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 What is resonite
Author: mags (---.server.ntli.net)
Date:   2004-11-30 10:24

Hello all. I see a lot of you referring to the cheaper clarinets plastic/resonite. I have my first clarinet...it is ebonite, is that similar to resonite? It suits me well. It is a Hanson clarinet. I have a van doren mouthpiece on it. It's no good me having an expensive clarinet....only last night I drove home and left it on the ground of the Salvation Army car park. Luckily someone handed it in. So what I'm asking is..what is resonite? Ebonite is apparently not plastic...thankyou, Margaret x

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 Re: What is resonite
Author: Ralph G (65.71.138.---)
Date:   2004-11-30 13:07

Definition of ebonite: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebonite. It's also a brand name of bowling balls (used to have one myself).

Resonite is a trade name for a particular type of plastic material. See this entry from the Klarinet archives: http://test.woodwind.org/Databases/Klarinet/1998/05/001255.txt

________________

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Post Edited (2004-11-30 13:09)

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 Re: What is resonite
Author: Don Berger (---.proxy.aol.com)
Date:   2004-11-30 15:02

Question - Was Resonite ever an copyrighted tradename to Selmer OR Leblanc [in my recollection] or another, or was it always a "generic term" as it is now ??? Nylon is a good example of the loss of trademark status, because of wide-spread, common usage . To me, it means a "resinous ebonite", indicating a greater flexibility than the OLDER, hardened [natural]rubber, prob. being made by chemical hardening [vulcanizing is an old term] of a SYNTHETIC "elastomer". Research needed ? Don

Thanx, Mark, Don

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 Re: What is resonite
Author: Don Berger (---.proxy.aol.com)
Date:   2004-11-30 21:03

Answer [to my ?] - Yes, was copyrighted/trademarked [R in a circle] and prob. still is, since [I believe, don't know much about them] they have a long life. My Mazzeo Bundy [Selmer USA] shows it on its bell. My Vito says ResoTONE , no R, on its U J. Ebonite in my Dict refers to "vulcanite" [hard rubber], and appears to mean SYNTHETIC ebony which itself is a hard, valuable wood. That appears to me to complete the terminology "circle", but will be happy to read any added comments/corrections. Don

Thanx, Mark, Don

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 Re: What is resonite
Author: mags (---.server.ntli.net)
Date:   2004-12-01 07:00

thankyou for that

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 Re: What is resonite
Author: Gordon (NZ) (---.jetstream.xtra.co.nz)
Date:   2004-12-01 08:36

Is Resonite a close realation, or the same, as Bakelite, an early thermosetting 'plastic', phenol fromaldehyde.

I have certainly seen clarinets of a material that closely resembles Bakelite.

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 Re: What is resonite
Author: John Stackpole (---.ras11.vaash.alerondial.net)
Date:   2004-12-01 12:23

Bakelite, as I recall, is/was very brittle - I trust your "near-Bakelite" clarinet doesn't share that property.

JDS

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 Re: What is resonite
Author: Don Berger (---.proxy.aol.com)
Date:   2004-12-01 13:39

You are welcome, mags,we have had similar questions before, so with their help and a bit of info on my part, we have some answers [about 98% correct] I think. Re: Bakelite, Gordon, named for inventor Bakeland [sp?], it was an early plastic [thermoset] from condensation of a phenol with an aldehyde, correct, John, hard but brittle, main use I think was electrical because of very low conductivity. Hard rubber dates back to Goodyear's work with "natural" rubber [principally polyisoprene], finding [I think] that it could be"hardened" by heat treatment using sulfur and some metals, and called his process vulcanization [from Vulcan, god of fire {GR or Rom??]. Now I've told you more than what I'm really sure of ! Will research and suggest others do also. With the development of thermoplastics [1930's +] many more pl's became available to inst mfgrs, Linton patented a polypropylene bassoon, and an insert for the oboe's crack-prone area, a number have used ABS "resins" and others. Styrene- butadiene elastomers can be "hardened" [cross-linked] and are prob used as vulcanite-ebonite-Resonite, having a good compromise betweenbrittleness and flexibility. "Nuff? I had no intention of writing a book !! Others, please help, this is interesting, at least to me, Don

Thanx, Mark, Don

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 Re: What is resonite
Author: William (---.mad.wi.charter.com)
Date:   2004-12-01 14:44

Thanks Don!!!!!!!

