Vintage, Retro, and Mid-Century Bakelite Collectibles

Bakelite was one of the first synthetically manufactured plastic materials introduced in the early 20th century. Bakelite has been since been recognized as a National Historical Chemical Landmark. You can find many different types of vintage, retro, and mid-century Bakelite collectibles such as furnishings, jewelry, and light covers.

What are vintage Bakelite collectibles?

After its introduction, Bakelite was heavily used for various applications including automotive, home furnishings, appliances, and vintage carved and molded jewelry and accessories. Manufacturing Bakelite based products for mass retail was temporarily stopped during the onset of World War II when materials were sourced out to the war effort. The introduction of new forms of plastic after the war impacted Bakelite production. Vintage mid-century bangle, bracelet, and other pieces manufactured or crafted from this material are now considered antique collector’s items.

What are the different vintage Bakelite collectibles?

Due to its properties, vintage Bakelite has been used to make certain types of appliances, electrical coating, and other related items. Objects where made through molding or carving the Bakelite. Vintage rotary telephones, radio, camera, and appliance casings were molded from Bakelite. The introduction of blocks or rod resins made from Bakelite allowed vintage specialty items such as inkwells, letter openers, Bakelite bangles, bracelet, and other vintage jewelry to be carve from the material. Bakelite was also used to carve vintage light switches, plugs, and plate covers.

Even in the world of sports, the material had applications. In the early decades, this vintage plastic was used to mold and carve billiard balls and even chess pieces. Vintage game pieces such as dominoes and dice were also manufactured from Bakelite during the early 20th century.

What are the different types of jewelry made from Bakelite

Bakelite jewelry was introduced during the Art Deco era, which started in the early 20th century. The material was used to mass-produce plain and carved designs for commercial retail, such as Bakelite bangles and bracelets. The basic color chart for Bakelite bangles and other vintage jewelry range from white, yellow, green, brown, and red.

  • Bangles and Bracelets - Vintage Bakelite collectibles under this category include smooth and hinged bangle pieces. Bakelite bangles also include items with a design carve onto the resin.
  • Brooch and Pins - Antique Bakelite items under this category includes war memorabilia pins and brooches.
  • Packaging Boxes- Some vintage watch and bracelet items used the material as a distinct packaging box.
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