Hyatt set to work developing a billiard ball that consisted of a solid center made from paper flock and shellac, coated with a thick layer of collodion mixed with bone and ivory dust. Although there were obvious drawbacks with the new ball, Hyatt patented his process (U.S. Pat. # 88,634) and began production in a small factory he called the Albany Billiard Ball Co.

 
John Printers frequently used a bottled liquid product to protect their hands while working. Commercially the solution was available as âœNew Skin,â a liquid court plaster, but technically it was collodion, a mixture of cellulose nitrate and ethyl alcohol. When brushed on the hands, liquid collodion dried into an elastic, waterproof film which created an invisible coating. It worked like a second skin that protected the hands of printers from ink and paper cuts.

Printers frequently used a bottled liquid product to protect their hands while working. Commercially the solution was available as "New Skin", a liquid court plaster, but technically it was collodion, a mixture of cellulose nitrate and ethyl alcohol. When brushed on the hands, liquid collodion dried into an elastic, waterproof film which created an invisible coating. It worked like a second skin that protected the hands of printers from ink and paper cuts.

     Around this time, problems associated with the new billiard balls began to surface. Hyatt had received a letter from a billiard saloon proprietor in Colorado who shared his concerns: It seems that more than once a lighted cigar had come in contact with the balls, causing a serious fire. He also mentioned that occasionally the violent contact of the balls resulted in a loud BANG!, like that of a percussion guncap. The saloon operator stated that he did not care so much about it, but that instantly every man in the room pulled a gun.
     By 1868 the enterprise, located at Grand and Plain Streets, was in full operation. Peter Kinnear, Hyatt's associate from the Hyatt Billiard Ball Co., was put in charge of the factory operations so that he could devote himself to improving upon his invention.
     Over time Hyatt developed a method of casting a celluloid composition material into a mold; he also developed machinery to turn the balls on, making them a perfect sphere. Hyatt's Improved Pool Balls were packaged in wooden boxes that featured a trademark illustrated on the lid.
     In his quest to find solutions to the problems associated with the use of cellulose nitrate, Hyatt continued to work diligently, patenting three different improvements on solid collodion between April and May of 1869. During this time he consulted with his older brother Isaiah, convincing him to leave Chicago and return to Albany in order to assist with the experimentation.
     Several challenges lay ahead for John and Isaiah; they needed to find a solvent that would make solid collodion pliable, and they also needed to develop methods for making the resulting compound moldable. Isaiah had heard of others who had experimented with camphor, the white crystalline resin derived from the camphora evergreen tree, and he suggested that John give it a try.
     Hyatt combined collodion and camphor under normal conditions, then applied heat to the compound. What resulted was immediate success in making the mass soft enough to mold or cast. Hyatt had finally ascertained the methods that would result in the world's first commercially successful semi-synthetic thermoplastic.

This photograph was taken in 1916 at the Albany Billiard Ball Company at Grand and Plain St. in the city's south end. The manufacture of Hyatt's Improved Ball began at the factory around 1875 and later in March of 1877, the company became an official licensee of the Celluloid Mfg. Company of Newark.