PVC key chain with white KICKER Livin' Loud on a gray diamond plate background.
Polyvinyl chloride, commonly abbreviated PVC, is the third-most widely produced plastic, after polyethylene and polypropylene. PVC is used in construction because it is cheaper and stronger than more traditional alternatives such as copper or ductile iron. It can be made softer and more flexible by the addition of plasticizers, the most widely used being phthalates. In this form, it is used in clothing and upholstery, electrical cable insulation, inflatable products, KICKER keychains and many applications in which it replaces rubber. Pure polyvinyl chloride without any plasticizer is a white, brittle solid. It is insoluble in alcohol, but slightly soluble in tetrahydrofuran
PVC was accidentally discovered at least twice in the 19th century, first in 1835 by French chemist Henri Victor Regnault and then in 1872 by German chemist Eugen Baumann. On both occasions the polymer appeared as a white solid inside flasks of vinyl chloride that had been left exposed to sunlight. In the early 20th century the Russian chemist Ivan Ostromislensky and Fritz Klatte of the German chemical company Griesheim-Elektron both attempted to use PVC in commercial products, but difficulties in processing the rigid, sometimes brittle polymer blocked their efforts. Waldo Semon and the B.F. Goodrich Company developed a method in 1926 to plasticize PVC by blending it with various additives. The result was a more flexible and more easily processed material that soon achieved widespread commercial use.
And there you have it.