In 1862, Alexander Parkes exhibited the world’s first plastic. This break-through commenced what became a multi-billion dollar industry in the years to come, used in virtually every branch of products known to man. From this day on, every decade has marked a different break through in plastics.

In 1907, the first synthetic patent for plastics was filed and used for hair dryers, radio cabinets, ashtrays and cameras. This was before the patent for PVC was reported in 1914, which marked the beginning of injection molding in 1921. During this time, Nylon was also discovered and in the late 30’s and early 40’s plastics boomed with WWII.

Soldiers carried plastic bags to place personal belongings, food, guns, ammo, etc. Parachutes and upholstery were also made from nylon. Household items started to be made from plastics because of their simple to clean surfaces and labor reducing devices. In the 1950’s, about 50% of dinnerware was plastic and cars introduced plastic parts in the production line.
Because of its high melting point, Polyethylene containers, dustbins and baby baths were on the rise. Inflatable chairs and ornaments, Polypropylene combs and bottle stoppers became incredibly popular in the 60’s along with the introduction of PVC bottles. The lightness and versatility of plastics also played an important role in the production of spacecrafts. Between the years of 1974-1988, plastic use in vehicles soared 11%. In the 80’s, the first all plastic airplane test flight occurred and the lightweight, insulation, strength and flexibility of plastic helped global communications with telephones, fiber-optic cables and computers.

The brief history of these events exemplifies the importance plastic had on the evolution of history, science, economics and politics. With this in mind, the development of super and hypermarkets has tremendously changed the habits of the common consumer. Relative to years ago, purchasing of fresh foods and products has immensely diminished, as has the supply. Plastics now play a key role in the transportation and freshness of products not only in the food industry but also in the medical and electronic industries.

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