by Bing Carbone

When most people think of plastics, or ever consider the history of it, they may think that this is a new invention, around since maybe the 1970s or ’80s. But plastics go back further than that, and Modern Plastics has been on the cutting edge since before the product really had a name.
In 1945 — 70 years ago — a man by the name of Joseph C. Carbone opened a one-man business called the Modern Glass Company. Back then, he specialized in same day automobile glass installation in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Even when the brutal New England winters hit, Carbone would light a potbellied stove to generate the heat he needed to keep the business going. That sort of dedication is the backbone of what is now Modern Plastics.

Exciting New Innovations

Glass was the sole product of the company for about a decade. The 1950s were an exciting time for the newly-named “Modern Plastic and Glass Inc.” A new technology called thermosets became a staple in the business. Around the same time, Modern Plastics and Glass Inc. began exploring the uses of phenolics, its first line of plastics.
The next decade was also one of innovation. In 1961, the company became the first distributor of Plexiglas, manufactured by Rohm and Haas. While this was a somewhat risky move, as Plexiglas was a relatively unknown product at the time, it completely revolutionized Modern Plastics and Glass.

Making Tough Decisions As a Plastic Distributor

After adopting Plexiglas, plastics became the lifeblood of the company. By the 1970s, only 10 percent of everything made or distributed by Modern Plastics and Glass Inc. fell in the latter category. Plastics were the wave of a successful future, and the company embraced it. The company was so successful, in fact, that the ’70s and ’80s saw expansion into Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
By the mid-1980s, it seemed pretty evident that glass was no longer a viable product for the company to make. Severing completely from the past, Modern Plastics and Glass shortened to Modern Plastics permanently. But that time period also saw innovations like advanced computers and an efficient barcode system throughout the operation.

Moving Forward, Never Looking Back

After saying our final farewells and laying the glass portion of the business to rest, Modern Plastics surged forward into the 21st century. The new millennium saw advances in safety and product certifications. We were the first plastics distribution company in the country to earn the ISO 9000:2000 certification, which has since been replaced by the ISO 9001:2008. We are also the first distributor in North America to earn the ISO 13485:2003 certification. Modern Plastics is audited twice a year to make sure we stick to our certification standards. In addition, we follow a rigorous employee training system, which includes year-round sessions.
2003 saw the emergence of Modern Plastics’ medical plastic distributor division. This is perhaps the largest store of medical plastics in the world. This, plus high-performance engineering plastics, has become the focus of the company.
Today, we are proud to distribute products from Sheffield Plastics, PolyOne, Kydex, Evonik, Ensinger and Westlake. In addition to selling these products all across the country, we also have a retail store right in our Bridgeport, Connecticut facility where customers can buy or pick up stock and cut-to-size plastic products.
Whether you are in Bridgeport or Portland, Oregon, Modern Plastics is dedicated to making sure you get the plastic product you need, when you need it. To view our inventory, visit the newly-interactive products page on our revamped website to find exactly what you need.