What is Bakelite and what was it used for?

Bakelite, or polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride, is an early plastic that was quite sturdy and could withstand high temperatures. It is a thermosetting phenol formaldehyde resin, formed from an elimination reaction of phenol with formaldehyde, usually with a wood flour filler. It was developed in 1907-1909 by Belgian chemist Dr. Leo Baekeland. The black plastic handles and knobs on your Grandmother's old pots and pans are made from bakelite. The outer plastic shell of any rotary phone you may have seen was made from bakelite. Bowling balls, the old black ones, were also once made from bakelite too.