Azel Shuh

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Azel Shuh (1897 – 1967) was a billionaire experimental chemist, businessman and philanthropist who is credited with the invention of polymer plastics and of the original plastic bag.

Shuh was born in 1897 in Milaukáshka, Gobrassanya, the son of a tram driver and a district nurse. He attended Blanco Heaven High School and left school at the age of 16, becoming first a prize-fighter (welterweight) and then a dentist’s assistant. In 1914 he set up a small laboratory in a shed on his father’s allotment where he studied chemistry and chemical bonds using first natural rubber and later cellulose. Reading in the local library and travelling to Gobras City to research, Shuh proposed the modern concept of polymers as covalently bonded macromolecular structures in 1920. With the support of Dr Hubert Ying of Arksbury International University, his theory was published in the Journal of Gobrassian Scientific Research[1], where it received some attention from Gobrassian and other Ulethan chemists. Although the theory was heavily criticized and, in some scientific circles, ridiculed, in 1928 Shuh gave the first experimental evidence for his hypothesis, a demonstration where he produced 2kg of phenol formaldehyde resin in a university laboratory, with around 20 other chemists present.

In 1934 Shuh established Shuh Polymer Plastics and submitted patents for a number of synthetic polymers, including neoprene, nylon, polyvinyl chloride (PVC or vinyl), polystyrene, polyethylene, and polypropylene. By 1935 he was a millionaire. In 1936 he submitted the first patent for a plastic bag and by 1947 he was one of the world’s richest people.

Shuh was a devoted anti-dogmatist who challenged many established cultural, religious and scientific paradigms. He travelled widely around the world, mostly anonymously.

In 1964 he set up Academic Support International or ASI, an organisation to enable fair access to education and international cultural exchange. The organisation supports around 3 million international cultural student exchanges every year, as well as providing funding academic institutions.

Shuh died while piloting a hang glider over northern Commonia in January 1967. He bequeathed 97% of his estate to ASI.


  1. "Poly-mers: theoretical covalently bonded macromolecular structures"Shuh,A. & Ying,H., Journal of Gobrassanyan Scientific Research vol XII, Arksbury International University, Gobras City, 1934. Retrieved 9 July 2008.