Portrait of Leo Baekeland in 1916
Leo Hendrik Baekeland
November 14, 1863
|Died||February 23, 1944 80) (aged|
Beacon, New York, US
|Known for||Plastics research, Bakelite, Novolac|
|Children|| Jenny Nina Rose Baekeland (October 9, 1890 – 1895) |
George Washington Baekeland (February 8, 1895 – January 31, 1966)
Nina Baekenland (July 22, 1896 – May 19, 1975)
|Awards|| John Scott Medal (1910)|
Willard Gibbs Award (1913)
Perkin Medal (1916)
Franklin Medal (1940)
Leo Hendrik Arthur Baekeland13 for his invention of Bakelite, an inexpensive, nonflammable and versatile plastic, which marked the beginning of the modern plastics industry.(November 14, 1863 – February 23, 1944) was a Belgian chemist. He is best known for the inventions of Velox photographic paper in 1893, and Bakelite in 1907. He has been called "The Father of the Plastics Industry" :
Leo Baekeland was born in Ghent, Belgium, on November 14, 1863,the son of a cobbler, Charles Baekeland, and a house maid, Rosalia Merchie. His siblings were: Elodia Maria Baekeland; Melonia Leonia Baekeland; Edmundus Baekeland; Rachel Helena Baekeland and Delphina Baekeland.
He told The Literary Digest : "The name is a Dutch word meaning 'Land of Beacons.'" 102 to study chemistry at the Ghent University, which he entered in 1880. :13 He acquired a PhD maxima cum laude at the age of 21. :102 After a brief appointment as Professor of Physics and Chemistry at the Government Higher Normal School in Bruges (1887–1889), he was appointed associate professor of chemistry at Ghent University in 1889. :14He spent much of his early life in Ghent, Belgium. Proudly, he graduated with honours from the Ghent Municipal Technical School and was awarded a scholarship by the City of Ghent :
Baekeland married Céline Swarts(1889-1944) on August 8, 1889, and they had two children. One of their grandsons, Brooks (whose father was George Washington Baekeland) married the model Barbara Daly a.k.a. Barbara Daly Baekeland in 1942 and had one child, a boy named Anthony Tony" Baekeland.
In 1889, Baekeland and his wife Céline took advantage of a travel scholarship to visit universities in England and the United States. 178 :14 They visited New York City, where he met Professor Charles F. Chandler of Columbia University and Richard Anthony, of the E. and H.T. Anthony photographic company. Professor Chandler was influential in convincing Baekeland to stay in the United States. Baekeland had already invented a process to develop photographic plates using water instead of other chemicals, which he had patented in Belgium in 1887; :13 :127–129 Anthony saw potential in the young chemist and offered him a job. :130:
Baekeland worked for the Anthony company for two years, and in 1891 set up in business for himself working as a consulting chemist. 130 However, a spell of illness and disappearing funds made him rethink his actions and he decided to return to his old interest of producing a photographic paper that would allow enlargements to be printed by artificial light. After two years of intensive effort he perfected the process to produce the paper, which he named "Velox"; it was the first commercially successful photographic paper. At the time the US was suffering a recession and there were no investors or buyers for his proposed new product, so Baekeland became partners with Leonard Jacobi and established the Nepera Chemical Company in Nepera Park, Yonkers, New York. :131–135:
In 1899, Jacobi, Baekeland, and Albert Hahn, a further associate, sold Nepera to George Eastman of the Eastman Kodak Co. for $750,000. 134–136Baekeland earned approximately $215,000 net through the transaction. :
With a portion of the money he purchased "Snug Rock", a house in Yonkers, New York, where he set up his own well-equipped laboratory. There, he later said, "in comfortable financial circumstances, a free man, ready to devote myself again to my favorite studies... I enjoyed for several years that great blessing, the luxury of not being interrupted in one's favorite work."
One of the requirements of the Nepera sale was, in effect, a non-compete clause: Baekeland agreed not to do research in photography for at least 20 years. He would have to find a new area of research. His first step was to go to Germany in 1900, for a "refresher in electrochemistry" at the Technical Institute at Charlottenburg. 14:
Upon returning to the United States, Baekeland was involved briefly but successfully in helping Clinton Paul Townsend and Elon Huntington Hooker to develop a production-quality electrolytic cell. Baekeland was hired as an independent consultant, with the responsibility of constructing and operating a pilot plant. 138–139 Baekeland developed a stronger diaphragm cell for the chloralkali process, using woven asbestos cloth filled with a mixture of iron oxide, asbestos fibre and iron hydroxide. Baekeland's improvements were important to the founding of Hooker Chemical Company and the construction of one of the world's largest electrochemical plants, at Niagara Falls.:
Having been successful with Velox, Baekeland set out to find another promising area for chemical development. As he had done with Velox, he looked for a problem that offered "the best chance for the quickest possible results". 115 Baeyer's student, Werner Kleeberg, experimented with phenol and formaldehyde in 1891, but as Baekeland noted "could not crystallize this mess, nor purify it to constant composition, nor in fact do anything with it once produced".Asked why he entered the field of synthetic resins, Baekeland answered that his intention was to make money. By the 1900s, chemists had begun to recognize that many of the natural resins and fibers were polymeric, a term introduced in 1833 by Jöns Jacob Berzelius. Adolf von Baeyer had experimented with phenols and formaldehydes in 1872, particularly Pyrogallol and benzaldehyde. He created a "black guck" which he considered useless and irrelevant to his search for synthetic dyes. :
Baekeland began to investigate the reactions of phenol and formaldehyde. 144–145He familiarized himself with previous work and approached the field systematically, carefully controlling and examining the effects of temperature, pressure and the types and proportions of materials used. :
The first application that appeared promising was the development of a synthetic replacement for shellac (made from the secretion of lac beetles). Baekeland produced a soluble phenol-formaldehyde shellac called "Novolak" but concluded that its properties were inferior. It never became a big market success, but still exists as Novolac.
