Some Compassionate and Humble Padma Shri 2019 Awardees.


Myself

By T. V. Antony Raj

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The Bharat Ratna award

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On January 2, 1954, a press release from the office of the secretary to the President of India announced the creation of two civilian awards: Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award, followed by the three-tier Padma Vibhushan, classified into “Pahela Warg” (Class I), “Dusra Warg” (Class II), and “Tisra Warg” (Class III).

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The three Padma awards

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On January 15, 1955, the three-tier Padma Vibhushan award was reclassified into three different awards: the Padma Vibhushan, the highest of the three, followed by the Padma Bhushan and the Padma Shri.

From 1954 onwards the Government of India honours its distinguished citizens on India’s Republic Day (26th January) by conferring the civilian awards for their services to the Republic of India. All persons without distinction of race, occupation, position or sex are eligible for these awards.

The Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award is conferred on distinguished citizens of India in recognition of their distinguished contribution in various spheres of activity including the arts, education, industry, literature, science, sports, medicine, social service and public affairs. It has also been awarded to some distinguished individuals who were/are not citizens of India for their various services rendered to the Republic of India.

The recipients of the Padma Shri award receive only the award. It is just an honour without any monetary compensation. No cash allowance or any facility/benefit in terms of concession etc. in rail/air travel is attached to these awards. The awardees are not allowed to publicize their achievements.

The award does not amount to a title and cannot be used as a suffix or prefix to the awardee’s name on letterheads, invitation cards, posters, books etc. In the case of any misuse, the awardee will forfeit the award. Though there are no specific criteria for withdrawing a Padma award, according to the awards’ statutes, the President of India may cancel and annul any award in the case of any misconduct committed by the recipient.

The Padma Shri Award Certificate

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The Padma Shri medal, obverse, reverse and the Ribbon.

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The Padma Shri decoration comprises a Certificate issued under the hand and seal of the President and a Medallion. The recipients are also given a replica of the medallion, which if they desire can be worn by them during any ceremonial/State functions.

A higher category of Padma award can be conferred on a person only where a period of at least five years has elapsed since conferment of the earlier Padma award. However, in highly deserving cases, relaxation can be made by the Awards Committee.

This year (2019), the Padma Shri was awarded to 94 persons. Of these 21 of the awardees are women, 11 persons from the category of foreigners/NRI/PIO/OCI, three posthumous awardees and one transgender person.

What caught my attention most was the following 14 humble, compassionate, unassuming, unselfish and humane Padma Shri recipients ignored by the media caught my attention.

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The Chaiwala Guru of Cuttack: Devarapalli Prakash Rao  

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Environmentalist from  Karnataka: Saalumarada Thimmakka  

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Empowering Women: ‘Kalanjiam Shakti‘: Madurai Chinna Pillai 

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The ‘Lady Tarzan‘ of Jharkhand: Jamuna Tudu

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Caretaker of cows in Maratawada : Shaikh Shabbir Mamu

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Kissan Chachi‘: Rajkumari Devi

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India’s ‘Saviour of Cows’ from Germany:  Friederike Irina Bruning

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Carver of Canals with bare hands: Daitari Naik

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The Wonder Surgeon of Ladakh: Dr Tsering Norbu 

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The ‘Grassroot  Inventor’ from Assam: Dr Uddhab Kumar Bharali

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The Pioneer of Sickle Cell Research in India:  Dr Sudam Kate

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The developer of an improved variety of Cauliflower:
Jagdish Prasad Parikh

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Reviver of the dying Kutchi art of Rogan painting:
Abdul Gafoor Khatri

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The tribal woman from Koraput  promoting organic farming:
Kamala Pujhari

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Colour Bands on Electronic Resistors


Myself

By T. V. Antony Raj

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Resistors with coloured bands (AFrank99Wikimedia)
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Have you noticed the tiny coloured stripes on the resistors in the interiors of electronic gadgets? These coloured stripes known as the Electronic Color Code indicate the resistor’s resistance value. To a layman, the band system might seem strange, but to a serious hobbyist or to a professional in electricity and electronics the bands help to know the values of the resistors easily.

