Wednesday, September 8, 2010



1284 – First recorded mention of The Horners Company of London, with
horn and tortoiseshell as the predominant early natural plastic.1823 –
Macintosh uses rubber gum to waterproof cotton and the ‘mac’ is born

1845 – Bewley designs extruder for gutta percha

1850 - First submarine telegraph cable in gutta percha laid between
Dover and Calais

1862 – Display of Parkesine, predecessor of celluloid (cellulose
nitrate), at the 1862 Great International Exhibition in London

1872 – Hyatt brothers patented first plastics injection moulding machine

1885 – George Eastman Kodak patents machine for producing continuous
photographic film based on cellulose nitrate.

1880 – Fashion for long hair leads to cellulose nitrate replacing horn
as the preferred material for combs

1890 – Thermoforming introduced and used to make babies rattles from
cellulose nitrate

1892 – Viscose silk (rayon) developed by Cross and Bevan  (Chardonnet Silk)

1898 – Beginning of mass production of rpm gramophone records from shellac

1899 - Krische and Spittler in Germany awarded patent for Casein
Plastic from milk. Artefacts introduced at the Plastics Universal
Exhibition in 1900

1909 – Casein plastics, derived from milk, developed by Erinoid.

1910 – stockings made of viscose (CA) begin to be manufactured in Germany

1915 – Queen Mary sees casein products at the British Industries Fair
and orders several pieces of jewellery made from it

1916 – Rolls Royce begins to use phenol formaldehyde in its car
interiors and boasts about it

1919 – Eichengrun produce first cellulose acetate moulding powder

1921 – Beginning of rapid growth of phenolic mouldings especially for
electrical insulation, with addition of phenolic laminates in 1930

1922 – Staudinger publishes his work that recognises that plastics are
composed of long chain molecules – leading to Nobel prize in 1935

1924 – Rossiter at British Cyanide develops urea thiourea formaldehyde
resins, subsequently commercialised as the first water white
transparent thermosetting moulding powder.

1926 – Harrods hosts first display of new coloured thermosetting
plastic tableware produced by Brookes and Adams, The Streetly
Manufacturing Company and Thomas De La Rue and Co.

1926 – Eckert and Ziegler patent first commercial modern plastics
injection moulding machine.

1929 – Bakelite Ltd receives its largest ever order for phenolic
moulding powder for the casing of the Siemens telephone

1930 – ‘Scotch’ tape, the first transparent sticky tape invented in US
by 3M Company

1932 – Screw per-plasticisation in injection moulding patented

1933 - BPF founded

1933 – Fawcett and Gibson at ICI discover polyethylene

1933 – Crawford at ICI develops first commercial synthesis of
poly(methyl methacrylate)

1935 – Troester in Germany produce first extruder designed for thermoplastics.

1935 – Carothers and DuPont patent nylon

1936 - First production of aircraft canopies made from ‘Perspex’.

1937 - Columbo and Pasquetti in Italy produce first twin screw extruder machine

1937 – First commercial production of polystyrene by IG Farben, Germany

1938 – Full scale production of nylon 6 fibre begins in United States

1938 – First toothbrush with nylons tufts manufactured

1938 – Plunkett (DuPont) discovers PTFE

1939 – First commercial production of polyethylene in UK by ICI

1939 - Outbreak of war – strategic stockpiles, plastics in war

1940s - Use of polyethylene in radar

1940 – First production of PVC in UK

1940 – DuPont introduces polyacrylonitrile (PAN), an early engineering product

1941 – Whinfield and Dickson, of the Calico Printer's Association of
Manchester, patent "polyethylene terephthalate" (PET); followed by the
creation of the first polyester fiber called Terylene.

1942 – ‘Super Glue’ (methyl cyanoacrylate) first discovered by Dr
Harry Coover, Eastman Kodak

1943 – First pilot plant for polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) ; to be
marketed under trade mark ‘Teflon’

1945 - The production of LDPE the Sqezy bottle by Monsanto caused a
rapid expansion of the industry, with containers produced to replace
glass bottles for shampoos and liquid soaps.

