Erinoid Plastic Samples

Contributed by Museum in the Park

The first plastic was cellulose nitrate developed in the mid-19th Century

Casein plastic was made in Stroud for about 70 years from 1912.It would be difficult to imagine a life without plastic. The first plastic was cellulose nitrate developed in the mid-19th Century, which was popular for collars and cuffs. The second was casein hardened with formaldehyde and patented in Britain in 1911. Casein plastic was made under the trade name "Erinoid" at Lightpill Mills in Stroud for about 70 years from 1912. Unlike the later plastics such as Bakelite, Casein plastic could be dyed in many bright colours. It could withstand the rigours of washing and ironing, dry cleaning solvents etc and became popular for buttons and other household goods. It was eventually replaced by oil-based plastics for most uses but is still made today on a small scale for high quality goods.

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