Baekeland continued to explore possible combinations of phenol and formaldehyde, intrigued by the possibility that such materials could be used in molding. By controlling the pressure and temperature applied to phenol and formaldehyde, he produced his dreamed-of hard moldable plastic: Bakelite.Bakelite was made from phenol, then known as carbolic acid, and formaldehyde. The chemical name of Bakelite is polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride. In compression molding, the resin is generally combined with fillers such as wood or asbestos, before pressing it directly into the final shape of the product. Baekeland's process patent for making insoluble products of phenol and formaldehyde was filed in July 1907, and granted on December 7, 1909. In February 1909 Baekeland officially announced his achievement at a meeting of the New York section of the American Chemical Society.
In 1917 Baekeland became a professor by special appointment at Columbia University. 87 The Smithsonian contains documents from the County of West Chester Court House in White Plains, NY, indicating that he was admitted to U. S. Citizenship on December 16, 1919.:
In 1922, after patent litigation favorable to Baekeland, the General Bakelite Co., which he had founded in 1910, along with the Condensite Co. founded by Aylesworth, and the Redmanol Chemical Products Company founded by Lawrence V. Redman, were merged into the Bakelite Corporation.
The invention of Bakelite marks the beginning of the age of plastics.Bakelite was the first plastic invented that retained its shape after being heated. Radios, telephones and electrical insulators were made of Bakelite because of its excellent electrical insulation and heat-resistance. Soon its applications spread to most branches of industry.
Baekeland received many awards and honors, including the Perkin Medal in 1916 and the Franklin Medal in 1940.In 1978 he was posthumously inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame at Akron, Ohio.
At Baekeland's death in 1944, the world production of Bakelite was ca. 175,000 tons, and it was used in over 15,000 different products. He held more than 100 patents,including processes for the separation of copper and cadmium, and for the impregnation of wood.
As Baekeland grew older he became more eccentric, entering fierce battles with his son and presumptive heir over salary and other issues. He sold the General Bakelite Company to Union Carbide in 1939 and, at his son's prompting, he retired. He became a recluse, eating all of his meals from cans and becoming obsessed with developing an immense tropical garden on his winter estate in Coconut Grove, Florida.He died of a stroke in a sanatorium in Beacon, New York, in 1944. Baekeland is buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Sleepy Hollow, New York.
Bakelite or polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride was the first plastic made from synthetic components. It is a thermosetting phenol formaldehyde resin, formed from a condensation reaction of phenol with formaldehyde. It was developed by the Belgian-American chemist Leo Baekeland in Yonkers, New York, in 1907.
Petrochemicals are the chemical products obtained from petroleum by refining. Some chemical compounds made from petroleum are also obtained from other fossil fuels, such as coal or natural gas, or renewable sources such as maize, palm fruit or sugar cane.
Celluloids are a class of materials produced by mixing nitrocellulose and camphor, often with added dyes and other agents. Once much more common, celluloid's common contemporary uses are table tennis balls, musical instruments, combs, office equipment, and guitar picks.
Sir James Swinburne, 9th Baronet, FRS was a British electrical engineer and manufacturer. He was born in Inverness in 1858 into a well-known Northumbrian family. Educated at Clifton College, he went to work at a locomotive works in Manchester and later to a Tyneside firm where he became interested in electrical work. Often called the "Father of British Plastics", Swinburne revolutionized the plastics industry throughout Europe and his native Britain.
The year 1909 in science and technology involved some significant events, listed below.
Phenol formaldehyde resins (PF) or phenolic resins are synthetic polymers obtained by the reaction of phenol or substituted phenol with formaldehyde. Used as the basis for Bakelite, PFs were the first commercial synthetic resins (plastics). They have been widely used for the production of molded products including billiard balls, laboratory countertops, and as coatings and adhesives. They were at one time the primary material used for the production of circuit boards but have been largely replaced with epoxy resins and fiberglass cloth, as with fire-resistant FR-4 circuit board materials.
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Fibre-reinforced plastic (FRP) is a composite material made of a polymer matrix reinforced with fibres. The fibres are usually glass, carbon, aramid, or basalt. Rarely, other fibres such as paper, wood, or asbestos have been used. The polymer is usually an epoxy, vinyl ester, or polyester thermosetting plastic, though phenol formaldehyde resins are still in use.
A calixarene is a macrocycle or cyclic oligomer based on a hydroxyalkylation product of a phenol and an aldehyde.
Polymer science or macromolecular science is a subfield of materials science concerned with polymers, primarily synthetic polymers such as plastics and elastomers. The field of polymer science includes researchers in multiple disciplines including chemistry, physics, and engineering.
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Plastics are a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic materials, that use polymers as a main ingredient. The plasticity during production makes it possible for plastic to be moulded, extruded or pressed into solid objects of various shapes, making it an adaptable material for many different uses. This adaptability, plus a wide range of beneficial properties, such as being light weight, durable and flexible, alongside cheap production processes has led to widespread adoption in contemporary society. Plastics typically are made through human industrial systems. Most modern plastics are derived from fossil fuel based petrochemicals like natural gas or petroleum; however, recent industrial methods use variants made from renewable materials such as derivatives of corn or cotton.
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Nick Manoloff (1898-1969) was a manufacturer of steels/tone bars for stringed instruments to use for the method of steel guitar, an arranger and author of instrument method books and sheet music, and a distributor of musical supplies and publications.
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|Awards and achievements|
Seymour Parker Gilbert
| Cover of Time Magazine |
September 22, 1924