One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An early form of brittle plastic, typically dark brown, made from formaldehyde and phenol, used chiefly for electrical equipment.
- ‘The first synthetic polymer, called Bakelite (a polymer made from phenol and formaldehyde) was invented by Leo Baekeland in 1907.’
- ‘Also, items made of the wartime plastic-like Bakelite material had passed the underwater test of time in very good condition.’
- ‘He is, after all, talking into a heavy, black, old, Bakelite telephone handset, with a thick coiled cord leading into his pocket.’
- ‘The first synthetic polymer produced by a condensation reaction was Bakelite.’
- ‘For example, the major raw material of Bakelite is coal tar, which was a waste product from the making of coke from coal.’
Early 20th century: named after Leo H. Baekeland (1863–1944), the Belgian-born American chemist who invented it, + -ite.
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