The discovery of galalith – the most important plastic after celluloid and predating the development of fully synthetic phenolic resins – is invariably connected with the names of Adolf Spitteler in Prien am Chiemsee and Wilhelm Kirsche in Hanover, who were granted the first patent in 1897. Almost nothing was known about Adolf Spitteler before now. In the sparse information available he is always referred to as a German or a Bavarian or an Austrian “chemist”. None of this is right. The paper outlines the previously unknown, circuitous career of Adolf Spitteler, a brother of the Swiss Nobel Prize winner for literature, Carl Spitteler, up until the discovery of the casein synthetic plastic galalith.