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John Wesley Hyatt, American inventor.

John Wesley Hyatt, American inventor.

H408/0196

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SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

J.W. Hyatt. John Wesley Hyatt, American inventor of celluloid. Hyatt was attracted to a 10,000 dollar prize offered for a substitute to ivory in the manufacture of billiard balls. He moulded pyrooxylin (partially nitrated cellulose) by dissolving it in a mixture of alcohol and ether and adding camphor. The product he named celluloid and it was patented in 1870. It was the first commercial plastic, and although used in billiard balls from 1875, the prize was not awarded. It found a variety of other uses but was replaced as less inflammable plastics were invented. He filed over 200 patents during his life, including the Hyatt roller bearing in 1892.

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