The Pingpank Barber Shop

The actual Pingpank Barber Shop at 413 Bleeker St. In Manhattan, 1932. Photo by Carl Von Vechten

In Radio Girl, Jack Maloney owns a Bakelite comb stamped with the words “Pingpank Barber Shop.” While Jack and the comb are fictional, the barbershop was genuine. The above photo was taken by renowned photographer (and author) Carl Von Vechten. As part of the Federal Art Project, photographer Berenice Abbott took this photo of the shop’s exterior in 1938.

The Pingpank Barber Shop in 1938, by Berenice Abbott

The Pingpank Barber Shop in 1938, by Berenice Abbott

Read all about it. See more of Berenice Abbott’s photographs of New York in the 1930s.

“Plastics!” or “What is Bakelite?”

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Child Actress Shirley Temple wearing Bakelite sunglasses (I think)

In Radio Girl, Cecelia packages promotional Bakelite sunglasses for listeners of the radio program, Our Gal Sunday. So what is Bakelite? It’s one of the earliest kinds of plastic.

Bakelite, or polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride, is an early plastic that was quite sturdy and could withstand high temperatures. It is a thermosetting phenol formaldehyde resin, formed from an elimination reaction of phenol with formaldehyde, usually with a wood flour filler. (WikiAnswers, Science)

Can’t imagine life without plastic.

Bakelite Radio Case

Bakelite Radio Case

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Bakelite Napkin Ring (Klassy)

Bakelite (?) Sunglasses from the 1930s

Bakelite (?) Sunglasses from the 1930s

Bakelite Billiard Balls

Bakelite Billiard Balls

Bakelite Bracelet

Bakelite Bracelet

Bakelite Brooch

Bakelite Brooch

Bakelite Pin

Bakelite Pin

Bakelite Die

Bakelite Die

Another Bakelite Radio

Another Bakelite Radio