WHAT are plastics? We hear the word c'plastic" very often nowadays. Y ou will have noticed that many objects of daily use which were formerly made' of natural substances are now being made of some kind of artificial preparation. Buttons are a good instance. When they were not made of metal they were generally made of bone, or of shelllike the mother-of-pearl buttons affected by the Coster Pearly

King~ They are now made of an artificial bone ... like substance, a plastic in fact, and in addition to the humble button of the trousers variety, one can get them in a1l sorts of shapes and sizes and brilliant colours. Toothbrush handles are of a tough transparent plastic instead of bone. Their bristles are of nylon-another plastic-instead of pigs' bristles, and they last much longer. Knife handles, mugs, the handles of umbrellas and the clasps of handbags, electrical fittings like plugs and switches, the case of your radio set, are made of plastics. The stiffeners in ladies' stays used to be made of whalebone. If there still are such things as stays, of which I am not sure, one would not now have to rifte the mouths of whaJes to get their vital parts. I remember my surprise when I first heard of a chemist friend with whom I was playing golf that the tees I was using were made from milk. By some sort of chemical juggling the plastic expert starts with such ordinary things as coal, limes tone, salt, water and air and prodllces strong, light durable materials which can be used for a host of purposes.