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 Post subject: Can someon bring me up to speed on Baklite?
PostPosted: Sep Fri 17, 2021 3:38 pm 
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I was told years ago that Bakalite only comes in Black and brown. That other forums of Bakalite are really Catlin where they come in different translucent colors. But I have seen some old colored pieces that say Bakalite on them. So can anyone tell me the real story behind this material? Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Can someon bring me up to speed on Baklite?
PostPosted: Sep Fri 17, 2021 4:02 pm 
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Location: Peekskill, NY
Bakelite was named by Leo Baekeland and is the first engineered polymer to exist.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bakelite

Also:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catalin


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 Post subject: Re: Can someon bring me up to speed on Baklite?
PostPosted: Sep Fri 17, 2021 4:35 pm 
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There is also Plaskon, which comes in a variety of colors including white, and strongly resembles bakelite. There were a lot of radio cabinets made from that material before the softer plastics came into widespread use.

One way to get some clue which you have, Catalin will transmit light, if you put a bright enough light source on the other side it will show through the material. Bakelite does not have that ability in the brown and black colors typically seen in radio cabinets and the like.

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 Post subject: Re: Can someon bring me up to speed on Baklite?
PostPosted: Sep Fri 17, 2021 5:09 pm 
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Both the wiki's are well annotated, Some facts that I was not aware of.

Thanks Jim!

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 Post subject: Re: Can someon bring me up to speed on Baklite?
PostPosted: Sep Fri 17, 2021 7:36 pm 
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I think we should stop calling it bakelite and use it's real name polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride.


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 Post subject: Re: Can someon bring me up to speed on Baklite?
PostPosted: Sep Fri 17, 2021 10:01 pm 
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AuroraOldRadios wrote:
I think we should stop calling it bakelite and use it's real name polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride.


:shock:

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 Post subject: Re: Can someon bring me up to speed on Baklite?
PostPosted: Sep Fri 17, 2021 10:06 pm 
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gx7XEeIAv78 A good video showing the history of bakelite. So Bakalite can be colored by the later development to dye it.


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 Post subject: Re: Can someon bring me up to speed on Baklite?
PostPosted: Sep Sat 18, 2021 2:40 am 
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Yes, Bakelite can be colored but radio examples are rare, no say why.


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 Post subject: Re: Can someon bring me up to speed on Baklite?
PostPosted: Sep Sat 18, 2021 4:19 pm 
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edteach wrote:
I was told years ago that Bakalite only comes in Black and brown. That other forums of Bakalite are really Catlin where they come in different translucent colors. But I have seen some old colored pieces that say Bakalite on them. So can anyone tell me the real story behind this material? Thanks.


The Bakelite Corporation also made catalin, and I believe that's where the confusion comes from.


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 Post subject: Re: Can someon bring me up to speed on Baklite?
PostPosted: Sep Mon 20, 2021 12:54 am 
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Ken Doyle wrote:
edteach wrote:
I have seen some old colored pieces that say Bakelite on them.


The Bakelite Corporation also made Catalin, and I believe that's where the confusion comes from.

If you mean they say Bakelite in the sales ads?, yes, sellers often make mistakes and some use keywords so their ads will get more hits from searchers.
You will often see Plaskon and styrene plastic described as Bakelite and sometimes painted Bakelite described as Catalin.
Typical Bakelite radios have a walnut color, solid black or a reddish swirl. Some car distributor caps were made with brick red or tan Bakelite, and I had an ignition coil with a tan top.
After about 1950, many Bakelite radio cabinets were factory painted in a variety of colors, such as the Crosley Colorado dashboard models. About 1954, Bakelite was getting replaced by polystyrene, softer plastic that has the color in it.
Bakelite will break but it doesn't sag or warp.

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 Post subject: Re: Can someon bring me up to speed on Baklite?
PostPosted: Sep Mon 27, 2021 4:48 am 
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first thing to know is antique dealers call EVERY old plastic "Bakelite" ! If its color other than brown or black, it is usually Plaskon, such as womens bracelets and hairbrushes. Some are Catalin, too. Another pre-ww2 plastic is "Beetle Plastic" which looks like marble, has green and rust color "veins" running thru it.
I have a 1948 "Modern Plastics" encyclopedia , its very interesting and rare.

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 Post subject: Re: Can someon bring me up to speed on Baklite?
PostPosted: Sep Mon 27, 2021 2:02 pm 
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They were painting Bakelite cabinets white in the 1940s; I have a couple.

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 Post subject: Re: Can someon bring me up to speed on Baklite?
PostPosted: Sep Mon 27, 2021 5:34 pm 
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Location: 253 Blanche St. Plymouth, MI USA
Tim Tress wrote:
They were painting Bakelite cabinets white in the 1940s; I have a couple.


even earlier I think too. Other colors didnt show up until 1950 or so, Zenith was fond of green and grey in the 50's.

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 Post subject: Re: Can someon bring me up to speed on Baklite?
PostPosted: Sep Wed 29, 2021 4:48 am 
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If I'm not mistaken, the gray and green (and white, etc.) Zenith radios of the 1950's were plain old plastic, not bakelite.


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