A note on terms used to describe plastics used in cabinet construction

I've come to realize that terms used to categorize and describe plastic cabinets are very loosely tossed around. Frequent questions have been asked about the terms used in my radio descriptions, prompting some research... It turns out most of the terms used, such as Plaskon, Bakelite, Catalin and Beetle are not types of plastics at all, but tradenames. Although many radios were made with these particular tradename plastics, other radios were made with tradename plastics that few have heard of, which end up in the same, perhaps more popular, tradename category. Similar types of plastics are being generalized into a tradename category - confusing to say the least! Below is a list of plastics tradenames from 1939 and the types of plastic they actually are. The list of tradenames is long, as new recipes were being introduced weekly, so I have bold-faced the commonly heard-of tradenames and types. The limits of the list are American, Synthetic and Commercial plastics. And to make things more confusing, types of plastics can be further categorized into thermoset and non-thermosets, etc, etc - but that's another story! And many of these obviously had nothing to do with radio cabinet manufacturing, but are included to show the extent of the plastics industry and why confusions exist.

TRADENAME TYPE MANUFACTURER
Aberol Phenolic Resinous Products & Chemical Co., Philadelphia, PA
Aceloid Cellulose Nitrate American Cellulose Co., Indianapolis, IN
Aceplus Cellulose Acetate American Cellulose Co., Indianapolis, IN
Acrolite Phenolic (molded) Continental - Diamond Fibre Co., Newark, DE
Acryloid Acrylate Resinous Products & Chemical Co., Philadelphia, PA
Acrysol Acrylate Resinous Products & Chemical Co., Philadelphia, PA
Agalyn Pyroxylin (dentures) J.D.Whyte Co., Pittsburgh, PA
Aico Cold Molded American Insulator Corp., New Freedom, PA
Akco Phenolic (coatings) American Cyanamide Co., New York, NY
Aladinite Casein (cast) Aladinite Corp., Orange, NJ
Alcolite Pyroxylin (dentures) Alcolite Inc., Philadelphia, PA
Aldenol Phenolic (dentures) E.K. Medical Gas Laboratories, Bloomfield, NJ
Aldur Urea (molded, cast) Luco Products Corp., Brooklyn, NY
Alphide Cold Molded Standard Plastics Corp., Jersey City, NJ
Alvar Vinyl (coatings) Shawinigan Products Corp., New York, NY
Amberlac Alkyd (synthetic resin) Resinous Products & Chemical Co., Philadelphia, PA
Amberlite Phenolic (synthetic resin) Resinous Products & Chemical Co., Philadelphia, PA
Amberol Phenolic Resinous Products & Chemical Co., Philadelphia, PA
Amerine Cold Molded (insulators) American Insulator Corp., New Freedom, PA
Ameroid Casein American Plastics Corp., New York, NY
Aqualite Phenolic (laminated) National Vulcanized Fibre Co., Wilmington, DE
Arcolite Phenolic (molding compound, coatings) Consolidated Molded Products Co., Scranton, PA
Artifex Phenolic Artifex Products Co., Camden, NJ
Bakelite Phenolic (molding compound) Bakelite Corp., New York, NY
Bakelite Polystyrene Polystyrene (resin) Bakelite Corp., New York, NY
Beckacite Phenolic (resin for coatings) Beck, Koller & Co. Inc., Detroit, MI
Beckamine Urea (synthetic resin) Beck, Koller & Co. Inc., Detroit, MI
Beckopol Phenolic Beck, Koller & Co. Inc., Detroit, MI
Beckosol Phenolic (synthetic resin) Beck, Koller & Co. Inc., Detroit, MI
Beetle Urea (molded, molding compound, laminated) American Cyanamid Co., New York, NY
Benalite Lignin (cured sheets) Masonite Corp., Laurel, MS
Benaloid Lignin (uncured sheets) Masonite Corp., Laurel, MS
Bonnyware Urea (molded) Reynolds Spring Co., Jackson, MI
Butacite Vinyl E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. Inc., Wilmington, DE
Butvar Vinyl (resin) Shawinigan Products, Inc., Indian Orchard, MA
C-E 950 Phenolic (dentures) Coe Laboratories, Inc., Chicago, IL
Campbellite Phenolic (laminated) Campbell Fibre Co., Stanton, DE
Catalin Phenolic (cast) Catalin Corp., New York, NY
Celastic Pyroxylin (box toes) Celastic Corp., Arlington, NJ
Cel-O-Glass Cellulose Acetate (coated screening) Acetol Products, Inc., New York, NY
Celoron Phenolic (molded, laminated) Continental - Diamond Fibre Co., Newark, DE
Cellulak Cellulose Acetate (sheets, rods, tubes) Irvington Varnish & Insulator Co., Irvington, NJ
Celluloid Pyroxylin (sheets, rods, tubes) Celluloid Corp., New York, NY
Cetec Cold Molded General Electric Co., Pittsfield, MA
Charmour Cellulose Acetate (sheets) Celluloid Corp., New York, NY
Cibanite Aniline) Ciba Co., Ind., New York, NY
Cibanoid Urea (molding) Ciba Co., Ind., New York, NY
Clair de Lune Cellulose Acetate (sheets) Celluloid Corp., New York, NY
Cloisonette Pyroxylin (sheets, rods, tubes) Celluloid Corp., New York, NY
Colasta Phenolic (molding compound) Colasta Co., Inc., Hoosick Falls, NY
Coltrock Phenolic Colt's Patent Fire Arms Mfg. Co., Harford, CT
Coltstone Cold Molded Colt's Patent Fire Arms Mfg. Co., Harford, CT
Co-ORal-ite Phenolic (dentures) Co-ORal Dental Mfg. Co., Santa Monica, CA
Crystalite Acrylic (molding compound) Rohm & Haas Co., Inc., Philadelphia, PA
Cumar Cumarone-indene (rubber coatings) Barrett Co., New York, NY
Dilecto Phenolic (laminated) Continental - Diamond Fibre Co., Newark, DE
DilectoUF Urea (laminated) Continental - Diamond Fibre Co., Newark, DE


I haven't finished the list yet - maybe it's not important, since this is more of an example to show the extent of the plastics industry already in 1939 and why catagorizing is difficult...
Some interesting reading on early plastics...
Bakelite: Mystery, History & Facts - by Brad Elfrink (archived) One of the best articles I've found - a must read!
Pre-War Plastics
Catalin Corner
Bakelite's 100 year Anniversary on NPR's "All Things Considered" July 13, 2007
Bakelite: A History of Bakelite Jewelry
San Diego Plastics, Inc. - History and info
Catalin Plastics






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