Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Beetle Products Co

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1929. British Industries Fair catalogue.

of Popes Lane, Oldbury, Worcs (now West Midlands). Telephone: Oldbury 231. Cables: "Beetle, Oldbury". (1929)

Ditto Address. As a Division of British Industrial Plastics. Works Telephone: Broadwell 1481. Telegraphic Address: Works, "Beetle, Oldbury". (1937)

of 1 Argyll Street, London, W1. Telephone: Gerrard 7278. Cables: "Plastobrit, Wesdo, London". (1947)

1924 Edmund Rossiter, a research chemist for the British Cyanides Co (later to become British Industrial Plastics), developed a process for the condensation of Thiourea with Formaldehyde. The result of the process was the production of a "water-white" synthetic resin syrup. This was a major breakthrough in the development of plastics as, prior to this, the phenolic resins used in the production of Bakelite had been straw coloured or brown.

1925 Processes were developed to turn this "water-white" syrup into white and pale-coloured moulding powders by combining the resin with cellulose pulp. These became known as Beetle moulding powders and were the first white 'paper filled' moulding powders to be produced anywhere in the world. The British Cyanides Co exhibited their synthetic resin syrup at the Wembley Exhibition. Samples of the resin distributed at the exhibition were contained in small glass bottles each with a coloured label showing a Beetle as the Company's trade mark. Customers would refer to the resin as "that Beetle resin of yours", and so the name stuck. In 1925, a new company was established in order to produce these new moulding powders, this company was known as the Beetle Products Co. Before too long these moulding powders were being used by several companies, including Brookes and Adams, to produce tableware and household items in a range of colours and marbled effects known as Bandalasta.

1926 A significant point in the success of Bandalasta came when the Beetle Products Co managed to persuade Harrods of London to mount a display of Beetle products in November. The display was a huge hit and Harrods had to give more floor space to the display to cope with the demand. The success at Harrods was followed by displays at some of London's other top stores, Selfridges, John Lewis and Peter Jones to name but three.

Later, when production of Beetle tableware began, it was believed that customers were not too happy about tableware being associated with the name of an insect. The name was therefore changed to Beatl and the story goes that this name was suggested by a shareholder and was a contraction of the phrase "Beat all".

A few months later a new subsidiary of the British Cyanides Co, Beatl Sales was formed. It's purpose was to act as a sales agent for the moulding companies, buying the products from the moulders and invoicing customers. Beatl Sales was also responsible for organising and staffing the displays in the London stores.

1927 Beatl Sales opened a shop in London's Regent Street called The Beatl Shop. The shop sold Beatl products from various manufacturers, but the three main ones were M. L., Linga Longa and Bandalasta.

1929 British Industries Fair Advert for Moulding Powders and Synthetic Resins. White and coloured Moulding Powders for producing Electrical and Decorative Mouldings. (Chemicals etc. Section - Stand Nos. K.83 and K.84) [1]

1937 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of "Beetle" Moulding Powders, Translucent, Coloured and White. "Scarab" Moulding Powders in Black, Brown and Bright Opaque Colours. Synthetic Resins and Urea Resins for Lacquers. (Stand No. Cb.204) [2]

1947 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Producers of Beetle and Scarab amino-Plastic Moulding Powders. Beetle Binding Resins, Resins for Stoving Enamels, Wet-strength Paper Treatment, and other industrial purposes. Melamine. (Earls Court, 1st Floor, Stand No. 845) [3]

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