Endnotes


1. According to the book Albany, Capital City on the Hudson, 12,000 elephants were slaughtered annually for the intent of making ivory pool balls from their tusks. Ivory was indeed an expensive commodity, for not only was it becoming scarce, it was reported that for every two elephants killed, one man lost his life.

2. During the early 1860s, English billiards master Michael Phelan wrote in his book Game of Billiards, âœif any inventive genius could discover a substitute for ivory, he would make a handsome fortune for himself.â

3. It was the American Billiards Industry that added incentive to the search for an ivory substitute by offering the impressive prize of $10,000. Unfortunately, there is no documented evidence to support that Hyatt ever received the promised reward money for his invention of celluloid.

4. Est.1866 â“ The Hyatt Billiard Ball Co. by Hyatt and Kinnear; renamed the Albany Billiard Ball Company and re-established in a small factory at Grand and Plain Streets in Albany's south end in 1868. It remained at that location until after WWI when the factory was moved to 408 Delaware Ave.

5. On June 15, 1869, Hyatt was granted yet another patent for one of his inventions; Improvement In The Manufacture of Dominos, Pat. # 91,235.

6. The Hyatt Mfg. Co. grew at a steady pace and as checker production increased, the enterprise split into two divisions: the Hyatt Mfg. Co., which relocated to a factory on Beaver St. in Albany, where John (still employed as a printer) acted as superintendent overseeing the production of base materials for the game pieces; and the Embossing Co., which was located at 4 and 6 Pruyn St. with 28-year-old brother Charles acting as president.

7. By 1871 the Embossing Co. was firmly established as a reputable manufacturer of boxed dominoes and checkers. As the company expanded its line of merchandise to include educational toys and games, they outgrew the original locations and moved to 23 Church and 58 Liberty St. in Albany. By 1884 the Embossing Company of Albany became one of the nation's most successful game producing business. The Embossing Company was bought out by Halsam in 1957.

8. Collodion was a liquid pyroxylin solution, cellulose nitrate, ether, and ethyl alcohol, which was discovered by Boston chemist Waldo Maynard in 1847. It was used extensively in early photography and also by the medical profession as a type of invisible bandage.

9. In addition to the fact that the balls were extremely flammable, other problems were also associated with the use of collodion coating: a thin paper-like "artificial skin" formed on the balls as the liquid collodion evaporated, and dirt quickly adhered to the surface of the balls when they were used.

10. Hyatt's invention quickly became the most successful alternative to ivory in billiard ball manufacture in spite of the early problems associated with them. The introduction of Hyatt's Improved Billiard Ball (a cast Celluloid composition) in 1875 put an end to the shortage of expensive ivory balls.

11. The social significance of Hyatt's invention is worthy of mention; it bridged the gap between the wealthy elite who played the sport of billiards in their upper class parlors and private clubs, making the game accessible to the middle and working classes as they patronized saloons and pool halls that offered the game as a novel recreation.

12. Englishman Alexander Parkes invented and patented Parkesine in 1861. It was a moldable pyroxylin plastic that employed the use of various oils and solvents, including camphor.

13. Parkesine was first introduced to the public at the London International Exhibit of 1862 where it was awarded a bronze medal for Excellence of Product.

14. Parkesine could be made transparent or opaque and was used as an imitation ivory material. It was flexible and waterproof, a suitable replacement for expensive coral, tortoise, and ivory in hair combs, buttons, jewelry, medallions, and a host of other utilitarian and ornamental applications.

15. In an attempt to supply consumers with an economical replacement for traditional materials, Parkes sought to reduce the cost of Parkesine by using the cheapest raw materials he could find, lowering the cost from $16.00 per pound to 12¢ per pound by the mid 1860s. Unfortunately, this was Parkes' downfall; the result was an inferior plastic material that was doomed to fail, and by 1869, production of Parkesine halted.

16. Seeley had firsthand experience with collodion; during the Civil War he worked for the U.S. government making the solution for medical use. In addition, Seeley had even been issued a patent for its improvement in 1868. (US Pat.#79,261,  Improvement In Solidified Collodion).

17. Source: Society of Chemical Industry, Perkin Medal Acceptance Speech, J.W. Hyatt, May 1914.

18. In those days much controversy surrounded the use of hardened rubber in dentistry, thanks to the work of the Goodyear Dental Vulcanite Company. Rubber and gutta percha had been used quite successfully for denture base materials since the early 1850s; however in 1864 Dr. John A. Cummings was issued a patent for the complete process of making rubber dentures. He sold his patent to the G.D.V. Co., which in turn required that all dentists using Vulcanite in the manufacture of dentures be licensed by the company, paying a yearly fee amounting to anywhere between $25.00 and $100.00. In addition, a second fee was required for each denture that was formed, the amount determined by the number of teeth set into each plate. Nevertheless, about 5,000 dentists purchased licenses from GDVC, as they were skilled in working with rubber prior to Dr. Cummings' patent. Some however, reverted to using gold as a denture base material while still others sought out new substances to replace Vulcanite.

