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Modernist Bakelite Bowl


A 1930s Bakelite fruit bowl with straight sides and raised foot, and an excellent example of early twentieth century 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 bowl.

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.

Country of origin: UK

Date of manufacture: c.1930

Material: ox blood and mottled brown Bakelite with some tiny white inclusions 

Dimensions: Height 6.5cm, Width 24cm

Condition: excellent condition for its age