Friday, 14 January 2011

The Plastics Historical Society Collection

The Plastics Historical Society, which was formed in 1986, is an independent society affiliated to the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining.

The PHS exists ‘to promote the collection, preservation and study of all material (artefacts, equipment, processes and documentation) relating to the history of plastics and other polymers; to facilitate the interpretation and sharing of such knowledge; and to encourage the recording of current developments in plastics and polymers considered to be of value to future generations.’

The Society has a collection of manufactured plastics artefacts and samples some of which date back to the 19th century, including examples of the very first man-made plastics. In 2009 the PHS collection was put into the care of MoDiP for an initial period of seven years where it was documented and photographed. It is available for reference and can be viewed via the MoDiP on-line catalogue. The PHS collection complements the MoDiP collection of artefacts which is predominantly post 1945. Together, these two collections offer a broad representation of the use of plastics in design.

The PHS website www.plastiquarian.com contains a wealth of information about plastics, the history of their discovery and processing, relevant museums and galleries of collections and items on the care of plastics. The Society also has its own library which is housed at the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining in London and comprises many hundreds of books and documents relevant to the history of plastics.

Pam Langdown (Collections Manager)

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