Origin: mid 17th century (in the sense ‘characteristic of molding’): from French plastique or Latin, from Greek plastikos, from plassein ‘to mold’.
"Telephones, radios, chairs, dishes, buttons - all sorts of useful articles, from steering wheels to surgeon's masks, from safety glass to fishing-reels, from false teeth to bird-cages, are now made wholly or in part of plastics."
"The magic of modern chemistry has produced these materials, which are unlike any natural substance found on earth or in the sea. Over such discussions inevitably looms the legend-creating figure of seventy-one-year-old Dr. Leo Hendrikr Baekeland (1863 - 1944)... He began experimenting with the tarry substance produced by the chemical reaction of carbolic acid and formaldehyde, hoping to make a substitute for varnish... Twenty five years ago last week, Doctor Baekeland launched the modern plastics industry with the founding of of his General Baeklite Company, at Bloomfield, New Jersey.
Read about the invention of rayon...