Smallest Man-made Orange
An orange—specifically, the sweet orange—is the citrus Citrus ×sinensis (syn. Citrus aurantium L. var. dulcis L., or Citrus aurantium Risso) and its fruit. The orange is a hybrid of ancient cultivated origin, possibly between pomelo (Citrus maxima) and mandarin (Citrus reticulata). It is a small flowering tree growing to about 10 m tall with evergreen leaves, which are arranged alternately, of ovate shape with crenulate margins and 4–10 cm long. The orange fruit is a hesperidium, a type of berry.
Oranges originated in Southeast Asia. The fruit of Citrus sinensis is called sweet orange to distinguish it from Citrus aurantium, the bitter orange. The name is thought to ultimately derive from the Sanskrit for the orange tree, with its final form developing after passing through numerous intermediate languages.
In a number of languages, it is known as a “Chinese apple” (e.g. Dutch Sinaasappel, “China’s apple”).
Plasticine, a brand of modelling clay, is a putty-like modelling material made from calcium salts, petroleum jelly and aliphatic acids. The name is a registered trademark of Flair Leisure Products plc. Plasticine is used extensively for children’s play, but also as a modeling medium for more formal or permanent structures.
Plasticine was formulated by art teacher William Harbutt of Bathampton, in Bath, England, in 1897. He wanted a non-drying clay for use by his sculpture students. Although the exact composition is a secret, Plasticine is composed of calcium salts (principally calcium carbonate), petroleum jelly, and long-chain aliphatic acids (principally stearic acid). It is non-toxic, sterile, soft, malleable, and does not dry on exposure to air (unlike superficially similar products such as Play-Doh, which is based on flour, salt and water). It cannot be hardened by firing; it melts when exposed to heat, and is flammable at much higher temperatures.
A patent was awarded in 1899, and in 1900 commercial production started at a factory in Bathampton. The original Plasticine was grey, but the product initially sold to the public came in four colours. It was soon available in a wide variety of bright colours. Plasticine was popular with children, widely used in schools for teaching art, and found a wide variety of other uses (moulding for plaster casts, for example). The Harbutt company promoted Plasticine as a children’s toy by producing modelling kits in association with companies responsible for popular children’s characters such as Noddy, the Mr. Men and Paddington Bear.
The original Plasticine factory was destroyed by fire in 1963 and replaced by a modern building. The Harbutt company continued to produce Plasticine in Bathampton until 1983. It is currently made in Thailand.
From 1983 to 2006, the brand went through a number of ownership changes and was off the market for a long time. Plasticine was owned by Bluebird Toys plc following its acquisition of Harbutt’s parent company, Peter Pan. Then, following Bluebird’s takeover by Mattel in 1998, the brand was sold on to Humbrol Ltd, famous for its Airfix kits and model paints. In 2005, Flair Leisure licensed the brand from Humbrol and relaunched Plasticine. A year later, when Humbrol went into administration, Flair bought the Plasticine brand outright.
 Similar products
A box of colored Plasticine sticks made in East Germany
A similar product, “Kunst-Modellierthon” (known as Plastilin), was invented by Franz Kolb of Munich, Germany in 1880. This product is still available, known as “Münchner Künstler Plastilin” (Munich artists’ plasticine). In Italy, the product Pongo is also marketed as “plastilina” and shares the main attributes of Plasticine.
A Plasticine model
Plasticine is often used in clay animation. One of its main proponents is Aardman Animation’s Nick Park, who used characters modeled in Plasticine in his Oscar-winning short films A Grand Day Out (1989), The Wrong Trousers (1993) and A Close Shave (1995), as well as the feature film The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. This technique is popularly known as claymation in the US, and is a form of stop motion animation. Plasticine is appealing to animators because it can be used with ease: it is moldable enough to create a character, flexible enough to allow that character to move in many ways, and dense enough that it can retain its shape easily when combined with a wire armature.
Plasticine is also used in party games such as Cranium, Rapidough and Barbarossa.
Television presenter James May together with Chris Collins, Jane McAdam Freud, Julian Fullalove and around 2000 members of the public created a show garden for the 2009 Chelsea Flower Show made entirely of plasticine called ‘Paradise in Plasticine’. The garden took 6 weeks to create and 2.6 tonnes of Plasticine in 24 colours was used. May said, “This is, to our knowledge, the largest and most complex model of this type ever created.” It couldn’t be considered as part of the standard judging criteria as it contained no real plants, but was awarded an honorary gold award made from plasticine. The garden was extremely popular with the public and went on to win the Royal Horticultural Society’s ‘peoples choice’ for best small garden.