In 1907, an American chemist created a synthetic plastic and made a transformative discovery that changed our way of life.

The story of that invention — the material known as Bakelite — is the subject of a provocative new documentary, “All Things Bakelite: The Age of Plastic,” which will be shown at the Darien Historical Society on Sunday, Jan. 13 at 3 p.m.

After the 60-minute film, producer/director John Maher, a former resident of Darien, will discuss the making of the film and answer questions.

Leo Hendrik Baekeland, known as “The Father of Modern Plastics,” ushered in a new era of man-made materials that marked the beginning of our own modern industrial age.

“His invention had a huge impact on our lives, and his peers were the likes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford,” said Hugh Karraker, executive director of the film and Baekeland’s great-grandson.

Drawing from original sources, Maher, of JEM Films, fashioned the script from Baekeland’s personal handwritten diaries. His story comes alive through accurate historical re-enactments, rare archival footage, photos, first-person accounts, interviews with scientists, historians, and artists.

The program is free for members and $5 for non-members. Please register online at, or call 203.655.9233 for information.