Bakelite

In 1912 the Hyatt-Burroughs Billard Ball Company began manufacturing balls made of Bakelite, an …[Credit: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History (Neg. # 93-7677)]Bakelite, trademark of phenol-formaldehyde resin,  trademarked synthetic resin invented in 1907 by Belgian-born American chemist Leo Hendrik Baekeland. A hard, infusible, and chemically resistant plastic, Bakelite was based on a chemical combination of phenol and formaldehyde (phenol-formaldehyde resin), two compounds that were derived from coal tar and wood alcohol (methanol), respectively, at that time. This made it the first truly synthetic resin, representing a significant advance over earlier plastics that were based on modified natural materials. Because of its excellent insulating properties, Bakelite was also the first commercially produced synthetic resin, replacing shellac and hard rubber

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