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How to Read Resistor Color Codes (arrow.com)
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The colour code system was developed in the 1920s by the Radio Manufacturers Association (an organization now known as the Electronic Industries Alliance). This system of colour-coded bands has prevailed for the better part of a century now and will likely continue to do so.
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4-band resistor

In the above standard 4-band resistor the colour and order of the bands serve to indicate the significant figures of the resistor’s value (the first two bands), as well as the decimal multiplier (the third band), and the tolerance of the resistor (the fourth band).

5-band resistor
In the above standard 5-band resistor the first three bands show the resistor’s value, the fourth band indicates the decimal multiplier and the fifth band the tolerance of the resistor. 
Now with the advent of tiny surface-mount resistors that are often hardly bigger than a grain of rice, has led to an increase in alpha-numeric coding in lieu of the banding method.

The Wright’s Prayer


Myself

By T. V. Antony Raj.

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Pastor Joe Wright of Central Christian Church, Wichita, Kansas (believersportal.com)

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Pastor Joe Wright of Central Christian Church, Wichita, Kansas is well-known as one of the leaders who led the campaign for a constitutional amendment banning “same-sex marriage” in Kansas.

On January 22, 1996, a Kansas state legislator, also a member of the Central Christian Church, Wichita called on the pastor at his home and proposed that he deliver the prayer to open the new session of the Kansas Senate, in Topeka on the following day.  Consequently, Pastor Wright sat down and wrote a prayer in 30 minutes.

On January 23, 1996, Pastor Joe Wright delivered his prayer before the Kansas House of Representatives. Everyone was expecting the usual broad, non-specific and glittering politically correct generalities but what they heard instead was a stirring prayer, passionately calling the citizens of the country to repentance and righteousness.

The response to the prayer was immediate. According to the Kansas City Star, at least one legislator walked out during the prayer.

Pastor Joe Wright’s prayer sparked a political furore. It went viral on the internet with hundreds of emails republishing and some critiquing it.

In May 1996, Marc Fisher, a senior editor, at the Washington Post wrote that in the ensuing months Pastor Joe Wright’s prayer led to “angry walkouts in two state legislatures, an unprecedented two readings on Paul Harvey’s ABC Radio newscast, more than 6,500 phone calls to Wright’s church and so many boxes of mail that the church staff (didn’t’) know where to put them anymore.

The Central Christian Church, in Wichita, received unprecedented international requests for copies of this prayer.

Here is the transcription of Pastor Joe Wright’s Prayer:

Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask Your forgiveness and to seek Your direction and guidance.

We know Your word says, ‘Woe to those who call evil good,’ but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and inverted our values.

“We confess that we have ridiculed the absolute truth of Your word in the name of moral pluralism.

“We have worshipped other gods and called it ‘multiculturalism.’

“We have endorsed perversion and called it ‘an alternative lifestyle.’

“We have exploited the poor and called it ‘a lottery.’

“We have neglected the needy and called it ‘self-preservation.’

“We have rewarded laziness and called it ‘welfare.’

“In the name of ‘choice,’ we have killed our unborn.

“In the name of ‘right to life,’ we have killed abortionists.

“We have neglected to discipline our children and called it ‘building esteem.’

“We have abused power and called it ‘political savvy.’

“We’ve coveted our neighbors’ possessions and called it ‘taxes.’

“We’ve polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it ‘freedom of expression.’

“We’ve ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it ‘enlightenment.’

“Search us, oh God, and know our hearts today. Try us, and show us any wicked in us. Cleanse us from every sin, and set us free.

“Guide and bless these men and women who have been sent here by the people of Kansas and who have been ordained by You to govern this great state.

“Grant them Your wisdom to rule, and may their decisions direct us to the center of Your will.

“I ask it in the name of your son, the living savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.”

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A Contract


Myself

By T. V. Antony Raj

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During the Prime Minister’s short stay in his homeland, tenders were called from worldwide private sector firms, for painting his official residence and principal workplace.

The three highest quotes received were from China (US$ 5 million), Japan (US$ 15 million) and from France (US$ 45 million).

