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Sunday, January 27, 2019

Russian Plastics USSR Soviet Bakelite Melamine Melmac

Blue Soviet USSR Bakelite Box
Akbars10 from Estonia on Ebay is selling this Russian / Soviet Box. 

When collecting Melmac some collectors streamline into one "brand" or one type. For instance, perhaps you re hooked on Kaye Lamoyne's designs. You are trying to assemble a set of Color-Flyte by Branchell, and your collection may include other items in that line.  For me, over the years, it's been a pure love of all plastics, and wondering what the rest of the world was doing when America was making so many dishes.  Since the internet has become so widely available in other countries we are now able to answer the question, just what kind of plastics were to be had back then?

Backstamp of Russian Plastics
Backstamp of Russian Plastics from Akbars10 Store.

I recently came across some wonderful and stunning examples of Russian plastics. Now of course, I'm going to post and label them what the sellers have indicated, but in order to call them true Bakelite, melamine, etc, we would have to know the chemical composition and do adequate research on what era and what company.

For sake of accuracy, I'd like to say I am not a plastics expert in USSR Plastics as I do not speak Russian (yet.) I'm still trying to pin down my Italian.  However, I thought that it would behoove us to see how the other side of the world lived.

Gorgeous Russian Bakelite Box

Gorgeous Russian Bakelite? Plastic Box from PIXSTOCK on Etsy.

The Bakelite Boxes

The box up top is listed as Bakelite but it appears to be a type of hard plastic boudoir box, and I found other examples on Etsy that follow. Although the plastic looks to be thick, I am unsure if it is indeed the Bakelite we know having been produced and invented by Leo Baekeland .   I will state many old plastics encyclopedias I have read and Plastics Society books do have some of the founding members having been of international origin,  some with  Czech or German heritage (example: Hans Wanders.)  Therefore, this Russian blend of plastic may indeed be made with their version of Bakelite.

uk bakelite box with deer

You can see this pretty deer on this box from Etsy shop Bazoor.

I also find it curious that animals are subject matter of most of the pretty boxes I have found.  Deer, horses and animals adorn the boxes. I wonder if these were made for trinkets, jewelry, or originally held talcum powder or shaving soaps? I am lost in translation, but I can say that if you look closely you can see the discoloration in the photograph of the creamy plastic turning more yellow. This could mean that it is indeed Bakelite!

vintage plastics russia
Another box from Bazoor, circa 1960's. 

You may also like: 

bakelite checkers from Etsy, made in USSR

bakelite checkers from Etsy, made in USSR offered at Antique Soviet

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