I spotted this article by Associated Press in today’s ST Life! The article stirred a tiny whirlpool of emotion in me. Lucite had occupied a tiny bit of my life once.
I sold Du Pont’s Engineering Plastics until the mid-nineties. During that time, ICI and Du Pont could be regarded as the two largest chemical companies, selling almost identical products at opposite sides of the Atlantic, from engineering plastics, to up and down streams of the coatings(paints) chemicals. In 1996, the two giants decided to consolidate their business and did a swap. ICI took over Du Pont’s Acrylic business and handed over their Engineering Plastics to Du Pont. For a short while, I was caught in this swap.
In 1997, I joined ICI and was responsible for selling acrylics. That included the upstream monomer MMA to the down stream polymer PMMA. The PMMA’s largest business was in the clear plastic sheets. Many in Singapore would be more familiar with the name Perspex, a trademark of ICI. With the swap, ICI dropped Perspex for Dupont’s trademark, Lucite.
I handled Lucite for a four years until it was sold off by ICI. ICI closed its business a few years ago. Some of my ex-colleagues are still handling Lucite but the PMMS business is now dominated by cheap imports from China and other parts of Asia.
Happy Birthday Lucite!