SAGINAW, MICH. A major Bakelite collection, ``Heat and Pressure 100 Years of Bakelite,'' is on display at Castle Museum in Saginaw to mark Leo Hendrik Baekeland's invention of Bakelite in 1907.
The exhibit runs through Feb. 15.
Hugh Karraker, a great-grandson of Baekeland, teamed with Dutch photographer and film producer Reindert Groot to bring Groot's Bakelite collection to the United States. Before coming to the Saginaw museum, the items were on display at a museum in Redding, Conn., where Karraker lives.
The exhibit features more than 300 American and European objects from Groot, the Baekeland family collection, the Yonkers [New York] Historical Society and New York jewelry designer Jorge Caicedo.
A native of Ghent, Belgium, Baekeland moved to New York in the 1880s. He filed his famous ``heat and pressure'' patent July 13, 1907.
Before Bakelite, plastics came from natural materials, like shellac, gutta-percha, and cellulose nitrate. But Bakelite, a phenol-formaldehyde, was the first truly synthetic plastic and fed a growing demand, first as a superior insulator for America's electrical and automotive industries, and then for stylish Art Deco products such as radios, jewelry and ink pens.
The Saginaw exhibit also includes products that are still being made today of related thermoset resins like melamine and urea-formaldehyde.
The Castle Museum's executive director, Irene Hensinger, said the museum is hosting another major exhibit a display of Pulitzer Prize-winning photographs from 1942 through 2007, which runs from Dec. 5 through March 31. The photos are from the Newseum in Washington.