Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Fascinating finds from MoDiP's Reference Library

Whilst undertaking research in the MoDiP library, before lockdown #3, I found a mountain of ‘useful’ information, but not that little bit of information I was looking for. Still, it is a fascinating way to spend a few hours and quite a bit of what I came across relates to objects in our collections. 



One of those objects is a No. 2 Hawkette camera with a Bakelite case (refer image above). It was made for Kodak circa 1927, but we didn’t know who actually made the outer case, until today. We now know that Solidite and Synthetic Mouldings Limited (refer image below) manufactured the mouldings for Kodak, a piece of information that, for many objects, is all too often difficult to establish with the passage of time. Now we will be able to update the information on our website.  


Of course, such endeavours are not new to the research that the MoDiP team undertakes on a regular basis. In 2013 MoDiP launched the ‘10 Most Wanted’ project, a Digital R & D Fund for the Arts project undertaken by MoDiP in partnership with the University of Brighton and Adaptive Technologies. It sought to crowd source information relating to selected objects in the museum’s collections that had been difficult to find. With the help of social-media, a wealth of invaluable information was unearthed and recorded for posterity and it provided a template for other museums to gather difficult to find information relating to their collections.

I have been trawling through bound volumes of British Plastics & Moulded Products Trader from the 1930s and, as with most old periodicals, the advertisements are as interesting as the articles. Those adverts tell a story. Who was producing what and for whom and who were they trying to sell it to at any particular time. 


These trade publications are also full of adverts for long forgotten plastics materials which would have been familiar names to consumers and manufacturers of the time, Sicalite, Stanite and Nestorite and Indurite, for example, but not Birmite that I was searching for. 


Since starting this blog I have encountered another ‘ite’ for which I need to find information, namely Jaxonite, a type of phenolic resin. And so, when I can get back into the museum, the search will continue and I will try not to get too distracted by the ads., but they are fascinating…

Pam Langdown
Documentation Officer


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