During his next jaunt abroad, needless to say, the Prime Minister visited the three painting firms in China, Japan and France to ask them the basis for their quotes.

The head of the Chinese People’s Cooperative Painting Consortium said, “Paint: $2 million; Labour: $2 million, and Profit: $1 million.”

The head of the Japanese Painting Company said, “Paint: $6 million; Labour: $6 million; and Profit: $3 million.”

The head of the French Gaul Sablage et Peinture Industrielle said, “For you in Swiss Bank: $20 million; For us: $20 million; and $5 million to the Chinese People’s Cooperative Painting Consortium for the painting work.”

Guess who got the contract!

The Bane of India: Peacocks Don’t Have Sex


Myself

By T. V. Antony Raj

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The late Madhaviah Krishnan born in Tirunelveli on June 30, 1912, was a pioneering Indian wildlife photographer, writer and naturalist. He studied in the Tirunelveli Hindu High School and developed an interest in literature, art and nature.  In his article ‘A Bird Emblem for India‘ published in 1961, says that a decision was made to select a bird as the national emblem of India at a meeting of the Indian Board for Wildlife held in Ootacammund. The Swan, the Peacock, the Sarus crane, the Brahminy kite, and the Bustard were considered against the following criteria for the bird to be declared ‘national’:

  • It must be well distributed within the country.
  • It must be recognizable to the average person.
  • It must lend itself to the formal depiction, i.e., abstract depiction on Government publications, etc.
  • It must not be confused with the bird emblem of any other nation.
  • It must be associated with Indian myths and legends and represented in ancient Indian art and sculpture.

The choice was the peacock and was declared the “National Bird of India”.

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Rajasthan High Court judge, Mahesh Chandra Sharma

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Now, to the bane of India, we have the following declaration from Mahesh Chandra Sharma, a so-called eminent Judge of the Rajasthan High Court judge,  before his retirement on June 1, 2017:

“Peacocks don’t have sex. The peacock is a lifelong brahmachari (celibate). It never has sex with the peahen. The peahen gets impregnated after swallowing the tears of the peacock.”

What would this ‘eminent and keen observing‘ judge of the Rajasthan High Court say if he sees this video?

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An Interview with a Nonagenarian


Myself

By T. V. Antony Raj
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A nonagenarian (Photo source: Driving Miss Norma/ Facebook).

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Interviewer:  “Madam, to what do you adduce your longevity.”

Nonagenarian: “First and foremost I pay great attention to what I drink.”

Interviewer: “Madam, what do you drink?”

Nonagenarian: “It’s a good question. Normally, I drink beer for better digestion.

Interviewer: “What else?”

Nonagenarian: “When I lose appetite I drink white wine.”

Interviewer: “Good.”

Nonagenarian:  “When my blood pressure is low I drink red wine and if my blood pressure shoots up, I drink Scotch.”

Interviewer: “Oh, my God!”

Nonagenarian: “And if I have a cold I drink the Polish-distilled Spirytus Vodka, 192 Proof.”

Interviewer: “But madam, when do you drink water?”

Nonagenarian: “Oh! I’ve never been that sick!”

The Pendulum Clock


Myself

By T. V. Antony Raj
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Time is what a clock reads. In classical, non-relativistic physics it is a scalar quantity and, like length, mass, and charge, is usually ascribed as a fundamental quantity. Mathematically, time is combined with other physical quantities to derive concepts such as motion, kinetic energy and time-dependent fields.

Around 1602, Galileo Galilei studied pendulums and discovered isochronism, the key property that makes pendulums useful to timekeepers. He found that the period of swing of a pendulum is approximately the same for differently sized swings. From his findings, Galileo in 1637 had the idea for the construction of a pendulum clock, which was partly constructed by his son in 1649, but neither lived to finish it.

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The drawing is probably the first design for a pendulum clock designed by Galileo around 1641.

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The above is a drawing is probably the first design for a pendulum clock designed by Galileo around 1641. Part of the front supporting plate is removed by the artist to show the wheelwork. Although the source says the drawing is by Galileo, it is undoubtedly the one drawn by his student Vincenzo Viviani in 1659, since Galileo was blind by the time he had the idea.

