On November 16 1934 PERSPEX® (from the Latin “to see through”) is registered as a trademark for ICI’s acrylic sheet.
PERSPEX® becomes the landmark product in the embryonic plastics industry. The weight saving afforded by PERSPEX® makes it a natural aircraft material and the market is stimulated by re-arming in the aircraft industry.
After the war years, PERSPEX® gets an immediate success as a roofing material for industrial buildings. Afterward, the success of the material extends from lighting into signage.
Meanwhile, DuPont develops the production of Lucite® acrylic sheet in the U.S.
Reference has been made to the use of PERSPEX® for baths, an idea originating in Australia where the weight of a metal bath made it costly to import and transport them across the vast continent.
The first PERSPEX® baths are launched on to the British market. Made from a 6ft x 4ft x 3/8 in sheet, they are offered in so-called luxury colours. In Manchester, Miss Britain 1959 takes a dip in a PERSPEX® bath and pronounces it excellent.
At the 1959 Leipzig Spring Fair, Nikita Khruschev pronounces a brightly coloured bath on the ICI stand “a fine thing to make – much better than rockets”. By March 10, the bath is on its way to the Kremlin – courtesy of ICI.
PERSPEX® baths are installed early in hospitals and old people’s homes. One such bath installed in the dermatological department of a major city hospital, where, all day long, patients are bathed, is used some 40,000 times in eight years, equivalent to well over 100 years of use on the basis of a bath every day.
The decision is taken to form the Plastics Bath Development Association. The purpose is twofold; first, to develop the acrylic bath until it becomes wholly acceptable on a technical basis; second, to prevent the confusion over new material in the public mind.
Following Daily Express request, ICI builds an underwater house in PERSPEX® Sanitary Ware for the 1965 Boat Show. It was designed in the classical shape of a pressure vessel, a cylinder with a domed top. After the Show, the house was presented to the Royal Engineers’ Diving School.
British Standard 4305 is issued in 1968 and a year later the Association changes its name to the Plastics Bath Manufacturers’ Association. The Association is convinced that it represents an established business.
A press conference is held in London jointly by PBMA and ICI to launch a nation-wide promotion of PERSPEX® acrylic baths.
Two baths out of every three sold in the UK are made from PERSPEX® SW. They come in all shapes and sizes and in over seventy five colours.
In Continental Western Europe and further afield, in Africa and the Middle East, sales of PERSPEX® baths are going up. More significantly, each year their share of the total market increases.
Integrated units are beginning to appear. Such units contain basin, shower, and shelves. Interest is being shown in a smooth satin finish called the “velour effect”.
The patented ASTERITE® acrylic casting resins become available in 1983. It is quite different in nature from PERSPEX®, although complimentary in some applications. ASTERITE® brand becomes an obvious candidate for items such as kitchen sinks, vanity basins, and shower trays. These items look better too, being similar in feel and appearance to porcelain.
ICI establishes a dedicated acrylics business, ICI Acrylics, and acquires DuPont’s acrylics assets, including Lucite® sheet for baths. Lucite® brand becomes the new name for sanitary ware products. Within a couple of years, Lucite® is a material of choice for manufacturing of high-quality acrylic hot tubs and bathtubs.
Lucite® acrylic is used for showers at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. Hot tubs continue to expand internationally with production starting in China, Australia and New Zealand. New colours and effects for spa launched.
Lucite International agrees to sell its European cell cast acrylic Sheet and Composites business to the Swiss firm Schweiter Technologies AG, owner of 3A Composites. On completion of the sale, the cell cast Sheet and Composites business form a new company, Perspex International Ltd, a member of 3A Composites.
In 2019, a decision is made to name the sanitary ware range ASTERITE®.
Today, ASTERITE® brand unites 2 product groups: ASTERITE® Acrylic Sheet and ASTERITE® Liquid Acrylic Resin (ASTERITE® LAR).