The Science Museum (where else?) has a fantastic plastic exhibition . Bakelite is the first plastic and was invented by Leo Baekeland in 1907, so, 100 years ago.
There was a time before plastic and it was a time made of wood and stone and glass. Of couse, The Parents still disapprove of plastic but you cannot have a phone made out of stone (too heavy) or electricity cables covered in wood (too burny) or glass Spiderman lunch boxes (too smashy).
Leo Baekeland made masses of money with some other fantastic invention and moved to a place called, Snug Rock where he spent years thinking about insulators. You may think this sounds very boring and it probably was but somebody needed to think about it because the beetles were getting tired.
For centuries, Laccifer lacca beetles beetled away making a varnish called Shellac - course, they were just the insect slaves of some people who ordered them about and made the money and probably did not give the beetles anything. But by 1904 it got worse; the beetles had to work overtime because everyone needed a coating for the all new and exciting electrity cables. The beetles just could not keep up and would probably have started a union or organised a strike or gone off work with stress if the first manufactured plastic had not been invented.
To do this, Baekeland used a machine called a 'bakeliser'. This was like a giant pressure cooker which could muck about with chemical gunk and make it into a mouldable substance. So plastic was invented and no more Shellac was needed.
The beetles could retire.