This pendulum clock was partly constructed by his son Vincenzo Galilei, the illegitimate son of Galileo Galilei and his mistress Marina Gamba in 1649 who was later legitimated by his father in 1619, but neither lived to finish it.

In 1656, the Dutch scientist and inventor Christiaan Huygens, inspired by the investigations of pendulums by Galileo invented the pendulum clock. He patented his clock on June 16, 1657.

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Drawing of the first pendulum clock, designed by Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens in 1657.

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The Metre


Myself 

By T. V. Antony Raj
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The Meter is a metric measurement slightly longer than a yard; thus, a 100-meter dash might take you a second longer than a 100-yard dash. – Definition of Meter by Merriam-Webster.

1 metre ≈ 1.0936 yard or 39.370 inches.

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A seconds pendulum is a pendulum whose period is precisely two seconds; one second for a swing in one direction and one second for the return swing, a frequency of 1/2 Hz. Christiaan Huygens had observed that length as 38 Rijnland inches or 39.26 English inches; that is, 997 mm.

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The second pendulum, with a period of two seconds so each swing takes one second (Original simulation by Wolfgang Christian and F. Esquembre)

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In 1660, Christopher Wren suggested the use of the seconds pendulum to define length to the Royal Society. In 1668, John Wilkins, an English cleric and philosopher in an essay proposed the adoption of a decimal-based unit of length using the universal measure or standard based on a seconds pendulum. However, the Royal Society took no official action on these suggestions.

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The metre was originally defined in 1791 as being 1/10,000,000 of the distance from the North Pole to the Equator through Paris, making the kilometre 1/10,000 of this distance. (Source: Globe Atlantic.svg)

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During the French Revolution that lasted 10 years from 1789 to 1799, the French Academy of Sciences charged a commission with determining a single scale for all measures. On October 7, 1790, that commission advised adopting the decimal system, and on March 19, 1791, advised adopting the term mètre (Greek “measure”), a basic unit of length, which they defined as equal to one ten-millionth of the distance between the Earth’s equator and the North Pole through Paris, thus making the kilometre 1/10,000 of this distance.

In 1793, the French National Convention adopted the proposal. The use of metre in English began at least as early as 1797.

The metre (British spelling and BIPM spelling) or meter (American spelling) from the French unit mètre, derived from the Greek noun μέτρον (“measure”) is the base unit of length in some metric systems, including the International System of Units (SI). The SI unit symbol is m.

In 1799, the metre was redefined in terms of a prototype metre bar. However, it was later determined that the first prototype metre bar was short by about 200 micrometres because of miscalculation of the flattening of the Earth, making the prototype about 0.02% shorter than the original proposed definition of the metre. Regardless, this length became the French standard and was progressively adopted by other countries in Europe.

The main problem with defining the length standard by an artefact such as the meter bar is that there is no sure way to determine if it has changed length due to age, deterioration, or misuse. It can be compared to other bar standards, but these may have changed length themselves.

In the 1870s and in light of modern precision, a series of international conferences were held to devise new metric standards. The Metre Convention (Convention du Mètre) of 1875 mandated the establishment of a permanent International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM: Bureau International des Poids et Mesures) in Sèvres, France. This new organisation was to construct and preserve a prototype metre bar, distribute national metric prototypes, and maintain comparisons between them and non-metric measurement standards.

The BIPM made 30 prototype standard bars of 90% platinum–10% iridium alloy. One of the bars was selected as the International Meter. In 1889 at the first General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM: Conférence Générale des Poids et Mesures), the International Prototype Metre was established as the distance between two lines on a standard bar composed of an alloy of 90% platinum and 10% iridium, measured at the melting point of ice.

The Prototype Metre bars had a modified X cross-section named for the French scientist, Henri Tresca, who proposed it.

After selecting the bar for use as the International Prototype Meter, the other bars were calibrated relative to it and were given to nations to serve as their national standards.

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Closeup of National Prototype Meter Bar No. 27, made in 1889 by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) and given to the United States, which served as the standard for defining all units of length in the US from 1893 to 1960.

