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MFA#: 93.1108


Bockscar by Jackson
MFA#: 2010.376

[Formica Corp.] A registered trademark for a series of laminated surfacing materials made from phenolic resins. Formica® was invented in 1912 by Daniel J. O'Conor. Patented in 1913, it was originally made as a substitute for Mica, hence its name, and sold to electrical companies as insulation. In 1927, a printing technique was patented to make laminates with decorative surfaces. Formica® laminate and Formica® ColorCore surfacing materials are made from Kraft paper impregnated with phenolic and melamine resins then consolidated at high pressures. The sheets are rigid with a uniform thickness. Formica® laminates are designed for interior use on countertops and cabinet facings. The manufacturer recommends that it only be adhered to Fiberboard with a Formica® brand adhesive. While top surfaces of an adhered Formica® laminate are resistant to boiling water, an exposed board may warp in high humidity. Freshly cut surfaces will emit small amounts of Formaldehyde.

Synonyms and Related Terms

white Formica Counter

fórmica (Port.); Arborite (similar product made in Canada)


  • Possible decomposition products are: carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, ammonia, formaldehyde and nitrogen oxides.
  • Formica Corporation: [Safety Data Sheet]

Physical and Chemical Properties

Strong acids and alkalis will destroy surface appearance.

Resources and Citations

  • Formica: Website:
  • Exhibit Guidelines Technical Notes: Using Composite Panels in Exhibit Case Construction
  • Wikipedia,: (Accessed Feb. 10, 2006)
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 792
  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • Dictionary of Building Preservation, Ward Bucher, ed., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York City, 1996
  • Pam Hatchfield, Pollutants in the Museum Environment, Archetype Press, London, 2002
  • Art and Architecture Thesaurus Online,, J. Paul Getty Trust, Los Angeles, 2000

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