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.
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.