Thursday, February 24, 2011

Pretty Rainbow of Plaskon Plastics : 1930's to the 1950's

Plaskon : Molded Color
1940 ad
How I wish I was alive in the 1940's and 1950's to see all this beautiful plastic.  Plaskon, a urea-formaldehyde molding compound (essentially a would-be rival to Cyanamid's Melmac), was used to mold coffee pot handles, stove knobs, beauty and cosmetic containers, industrial plastics, electrical channels, switches, socket plate components, picnic plastics, toys, advertising premiums, displays, and perhaps the most popular two of all in my opinion, radio covers and clock housings.   (Both of which certainly hold their place in value among collectors today!)  Take special note the old time service-ticket writing pad you see in the upper right of the ad above.  Probably when you went to get your car serviced, or ordered something special at the hardware store.  

Before the 1940's
RYDER offers this great 1937 ad for only $6.99.
Plaskon's use of urea dates back to 1931.  The company originated from the inner workings of the Toledo Scale Company , (Toledo Synthetic Products Company.) By 1934 their "molded color" brochures were everywhere, although I find it odd to see so much off white and ivory plaskon pieces floating around.  Is this because people are coveting the colors?  By 1937 Plaskon was making housings and specialty boxes for the Gruen watch company and even ring boxes (see ad above).  I have some old packaging Encyclopedias, and they were always proud to show off their new housings.
Gorgeous Plaskon Radio Courtesy of DecorRadios, which is unknown origin circa 1938. You really must visit this site to see all the gorgeous Plaskon radios and learn about them.

In 1939, they produced this strange oddity:
Guess what this is?

Dab-Ette Plaskon Perfume Bottle from RareTodd

This item is a real steal in RareTodd's shop, it's actually an art deco bullet style vintage perfume bottle.  It soaked up the perfume via the cord and you could "dab" it on (hence the Dab-ette name.)  I did ample research* and here's what I found:  This was distributed in chain stores in 1939. (Note chain store, and not dime store!) One of the distributors "B AND F SPECIALTIES" of  Cleveland, Ohio, proudly announced: 

Miss Dab-Ette, a purse size perfume applicator, which is a non-leakable non-breakable plastic cartridge. It can be filled with the purchaser's favorite odor. "

1939, Colors of handles and knobs and industrial parts!

Plaskon : Lives On
Much past the glorious forties and fun fifties, Plaskon would live on. In fact in melmac dish land, Plaskon was being used as an alternative to Cyanamid's Melmac molding powders, but that is another story.

Plaskon Info: 

Gorgeous Plaskon Radios on Deco Radio's Plaskon Page here.

Complete Plaskon History and early Toledo Scale Pictures in this book preview of American Plastic: A Cultural History by Jefferey Meikle.

You can see old radios and learn how to "test for Plaskon" (?)  here.

*Chain Store Age, Volume 15, 1939

Post a Comment

Leave a comment, thanks and if you like this blog please share!