James Swinburne

Sir James Swinburne (February 28,1858-March 30, 1958) was a British electrical engineer and manufacturer. Often called the "Father of British Plastics", Swinburne revolutionized the plastics industry throughout Europe and his native Britain.

Swinburne was an awesome figure in the electrical industry. He worked on the first electric lightbulb and coined many new electrical words. Swinburne was also the first President of the Institution of Royal Engineers. His involement with plastic began with his introduction to phenol formaldehyde. Swinburne was so impressed with the possibilities of the product that he formed a company called Fireproof Celluloid Syndicate Limited, which was dedicated to the researching and marketing of the product.

Swinburne and Leo Baekeland founded the Demard Lacquer Company, and eventually formed into Bakelite Limited, of which Swinburne was installed as chairman. In 1934, Swinburne was knighted and received a baronetcy. He even authored a book called Entropy, which dealt with thermodynamics.

Sir James Swinburne died a month after his 100th birthday.


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