plastic

by Vinutha 2010-02-13 12:21:53

English inventor Alexander Parkes (1813-1890) created the earliest form of plastic in 1855. He mixed pyroxylin, a partially nitrated form of cellulose (cellulose is the major component of plant cell walls), with alcohol and camphor. This produced a hard but flexible transparent material, which he called "Parkesine." Parkes teamed up with a manufacturer to produce Parkesine; however, they were unable to market it. The material was so strange and new that no one knew how to use it.

In 1868, an American inventor, John Wesley Hyatt (1837-1920), acquired the patent to Parkesine and set out to produce artificial ivory for billiard balls. Hyatt modified Parkes's process he first soaked cotton in nitric acid and then added camphor. This yielded a hard, flexible material called celluloid.

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