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Tenite is the Eastman Chemical Company's brand of cellulose plastic. It is made from wood products, not petrochemicals. It was introduced in 1929 and is "versatile, durable, and attractive. Tenite products are also easily molded, extruded, or fabricated and available in natural, clear, amber, and black." http://www.eastman.com/Brands/Tenite/Tenite_Intro.asp

Tenite is a hard material. Collectors are familiar with bags made of this material being called Acetate, but this is the cellulose acetate trade of the Celenese Corporation http://www.celaneseacetate.com.

Cellulose Acetate was less expensive than Acrylic Plastic, otherwise known as Lucite and was used to produce less expensive, molded bags that simulated the higher end Lucite and Bakelite bags. Often, Tenite was embedded with glitter and other materials.

These frames are well know to bag collectors. Most often, they are seen with knit or crochet bag bodies. Often the frames are trimmed with peacocks...sometimes scottie dogs. They are acetate, not Lucite.

960427: Black crochet gimp handbag ca. 1930. Identical but for color to the illustrated bag on pg. 132 of "Handbags" by Ettinger. Molded acetate frame is marked "Made in USA." Frame features a pair of elegant birds eating cherries. Fully lined in black moiré’ taffeta. Excellent condition. Measures 7 1/4 x 8 1/4 x 3/4". SOLD

960429: Navy crochet gimp handbag ca. 1930 with translucent floral acetate frame and 9" chain handle. Fully lined in black taffeta with 2 tiny holes at the very bottom. Unmarked. Slide-over clasp is tight but fully functional. Measures 8 1/2 x 6 1/2 x 3/4". SOLD

Acetate and Tenite bags can be distinguished from Lucite and Bakelite by careful observation and experience. The bags are lighter weight, thinner walled and ususally show circular mold marks.

1954 Spring line


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Page last modified on September 04, 2005, at 02:47 PM