Bakelite is a generic named material based on the thermosetting phenol formaldehyde resin polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride, developed in 1907-1909 by Dr. Leo Baekeland. Formed by the reaction under heat and pressure of phenol and formaldehyde, generally with a wood flour filler, it was the first plastic made from synthetic polymers. It was used for its nonconductive and heat-resistant properties in radio and telephone casings and electrical insulators.
Phenolics are little used in general consumer products today due to the cost and complexity of production and their brittle nature. An exception to the overall decline is the use in small precision-shaped components where their specific properties are required, such as molded disc brake cylinders, saucepan handles, electrical plugs and switches, and electrical iron parts. Today, Bakelite is manufactured under various commercial brand names such as Micarta. Micarta is produced in sheets, rods and tubes for hundreds of industrial applications in the electronics, power generation and aerospace industries.