Introduction

John Wesley Hyatt is credited with inventing the first plastic in 1868. It was called celluloid and used as a substitute for the ivory in billiard balls.  Celluloid is derived from cellulose and alcoholized camphor.

 

 

Celluloid gained wide-spread acceptance  as the first flexible photographic film used for still photography and motion pictures.

Did You Know?

The origin of the word "plastics" comes from Greek. Its original Greek root means "to form."



In 1907 a Belgian chemist, Dr. Leo Baekeland, used a phenol formaldehyde resin to invent Bakelite, a hard moldable plastic that is generally regarded as the first synthetic polymeric material.  It was used extensively as an electrical insulator and heat-resistant handles on pots and pans.



One of the most common uses of Bakelite was in the form of the casing for telephones!