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Guide to the American Catalin Corporation salesman's sample book, 1928-1930

Abstract

The American Catalin Corporation was founded in New York, N.Y., in 1927; it developed the light-colored, transparent, filler-free Bakelite resin in a wide range of colors. Bakelite is the first synthetic plastic, developed by Dr. Leo Baekeland between 1907 and 1909. American Catalin Corporation used its form of the resin for costume jewelry, fashion accessories, radios, and other products. By 1942, the company suspended its manufacture of jewelry and cast items to concentrate on wartime production. After the war, petroleum-based plastics gained favor.

Collection comprises a salesman's sample book in a black leather album used to provide a visual guide for the company's products. The album contains primarily 34 black-and-white 8x10 photographs (8 photographs are laid in, all but two are linen backed, those not laid-in are stamped on the back with "Johnston & Tunick Commercial Photographers"), as well as 17 typeset pages containing inter-office memos, sales tips, information regarding the company's competition, and customer testimonials. Several of the memos are written to the attention of D. J. Kelly, who was the salesman for whom the sample book was prepared. There is also a two-page key to the main group of 19 photographs, identifying the Bakelite products in each photograph, as well as the item's final producer. Seven of the laid-in photographs show the corporation's factory, including three of factory workers on the job. The American Catalin Corporation was founded in New York, N.Y., in 1927; it developed the light-colored, transparent, filler-free Bakelite resin in a wide range of colors. Bakelite is the first synthetic plastic, developed by Dr. Leo Baekeland between 1907 and 1909. American Catalin Corporation used its form of the resin for costume jewelry, fashion accessories, radios, and other products. By 1942, the company suspended its manufacture of jewelry and cast items to concentrate on wartime production. After the war, petroleum-based plastics gained favor.

Descriptive Summary

Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University
Creator
American Catalin Corporation.
Title
American Catalin Corporation salesman's sample book 1928-1930
Language of Materials
English
Extent
1 item
Location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Collection Overview

Collection comprises a salesman's sample book in a black leather album used to provide a visual guide for the company's products. The album contains primarily 34 black-and-white 8x10 photographs (8 photographs are laid in, all but two are linen backed, those not laid-in are stamped on the back with "Johnston & Tunick Commercial Photographers"), as well as 17 typeset pages containing inter-office memos, sales tips, information regarding the company's competition, and customer testimonials. Several of the memos are written to the attention of D. J. Kelly, who was the salesman for whom the sample book was prepared. There is also a two-page key to the main group of 19 photographs, identifying the Bakelite products in each photograph, as well as the item's final producer. Seven of the laid-in photographs show the corporation's factory, including three of factory workers on the job.

Administrative Information

A majority of collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 48 business hours in advance for retrieval. Contact Rubenstein Library staff before visiting. Read More »

warning Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.

Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.

warning Use Restrictions

The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Contents of the Collection

Historical Note

The American Catalin Corporation was founded in New York, N.Y., in 1927; it developed the light-colored, transparent, filler-free Bakelite resin in a wide range of colors. Bakelite is the first synthetic plastic, developed by Dr. Leo Baekeland between 1907 and 1909. American Catalin Corporation used its form of the resin for costume jewelry, fashion accessories, radios, and other products. By 1942, the company suspended its manufacture of jewelry and cast items to concentrate on wartime production. After the war, petroleum-based plastics gained favor.

Subject Headings

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], in the American Catalin Corporation salesman's sample book, 1928-1930, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Provenance

Purchase, 2009

Processing Information

Processed by: Alice Poffinberger, February 2010

Encoded by: Noah Huffman, February 2010

Accession(s) described in this finding aid: 2009-0198

Descriptive sources and standards used to create this inventory: DACS, EAD, NCEAD guidelines, and local Style Guide.

This finding aid is NCEAD compliant.