History Podcasts

When Was Plastic Invented?

When Was Plastic Invented?

Although the very first plastics, made from natural plastic materials such as rubber, chewing gum and shellac were already made and used as early as 1600 BC (by Mesoamericans) and the Middle Ages, the invention of modern, synthetic plastic only started in the 1800s.

Some Important Dates in The Invention of Plastic

1862 - Alexander Parks invents and patents the first man-made plastic material, Parkesine.

1869 - John Wesly Hyatt develops the first synthetic polymer when trying to find an ivory substitute.

1905 - Leo Baekeland creates the first fully synthetic thermoset, the first “real” plastic that was used on great scale.

1920 - 1950 - Many new kinds of plastics, such as polysteryne, PVC, PET and Polyethelyne are discovered and mass produced.

1954 - Giulio Natta discovers Polypropylene