(and I always thought that Resonite was just some plastic gunk that tent stakes and Bundys--particularily, effers--were made of)

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 Re: What is resonite
Author: Terry Stibal (---.230.48.67.Dial1.Houston1.Level3.net)
Date:   2004-12-01 17:15

The early synthetic clarinets were made of a mixture containing natural rubber, sulphur (for the vulcanization aspect), carbon black (for the color) and lead (for God alone knows what reason; back in the day, there was added lead in a lot of industrial products). Same general compounding as the old black bowling ball, same density and so forth.

Rubber is one of a number of "natural" polymers (use "plastics" as a working equivalent) that started the massive industry that we now have. The problems associated with machining the black woods used in clarinets along with the procurement issues involved made clarinet making of synthetics an early target for the manufacturers.

And, while a "rubber" or plastic clarinet has the cachet of being "for the kids", many pros from the old days played on them and loved them. Lazarus was one, by way of example.

Rubber (and all "plastics") have de-polymerization issues involved with same. With rubber, it's the gradual separation of the rubber from the sulphur used to stabilize it. (Remember, it's not a "chemical" mix, but rather a mechanical mixture of the materials included; think of a Damascus or samurai sword blade for a metal equivalent.) As the mixture separates, the rubber and sulphur (and other contents, one would assume) migrate in different directions, giving "old" vulcanized rubber the greenish yellow tint. I've got a favorite very old HS* mouthpiece to which this has happened.

Similar problems can affect some of the thermo plastics. Styrene gradually loses its "plasticizer" component, becoming more and more brittle as time goes on. Others, like polypropylene, don't have this problem as long as they are not too exposed to UV light.

The Bakelite plastics (phenol based, very nasty stuff to manufacture) are different. Old telephones from the 1920s and 1930s look a little dusty, but saw through one of their plastic parts and you'll find that there's little changed within. Phenol based plastics are thermo set; heat them up and they only get harder and start charring. (Most "plastics" are of the thermoplastic variety, getting softer as they are heated. Rubber and styrene fall into this last category.)

As for trade names, if a term sounds "commercial", there's a good chance that it is. Ebonite and Vulcanite are "trade names" for someone's clever implementation of the hard rubber principle. On the other hand, Resonite, Resotone, and anything with resin implied in the construct are takeoffs on commercially available plastic resins.

The number of "trade names" for polycarbonate plastics (think Lexan) almost defies comprehension, but you have to allow people to toot their own horn, I guess.

Now, what about German silver (which is neither German nor contains any silver)?

leader of Houston's Sounds Of The South Dance Orchestra
info@sotsdo.com

Post Edited (2004-12-01 17:17)

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 Re: What is resonite
Author: Don Berger (---.proxy.aol.com)
Date:   2004-12-01 20:43

An interesting commentary, Terry, mostly correct IMVHO, but I beg to differ re: ResOnite, rather than resInite, believe it comes from resonate to "sound good" and a cap R for tradename. Also as a hardened "rubber" it is derived from an elastomer ["natural" or synthetic] rather than a resin, as the two have different properties as such. Also, the sulfur [and perhaps some of the other elements] is/are chemically combined as the crosslinking agent [requiring heat, vulcanization] which defeats any elastic character of the product . Oxygen and other similar elements also can do this. Likely the lead is present as the carrier of the sulfur as Pb[Sx] and further acts as a densifier. As to German silver, true, a better name might be nickel silver or better yet, the ternary [+] alloy of Ni, Cu and Zn, etc, many diff. compositions with varying properties as we have discussed many times here. Don

Thanx, Mark, Don

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 Re: What is resonite
Author: Gordon (NZ) (---.jetstream.xtra.co.nz)
Date:   2004-12-01 21:41

John Stackpole wrote "Bakelite, as I recall, [Bakelite] is/was very brittle - I trust your "near-Bakelite" clarinet doesn't share that property.

