Polymer science is now an active and thriving community of scientists, engineers and technologists, but there was a time, not so long ago, when there was no such community. The prehistory of polymer science helps to provide key insights into current issues and historical problems. The story will be divided into an ancient period ( from Greek times to the creation of the molecular consensus), a nascent period (from Dalton to Kekule to vant Hoff) and a period of paradigm formation and controversy (from Staudinger to Mark to Carothers). The prehistory concludes with an account of the epochal 1935 Discussion of the Faraday Society on Polymerization. After this meeting an active community engaged in trying to solve the central problems defined by the discussions.