Tenite is a brand of cellulosic thermoplastic materials produced by the Eastman Chemical Company. Created in 1929, and trademarked in 1932, Tenite™ has been used in a wide variety of consumer, industrial, architectural and medical applications. Tenite cellulosics are manufactured from renewable raw materials (soft woods); they exhibit many of the same tactile and finish properties as wood, yet can easily be molded and extruded. Historically, applications for Tenite have varied from radios and telephones, to toys, toothbrushes and eyeglass frames.
In 1920, George Eastman established the site that would later become the headquarters for Eastman Chemical to provide a reliable domestic supply of chemicals for Kodak’s photographic processes. Utilizing their knowledge of acetyl chemistry for film production, Tennessee Eastman developed compounded cellulose acetate in 1929, which was sold soon thereafter under the Tenite™ cellulosics trade mark. Over the next few decades versions utilizing mixed esters were introduced to meet a wider range of market requirements.
Tenite cellulosics are manufactured from cellulose acetate and distributed as Tenite Acetate, Tenite Butyrate, and Tenite Propionate. Its mechanical, thermal, electrical, and optical properties may be tuned greatly with varying levels of plasticizers. Colorants are added for colored products. The material is processed into pellets for distribution. Downstream manufacturers mold or extrude the pellets into applications from eyeglass frames and tool handles to playing cards and casino dice.