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Bakelite: The Movie

All Things Bakelite, a documentary about the world’s first plastic, comes to multiple digital platforms worldwide June 29.

Rick Lingle

May 25, 2021

For plastics aficionados and others, the movie you’ve been waiting for arrives next month.

It tells the story of Leo Baekeland, who in 1907 changed the world forever. Baekeland was a Belgian-American chemist best known for the invention of Velox photographic paper in 1893. That is, until 1907, when he invented Bakelite, an inexpensive, nonflammable, and versatile synthetic polymer that marked the beginning of the modern plastics industry. Bakelite was used to manufacture electrical insulators, radios, telephone casings, and many household appliances.

Bakelite has never gone out of style and is used in automotive and aerospace applications, construction materials and more. In recent years the "retro" appeal of old Bakelite products such as kitchenware, jewelry, and pipe stems has made them collectible.

Few inventions have been as influential as Bakelite.

In partnership with Bitmax, Executive Producer Hugh Karraker is bringing his great-grandfather Leo Baekeland’s story to life through director John Maher. All Things Bakelite will be released worldwide in several languages June 29 on multiple digital streaming platforms. These include iTunes, Apple TV, Google Play, YouTube, and VUDU. The film celebrates Baekeland's genius, Bakelite, and other plastics, yet does not shy away from confronting plastic pollution.

Before viewing the movie next month, we suggest you get some popcorn — preferably the ready-to-eat form available in flexible packaging made of plastic — and enjoy.

The website is All Things Bakelite.

About the Author(s)

Rick Lingle

Senior Technical Editor, Packaging Digest and PlasticsToday

Rick Lingle is Senior Technical Editor, Packaging Digest and PlasticsToday. He’s been a packaging media journalist since 1985 specializing in food, beverage and plastic markets. He has a chemistry degree from Clarke College and has worked in food industry R&D for Standard Brands/Nabisco and the R.T. French Co. Reach him at [email protected] or 630-481-1426.

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