Victor Keen Bethany Mission Gallery
  CATALIN RADIOS
 
 

In 1927 The American Catalin Corporation took over patents for the Bakelite resin casting process, then in 1928 secured importing rights to a German resin dye formula. Catalin then began to manufacture its plastics in a process that differed from the original Bakelite plastics processing method, which used additives and fillers creating an inferior and weaker plastic. Catalin instead poured the resin into molds in its initial liquid state, eliminating the fillers and additives, and cured the molds in ovens at varying temperatures over a period of days. The results are noticeable in the thicker plastics, brighter colors, and a smooth polished surface that may seem oily to the touch.

The period in which Catalin plastics development occurred was a bright and positive era that saw technological marvels such as the automobile and airplane. Much of the design of this period was under the influence of the Art Deco movement, an artistic style of confident sweeping lines and thrusting angles. As the radio became a popular household item during this era, manufacturers such as Catalin recognized that style dictated purchase. Catalin’s production saw a peak in the decades before World War II with production slowing greatly during the war effort; after the war they resumed with a more limited production. During their peak the Catalin Radio came in all sizes, shapes, styles, and colors making them an interesting and fun item to find and collect.


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