Saturday, March 15, 2008


At Death's Doorknob

Back in 2002 I had a piece in Cabinet covering Hemacite, a Victorian proto-plastic made from compressed cow's blood and sawdust. What, exactly, is cow blood and sawdust good for? Let's consult the Times for October 11, 1885:

Skating... on bloooood!

Even though the stuff was used for everything from drawer pulls to telephone receivers, Hemacite (and its French precursor, bois durci) has never really gotten its due in design history. But -- at last! -- someone has actually gone to the trouble of writing a book on it: Bois Durci: Un Plastique Naturel -- A Natural Plastic .

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