The History of Acrylic

The first acrylic acid was created in 1843, by a french chemist

Charles Moureau

The first acrylic acid was created in 1843, by a french chemist, Charles Moureau. Polymethyl methacrylate (Later commonly referred to as Acrylic) was discovered in the early 1930s by two British chemists: Rowland Hill and John Crawford, who worked at Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) in England. After the discovery, ICI registered the product under the trademark Perspex.

Also in the early 1930s, chemists Otto Röhm of Rohm and Haas AG in Germany attempted to produce safety glass by polymerizing methyl methacrylate between two layers of glass.

The polymer separated from the glass as a clear plastic sheet, which was later given the trademarked name of Plexiglas in 1933.

Both forms of Acrylic were commercialised in the late 1930’s. In the United States, E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company (now known as DuPont Company) introduced its own product of Acrylic under the trademark of Lucite. In 1936 Imperial Chemical Industries (now known as Lucite International) began the first commercially viable production of acrylic safety glass.

World War I affected the rate at which acrylic was able to be tested and applied for different uses, however by the time of World War II, both the Allied and Axis forces used the new found strength and abilities of the acrylic glass at the time for submarine periscopes and aircraft windshields, canopies, and gun turrets.

More civilian applications followed after the war and by 2001, millions of tons of acrylic had been produced world wide.