Roll Over Image to Zoom ‹ Back to Collection

16 Billiard balls (incomplete set) in box

  • 2.25 in. H x 9.5 in. W x 9.5 in. D
    Bakelite, cardboard
  • On display in Making Modernity
  • Purchased for Collections
  • 2007.076.002A-B

Description

Celluloid is the name given to a group of compounds that are composed of nitrocellulose and camphor. Regarded as the first thermoplastic, celluloid was originally developed by Alexander Parkes in 1855, but it was not until the late 1860s, when John and Isaiah Hyatt began investigating the material as a replacement for ivory billiard balls, that celluloid became a commercial success. Celluloid was strong and easily moldable, which made it an easy replacement for such materials as ivory and wood. Celluloid was used in everything from billiard balls and other toys to cuffs and collars for shirts.

Search Our Online Collections

Distillations

Listen to the latest episodes of CHF’s award-winning science podcast.

 

Support CHF

Help us preserve and share the history of chemistry and related sciences. Make a tax-deductible donation online.