Amsterdam Bakelite Collection

Reindert Groot in front of the French bakelite plant in Bezons.

The Collector

The Amsterdam Bakelite Collection which includes 3500-4000 US and European objects, was founded in 1990 by Reindert Groot (1946), a professional photographer and producer, living in the Netherlands.




The Foundation

On July 28, 2011 the Stichting (foundation) Amsterdam Bakelite Collection was founded.  It's fields of interest are the applied arts, design, research and education, all related to thermo-setting plastic materials.
In addition to managing our private collection, which includes an image archive and a specialized library, it is our mission to promote knowledge about one of the most miraculous materials ever invented: Bakelite; it's history and that of it's inventor Leo Baekeland. In order to achieve these goals, this website has become an important source of information on our exhibitions and lectures. We can facilitate loans to museums and similar institutions. With international organizations such as universities, museums and companies, active contacts are maintained.
An immediate goal is to produce a professional educational movie, based on stunning 3D models, authentic historical images such as the original 1936 Bakelite movies and contemporary footage. Information about collaboration is available upon request.

The Collection

Without being aware of it, we come into contact every day with all kinds of synthetic materials that are so familiar to us that life without them would be hard to imagine. They have mysterious names like acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene, copolymer, cellulose acetate, polyethylene, or polyvinyl chloride. And yet a single word is enough: Plastic! Bakelite is also a kind of plastic.
Since time immemorial natural materials have been used to make all kinds of objects. A few centuries ago it was discovered that in addition to tortoise-shell and horn, natural resins like amber, gum, and shellac could be compressed to make tools and decorative objects.
In 1907 the Belgian-American inventor, chemist, and industrialist Leo Henricus Arthur Baekeland (1863-1944) took out his first patent on a synethetic material known as bakelite that would lay the foundation for what later would be called ‘plastic.’ There are two kinds of plastic: thermoplastic and thermosetting. Thermoplastics in a given shape can be reheated and reshaped repeatedly without chemical change. The material melts when heated and is also not resistant to solvents. Unlike these, bakelite is a thermosetting plastic and cannot be reshaped; it remains infusible and insoluble. Once given a shape, it keeps that shape forever.

Automotive accessories: battery testers, ashtrays, tire-pressure gauges, dashboard clock, various inspection and warning lamps, window warmer (electrical), stroboscopic lights, distributors, spark plugs, packing materials, road map in frame
toilet seatBathroom accessories: stools, potty chair, children’s seat, shelves, bathroom cabinets, toilet-roll holder, toilet seats, waste basket
Building materials: door handles, coat-rack hooks, key racks, anti-stain panels, hangers
Clocks: racing pigeon clock, time clock, timers, alarm clocks, wall clocks
Health and grooming: massage equipment,TimeTeacher sun lamp, comb, curlers, travel kit, razors, shaving brushes, shaving water boilers, hair dryers, toothbrush cases, soap containers
Communication: microphones, loudspeakers, wall- and table telephones, field telephones
Contemporary design: utensils and decorative objects for Alessi, Kartell, Pressalit
telephoneDocumentation: advertisements, books, catalogues, company brochures, documents, instruction manuals, magazines: various examples from Australia, Belgium, England, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United States, photographs
Electricity: switches, meters, wall outlets, cord switches, junction boxes, double plugs, plugs, welding kit cases, spacers, insulators, fittings
Furniture: tables, chairs, stools, cabinets (bathroom/toilet cabinets)
Household apparatuses, electric: aquarium pumps, butter maker, irons, trouser valets, toasters, snuffers, egg tester, deep fryer cooker, gas lighters, heaters, kitchen mixers, refrigerators, coffee mills, hotplate, humidifiers, sewing machine, defroster, sandwich toaster, juicer, vacuum cleaners, floor polisher, waffle irons, wall and table fans, washing machine, water boilers
fishHousehold equipment: kitchen appliances, bread slicer, hand mixer, vacuum pump, thermos bottles and thermal containers, coffee-, pepper-, salt- and nutmeg-mills, coffee grinders, whisks, spirit lamps, yogurt makers
Household items: cups, tableware, vase, flower pots, plates, breadbaskets, bread slicer, cake platter, egg cups, egg slicer, bucket, serving trays, bank, clothes hangers, clothes brushes, cups and saucers, sewing and knitting materials such as wool ball holders, thimbles, mesh balls, needle dispenser, knitting-needle box, wool cutter, pudding forms, piggy banks, coasters, platters, shoeshine box, shoe trees, napkin rings, brushes and trays, necktie stretcher, teapot spout, pantry jars, washboards, wine- and champagne coolers, corkscrews, strawholders
Jewelry etc.: bracelets, buckles, brooches, necklaces, hatpin, buttons on cards, rings, rods, tubes
Lighting: anti-mosquito lamp, lamps for beds, bikes, reading, magnifying, night, table, and wall, memorial lamps, flashlights
Measuring apparatus:
battery testers, electrical meters, multimeters, thermometers, voltmeters, barographmeters, iodine and mercurochrome containers, medicine chests, thermometer covers, vaporizers
Medical supplies: sphygmomanometers, dilators, hemoglobin
Memorabilia/souvenirs: memorial plaques and tokens, pins, ashtrays, cigarette box, coal-breaking souvenir
carMusical instruments etc.: flutes and recorders, castanets, metronomes
Office and writing equipment: inkstands, ink pots, cash registers, pen holders, tape dispensers, wastebaskets, pencil sharpeners, adding machines, typewriters, fountain pens
Packing: cases and containers for candy, butter, coffee, postage stamps, decoration, tobacco and tea containers
Photography/optics: light meters, slide boxes, slide projectors, slide frames, slide viewers, darkroom clock, darkroom light, film camera, film montage equipment, film projectors, film viewers, flash guns, cameras, picture frames, developing tanks, developing scales, focusing viewer for cinemas, copy camera for film images, enlarging equipement, binoculars, magnifying lenses
Radio, TV etc.: phonographs, radios, TV sets, TV antenna, TV antenna rotary controls
Smoking gear:
pipe rack, ashtray, lighters with benzine, electricity, or gas, humidor, pipe, cigarette and cigar holders, boxes, and cases, cigarcutters, matchboxes, tobacco pots
Sports equipment etc.:
billiard balls, golf trainers, jeu de boules balls, umpire’s whistles
BoxTools: marker, hand drill, rasp, oil sprayers, mats, screwdrivers, sander, soldering irons, soldering iron holder, soldering burner, bungs and plugs, file, electric industrial apparatuses
cars, boats, electric organ, toy tableware, motorcyclist, sewing machine, scooter, typewriter, airplanes, TV, projectors, dice, counters, letter game, poker chips, tiddlywinks, tractor, scales
Weighing apparatuses: boxes for weights, poison scale, household scales, kitchen scales, shop scales