Show Notes: Leo Henrik Baekeland (and Bakelite)

Tracy Wilson

A Bakelite pipe depicting Winston Churchill is displayed at Chartwell on January 23, 2015 in Westerham, England. Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Dr. Leo Baekeland, the inventor of the first synthetic plastic, was a wealthy man at a young age thanks to creating a new way to develop photographs. But it was his work with phenol and formaldehyde that would help usher in the age of plastics. That age started a little earlier than either Holly or I realized.

We have listener mail is from Crystal, and another from Waverly.

For more knowledge: How Plastics Work

Episode link: The Father of Plastics

Holly's research:

  • American Chemical Society."The Bakelizer." Nov. 9, 1993. http://www.acs.org/content/dam/acsorg/education/whatischemistry/landmarks/bakelite/the-bakelizer-commemorative-booklet.pdf
  • American Chemical Society. National Historic Chemical Landmarks. "Bakelite: The World's First Synthetic Plastic." http://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/education/whatischemistry/landmarks/bakelite.html
  • Baekeland, Leo. "Leo Baekeland Diary Volume 1." Smithsonian Institution. http://amhistory.si.edu/archives/AC0005_diary_volume_1.pdf
  • Chemical Heritage Foundation. "Leo Hendrik Bakeland." http://www.chemheritage.org/discover/online-resources/chemistry-in-history/themes/petrochemistry-and-synthetic-polymers/synthetic-polymers/baekeland.aspx
  • Flynn, Tom. "Yonkers, Home of the Plastic Age." Yonkers Historical Society. http://www.yonkershistory.org/bake.html
  • Kettering, Charles F. "Biographical Memoir of Leo Hendrik Baekeland, 1863-1944." National Academy of Sciences. 1946. http://www.nasonline.org/publications/biographical-memoirs/memoir-pdfs/baekeland-leo-h.pdf
  • National Museum of American History. "Bakelizer." Smithsonian.http://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/search/object/nmah_622

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