The Use of Plastics in Soviet Household Appliances. Plastics Rarities from the Collection of the Moscow Polytechnic Museum


  • Alla Nudel Polytechnic Museum


Phenolic resin, Carbolite, Moscow Polytechnic Museum, museum collection, household appliance, vacuum cleaner


In the first half of the 20th century, two main types of plastics were produced in industrial volumes in the USSR – cellulose nitrate and phenolic resins. At first, these materials were used to make household items and some electrotechnical products. The most interesting of them are represented in the collection of the Moscow Polytechnic Museum, one of the oldest science museums in the world, founded in 1872. The first models of home vacuum-cleaners and washing devices with cases made entirely of phenolic resin appeared in the USSR in the late 1940s. While the range of household appliances produced expanded after the middle of the 20th century, production of household electric vacuum cleaners, washing machines, and refrigerators continued. To begin with, these novel devices were produced for only a short time. For the curators and researchers of the Moscow Polytechnic Museum, these rare examples are unique and valuable objects for studying and preservation.