Any synthetic substance which I cannot identify is a “space age polymer”. I just bought a new coat with a shell made of something vaguely suede-like. The label probably lists the components, but to me it will always be a space-age polymer.
I’m sure that phrase comes from the world of Infomercial Science. If I had to guess, I would say that one of the visionaries in the emply of Ron Popeil first coined the phrase. But, can we pinpoint its origin? I see a lot of joking uses of the phrase online, but nothing yet that ties it to a single originator. This might be one of those things that’s too generic to blame on one person, but I’m holding out hope that someone knows who unleashed this catchphrase and when.
(I started to put this in IMHO. I wasn’t sure if a definite answer is possible. If it’s better suited elsewhere, I have no objections to booting it.)