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PHENOLIC RESINS, INITIALLY COMMERCIALIZED in 1909, were the first completely synthetic materials of the burgeoning plastics business. The expansion of several new technologies of the time, namely the electrical, communications, and automotive industries, all required and depended on new materials that had better electrical insulating properties, higher heat resistance, and improved resistance to chemicals, acids, oils, and moisture. The heat-reactive or “resole” resins, developed by Dr. Leo H. Baekeland , were formulated into blends that were convenient for mass production of compression molded parts that satisfied these requirements. Improved and new items, such as coil supports, commutators, distributor heads, telephone sets, vacuum tube bases, radio parts, and electrical switches, all blossomed onto the market within a few years.
Fisher, John D.
Schenectady International, Inc., Pattersonville, NY