8:00 AM - 9:15 AM

All Things Bakelite: The Age of Plastics


All Things Bakelite: The Age of Plastic, a film by John Maher, is a virtual periodic table of elements that combine to create a joyous and provocative story about the “Father of modern plastics”. In 1907, Leo Hendrik Baekeland, a Belgian-born American chemist, made one of the most transformative discoveries of the 20th century: Bakelite. It was the first wholly synthetic plastic and it ushered in an explosion of new man-made materials that marked the beginnings of our modern industrial age. 

History comes alive in this unique one-hour documentary that is as innovative and fluid as its subject. It blends together beautifully realized period re-enactments of Baekeland’s life, rare archival footage, photos and journal entries, interviews with scientists, historians, and artists, and clever musical performances that capture both the wonder and the curse of Baekeland’s alchemy.

The primary source and inspiration for this illuminating film is one of the great grandsons of Baekeland himself, Hugh Karraker, who is also the film’s executive producer.   All Things Bakelite: The Age of Plastic is suitable for all audiences interested in the human drama that underlies history, science, business, and design—with the surprising twist that the nature of plastic reveals the nature of people.

Celebrity Commentator: Hugh Karraker


Hugh Karraker is Executive Producer of the documentary film, All Things Bakelite: The Age of Plastic. He is a great grandson of Leo H. Baekeland, the Belgian-born American who invented Velox photographic paper and created the first wholly synthetic plastic, Bakelite. Hugh is co-founder of The L.H. Baekeland Project, LLC, which through world-wide exhibitions, presentations, and media, promotes the history, the science and the art of Bakelite, and celebrates the life and achievements of his great-grandfather.

For 30 years, Hugh was a successful actor in New York and Los Angeles, working in theater, motion pictures, television and print. He earned a BFA in acting at the University of Connecticut, studied in London at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and later co-founded the Magic Circle Theater in Chicago. Now retired from acting and devoted to his Baekeland Project, Hugh lives in CT with his actress wife, Sherry Arell Karraker, where he finds a creative outlet in building rustic furniture, gates and fences on commission.

PRESENTATION:  Unavailable

Hugh Karraker / Executive Producer