[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 Patented in 1913, it was originally made as a substitute for Mica, hence its name, and sold to electrical companies as insulation.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
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,: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Formica_%28plastic%29 (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, http://www.getty.edu/research/tools/vocabulary/aat/, J. Paul Getty Trust, Los Angeles, 2000