Fun Fact Friday – Who Invented Plastic?

On July 21, 2017 | by Formtech | in Blog, Featured News, Uncategorized

Colorful plastic beads demonstrate color flexibilty with plastic materials

                                      Plastic Beads Demonstrate the Color Flexibility Plastic Provides

Plastics have become such an important part of our lives that we take most everyday plastic items for granted. Items can be from plastic extrusion, injection molding, blow molding, rotational molding, and even from 3D printing. Rather than try to list the countless items made from plastics, just take a look within ten feet of you, and find ten items made from plastic. As I am setting at my desk writing this blog, I am looking at an orange plastic highlighter, a set of iPhone ear buds, a plastic calculator, scissors with plastic handles, my computer keyboard, the plastic top of my stapler, a plastic cap to my pen, the plastic cover on my phone, a remote and my trusty plastic ruler. I am sure I could find more; I have a pretty messy desk….

Plastics touch us in so many ways in our lives, it is inconceivable to imagine life without them. In fact, technology is advancing to the point that plastics can be used to save lives. Click here to read more about innovation and a new artificial heart (BiVACOR) that can beat forever with innovative use of plastics.

Colorful Lego Blocks can be used to build almost anything you can image

       Lego Blocks Manufactured from ABS

Development of plastic material through the years created opportunities for custom plastic extrusion companies to develop building materials such as vinyl windows, vinyl siding and PVC pipe that outperform other products, in most cases at a more competitive price than the products they replace. But where did all this start? According to the history books the first person to create a man-made plastic compound was Mr. Alexander Parkes, from Birmingham, England. Mr. Parkes was an inventor with 66 patents, and was educated in the field of metallurgy. It was around 1850 when he started experimenting with nitrocellulose and camphor to make a hard but flexible transparent plastic material he named Parkesine. Unfortunately, he was not successful taking the product to market but this started the plastics revolution. Possibly the most important inventor in the area of plastics was Mr. Leo Baekeland, an American chemist who developed a product he named Bakelite. This material became an almost instant success in the early 1900’s, after a patent was awarded in 1909. By the time Mr. Baekeland passed away in 1944, the industry yearly usage of Bakelite hit 350,000,000 pounds of material in more than 15,000 different parts.

Formtech Enterprises was started in Akron, Ohio by Mr. Dave Turk. Today Formtech has manufacturing facilities in Fairview, PA and Athens, GA that house twenty-two plastic extrusion lines. These extrusion lines are used to manufacture plastic extruded products from a wide variety of materials including ABS, Rigid PVC, Polypropylene (PE), Polypropylene (PE), Flexible PVC, Polycarbonate (PC), Thermoplastic Rubber (TPE, TPE), Recycled Materials and Wood Plastic Composite (WPC) compounds.  Formtech services a wide variety of markets including office furniture, electronics, commercial refrigeration, point of purchase displays and building & construction with custom plastic extrusions.  Give us a call at 614-531-9954 or email at sales@formtech.com for more information or a quotation.