Bakelite vs Catalin

Catalin and bakelite are early forms of plastic and very similar in formula, but there is quite a difference in their final products. Many people use household cleaners to test for bakelite and catalin, and because the reaction is the same, they feel that the terms are the same (or interchangeable).
Bakelite is not translucent whereas catalin is. The swirled mah jong racks are catalin, as are the majority of tiles—bakelite doesn't have swirls. AND neither bakelite nor catalin come in white!
You have to read carefully when some people advertise a "catalin set." Of what? Racks? Well, that doesn't include the tiles. I hope that by looking at some of my sets you will be able to see the differences.
 
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space2011space this page last updated on    12/30/10