How to Test for Bakelite

Being able to say authoritatively that an item you’re preparing to list on eBay is made of Bakelite rather than plastic is so important that anyone selling “found” items should know the trick.

Simichrome, a German metal polish, is widely used for testing for Bakelite. Simichrome is not only the best way to test Bakelite; it’s the best way to polish and protect it too. To test Bakelite, apply a very small amount of Simichrome to a soft cloth and rub it on the suspected area. If the cloth comes away colored yellow to brown, the plastic-looking section is Bakelite. (To clean or polish Bakelite, buff with a clean, soft cloth after the initial application.)


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