PhotoHunt: PLASTIC

What's the first thing you think of when you hear the word "plastic"? Is it that plastic we use to make purchases and run up debts, i.e. credit cards? Or plastic bags? Or plastic baby bottles?

Or what about Joan Rivers and PLASTIC surgery?

flickr photo by PHOTOFLUSA

I found lots of plastic in the hospital this week.

These two dispensers - one for paper towels and one for soap - are made at least partially of PLASTIC.

If you've ever been a patient in a hospital, you've probably had one of these pink PLASTIC pitchers.

I don't even know what all of this equipment is, but there's a lot of PLASTIC involved!

There's plastic just about everywhere in our daily lives. Look at all of these plastics, ranging from nylon and spandex in hose to Teflon in cookware, from jewelry and eyeglasses to pill bottles.

Here's what research turned up:

The first human-made plastic was invented by Alexander Parkes in 1855, then introduced at the 1862 World’s Fair in London; he called this plastic Parkesine. . . .It was a synthetic replacement for ivory.

The first truly synthetic plastic was invented by Leo Baekeland - a Belgium chemist living in New York. Baekeland was already very rich as he had invented the first commercially successful photographic paper and sold it to George Eastman in 1898 for $1 million. With such money, Baekeland could engage himself in whatever research he decided to do.

In 1905, he found that when he combined formaldehyde and phenol, he produced a material that bound all types of powders together. He called this material Bakelite - after himself - and it was the first thermosetting plastic in the world. This was a material that once it set hard would not soften under heat. It had so many uses and so many potential uses, that it was called "the material of a thousand uses".

Bakelite was water and solvent resistant; could be used as an electrical insulator; was rock hard but could be cut by a knife and was used in 78 rpm records and telephones.

New plastics were invented such as neoprene in 1932, polythene in 1933 and Perspex in 1934.

One of the most famous wholly synthetic fibres was invented in 1938 at the cost of $10 million - nylon. In the first year of its creation, nylon went into toothbrush bristles and nylon stockings; 64 million pairs of stockings were made in 1938 alone. Nylon was also used by the military in World War Two for gearing wheels in vehicles and parachute cords.

Plastic as a whole was very important in World War II. ‘Plane cockpits were made of Perspex, polythene was used in insulate radar and plastic was used to make synthetic rubber for tires.

More modern plastics include Teflon (used in non-stick pans), lycra (used initially in sports wear), Dacron (crease and rot-resistant material used in sailing and tents). All these have a background in the work done by Baekeland and his Bakelite.

To see other entries in this week's PhotoHunt, click here.


NitWit1 said...

Glad to visit your site and see all the plastic used in hospital setting. I'm acquainted with a lot of it as a patient and also medical professional.

Thanks for stopping by to see me.

Tara R. said...

The Joan Rivers photo made me laugh, lots of plastic there. Interesting backstory. Fun set this week.

Digital Polaroids said...

Hahhahaha, good collection of plastic!


PowersTwinB said...

Great informative post...and I too laughed out loud when I saw Joan Rivers photo! I always had wished i was a collector of Bakelite....Such pretty things from then! I saw a purse one time, it was very expensive, but oh, how I craved that purse! Thanks for visiting my hunt today! I appreciated your visit

RJ Flamingo said...

Loved your lead-off Joan Rivers pic!:-) Great post, Sherry!

Thanks for stopping by!

The Social Frog said...

Wow, lots of pictures and lots of plastic! Great shots.

Carver said...

You did a great job with this theme. Very informative post and I also had to laugh at the pic of Joan Rivers. Too funny.

Alice Audrey said...

Joan Rivers! LOL!!!!!

YTSL said...

As I wrote in my entry: plastic is everywhere! ;b

jam said...

Plastic surgery is a nice one, haha!

srp said...

I loved knowing the history... great job... and that plastic surgery... I thought of that too.... but, I don't know anyone who has had it...yet!
Mine is up here.

Charlotte Hamrick said...

So funny....I thought of Joan Rivers too! Love ur post.

Teena in Toronto said...

I hate what Joan's done to herself!

I played too :)

Upcountrysmiles said...

Aloha Sherry:)

Very cute..hehehehe!!! Thank you for visiting:)

Cindy O

Mariposa said...

LOL @ the first photos!

And thanks for sharing with the other hospital stuff...

Anonymous said...

A comprehensive overview. I am typing this on plastic looking at a plasctic screen... I won't go on.

What cameras do you have? email me, it is in the Profile.

Sandra said...

A great selection of pictures showing plastic, I liked the first one:). I have learned something new today, thank you for sharing the interesting story.

CherryPie said...

Nice selection of plastic shots for the theme :-)

Anonymous said...

Now you've got me looking through my refrigerator.......everything is plastic!!

Leslie said...

Wow - that's a comprehensive lot of plastics for this week - really good! :)

Syd said...

You've got the research bug Sherry. Good for you. Interesting stuff that one can find about various topics on the web. Yes, and all that plastic sticks around for eons which is why it's important to recycle.

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