American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- Baekeland, Leo Hendrik 1863-1944. Belgian-born American chemist who developed the first plastic to harden permanently after heating.
“SAVAGE GRACE/U.S.A. (Director: Tom Kalin, Screenwriter: Howard A. Rodman) — The true story of the beautiful and charismatic Barbara Daly, who married above her class to Brooks Baekeland, heir to the Bakelite plastics fortune.”
“First, as Baekeland realized, science was no longer limited to trying to make ersatz silk or amber, but could improve on the products of nature.”
“In fact, shellac (which is derived from the shells of rare Asian beetles) was what Baekeland had set out to duplicate, not for its decorative uses but as electrical insulation.”
“However the subject matter, particularly towards the end of this story - based on the real-life tragedy of the Baekeland family - will leave many squirming in their seats.”
“Leo Baekeland perfected (1893) a photographic paper (Velox) sufficiently sensitive to be printed by artificial light.”
“Baekeland next entered the field of electrochemistry and he equipped his private laboratory on the grounds of his home in Yonkers,”
“In 1889, when he was 26, he traveled to New York to continue his study of chemistry; Professor Charles F. Chandler of [[Columbia University]] then persuaded Baekeland to stay in the [[United States of America | United States]]”
“When friends asked Baekeland how he entered the field of synthetic resins, he answered that he had chosen it deliberately, looking for a way to make money.”
“Baekeland began to investigate the reactions of phenol and formaldehyde, and first produced a soluble phenol-formaldehyde shellac called "Novolak," which never became a market success.”
“Baekeland was trying to mimic shellac, a natural polymer secreted by the Asian scale beetle and used at the time to coat electrical wires.”
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