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The United States received the National Prototype Meter Bar No. 27, and No. 21 in 1890. The US adoption of the metric system in 1893 made the meter the fundamental length standard of the US, and No. 27 became the primary national standard for all length measurements.

Now, this original international prototype of the metre is now in the collection of the NIST Museum, Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA, because in 1960 the SI changed the standard of length to define the meter by the wavelength of light of a spectral line of krypton 86.

 

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Are You Bothered by Earwax?


Myself 

By T. V. Antony Raj
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Earwax (Credit: educalingo.com)

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Secreted in the ear canal of humans and other mammals is a grey, orange, or yellowish waxy substance known by the medical term cerumen, which is more commonly known as earwax. Earwax consists of shed skin cells, hair, and the secretions of the ceruminous and sebaceous glands of the outside ear canal. Major components of earwax are long chain fatty acids, both saturated and unsaturated, alcohols, squalene, and cholesterol.

Earwax protects the ear from dust, foreign particles, and has antimicrobial properties that protect the skin of the human ear canal. It assists in cleaning and lubrication, of the ear canal and provides some protection against microorganisms such as some strains of bacteria, fungi, and from insects. It also protects the ear canal skin from irritation due to water.

In normal circumstances, excess wax finds its way naturally out of the canal and into the ear opening and thenwashed away. Some people are prone to produce too much earwax which doesn’t automatically lead to blockage. At times, when our glands make more earwax than necessary, it may get hard and block the ear. Excess or compacted cerumen can press against the eardrum or block the outside ear canal or hearing aids, potentially causing hearing loss.

Frequent use of earphones might cause wax buildup and can inadvertently cause blockages by preventing earwax from coming out of the ear canals.

Movement of the jaw helps the ears’ natural cleaning process. The American Academy of Otolaryngology discourages earwax removal unless the excess earwax is causing problems.

We should take great caution when trying to treat earwax buildup at home. When we clean our ears, we can accidentally push the wax deeper, when using cotton swabs, bobby pins, or other objects in our ear canal causing a blockage. So, in a way, the wax buildup is a common reason for a temporary hearing loss.

If the problem of hearing loss persists,  it is advisable to visit a doctor.

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Bakelite: The Early Plastic Created as an Alternative to Secreted Beetle Resin


Myself 

By T. V. Antony Raj
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Synthetic plastics are a relatively new invention. For hundreds of years, people had been using organic plastics in some form or another. For example, in Medieval Europe, animal horns that had been scraped thin and flattened were used to make translucent windows. Another common plastic derived from natural sources are natural gum rubbers, which was later vulcanized and popularized by Charles Goodyear. As technology progressed, more natural plastics were used to create more products.

Shellac is a resin secreted by the female lac bug on trees in countries like India and Thailand. In the early 20th century, to insulate early electronic devices, the dawning electronics industries in America and Europe were importing shellac by the shipload which was quite costly. So, many companies were looking for cheap alternatives.

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Leo Henricus Arthur Baekeland (November 14, 1863 – February 23, 1944)

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In 1907, Leo Henricus Arthur Baekeland (November 14, 1863 – February 23, 1944), a Belgian chemist working in New York, best known for the inventions of Velox photographic paper in 1893, made an extensive study of natural polymers such as the shellac he was attempting to replace. By combining phenol and formaldehyde he created polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride, a completely synthetic polymer. By subjecting this synthetic polymer to pressure in moulds to force the air bubbles out, he created a smooth and hard plastic – the pervasive early 20th-century plastic called Bakelite, an inexpensive, nonflammable and versatile plastic, which marked the beginning of the modern plastics industry. He has been called “The Father of the Plastics Industry” for the invention of Bakelite.

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Black Bakelite Telephone

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Bakelite being resistant to electricity, heat, and chemicals, quickly found its way into a countless number of applications. Bakelite has been used to form the bodies of consumer electronics, insulating wires, parts for firearms, brake pads, camera bodies, and importantly the iconic black Bakelite telephones, and more.

At one point during metal shortages created by World War II, the United States government even considered making coins using Bakelite.

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of what comes to my mind.

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