As a child I had access to bakelite sheets of many thickness, both reinforced an non-reinforced.

Yes, it was brittle in the technical sense that rubber is brittle - the material fractures before it suffers any significant PERMANENT distortion in shape.

However I could bend those sheets a long way without them snapping. It was a difficult material to snap. I doubt that the force the material could withstand without damage was any less than vulcanised rubber or ABS.

Yes, it was possible to fracture one of those old telephones, but it needed a pretty good impact, and the plastic was a lot thinner for most of the phone, than the walls of a clarinet.

I know I have worked on clarinets which had the characteristic smell (when worked) of phenol resin, of which Bakelite is one. They had an enduring, shiny, black surface, typical of Bakelite, and certainly not indicative of ageing hard rubber, which turns dull and green (and smelly). I do not recall what make these clarinets were, but they the material was not ABS, and did not have the characteristics of hard rubber, which was very common for the early Chinese instruments - brand names Lark & Hsinghai.

So far I have not noted any authoritative statement of just what type of polymer Resonite was, yet I have noted an increasing ASSUMPTION that it was hard rubber. Are there any grounds yet for this assumption.

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 Re: What is resonite
Author: Don Berger (---.proxy.aol.com)
Date:   2004-12-02 15:35

TKS for the "push", Gordon, from a bit more looking around, the ONLY ref to Resonite I've found in our usual cl books is [briefly] in Rendall, 3rd Ed [197X ?], pg 14 as "certain artificial resins, Perspex [I believe its an acrylic] and Sonorite and Resonite [he describes them as "reinforced nylon material"] . Soooo, perhaps a number of us should just tip our hat and "ride off into the sunset" with our hardened [modern-syn] rubber guesses, myself included. I'll look it up , next library trip in plastics encyclopedias, and try the tradename listings in our patent site, and plastics supplier info, for definition. Your observations re: smell, {you might try burning a sliver, and smelling its odor cautiously} are worthy of being considered. I seem to recall a PE/PP reinforced with fabric, nylon perhaps ?? Also a mention of Borden Resonite film PS-26, by Lantech Inc. What a research project this has turned into !!! HELP<HELP ! Don

Thanx, Mark, Don

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 More plastics stuff...
Author: Terry Stibal (---.230.48.102.Dial1.Houston1.Level3.net)
Date:   2004-12-02 16:40

Perseplex is a trade name for acrylic plastic, same formulation as Plexiglas. I believe that Perseplex is a UK trade name, but I don't have the source book here.

Borden got into plastics from the milk end of things, with plastics based upon casein, which in turn is a protein extracted from milk. (Long chain proteins are the original "plastic" building blocks, although these days we have largely moved on from naturally occurring proteins to carbon-hydrogen molecules produced from crude oil.) Transparent forms of these plastics were once used for clear window like structures, but they were mostly replaced by acrylics.

Gail Borden, the company's founder, was a major "mover and shaker" here in the Houston area back in the 1800's (which usually means that he was some sort of sharpster or crook, at least by the standards of the rest of the world). He started out as a surveyor during the early days of the Republic of Texas, moved on to land speculation, and later got into milk canning and preservation. The canned milk racket was where he really made his nut, and plastics were only a sideline.

The plastics side of the business was active for the most part in the early 1900's. I don't know how active they are these days, though.

Bakelite is some strong and nasty stuff. (So is the phenol that is a major "building block" in the process used to make it.) Very useful for things like electrical insulation, it has largely been displaced from consumer items over the last twenty years time. The fact that it is also "butt ugly" in most forms doesn't help its reputation, either.

All three types mentioned above (acrylics, casein based plastics, and phenol based plastics) have a distinctive odor when smoldered or burned. Acrylics smell "sharp" with a slight hint of chlorine, casein based plastics smell like milk, and Bakelite smells like...well...phenol.

Most likely, the Chinese clarinets alluded to in an earlier posting would be made of either acrylic (cheap, easy to mold, strong enough to hold up) or ABS or polypropylene. All are stable enough, the last two are more suitable, and all will melt if you apply enough heat. If the horn is made of Bakelite, it will char and burn, but it will not (as in never, ever, EVER) melt.

