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Bandalasta – What is it?

is the trade name for a range of decorative moulded articles first produce by Brookes & Adams in the 1920’s “the ideal picnic and dainty table ware”.

A range of articles for camping, caravanning, yachting along with tableware for the home. These mouldings were known for their light bright colours & marbled effects, a first for plastic, which until the invention of thiourea formaldehyde in 1924 had been restricted the dark colours of Bakelite.
In 1924, Edmund Rossiter, a research chemist for The British Cyanides Company Ltd. (later to become British Industrial Plastics), developed a process for the condensation of Thiourea with Formaldehyde. The result of the process was the production of a “water-white” synthetic resin syrup. This was a major breakthrough in the development of plastics as prior to this, the phenolic resins used in the production of Bakelite had been straw coloured or brown. In 1925, processes were developed to turn this “water-white” syrup into white and pale-coloured moulding powders by combining the resin with cellulose pulp. These became known as BEETLE moulding powders, the company’s logo had been a scarab beetle, and were the first white ‘paper filled’ moulding powders to be produced anywhere in the world. In 1925, a new company was established in order to produce these new moulding powders, this company was known as The Beetle Products Co. Ltd.

Before too long these moulding powders were being used by several companies, including Brookes and Adams, who were already producing tableware and household items in phenolic materials under the trade name of BandA Ware and appreciated the merits of Beetle. Soon producing a range of articles in pale colours and marbled effects BANDALASTA was born.

A significant point in the success of BANDALASTA came when The Beetle Products Co. Ltd. managed to persuade Harrods of London to mount a display of Beetle products in November 1926. The display of tableware from Brookes & Adams Ltd., The Streetly Manufacturing Co Ltd., and Thomas De La Rue & Co Ltd. was a huge hit and Harrods had to give more floor space to the display to cope with the demand. The success at Harrods was followed by displays at some of London’s other top stores including, Selfridges, John Lewis and Peter Jones.
A few months later a new subsidiary of The British Cyanides Company Ltd., Beatl Sales Ltd was formed. It’s purpose was to act as a sales agent for the moulding companies, buying the products from the moulders and invoicing customers. Beatl Sales Ltd. was also responsible for organising and staffing the displays in the London stores.
In 1927, Beatl Sales Ltd. opened a shop in London’s Regent Street called, surprisingly, The Beatl Shop. The shop sold Beatl products from various manufacturers, but the three main ones were “M.L.”, “Linga Longa” and of course “BANDALASTA”. Beatl Sales continued for a few years,.

The increasing demand for Beetle moulding powders lead to the development of a quicker curing and easier to handle material. A straight Urea moulding powder known as Beetle Industrial was produced. Like the original Beetle it was still a paper filled material supplied in white, translucent, and pastel shades but no longer in the fine powder needed to achieve the marbled effects of the early Bandalasta.

(Extract from an original Brookes & Adams Bandalasta catalogue)

Delightful Colours ~ Light in Weight

Bandalasta is not china – not glass. What is it?

One of the first questions one asks is “what is BANDALASTA?” Is it celluloid or is it made from Bakelite?

The answer to both these questions is No! Then what is it? To explain to the non-technical mind is rather difficult but broadly speaking it is made from synthetic resin. Not the resin one usually knows and uses for the violin bow, but a resin developed in the 1920’s made under British patents and from British materials discovered and developed by British chemists.

Formaldehyde is combined with other chemical products to produce this resin which is perfectly colourless and not brown as is the case of the ordinary resin which is the gum of a tree.

This synthetic resin is ground up with a suitable filler and a dye to produce the required colour is added. The result is a fine powder having the appearance in the lighter shades of flour. The required quantity of this powder is taken the various colours being carefully weighed and blended by skilled workmen, the quantity being sufficient to fill the mould producing the shape required. The article is then moulded or shaped under pressure of 2 tons to the square inch in hardened and beautifully polished steel dies hydraulic machinery giving pressures up to some hundreds of tons being used. Heat and pressure is maintained for several minutes when a chemical change takes place the resin hardens and the article takes the shape of the mould. At the end of this time the resulting piece of BANDALASTA is removed from the mould and allowed to cool and it cannot be again softened by subsequent heating.

The edges are then trimmed and the surface polished by special machinery and the result is the beautiful BANDALASTA article which cannot be successfully imitated by any other process.


Articles made from this special material and by this process are known by the general trade name of “Beatl” – not china – nor glass- not crock – not porcelain but Beatl. In the same way there are different kinds of china etc there are different kinds of Beatl but it is sufficient to glance the pages of this book or examine the range of BANDALASTA patterns to assure oneself that in buying BANDALSTA you are buying Beatl at its best. BANDALASTA is the original make of this class of ware and can show an almost unlimited range of patterns second to none in artistic merit or for general utility purposes.


BANDALASTA Ware has, amongst others, the following distinctive points: beautiful and attractive colours, lightness, non-fragility ; all these advantages making it eminently suitable for use in the Home, Garden, for Motoring. Picnicing, Boating, Camping, etc. It has NO SMELL OR TASTE.


BANDALASTA is made in a variety of beautiful marbled and translucent pastel shades. many of which are illustrated in colour on pages 3 and 5, and a complete list of the stock colours is given on page 6. The makers cannot undertake to make special colours or to match other colours than those listed, but as there are 24 distinct colours from which to select, a very wide range of choice is offered. In the Marbled shades no two pieces are exactly alike, but all the pieces of the same colour number arc blended so that they can be built up in complete sets,


BANDALASTA should be washed with soap and hot water, but washing soda must not be used or the surface may be roughened. The colours do not wash off, as they go “right through” the material, and are not simply on the surface,


BANDALASTA is not stained when used for fruit, etc., but after continued use for tea and coffee a deposit is formed on the surface this is not a stain which penetrates the material. This can be removed by rubbing with the thumb and a little moist salt, or with “Glitto.” Do not use rough, gritty cleaners! Pieces can also be polished with liquid metal polish and afterwards washed in warm, soapy water to remove the smell of the polish.


BANDALASTA is extremely light: for instance, the complete Morning Tea Set, with Tray and Teapot T42P. weighs only 1 3/4 lbs. Compare this with a similar article in china, which would weigh at least twice as much. Here is what you have been looking for; for your out-door Picnics, Motoring. Camping or Boating parties. Four Picnic Cups, Saucers and Plates also weigh only 1 3/4. lbs.


BANDALASTA is NOT sold as being UNBREAKABLE, a claim which would be absurd, but the makers do claim that, given equal treatment, BANDALASTA will not fracture so easily as glass or china. Plates or similar flat articles will stand much rougher treatment than deep articles such as drinking horns or cups.


The makers are unable to repair broken pieces of BANDALASTA, but pieces which are screwed together can be supplied with new parts if one piece is broken. Cups and Saucers can be had separately to replace broken or worn sets.


In order to facilitate ordering, every BANDALASTA piece is marked with the piece or pattern number on the bottom, and it is only necessary to quote this, together with the colour reference, for repeats. The colour reference can be obtained by referring to the standard colour list on page 6. A guide to the colour reference is also given on the colour pages of this booklet, but these must not be taken too literally owing to the impossibility of correctly rendering the colours in printing.


Whilst BANDALASTA will stand considerably more rough treatment than china or ,glass it is advisable to exercise care by not pouring boiling liquids such as milk, etc., into BANDALASTA vessels. Except for making tea it should not be necessary to pour absolutely boiling liquid into jugs or beakers, etc.. if a little care is taken in this respect the life of the articles will be considerably prolonged.

Both Artistic and Useful