The current semantic diversity of the word plastic has a long history of development. Essentially, there are two ways of using this term. In its original sense plastic relates to formation or shaping of matter, i.e. to plastic art. Plastic can also be used figuratively in the meaning of formation of non-material things (e.g. writing a poem, creating a piece of music, and so on), i.e. in the meaning of the power to create. Both notions have been around for thousands of years. The origin of the dual history of the materialistic and philosophical use of plastic can be traced back to the ancient Greek craft of pottery and mythology, respectively. Wider textual use of the term plastic began with Pliny the Elder’s (23 – 79 AD) Plastice, a chapter in his Natural History. The semantic flourish of plastic started only at the end of the 18th century when Johann Gottfried Herder introduced the concept of “plastic sense” in his aesthetic essay Plastik (Sculpture) of 1778.
McIndoe is often recognized for not only developing new techniques for treating badly burned faces and hands but also for recognising the importance of the rehabilitation of the casualties and particularly of social reintegration back into normal life. He disposed of the "convalescent uniforms" and let the patients use their service uniforms instead. With the help of two friends, Neville and Elaine Blond, he also convinced the locals to support the patients and invite them to their homes. McIndoe kept referring to them as "his boys" and the staff called him "The Boss" or "The Maestro."