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1930s Bakelite Box


A striking 1930s Bakelite box with a hinged lid applied with a press-moulded modernist motif. Its stepped and streamlined rounded edges make it a good example of early twentieth century Art Deco influenced Modernism. As a design principle Modernism promoted sleek, clean lines and eliminated decorative additions that were purely for the sake of embellishment. It was a new world that took its forms from technology, factories, practicality and usefulness. Form certainly follows function in the design and material that was used to make this box.

History of Bakelite

In 1909, Belgian chemist Leo Baekland created the first entirely synthetic plastic, calling it Bakelite. Its properties were revolutionary for it was resistant to heat and didn’t conduct electricity, making it really good insulator, and therefore particularly useful to the automotive and electrical industries emerging at the time. Lightweight and durable; sleek and stylish; affordable and convenient; it could also be moulded into every shape imaginable; and the 1920s and 30s saw Bakelite embrace modernism, where it was used in jewelry, lamps, desk sets, clocks, radios, telephones, kitchenware, and all manner of everyday objects – such as this wonderfully serene looking bowl.

Year of manufacture: c.1930

Origin: England 

Material: ox-blood and brown mottled Bakelite

Length 19cm Height 5cm Depth 9cm

Condition: excellent - no chips or cracks, all perfect