FADA radio, 1938.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Named after the initials of its founder, Frank Angelo d' Andrea, FADA Radios began producing radios in New York in 1923. FADA radios were popular with the public and sold well, being noted for their aesthetically pleasing designs, and innovative use of plastics in their construction. The outer casing is made of cast phenolic plastic. Phenol formaldehyde was used to make a variety of products in the 1930s, and the low prices brought in by mas production methods enabled manufacturers to create new consumer products. 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.