When was it made?

If you have an idea when the object was made, use the information under the relevant date span to narrow down the probabilities. Bear in mind though what you are getting are probabilities not certainties. Many plastics have had long periods of gestation and, as more and more plastics are invented, some become outmoded but nonetheless stay in production. And, although some materials are used most often with a particular manufacturing process, they may also be used from time to time with another. If you have a hunch that an object is made of a particular material outside the dates given or manufactured in a different process go to the material or process in the A-Z guides to check out what is possible in greater detail.

 

1840-1880

Materials & Manufacturing processes

Bois durci - Compression moulding

Celluloid (see cellulose nitrate) - Compression moulding, fabrication

Gutta percha - Compression moulding, extrusion

Parkesine (see cellulose nitrate) - Compression moulding, fabrication

Shellac - Compression moulding

Vulcanised rubber - Compression moulding

 

1880-1915

Materials & Manufacturing processes

Cellulose nitrate - Blow moulding, fabrication, thermoforming

Shellac - Compression moulding

Vulcanised rubber - Compression moulding, fabrication, turning

 

1915-1925

Materials & Manufacturing processes

Casein formaldehyde - Fabrication, extrusion

Cellulose nitrate - Blow moulding, fabrication, thermoforming

Phenol formaldehyde - Compression moulding, casting

Shellac - Compression moulding

Vulcanised rubber - Compression moulding, fabrication, turning

 

1925-1940

Materials & Manufacturing processes

Casein formaldehyde - Extrusion, fabrication, thermoforming

Cellulose acetate - Compression moulding, fabrication, injection moulding

Cellulose nitrate - Blow moulding, fabrication, thermoforming

Phenol formaldehyde - Compression moulding, casting

Urea formaldehyde - Compression moulding

Shellac - Compression moulding

 

1940-1950

Materials & Manufacturing processes

Cellulose acetate - Fabrication, injection moulding

Phenol formaldehyde - Compression moulding, casting

Polyamide - Casting, extrusion, injection moulding

Polymethyl methacrylate - Casting, extrusion, fabrication, thermoforming

Polythene - Extrusion, blow moulding, injection moulding

Urea formaldehyde - Compression moulding

 

1950-1965

Materials & Manufacturing processes

Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene - Injection moulding

Glass-reinforced plastic - Compression moulding, fabrication

Melamine formaldehyde - Compression moulding

Phenol formaldehyde - Compression moulding

Polyamide - Casting, extrusion, injection moulding

Polymethyl methacrylate - Casting, extrusion, fabrication, injection moulding, thermoforming

Polypropylene - Blow moulding, injection moulding, casting

Polystyrene - Extrusion, foaming, injection moulding

Polythene - Extrusion, blow moulding, rotational moulding

Polyurethane - Blow moulding, extrusion, injection moulding, foaming

Polyvinyl chloride - Blow moulding, extrusion, injection moulding, foaming, rotational moulding

Silicones - Injection moulding

 

1965 onwards

Materials & Manufacturing processes

Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene - Injection moulding

Glass-reinforced plastic - Compression moulding, hand lay-up, fabrication, pultrusion, vacuum laminated

Phenol formaldehyde - Compression moulding

Polyamide - Casting, extrusion, injection moulding

Polycarbonate - Blow and injection moulding, extrusion, foaming

Polythene - Blow moulding, extrusion, injection moulding, rotational moulding

Polypropylene - Blow and injection moulding, casting (film)

Polyethylene terephthalate - Blow moulding, extrusion, injection moulding

Polymethyl methacrylate - Casting, extrusion, fabrication, injection moulding, thermoforming

Polystyrene - Extrusion, foaming, injection moulding

Polyurethane - Blow moulding, extrusion, foaming, injection moulding

Polyvinyl chloride - Blow moulding, extrusion, injection moulding, foaming, rotational moulding

Silicones - Injection moulding