Back to the Collection


About the film

The development and manufacture of plastics and their many uses in the everyday world.


Release year
Ronald Haines
Production company
British Foundation Pictures Ltd.
Cyril Knowles
Frank Phillips
R. Haines
Running time (minutes)
20 mins 02 secs
De Wolfe

Original Description

The Manufacture of Plastics
‘This film shows the processes of making plastics from the original powder to the rolling and moulding of the finished article. Plastics can be moulded or sawn into a vast number of articles. These new substances are strong, smooth, easily cleaned and can be dyed in bright colours.’
(Films of Britain - British Council Film Department Catalogue - 1946)


  • The war effort had a huge boom effect on the plastic industry. As such, once the war had ended, there was a huge influx of plastic goods on the market.
  • The Pearly Kings and Queens — a pair of whom are seen at the beginning of the film — are a London-based charitable working class culture that is over a century old.
  • The panning shot of a bridge and sheep at the 1:20 mark has been reused from another British Council Collection film — Border Weavemade in 1942 and filmed by Jack Cardiff. The shot of a mechanical digger shortly afterwards is also believed to be reused, though this time from Teeth of Steel, filmed by Geoffrey Unsworth in 1942.