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I just read a book on the Channel Islands in WWII, which mentions things being kept in a plastic sack. I know Bakelite was around then but was soft plastic? The guy with the sack was a doctor (if that has any relevance). The Channel Islands were occupied and they were short of all the basic stuff. Perhaps the Germans had plastic sacks and he liberated one? This is really bugging me and Google has been no help. Deeli, where are you? Help!
Check out http://en.wikip … org/wiki/Plastic and http://inventor … s/a/plastics.htm which gives a history and timeline of plastic. The plastic sacks could have been nylon (which I wasn't aware was plastic until I read just now) or vinyl which is definitely plastic.
I googled the history of plastic and got this:
It gives a time line of things dating all the way back to the 1800's and yes, it's possible to have real "vinyl" which is a form of plastic in the era during the war.
I saw a movie depicting the conquest of California, and heard a general say "I am not made of plastic"! Once you hit dictionary.com however, you realize it's a concept of something "having the power of molding" so then it didn't drive me so crazy. It was a silly mistake, but if you consider the quality of movies in the 50's it's forgivable. PBP
I think Noella and I were typing at the same time! Great minds!!
You are so sweet, Marg! I just found oodles of possiblities and saved the links and some photos in a Word document. I have to skeedattle until tomorrow (some calls and errands to get done today) but I promise to research further tomorrow! A couple of those links look like they are German WWII equipment specialists and also make scaled models of the equipment so I will contact them and ask what they know about the sacks in question. I promise to be back in the next day or two with an answer!
Oh, and I think Lilac is very likely spot on with her idea about the use of rubber. And Germany did have trade agreements with Brazil including purchase of their rubber at that time :-)
Could the writer have used a term out-of-time? If the writer was born in an era where plastic bags are literally everywhere, he or she may have unconsciously substituted the word 'plastic' to describe a bag made from waxed cotton or oil cloth-both waterproofing methods used to make waterproof rucksacks and bags back then.
The closest best answer I ended up finding, Marg, is that it likely was a weather coated ruck sack. Even if the doctor wasn't a soldier he might have used one because it has more space than a standard doctors bag. This photo is supposed to be of an authentic German WWII ruck sack.
Even if the author didn't mean this exact kind of bag at least there's a very plausible bag to envision now :-)
Marg, I submitted a comment with info and a picture for you here a few hours ago and see it's still not showing in the comment section :-( I'll check in the morning and hopefully it will be here then and if not I'll find out why it didn't post and try to reconstruct the answer.
Thanks to everyone for the very helpful replies. The 'mind-slip' is on the back burner. The book was written by the doctor himself but not until the '80s so it's still a possibility. The sack was being used to carry equipment for maternity cases so that rucksack with all the pockets would be ideal, Deeli., but he was an Islander, I don't think the occupying power would be too happy! I think you're right, some kind of weatherproofed bag -not plastic as we know it but yes, at least I can imaging it now. Thanks Deeli and all.
Of course I meant imagine!
Thanks to everyone for the very helpful replies. The 'mind-slip' is on the back burner. The book was written by the doctor himself but not until the '80s so it's still a possibility. The sack was being used to carry equipment for maternity cases so that rucksack with all the pockets would be ideal, Deeli., but he was an Islander, I don't think the occupying power would be too happy! I think you're right, some kind of weatherproofed bag -not plastic as we know it but yes, at least I can imagine it now. Thanks Deeli and all.