In 1834, a German chemist synthesized a substance, that when combined with formaldehyde, formed a hard, durable, thermosetting plastic.
In the 1950s, at the corner of Westmoreland and Glenfield, in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas, the Plastics Manufacturing Company set to work trying to put the stuff in everybody's kitchen.
The substance is called melamine, and what the Plastics Manufacturing Company made from it is called Texas Ware.
People went crazy for it. The cups, saucers, plates and tumblers where modern, light-weight and colorful. Keeping to the company's Texas roots, there was even a pattern called San Jacinto Contemporary. It came in rose, white and a light green, which makes you wonder if the designer was imagining a Mexican flag bleached in the sun.
But what most people remember, and what collectors go for today, was an afterthought for the maker.
In the tradition of glassblowers who made 'end of day' bowls or vases out of leftover bits of various colors, Plastics Manufacturing Company would break up any defective pieces of Texas Ware and remold the shards into multicolored mixing bowls of mesmerizing confetti swirls.
Many a church auction through the 1970s was filled with cakes born of batter mixed in a Texas Ware a bowl.