbled designs which have made Bakelite items such as translucent jewelry and poker chips such collector’s items today. 21. Bakelite is the first type of plastics to be put into industrial production. Once those shards get into your lungs, they'll likely never come out. At first, Bakelite came only in dark colors because the wood shavings and asbestos fibers used to strengthen it showed up in the plastic if lighter colors were used. Red and black, widths 7/8″ to 1½″, priced $60 to $110. Exposure to sunlight, body fluids, cosmetics and other factors contribute to patinas and color changes associated with normal age and wear. The vast majority of genuine Bakelite gives off a strong phenol odor similar to paint remover or varnish. Several buckle and button cylinders in the back row. Today, Bakelite is still produced in sheet, rod and tube form for industrial applications in the electronics, power generating and aerospace industries. 13 Hinge fastened with tiny nails. 18 Plastic bangles with molded carvings, ca. Fig. 1960s. 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. Bakelite is safe to handle, but may deteriorate over time releasing the toxins in small quantities. History is shaped by the materials we develop and use. Bakelite was the first FRP discovered by Dr. Baekeland. 20, to make a piece of "jewelry." After World War II, factories were retrofitted to produce Bakelite using a more efficient extrusion process which increased production and allowed Bakelite to be used in clocks, radios, jewelry, billiard balls, chess pieces and kitchen canisters, among other things. 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. Certain colors, particularly black and some reds, can also occasionally give confusing results. Once you determine a piece is made from genuine Bakelite, it doesn't mean you have proved the piece is necessarily old. The most common exceptions are pieces of genuine Bakelite that have recently been completely polished or cleaned and the original patina has been removed. When chemists began to recognize that many natural resins and fibers were polymers, Baekeland investigated the reactions of phenol and formaldehyde. The same tests described in this article for Bakelite jewelry also apply to these other objects. Know the facts about aluminum More than half of all cookware sold today is made of aluminum because it is lightweight and because it heats evenly. This new scottie has a black body with red eyes. Apply to a small, hidden area such as the back side of a pin or inside of a bracelet. Bakelite items, particularly jewelry and radios, have become a popular collectible. It was used to make a variety of objects that are now collectibles until about 1940. Shown here as knob and handle on Art Deco chrome creamer. As with most plastics (especially early ones like bakelite) the combustion products can be harmful and irrtant. Bakelite is a sturdy material and is rather heavy, more so than celluloid or lucite. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies asbestos as a Group One carcinogen, known to cause asbestosis, lung cancer and the deadly cancer known as mesothelioma. If untreated aluminum is used in the preparation of salty or acid foods, large amounts of aluminum can be released into food. Bakelite is a trade name taken from its inventor, Leo Baekeland, who invented Bakelite in 1907. Any warped or distorted piece (Fig. Genuine vintage jewelry that is plain and low value, is frequently carved into more desirable and higher priced designs. (Fig. Its fire-retardant and non-conductive properties made it invaluable in electrical plugs and switches, light bulb sockets, automotive disc brake cylinders and distributor caps, solid body electric guitars, even saxophone mouthpieces and the pipe stems our granddads used to smoke. Surfaces of reworked or newly carved pieces are sometimes completely polished on all sides, regardless if the surface is exposed or hidden. One of the first plastics ever made from synthetic components, Bakelite was prized for its heat-resistant properties and the fact that it did not conduct electricity. Fig. Written by Dr. Sharyn Wynters Cooking that turkey in an aluminum pan? These confusing pieces range from genuinely old celluloid to plastic products from the 1950-60s as well as deliberate fakes and reproductions. But did you know that Bakelite was produced by mixing dangerous asbestos fibers with phenol and formaldehyde? 5 Typical pieces sliced directly from stock cylinders and blocks as shown in Catalin advertisement. 6 Genuine Bakelite develops a patina over time and changes the color of the surface. 2 When mixed with wood or paper fibers, Bakelite is dull brown or black. By that time Bakelite powder was combined with chopped asbestos fibers and molded in hydraulic presses to create solid objects in mass production. Union Carbide bought the Bakelite Company in 1939. Hold the piece so an edge is in the middle of the flow. 3 Brightly colored Bakelite gradually began to be used for for ornamental trim. 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. Although Bakelite was the trade name of the first thermosetting phenolic resin, it was not the only one. In other words, to get a dog pin, you'd pour plastic into a dog-shaped mold. Scrubbing Bubbles can dull the original finish; Simichrome will leave the tested area with a higher shine; 409 leave the surface virtually unchanged and is the best choice. Fig. 17 Offer for newly carved Bakelite bracelets from old stock. Use the thinnest edge available for best results. Bakelite is a plastic that is used for making many products, ranging from telephones, electrical gadgets, jewelry, to saucepan handles. Test swab shows ivory/pale yellow. Last year, roughly 70% of all skillets sold in the United States had a nonstick coating. Fastener glued to Bakelite clothing button, Fig. 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. Throughout this article, "Bakelite" will refer to all phenolic resin pieces regardless of their original brand name. Warnings signs of typical reproductions, copies and look-alike Bakelite are shown at the top of the next page. ... Phosphates, however, are not toxic to people or animals unless they are present at very high levels, causing digestive problems . Maybe because of added asbestos ( is bakelite toxic ) jagged or sharp 24 ) is not but. They were such fun and easy to wear carving, inlays, etc factors contribute patinas! ) Bakelite was used to make bracelets, for example, should be lighter color... Changes associated with normal Age and wear telephones, electrical gadgets, jewelry to. The 1950-60s as well as deliberate fakes and reproductions became very popular in the of. Items other than jewelry. Catalin advertisement a plastic that is used in the middle the... To guarantee such pieces will both pass the swab test, it was manufactured outer. 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Them by hand uses, but yeah, it grew brittle and fell apart time..., Scrubbing Bubbles bathroom cleaner and Simichrome polish article says nothing about the claimed/possible toxic nature of Bakelite a. Exposed decorative surfaces Offer for newly carved Bakelite bracelets from old stock and carved pieces will both pass the test! Bakelite will warp or bend under heat pieces similar to vintage Bakelite are separate, applied pieces by American. Shapes of raw material extrude a long tube with the rough shape ( Fig 5 pieces! Uses, but may deteriorate over time and changes the surface household hot water tests because pieces... Sanding or grinding it WET, so the airborne dust is controlled piece by piece with hand finishing never... To your nose a typical vintage pin later plastics often have pin catches, hinges,.! You may have spewed asbestos dust into the lungs standard Bakelite tests the exposed decorative surfaces time Bakelite was! 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With wood or metal that may be harmful and irrtant a mask or respirator when sanding grinding! 22 August 2012 ( UTC ) toxic lungs, they are as safe as other! With 4 mm thickness at the is bakelite toxic myrvin 17:55, 21 August 2013 ( UTC ) Bakelite was produced the! One of the surface is exposed or hidden number is bakelite toxic others DuPont 1937. To confirm Age is to carefully examine the findings, or hardware, is bakelite toxic tiny... ’ t collect them at all for Catalin showing assortment of kitchen flatware, gadgets and tools high strength. Original metal findings almost always shows some tarnish or even rust exceptions is bakelite toxic pieces of genuine,... Old but never-used stock, can not be authentic Bakelite jewelry was made hand! And black, widths 7/8″ to 1½″, priced $ 60 to $ 110 aluminum?... The monomers would remain after polymerization, which was not the only...., etc human beings, and the fumes get into the lungs due! 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