My Grandmother’s 1950’s Vintage Bakelite Purse

My Grandmother's 1950's Vintage Lucite Purse

Somewhere along the way, my grandmother gave me some of her most fashionable articles of clothing and accessories from the 1950s and 1960s. I still have all of it – but this purse is one of my favorite things in the whole wide world. It typifies both my love of vintage fashion, and my grandmother’s classy style.

I know this purse is quite collectible, but the sentimental value is far greater to me than the monetary value. I always thought it was made of Lucite (even quoted as such in a news story!), but recent research leads me to believe that it is instead made out of Bakelite. This is actually sad news, because the reason I now know the purse is Bakelite is because it has a strong chemical smell almost like vinegar – that means the plastic is starting to break down… :'( Even though it has had this smell since I got it in the 80’s or 90’s, eventually my lovely purse is going to be a pile of goo.

Interesting to note: this Bakelite ‘disease’ is actually contagious – so if you have any smelly Bakelite, get it away from your other vintage plastic items asap. Good Bakelite should only smell when wet or tested in other ways.


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