FADA radio, 1938.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The outer casing is made of cast phenolic plastic. Phenol formaldehyde cast as rods or blocks was machined to create a variety of decorative products in the 1930s, and the low prices brought in by mas production methods enabled manufacturers to create new consumer products such as this popular radio. The cast resin, known by the tradename Catalin, could be transparent or opaque, as the long cure time and low temperature did not darken the resin. However, Catalin was esentially unstable, shrinking over a period of years. Made by FADA, New York, United States.