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All Things Bakelite Top Ten List of 2021
Seems like everyone makes lists around this time of year, so we thought we would share ours with you. Unlike many in the media who create “Best of…” lists, the items on our Top Ten List are not ranked, because they are all equally important; they reflect events, activities, and people that have enriched our lives and made us grateful. It’s by no means a complete list, but it’s one way to review some of the major highlights of our busy year and acknowledge our ATB community. We begin with the latest news…
Number 10: Bakelite Shines at the Mark Twain House and Museum
On November 17th, ATB came to “Author Talks”, a series produced by the Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford, CT. Bakelite, Leo Baekeland, and The Legacy of Plastics hosted by the Museum’s Jennifer LaRue and featured: as moderator, Dr. Jeffrey L. Meikle, author of American Plastic: A Cultural History; panelists, Joris Mercelis, author of Beyond Bakelite: Leo Baekeland and the Business of Science and Invention; writer and ATB team member, Bud Mikhitarian; and ATB executive producer Hugh Karraker. The lively panel discussion focused on Mercelis’ book and traced the life and work of Leo Baekeland, his transformative invention of Bakelite, and the big business of plastics that followed.
Coincidently, that week marked the 117th birthday of Leo H. Baekeland, and so the Mark Twain House event was a timely tribute to “the father of plastics”. The program was streamed live and was well-attended. We just received news that CSPAN-2 is picking it up and will soon broadcast the program. Stay tuned for announcements on dates and times. If you attended this event, we thank you for being a part of it! If you missed it, you can view it HERE.
Number 9: YouTube Channel Data Report
YouTube sent us their annual snapshot of activity on our L.H. Baekeland Project channel. We are delighted to report that our ATB community continues to grow. We had nearly 12,000 viewers watch our channel this year, spending over 20,000 minutes looking at our content, which now consists of 22 videos. Most of our viewers came from the U.S., the U.K., and India. The most viewed program was the trailer for the film. We got a lot of “likes” and some wonderful comments. Again, we thank you for your participation.
That’s the current news. Now, here are some of the year’s highlights we recall with pleasure:
Number 8: “The Story of Bakelite” Released on our YouTube channel
YouTube is an important way we continue to stay connected with our fans and stimulate new interest in ATB. In August, we posted our latest video, The Story of Bakelite, a book by John Kimberly Mumford (1863-1926). In 1924, the General Bakelite Company commissioned Mumford to write the book, which was essentially a PR piece to establish the provenance and uniqueness of Bakelite, a substance he described as “a wonderstuff”, and “a material that ought to make metal ashamed of itself”. Directed by John Maher, edited by Craig Mikhitarian, original score by Marty Fegy with the masterful voice-over artist John McDonough narrating Mumford’s words against striking period footage. See it now.

Number 7: From National Television to Global Streaming
Our successful two-year run on U.S. public television ended in March 2021 with over 500 telecasts. Then, on June 29 we launched our film globally in over 100 countries and territories. It’s now available on iTunes, AppleTV+, Google Play, YouTube, VUDU Domestic with English closed-captioning, and subtitles in Chinese, French, German, and Spanish.
Number 6: Global Advertising Campaign Launch
Concurrent with the release of ATB on streaming services worldwide, we engaged a team of professionals to coordinate a domestic and international advertising campaign to make audiences aware of the film’s newly wide availability and to generate media interest. Among their initiatives, Vanquish Media Group, based in Los Angeles, produced a new 20-second trailer for the film with stunning title graphics, and also from Los Angeles, AJ Feuerman and Amy Prenner brought the film to the attention of thousands of publications and film pundits for critique and publicity.
Number 5: Hugh and John's Publicity “Tour”
The ATB advertising campaign sent executive producer Hugh Karraker and director John Maher on a whirlwind summer publicity tour for radio, television, video podcasts and print publications. Virtually, that is! COVID prevented actual travel, so mostly through Zoom, they were interviewed numerous times. Ariana Huffington’s widely read publication, Authority Magazine, ran a lengthy feature. You will also find us in Splash, Plastics Today, New Scientist, Auction Central News and Plastics News.
Number 4: Press Breaks
The general release of All Things Bakelite brought many notices and reviews from domestic and international critics. “Fascinating…Beautiful…A Story with Great Relevance for Today”, are some of what the critics were saying. Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times called it “compelling”.
Number 3: LinkedIn
Another key element in building buzz around the film is through our LinkedIn profile, The L.H. Baekeland Project, LLC. We were inspired to create it after reading Sandra Long’s eye-opening new book, LinkedIn for Personal Branding: The Ultimate Guide. We contracted with her to help us raise our visibility, and to become a hub of information, activity and interaction for anyone interested in Leo Baekeland, Bakelite and plastics issues of the day. Please engage with us on LinkedIn.
Number 2: The Bakelite Quiz
This was fun! We began a new feature in our newsletters earlier this year, called The Bakelite Quiz. We publish a picture of an obscure Bakelite object and ask readers to identify it. The correct answer can win the prize of a vintage Bakelite item. The most recent Quiz has been extended through the Holidays. If you'd like an opportunity to participate, go to The Bakelite Quiz section of our last newsletter. You could win one of the Bakelite items shown above. Many thanks to Jorge Caicedo, Piedad Ceballos and Reindert Groot for providing a beautiful selection of Bakelite treasures; and to Christine Berntsen for creating such imaginative giveaways. Thanks to all who participated!
Number 1: You Know Who You Are!
All the activities above, and many others, that are part of The L. H. Baekeland Project have deepened our relationships with existing followers and friends, but also have created opportunities to make new ones. There are too many to mention here by name, but you know who you are, and you must know we are grateful for everyone’s interest and participation in our efforts to bring the knowledge of Leo H. Baekeland and his inventions to the world. Even more, we appreciate your support of our goal to ignite the dialogue around issues related to the responsible manufacture and use of plastic—and to make the world a better place. That is a legacy of Leo H. Baekeland and it is worth the commitment of us all. We look forward to building on our successes by continuing with you in the coming year to promote education and advocate for a smarter, better world. 

Wishing you a 
happy and healthy 2022!
The All Things Bakelite Team