Q: I found this piece of Bakelite and I've never seen anything like it. It looks like it was put together with many different colored pieces of Bakelite and it wasn't "finished" as there is lots of excess all around the edge. The thing that caught my attention was I've seen a lot of Bakelite but never anything that said "BAKELITE" on it with the infinity symbol. I thought maybe this was an end of day piece but I don't know anything about the factory process at Bakelite. Any idea what it might be? It's 4 inches across.
A: "End of Day" is a term usually used by glass collectors for pieces that were made at the end of the day from the leftovers of the various batches of colored glass. Some people use it to refer to multicolored pieces of Bakelite, but since your piece is marked, it was probably made as an advertising item to show the various colors available. The process for making Bakelite was discovered by Leo H. Baekeland (1863-1944), a Belgian immigrant living in Yonkers, New York, in 1907. The first public announcement of his invention was in 1909. Baekeland founded the General Bakelite Co. in 1910 and it became the Bakelite Corporation in 1922. The company advertised Bakelite as "The Material of a Thousand Uses" and the mathematical symbol for infinity was used as a mark. Bakelite has been used in everything from electrical and industrial applications to game pieces, jewelry, radios, tableware, telephones, and other items. The Bakelite Corporation became part of Union Carbide and Carbon Corporation in 1939.