Tag: Bakelit

Things

Things have a museum of their own, the “Museum der Dinge / Werkbundarchiv“, and I will not explain what the Werkbund was. Currently there is an exhibition of “Evil things“, until January 2010, don’t miss the photo gallery at the bottom of the page, and if you have some spare time in Berlin go to the Oranienstrasse 25. 
Man creates things and wants them to last. Stone crumbles sooner or later, wood may burn or rot away, most artifacts from metal are remelted, that’s why no Southamerican silver or gold works survived but Spanish dublonzes still litter the European museums.
BUT we have plastics. 
Un-rottable, made for eternity. When Leo H. Baekeland invented a new material, had it patented and started the Age of plastics by founding a company to make money from it in 1910, he well believed that his “Bakelit” would last.
But it does not. Bakelit is a collector’s item today and several museums are specialized in it, f.e. Kierspe, or this virtual museum here. Bakelit is not made for eternity, and collectors describe practices for preserving objects.
As already mentioned the problem is not limited to this resin, other artificial materials are targeted as well.  The Vitra Design Museum explains the difficulties here, it is a problem for collections throughout Europe and the world.