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 Re: What is resonite
Author: David Spiegelthal (---.east.saic.com)
Date:   2004-12-02 17:22

"Resonite" comes from the planet "Reson", home of the comic-book superhero "Clariman" who was taken away from that planet (which had gotten too noisy from an excess of Trumpet players living there) and brought to Earth where he was raised --- unfortunately Clariman's superhuman powers are weakened when he is in close proximity to any of the Resonite material --- thus he always plays a wood clarinet (his favorite brand is Henri-Leon Selbuffahablanc).

Or something like that.

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 Re: What is resonite ??
Author: Don Berger (---.proxy.aol.com)
Date:   2004-12-02 18:54

TKS, Dave S - Both Terry and I should have thot of our 10th[+] planet as the source of our confusion. Perhaps thats where being On Reson Able due to the tpts, came from ??? Don

Thanx, Mark, Don

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 Re: What is resonite
Author: Gordon (NZ) (---.jetstream.xtra.co.nz)
Date:   2004-12-02 19:34

Terry, you are right about Perspex (not 'Persepex') and Plexiglass being the same. In New Zealand nobody uses the term Plexiglas. We probably historically imported from UK.

I'd say the early Chinese clarinets were definitely not acrylic. They had ALL the characteristics of hard rubber - the smell when scraped or machined, the thermosetting properties, the rigidity, the brittleness, the change to green with age, and the slightly sulphurous smell (and taste) with age, kjkust like mouthpieces. Definitely not ABS, and definitely not polypropylene, whose properties are very different.

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 Re: What is resonite
Author: mags (---.server.ntli.net)
Date:   2004-12-02 20:58

Thankyou again for your answers...although some of it is hard to understand. Just to let you know...the maker of my clarnet says that you shouldn't put ebonite under water or it will go green over a matter of time...only the plastic mouthpiece can be run under water.....I realise that you all prefer wooden ones.....but really....for a learner...is it really worth it to spend extra on a wooden one? Sorry if I should have started a new thread...I wasn't sure. Thankyou all anyway.Margaret

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 Re: What is resonite
Author: David Spiegelthal (---.east.saic.com)
Date:   2004-12-02 21:12

ANY mouthpiece can be cleaned with warm water and mild soap, so long as it is dried thoroughly after washing. As pointed out above, the process of hard rubber turning green (sometimes) over time is caused mainly by exposure to sunlight (ultraviolet radiation -- UV) and/or natural off-gassing (leaching and evaporation) of the plasticizers in the material. Hard rubber (a.k.a. 'ebonite') is, discoloration notwithstanding, an excellent material for mouthpieces and entire clarinets. Of my personal instruments, many of the better ones are hard rubber, date from the 1920's-50's, play very well and generally are in better condition than wood instruments of similar vintage. "Resonite", as pointed out very thoroughly, is plastic material and somewhat different. But as with metals and woods, 'the devil is in the details'.........depending on the exact formulation /selection/grade of the material, the processing/aging methods, and the fabrication techniques, clarinets and mouthpieces made from a wide range of materials can be perfectly satisfactory, or just adequate, or horrible.

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 Re: What is resonite
Author: Gordon (NZ) (---.jetstream.xtra.co.nz)
Date:   2004-12-02 21:54

"...I realise that you all prefer wooden ones.....but really....for a learner...is it really worth it to spend extra on a wooden one?..>

Mags, were you joking? Timber is a mighty unsatisfactory material for mouthpieces. Almost every wooden mouthpiece is probably in a museum or collection.

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 Re: What is resonite
Author: Todd W. (---.oracle.com)
Date:   2004-12-02 22:11

Gordon (NZ) --

After reading Margaret's (mags) latest post a couple of times, I'm pretty sure she is referring to a wooden clarinet (even though just before that she was writing about mouthpieces), since the composition of her clarinet was the thrust of her original post.

As to wooden mouthpieces, Greg Smith, for one, has been making them. I believe our Clarinetgrammy plays on one.

