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Few of us have the knowledge of Chemistry to really understand the distinctions between various types of plastics. This knowledge gap is compounded by the compulsion of companies to register trademark names for materials that are basically identical.

"During the 1930s, chemical researchers at DuPont improved existing plastics and invented new ones. In 1931, while investigating alternative uses for its high-pressure technology, chemists in the Ammonia Department discovered the methanol-based methyl methacrylate. Trademarked Lucite®, this tough, clear polymer was among the first plastics derived from petroleum, not nitrocellulose. The polymer’s crystal-clear appearance and its strength were far superior to nitrocellulose-based plastics. Unfortunately for DuPont, the Rohm & Haas Chemical Company discovered methyl methacrylate at about the same time and developed it under the name Plexiglas®. A third player, ICI, developed a more efficient production process. Both DuPont and Rohm & Haas licensed the process and began commercial production in 1936. Lucite®, however, never generated substantial earnings for DuPont. Since it was that company’s primary product, Rohm & Haas was able to commit more resources to Plexiglas® and it consistently undercut DuPont in price. While sales of polymethyl methacrylate dwindled, the Lucite® name lived on.

Lucite® was in heavy demand during World War II for use in windshields, nose cones, and gunner turrets for bombers and fighter planes. After the war, DuPont marketed it for use in a variety of decorative and functional uses, such as lamps, hairbrushes and jewelry." (And, of course, HANDBAGS for the most exceptional kind!)

Categories: Materials

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Page last modified on September 04, 2005, at 09:41 PM