Injection Moulding Plastics Infographic & Plastic Types

The first man-made plastic was created in 1862 by Alexander Parkesine. Since then, many different families of plastics have been created. During the 30s the real breakthroughs took place, when polyurethane, polystyrene, nylon, ptfe (teflon) and pmma were invented. Since then plastic has become the most widely used production material and is arguably one of the architects of the modern world.

Family Tree Infographic of Injection Moulding Plastics:

plastics history infographic

1862 – Parkesine (Alexander Parkes)

1863 –  Celluloid/Cellulose nitrite (John Wesley Hyatt)

1869 – Xylonite (Daniel Spill)

1872 – PVC/Polyvinyl Chloride (eugene bowman)

1894Viscose/Rayon (Charles Frederick Cross, Edward John Bevan)

1908 – Cellophane ® – Jacques E. Brandenberger

1909 – First true plastic Phenol-Formaldehyde tradenamed Bakelite – Leo Hendrik Baekeland

1926 – Plasticized Vinyl PVC (Walter Semon)

1927 – Cellulose Acetate

1933 – Polyvinylidene chloride or Saran also called PVDC – accidentally discovered by Ralph Wiley, a Dow Chemical lab worker.

1933 – Fawcett and Gibson at ICI discover polyethylene

1936 – Acrylic or Polymethyl Methacrylate (PMMA)

1935 – Low-density polyethylene or LDPE – Reginald Gibson and Eric Fawcett

1935 – Carothers and DuPont patent nylon

1937 – Polyurethanes tradenamed Igamid for plastics materials and Perlon for fibers. – Otto Bayer and co-workers discovered and patented the chemistry of


1937 – First commercial production of polystyrene by IG Farben, Germany

1938 – Full scale production of nylon 6 fibre begins in United States

1938 – First toothbrush with nylons tufts manufactured

1938 – Polytetrafluoroethylene or PTFE tradenamed Teflon – Roy Plunkett

1939 – Nylon stockings enter the market

1939 – First commercial production of polyethylene in UK by ICI

1940s – Use of polyethylene in radar

1941 – Whinfield and Dickson, of the Calico Printer’s Association of Manchester, patent “polyethylene terephthalate” (PET);

followed by the creation of the first polyester fiber called Terylene.

1942 – Unsaturated Polyester also called PET patented by John Rex Whinfield and James Tennant Dickson

1945 – The production of LDPE the Sqezy bottle by Monsanto caused a rapid expansion of the industry, with containers produced

to replace glass bottles for shampoos and liquid soaps.

1947 – Formica melamine faced decorative laminates introduced into the UK

1949 – Launch in US of Tupperware made from low density polyethylene

1950s – the polyethylene bag makes its first appearance (And its still there ever since !)

1951 – High-density polyethylene or HDPE tradenamed Marlex – Paul Hogan and Robert Banks

1948 – Introduction of 12” long playing records made from polyvinyl chloride (pvc)

1948 – Acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) produced

1949 – ‘Lycra’ based on polyurethane, invented by DuPont

1948 – George deMestral invents Velcro, patented in 1955

1949 – High impact polystyrene introduced as a commercial plastic

1949 – First Airfix self-assembly model produced, made of polystyrene

1951 – Polypropylene or PP – Paul Hogan and Robert Banks

1953 – Saran Wrap/shrink/cling film introduced by Dow Chemicals.

1953 – Commercialisation of polyester fibres introduces the concept of ‘drip dry’ and ‘non-iron’

1954 – Polystyrene foam (OR thermocol ,introduced by Dow Chemical Co.) foamed polystyrene foam Ray McIntire for Dow Chemicals

1957 – First production of polypropylene by Montecatini using Ziegler-Natta catalysts

1957 – The hoop is reinvented as the Hula Hoop by Knerr & Medlin, Wham-O Toy Company

1958 – First production of polycarbonates (Bayer and General Electric, now SABIC Innovative Plastics)

1958 – Lego patents its stud and block coupling system and produces toys of cellulose acetate, later Acrylonitrile- butadiene

styrene polymer.

Early 1960s – introduction of water based acrylic paints

1960 – Ethylene-vinyl acetate co-polymers launched by DuPont

1962 – DuPont launches polyimide films and varnishes

1967 – Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) ‘Blow’ chair designed by Scolari, De Pas and Lomazzifor manufactured by Znaotta

1969 – Neil Armstrong plants a nylon flag on the moon.

1970 – First Yellow HDPE pressure pipes for gas introduced into UK by Wavin/British Gas.

1970 – Thermoplastic Polyester this includes trademarked Dacron, Mylar, Melinex, Teijin, and Tetoron

1973 – Polyethylene terephthalate beverage bottles introduced

1977 – Polyaryletheretherketone (PEEK) was first prepared by ICI

1978 – Linear Low Density Polyethylene

1979 – First PVC-U double glazed windows installed

1980 – First Blue HDPE pressure pipes for potable water introduced into UK.

1982 – First artificial heart made mainly of polyurethane, introduced implanted in a human.

1985 – Liquid Crystal Polymers based on polyester

1989 – First light-emitting polymers (poly-ethyne) discovered in Cambridge

1994 – Smart car with lightweight flexible integrally coloured polycarbonate panels introduced

2005 – NASA explores the advantages of a polyethylene based material RFX1, as the material for the spaceship that will send man to Mars

There are many different types of injection moulding plastics, including the most popular: polypropylene moulding (LDPE, HDPE), polystyrene moulding, ABS moulding, nylon moulding, acrylic moulding, PET moulding and polycarbonate moulding. Let us know what you think of our tree showing all the main types of injection moulding thermoplastics and their derivatives.

To download a pdf copy of this for free please click here.  For further information on injection moulding, visit our pages on the injection moulding process, the advantages of injection moulding and what is injection moulding. If you would like to know more about AV Plastics, please go to our Products & Services pages.

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