Plasticine shaping the future of childhood

For many of us, the immediacy of creating a figure from Plasticine was magic. It had the ability to be anything you wanted, anything you could imagine. Of course, there was one drawback …. the different colours eventually merged into one bland brown mess, and if it was a cold wintry day, the Plasticine needed some encouragement from the Aga to get it into the right manipulative mood.

Plasticine was the invention of William Harbutt, an art teacher in Bath. He wanted something his students could use to sculpture, but didn’t dry like clay. Three years later, in 1900, his discovery went on sale to the public in four different colours. Made in Bathampton until 1983, the factory then moved to Thailand.

The most famous stylists to use Plasticine were Peter Lord and David Sproxton who created Morph, the character that featured in Tony Hart’s children’s television show ‘Take Hart’ from 1977. Then there came Nick Park’s Aardman Animations with the double act of Wallace and Gromit, who were such a hit in ‘A Gand Day Out’ (1989) and further triumphs.

Discover the fascinating history of consumer culture from Victorian times to the present day at the Museum of Brands.

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