What is the Difference Between Lucite & Plastic?

by Erin Watson-Price ; Updated September 28, 2017

All that glitters could be plastic.

Pink butterfly with black ribbon image by Olga Khopshanosova from Fotolia.com

Because of the prevalence of plastics , it is easy to think that the plastic in your water bottle and the plastic in your bracelet are identical. However, there are a variety of plastics used for different purposes. One such plastic is commercially marketed as Lucite.

What is Plastic?

The word “plastic” describes a classification of synthetic or semi-synthetic polymers. Acrylic plastics are made with acrylic acid, and one such synthetic polymer is polymethyl methacrylate sold under the brand names of Plexiglas, Lucite, Perspex, and Crystallite. This type of plastic is hard enough to cut or drill through.

History of Lucite

Lucite was originally developed in 1939 by the Dupont Company. Lucite jewelry and purses were manufactured mainly in the 1950s and 1960s and are now considered highly collectible.

Lucite vs Plexiglas

At the same time Dupont was developing Lucite, Rohm and Haas Chemical Company developed a chemically identical compound marketing it under the name Plexiglass. While molecularly these two products have no difference, Rohm and Haas chose to market their product for industrial rather than textile applications.

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Photo Credits

  • Pink butterfly with black ribbon image by Olga Khopshanosova from Fotolia.com

About the Author

Transplanted Yankee Erin Watson-Price lives in Birmingham, Ala., and has been writing freelance articles since 1997. She worked as writer/co-editor for Coast to Coast Dachshund Rescue's newsletter, "The Long and the Short of It." In 2007 she obtained a certification as a copy editor. Watson-Price holds a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.