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I love this yellow butterscotch bakelite hat pin! It’s carved in the pretty geometric art deco shape and is in fabulous condition.

My Hat Pin Collection

The Bakelite

Bakelite was invented in 1907 by Dr. Leo Hendrik Baekeland, a Belgian chemist, known as the “Father of Plastics”. Baekeland’s bakelite was made of phenol and formaldehyde to combine in a thermosetting resin. Once the resin hardened, it could not be remelted by the application of heat. Bakelite consumption was at its greatest in Europe and the US from the mid-twenties to about 1950. Bakelite comes in an array of dazzling colors, which is one of the reasons it became so popular. There were a number of items made from bakelite, such as pot handles, egg beaters, spatulas, bowls, dishes, and cups used for domestic purposes. Bakelite was also used for electronics, such as radios, phonographs and televisions. Shaver handles were also made out of bakelite, toothbrushes, buttons , telephones, alarm clocks, barrettes, toothbrushes, etc. Bakelite jewelry was originally produced as a substitute for more expensive materials, such as coral and ivory. It flourished widely during the Jazz Age of the twenties and thirties. Exotic floral and geometric patterns in the Art Deco style were popular. Bakelite was dramatically combined with rhinestones, metal, glass, or wood in the early thirties. Bakelite could be found in the most prestigious department stores around the world, including Saks of New York, Harrods of London, and the Galleries Lafayette in Paris. In 1935 it was estimated that two-thirds of all costume jewelry was made from bakelite. Bakelite jewelry included, brooches, necklaces, bracelets, compacts, purse frames, and Scottie dogs due to the President of the time, Franklin D. Roosevelt; also belt buckles, cufflinks, rings, dress clips and earrings. Some of the bakelite jewelry was beautifully, intricately, and heavily carved by hand, while others had a smooth surface.


Art Deco Hat Pins

"Le Chapeau Epingle" by Auguste Renoir

"Le Chapeau Epingle" by Auguste Renoir

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