Margaret --

Your non-wooden clarinet should be fine for now; you'll be able to learn and play well on it as long as it's kept in good adjustment. If you don't have one, you should get a teacher soon. He or she can advise you when it might be time to "upgrade" to a wooden instrument. The general consensus (but not a unanimous one) is that it's an upgrade because many wooden clarinets have better design and workmanship than some student-level non-wooden clarinets.

As far as the composition of your Hanson (made in Great Britain?) ebonite clarinet is concerned, and its relationship to Resonite, you could try asking (via e-mail, perhaps) the makers.



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 Re: What is resonite
Author: mags (---.server.ntli.net)
Date:   2004-12-03 09:41

Thankyou.......Of course I was referring to clarinets...not a wooden mouthpiece...I never knew such things existed...It did make me laugh though. Anyway, thanks all again..I have a teacher but not a proper clarinet teacher. I am now in the process of looking for a 'clarinet' teacher. Any offers?? good sense of humour required...Mgt x

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 Re: What is resonite
Author: BobD (---.msn.com)
Date:   2004-12-03 15:20

The use of tradenames to hide the true identity of material is and has been a common practice. Hard rubber was and continues to be a quite amazing material considering the many plastics that have been developed since it was. I believe it was originally used for electrical insulators and for the old cylinder records and later the flat ones. Bakelite was the first successful phenol-formaldehyde based "phenolic resin plastic" and although others besides G.E. soon developed imitators they had to invent various names. One very successful manufacturer was(and still is?) in Wisconsin and their phenolic resin in various formulations were very successfully marketed in the midwest. Since shipping costs from Wisc. to nearby states including Indiana and Wisconsin itself where LeBlanc was/is located were less than from out East it was probably used for Midwest manufactured clarinets.
VanDoren still markets a variegated colored mouthpiece that is reminiscent of early bowling balls. Until I find proof otherwise I am still led to believe that Ebonite was a thermoset phenolic resin based material rather than hard rubber. Resonite was probably a phenol-formaldehyde based thermoste resin manufactured in Wisconsin. Wouldn't it be interesting if someone knows the facts.

Bob Draznik

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 Re: What is resonite
Author: Gordon (NZ) (---.jetstream.xtra.co.nz)
Date:   2004-12-03 20:22

"....Until I find proof otherwise I am still led to believe that Ebonite was a thermoset phenolic resin based material rather than hard rubber...."

It's not proof, but the Penguin "Dictionary of Science", 6th edition, lists ebonite as

"Vulcanite. A hared black insulating material made by vulcanizing rubber with high proportions of sulphur. It contains about 30% combined sulphur"

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 Re: What is resonite
Author: Don Berger (---.proxy.aol.com)
Date:   2004-12-03 21:59

My Webster's New Abridged [4" thick !] dict. says the same, G-NZ, and I have seen Resonite-Resotone equated with it. Thats what led me to the conclusion that it is a modern-day [1950's +] hardened "rubber", made with synthetic elastomers, with a better [reacting] balance of crosslinking chemicals and finer carbon black, possibly with "sheen" producers [surface?] , avoiding the aging problems encountered with early-day cl mps and bodies, but still a low cost, easily machinable, [near] thermoset "resin" [generic term] . These technologies were greatly advanced in this time period. I did find a plastics supply co which listed resonite in block-stick? form which would be needed for starting material. Our public library has very little "plastics-mak-er-ing" info, but I still have access to Phillips Petr-Chem library, and will pursue this "will of the wisp" next week. ! What a project !! I still doubt it has a phenolic "character" . Will report. Don

Thanx, Mark, Don

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 Re: What is resonite
Author: BobD (---.142.141.217.Dial1.Chicago1.Level3.net)
Date:   2004-12-04 16:14

OK...I'm convinced..."ebonite" was a tradename for "hard rubber" also known as "vulcanite". Ebonite today is a company that manufactures bowling balls from various materials.

Bob Draznik

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 Re: What is resonite
Author: Gordon (NZ) (---.jetstream.xtra.co.nz)
Date:   2004-12-05 09:04

Could the current bowling balls Ebonite factory be the same company that originally made Ebonite, the hard rubber material? Not that I really care!

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 Re: What is resonite
Author: BobD (---.msn.com)
Date:   2004-12-05 14:09

I doubt it...

Bob Draznik

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