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Cathedral-style Thermometer

TitleCathedral-style Thermometer
Object NameCathedral-style Thermometer
DescriptionA small desk thermometer, probably a promotional item, in the form of a so-called “cathedral radio,” with the case in the shape of a single Gothic ogive arch. Set within this is a circular face with degrees Fahrenheit marked by tens from 0 to 120 Below in raised “plaque” is the inscription: “A. S. Brewster, Funeral Chapel, 29 Beechwood Road, Summit, N.J., Phone: Summit 6-0218.” " Phenol-formaldehyde (Phenolic) was the first truly synthetic manmade plastic was discovered by Dr. Leo Hendrik Baekeland in 1907. His pressure patent was issued in 1909. Ths material was sold under the trade name of Bakelite." The first Bakelite molding materials were dark in color. Most compounds were sold with fillers and/or reinforcement. As a result, they were always opaque. These materials were widely used in all kinds of industrial and commercial products. Electrical insulating applications were a major early market. Bakelite was described as a "material with a thousand uses." In the early 1930s a competitor introduced a cast- able grade of transparent Phenol-Formaldehyde under the trade name of Catalin Very shortly thereafter the Bakelite Company introduced a comparable transparent material. The transparent materials could be easily pigmented to produce bright colors. These materials could be cast in low cost molds without a molding machine.
Date Manufactured1925-1932 (Date range based on patent number of  1,906,487). 
MaterialPhenol Formaldehyde (PF). Backing and thermometer hand are metal.
Manufacturing ProcessCompression Molded (housing), Parts Assembled
Number of Objects1
Accession Number2010.044
DonorCollection of Glenn and Patsy Beall.
Broad SubjectNovelty, Promotional and Souvenir Items
For More InformationPlease address inquires to the Public Services Librarian, Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Library (e-mail:, tel. 315-443-2697).
RightsPublication of images from the Special Collections Research Center is subject to approval and fees may be charged for such use. Publication includes the following media: print, electronic/digital, videotape, film, or microfilm. Permission to use images must be obtained in advance and in writing from the Special Collections Research Center by writing to or going to . These fees are separate from any which might be assigned/assessed by the copyright holder.


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