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by Norman H. Finkelstein

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - JoAn Watson Martin
The Titanic sank in 1912, almost a century ago. When the personal effects were recovered from the Atlantic Ocean, not a single item was made of plastic, not even a button or a comb. Today, a century later, plastic is an inescapable part of our life. The plastic products used in WWII proved that the unique qualities were even better than those made from natural materials. This dramatic advance in plastic technology during the war years set the scene for the future. Dupont patented Teflon in 1941 but the scientists were unsure how it could be used. The ultra secret Manhattan Project needed it to protect the nuclear fuel for the atomic bomb. After the war people had high expectations for the peacetime uses of plastic. Dupont's slogan said it all: "Better things for better living through chemistry." The author traces the development of several plastic-based products which resulted from a combination of science and luck: Tupperware, Frisbees, hula hoops. Ruth Fallgather bought a ton of a rubbery, seemingly useless material from General Electric for $147. Once pressed onto a comic book picture, the substance took on the image; Silly Putty has been sold around the world. From space travel, sports equipment, cooking utensils, medical procedures, to packaged food, plastic has transformed our lives. The bad news is the negative impact that these "miracle materials" can have on our health. Even more visible is the trashing of our environment. The important emphasis now is on recycling and developing biodegradable plastics. Norman Finkelstein offers a fascinating history of "taken for granted" products. The publisher lists twenty titles in the "Great Inventions" series which include TheCamera, Computers, and Robots. A time line, a glossary, websites, a bibliography, and an index include further information. Reviewer: JoAn Watson Martin

Product Details

Cavendish, Marshall Corporation
Publication date:
Great Inventions Series
Product dimensions:
7.82(w) x 9.54(h) x 0.57(d)
Age Range:
14 Years

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