19. It was from 1870 through 1873 that denture plate production was the primary use for Hyatt's pyroxylin plastic material. Later when the Celluloid Mfg. Co. of Newark, NJ was established, SS White became the first official licensee of the firm. However, during the first several years of production, there were serious problems associated with the use of celluloid. Unfortunately, dental plates made from the material often discolored, frequently warped and lost teeth, absorbed odors, and tasted offensive when hot food or liquid came into contact with them. This was in part due to a lack of experience by dentists who molded the Celluloid blanks into a fitted denture, and partly due to the fact that celluloid was in its early stages of development. Over time however, the material was perfected and by the late 1870s, dentists had become skilled in producing quality celluloid dentures at a fraction of the cost of alternative materials such as gold and hardened rubber.

20. Marshall Lefferts of NYC was not only the chief financial backer of the Celluloid Mfg. Company, he was also actively involved in the business. He filled the offices of both secretary/treasurer and president and was also instrumental in developing several methods for manufacturing celluloid articles. Working closely with Hyatt, Lefferts applied himself to the field of pyroxylin plastic, eventually receiving 10 patents regarding the production of Celluloid finished goods.

21. At the time, water was held in large tanks to which various coagulants were added and agitated. The water had to stand for up to 24 hours as the impurities settled to the bottom before it could be used. The Hyatts conceived the idea of adding coagulants to water, then filtering out the impurities as the water made its way to the factory through various supply pipes. The patented their unique filtering process in 1884.

22. Daniel Spill, born in 1832, was the son of a Unitarian minister and the brother of George Spill who had a waterproofing business. The traditional method of treating cloth with rubber had been employed by the Spills; however, during the mid 1860s, when Parkesine was introduced as the new wonder material, the Spills had an interest in it as a waterproofing agent. Daniel convinced Parkes to join forces, but instead of developing a product for the waterproofing business, Spill became the managing director of the Parkesine Co.

23. It should be understood that the formula for Parkes' earliest plastic products was considerably different from that manufactured at the Parkesine Works in Hackney Wick, London. Because the earliest articles of Parkesine were made with purified ingredients, the quality was much better. Parkes' attempt to produce the substance at a fraction of the cost is what doomed his product to failure.

24. The word celluloid was a contraction for cellulose and colloid, or as others state, cellulose and oid, a Greek word meaning "like".

25. The history of American Zylonite begins on page 21.
26. It was also in 1883 that the Celluloid Company forced Crolithion Collar and Cuff Company of Maine, a small waterproof linen manufacturer, out of business following patent litigation.

27. Camphor was an essential ingredient used in making celluloid and most of it came from the forests of Formosa. The Japanese realized the importance of this export substance and by 1899 had secured an imperial monopoly on their camphor. The price was drastically raised, which prompted many attempts to secure alternative supplies. The Celluloid Company purchased thousands of acres in Florida to plant camphor trees. However the thrip, an insect which loved to feast on camphor tree leaves, infested the plantation and doomed the attempt at producing American camphor.

28. Arlington Company had an office in Canada, of which John Chantler of Toronto was the head. In 1916, Chantler convinced DuPont to purchase the Toronto collar and cuff manufacturing company of A.B. Mitchell. After the acquisition, the organization was called the Arlington Co. of Canada.

29. About 5,000 acres of trees were planted in an effort to offset the Japanese monopoly in the camphor trade. The camphor trees began to flourish until they were attacked by leaf-eating insects called thrips. The pests doomed the efforts of Arlington to supply their own camphor and in 1921 the plantation was abandoned.

30. At an earlier date the Arlington Co. had obtained an interest in the White Springs Paper Co. of Nutley, New Jersey.

31. Jarvis had worked with John Hyatt in the manufacture of celluloid, and by the time he came to work for Viscoloid, he had 30 years experience in the pyroxylin plastics industry.

32. There is currently no evidence to cite which proves that the Lignoid Co. became the Solid Fiber Co. Robert Friedel in his book Pioneer Plastic, speaks of the Lignoid Fancy Article Mfg. and their move to Newburyport and further stated that the same became known as the Fiberloid Company.

33. Earlier Daniel Spill had brought a suit against John W. Hyatt for patent infringement concerning the formulation of his pyroxylin plastic, the case was finally decided by Judge Blatchford in favor of Spill in 1880. This decision gave Spill the opportunity to sell his patents to L.L. Brown for the formulation of American Zylonite. Later, in 1884, Blatchford reversed his decision; this reversal was the chief cause of Zylonite's eventual failure. Adding to the situation was the bankruptcy of the New York bank that held Zylonite's assets.

34. In 1884 when Judge Blatchford reversed his earlier decision concerning the Spill vs Hyatt case, the company suffered financially, eventually losing over one million dollars in patent litigation. Coupled with a New York bank failure, the American Zylonite Company was doomed.

35. At the time that American Zylonite Co. was closed, the Arlington Company was experiencing manufacturing difficulties. The company hired a good many experienced supervisors and workers for employment in their New Jersey facility.