Lucite® celebrates 80th anniversary

Acrylic plastics, like Lucite®, are used in a myriad of diverse applications that touch our lives in so many ways. From everyday home interiors products, to fashion, jewelry and accessories through retail environments, architecture and transport components, acrylic is a flexible, high performing material with strong sustainability credentials.

Manufactured by Lucite International, Lucite® continuous and cell cast acrylic is the world’s original and most-loved acrylic brand. Cool and beautiful, it is also the epitome of enduring strength and toughness and we’re proud to commemorate the premier brand’s 80th anniversary.

To celebrate this milestone, we’re revisiting important events in the brand’s timeline.

1936

After a discovery by DuPont chemists in 1921, the company licenses ICI’s process and officially introduces Lucite® acrylic in 1936.

1940s

Lucite®, known then as Perspex® in the UK, is used for military applications such as airplane windshields, canopies, bomber noses, submarine periscopes and gunner turrets. Going from industrial to elegant, the acrylic gains traction among handbag designers.

1950s

Lucite® handbags rise in popularity among celebrities and the affluent, becoming must-have accessories. Moving beyond trend-setting fashion accessories in the Nifty Fifties, Lucite® acrylic is used in the creation of television-set lenses, lowering their price while increasing their size.

1960s

Lucite® acrylic is incorporated in mass-produced furniture for the first time by individuals like Charles Hollis Jones, an American artist and furniture designer recognized by the Smithsonian Institution for his pioneering use of the brand.

1970s

The first modern continuous cast acrylic sheet line is installed in Memphis, Tennessee, close to the current Lucite International US headquarters. The experimental ‘70s sees furniture designers increasingly pushing the limits of Lucite® due to its easy processing, flexible qualities. Bathtubs made from Lucite® acrylic start appearing in homes throughout the country.

1980s

From catwalks to car taillights, and spas to signage, the use of Lucite® in everyday products starts booming. The development of laser etching and other fabrications techniques opens a whole new world of possibilities for Lucite® acrylic.

1990s

ICI acquires DuPont’s acrylic assets. Super-sized signage and illuminated advertising billboards are made possible due to the manufacturing capabilities of Lucite® acrylic sheet. The world’s big brands take note and start maximizing the creative opportunities afforded by the brand.

2000s

Lucite International develops and commercializes Alpha technology, its revolutionary and patented route to MMA – the building block for all acrylics. Alpha I plant is built in Singapore. Mitsubishi Rayon Co., Ltd. acquires Lucite International. The retail and hospitality sectors increase their use of Lucite® for POS, interiors schemes, advertising and directional signage.

2010s

The “LuciteLux®” acrylic brand name is introduced to distinguish products engineered for design, architecture, lighting and many more indoor and outdoor applications from those used to manufacture baths and spas. The illuminations sector grasps the potential of LuciteLux® to work with all types of light sources, especially LEDs, making LuciteLux® a material of choice.

2013

The LuciteLux® JUST IMAGINE Awards launch to recognize works made from the brand’s continuous and cell cast acrylic sheet products. From art to architecture and everywhere in between, designers renew their creative curiosity in the brand.

2015

Lucite International celebrates award-winning jewelry designer Alexis Bittar’s 25th anniversary of working with LuciteLux® during New York Fashion Week. Bittar is world famous for incorporating LuciteLux® into his designs.

2016

Lucite® celebrates 80 years of continuous growth and is firmly established as the world’s original, premier, most-loved acrylic brand. Its potential to add value to an ever-expanding range of applications has only just begun. JUST IMAGINE what the future holds!

 

When did you first learn about Lucite®?