Friday, November 25, 2011
Bakelite was invented by Belgian chemist Leo Baekeland in the early 1900s. Recognized as the first synthetic plastic, Bakelite is hard, moldable, electrically nonconductive, and heat resistant. It was also inexpensive at the time. Its inexpensive quality made it especially popular during the cash strapped Great Depression of the 1930s. It was used to produce everything from bowling balls to small appliance housings to jewelry.
One of Bakelite's many uses was to produce Bakelite cabinet knobs and Bakelite drawer handles for waterfall furniture. Like Bakelite, waterfall furniture surged in popularity during the Great Depression. Named for its rounded horizontal edges that are reminiscent of water arching over a ridge, waterfall furniture featured cheaply produced wood veneer surfaces and diecast drawer handles and cabinet knobs with yellow ochre Bakelite inserts. The economically produced waterfall furniture and Bakelite cabinet hardware was a match made in Depression era heaven.
By the 1940s, the US economy was in recovery. Economical waterfall furniture was fading in popularity. Bakelite was replaced by even cheaper and easier to produce plastics. But as the old saying goes; what goes around comes around. In what seems to be an era of recession, there has been a renewed interest in antiques in recent years. The restoration of antique furniture is a popular hobby today. Fueled by television shows such as American Pickers, Antiques Roadshow, and Pawn Stars, the restoration of antique waterfall furniture can be a rewarding experience. No restoration of waterfall furniture is complete without Bakelite cabinet hardware however. Antique Revelry offers authentically reproduced Bakelite cabinet knobs and Bakelite drawer pulls that are a perfect fit for waterfall furniture. Antique Revelry's depression era hardware is recession era bargain priced at Shop 4 Classics!