The 156th birthday of Leo H. Baekeland – born 1863 – was celebrated on November 14th. In 1893, Céline and Leo immigrated from Ghent, Belgium to the United States. They settled in Yonkers, New York where George and Nina were born, and Bakelite invented.

“Bakelite: A name, a legend “: with these words begins an image film that the Bakelite AG produced in 2003. The sources to the German and English version of this clip are included on this website. More than a 100 years ago, Bakelite became a name for one of the most amazing materials ever invented that marked the beginning of the age of plastic. Even if you don’t see it, it is there. In your phone and in your car: Bakelite. Some of these prewar articles have become highly sought-after collectors’ items.


This also includes a Bakelite phone, to which a documentation on Arte television has dedicated itself. This document is also linked below. Bakelite was also the subject of a regional television report which was produced by the Westdeutsche Rundfunk (WDR) in 2003. Finally, “All Things Bakelite: The Age of Plastic” is a film that John Maher’s company JEM Films has produced together with Executive producer Hugh Karraker, who is the great grandson of Leo H. Baekeland. Together they collected the resources and shaped the story of this transformative invention.


On March 7, 2020, the Yonkers Historical Society is presenting All Things Bakelite at the Grinton I. Will Library in Yonkers, New York.