Brush, Clothes

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Record 30/30
Copyright Picton Museum and Historical Society
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Collection PMHS (unaccessioned) General
Description Clothes brush, casein backed. Donated by the Guard family on 19 September 1995. Casein is a phosphoprotein that is one of the chief constituents of milk and the basis of cheese.

From caseino.internet-today.co.uk 10/07/2010: Casein plastic was introduced in imitation of less exotic material - horn and semi-precious stone. The trade association was known as the Artificial Horn Manufacturers Association and it was not until 1938 that its name was changed to the Casein Plastic Association. Casein was first exhibited at the Paris Exposition of 1900 under the trade name Galalith. The plastics industry owes much to casein for its pioneering efforts. In particular, it was very easy to colour and also took a surface dye easily (it is a protein, not dissimilar to wool). It was produced in a wide range of beautiful colours and configurations, and could be dyed, at short notice, to match fabrics for buttons. These, and other items such as fountain pens, were handled every day and accustomed people to accept plastics in their own right rather than as imitations of other materials. About this time the fashion was for pastel colours and the base colour of casein needed improving. The Casein Plastic Association took up this challenge and, assisted by Mr. E.O. Weekes' experience, a method for improving the purity of raw rennet casein was patented by Erinoid, in France, in the 1950s. These patents were taken up by the New Zealand dairies and resulted in a casein of much improved clarity and colour.

Casein production continued hardly changed throughout its history. Over the years, many attempts have been made at modernising production, particularly the formalisation process, but nothing better could be found. In the end this proved its downfall, and most casein manufactures had closed by about 1980. Forthcoming regulations for the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health would have meant substantial investment to eliminate the open formalin tanks and deal with effluent. There was a dwindling market that did not justify the expenditure.

This object has no Picton Museum unique number to cross reference with.

Object ID PMHS.800.0113
Object Name Brush, Clothes
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Last modified on: December 19, 2014