1947 – Formica melamine faced decorative laminates introduced into the UK

1948 – Acrylonitrile-butadiene-
styrene (ABS) produced

1948 – George deMestral invents Velcro, patented in 1955

1948 – Introduction of 12” long playing records made from polyvinyl
chloride (pvc)

1949 – First Airfix self-assembly model produced, made of polystyrene

1949 – High impact polystyrene introduced as a commercial plastic

1949 – Launch in US of Tupperware made from low density polyethylene

1949 – ‘Lycra’ based on polyurethane, invented by DuPont

1950s – the polyethylene bag makes its first appearance

1950s – Introduction of acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) copolymers

1950 - ICI opens new factory at Redcar to produce Terylene

1951 - Festival of Britain

1953 – Commercialisation of polyester fibres introduces the concept of
‘drip dry’ and ‘non-iron’

1954 - Polystyrene foam (introduced by Dow Chemical Co.)

1955 – First production of high density polyethylene in UK

1956 – Reliant Regal 111, first commercially successful all
glass-reinforced-plastic bodied car goes on sale

1956 – Eero Saarinen’s Tulip Chair launched, consisting of seat made
of glass-fibre-reinforced plastic.

1956 – DuPont files patents for first acetals (POM)

1957 – The hoop is reinvented as the Hula Hoop by Knerr & Medlin,
Wham-O Toy Company

1957 – First production of polypropylene by Montecatini using
Ziegler-Natta catalysts

1958 – First production of polycarbonates (Bayer and General Electric)

1958 – Lego patents its stud and block coupling system and produces
toys of cellulose acetate, later Acrylonitrile- butadiene-styrene

1959 – Barbie Doll unveiled by Mattel at American International Toy Fair

Early 1960s – introduction of water based acrylic paints

1960 – Ethylene-vinyl acetate co-polymers launched by DuPont

1962 – DuPont launches polyimide films and varnishes

1962 – Silicone gel breast implants pioneered successfully

1965 - Kevlar® is first developed by DuPont

1966 – Blow moulding of fuel tanks introduced

1967 – Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) ‘Blow’ chair designed by Scolari, De
Pas and Lomazzifor manufactured by Znaotta

1969 – Neil Armstrong plants a nylon flag on the moon.

1970 - First Yellow HDPE pressure pipes for gas introduced into UK by
Wavin/British Gas.

1973 - Polyethylene terephthalate beverage bottles introduced

1976 - Plastics in its great variety of forms becomes the most used
type of material in the world

1977 – Polyaryletheretherketone (PEEK) was first prepared by ICI

1979 – Introduction of first commercial mobile/ portable ‘phones

1979 - First PVC-U double glazed windows installed

 1980 – First production of linear low density polyethylene

1980 - First Blue HDPE pressure pipes for potable water introduced into UK.

1982 – First artificial heart made mainly of polyurethane, introduced
implanted in a human.

1983 – The slim plastic Swatch watch made of 51 mainly plastic components

1983 – ICI and Bayer launch PEEK, PPS (polyphenyene sulphide), and PES
(polyether sulphone)

1987 - BASF in Germany produces a polyacetylene that has twice the
electrical conductivity of copper.

1988 – Introduction of triangular recycling symbols relating to plastics

1989 - First light-emitting polymers (poly-ethyne) discovered in Cambridge

1990 – ICI launches Biopol, the first commercially available
biodegradable plastic

1991 – Dyson’s vacuum cleaner launched in Japan

1994 – Smart car with lightweight flexible integrally coloured
polycarbonate panels introduced

1998 – Free standing Zanussi Oz fridge, with insulation and outer
skins made in one process from polyurethane foam introduced

2000s Nano-Technology applied to  polymer and composit applications

2000 - First commercial metallocene catalysed polyolefins introduced.

2001 - iPod dreamed up by Tony Fadell, an independent inventor,
developed by Apple Computers

2005 – NASA explores the advantages of a polyethylene based material
RFX1, as the material for the spaceship that will send man to Mars

2005 – Polycond project established to look at the potential of
conductive polymers

2008 – Airbus 380, comprising 22% carbon-fibre reinforced plastics
flies into Heathrow

2009 - Boeing 787 (nicknames 'Boeing's Plastic Dream') comes into
service, its skin is made up of 100% Plastic composites with plastic
making up 50% of all materials in the plane

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