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Plasticine

A Bathian Invention

William Harbutt in the studio of his art school, Milsom Street, Bath (1895) Harbutt’s Plasticine Factory from the Canal in 1905 Early packaging for Plasticine 1906 William Harbutt at the Bathampton Summer Fete, 1913 The funeral of William Harbutt, in 1921, was a grand affair

The City of Bath was home to one inventor whose toy you will definitely know…

William Harbutt became Headmaster at the Bath School of Art in 1874.

While teaching sculpture with clay he searched for a synthetic modelling material which would be pliable over long periods and not dry out and invented Plasticine in 1897. Soon it was being marketed as a domestic ‘entertainment’ to encourage creativity.

Mass production of Plasticine began in 1901. A factory was opened at Bathampton continuing until 1983 and Plasticine is still being used by Aardman Animations, in Bristol, in their feature films like Wallace & Gromit.

 

Images: Museum of Bath at Work – Bath@Work Plasticine 1, Bath@Work Plasticine 2, Bath@Work Plasticine 3, Bath@Work Plasticine 4, Bath@Work Plasticine 5

This page is part of Industrial Hey-Day