Monday, November 30, 2015
Double-Cut in Red
BAKELITE: A Short-Lived History
The industrial use of Bakelite is a vanished art. Gone are the days of Bakelite clocks and radios and swanky cigarette holders. And buttons too. When Bakelite was discontinued, a lot of household items lost their "Jazz Age" aesthetic. As cheaper types of plastic (i.e. celluloid and lucite) replaced Bakelite in the 1940's, the Art Deco movement drew to a close and the importance of "style" waned in favor of "functionalism." What we have today is an endless torrent of dreary, affordable schlock. Walmart, anyone?
Imagine working in a button factory in the 1920's or the 30's and the unique output of that time period. The tools and machinery that workers used are what produced this kind of "double-cut" button with a contrasting grid pattern on each side. It's Bakelite and it's hard to find. Needless to say: they don't make buttons like they used to.