My Grandmother’s 1950’s Vintage Bakelite 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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