In 1907 the Flemish-American chemist Leo Baekeland succeeded in creating a product that was among the first synthetic plastics. It was the first plastic that retained its shape when heated. On February 5, 1909 Baekeland announced his invention at a meeting of the American Chemical Society. Later than year the product, which he called Bakelite, was patented, and soon it was being manufactured. In a little more than a century, plastic products, once a novelty, have become ubiquitous and unavoidable.