Born November 28, 1837 in Starkey, New York,John Wesley HyattHe was an American inventor and industrialist who discovered the process to make celluloid, the first practical artificial plastic.
As a young child,Hyatthe trained as a printer in Illinois and later in Albany, New York. In 1863 he was attracted by a $ 10,000 reward offered by a New York billiard company to anyone who could invent a satisfactory substitute for ivory billiard balls.HyattHe experimented with various compositions, none of which produced a successful billiard ball, but he was able to go into business with his brothers by making one of the mixes – a composite of wood pulp and shellac – into checkers and raised dominoes. Continuing his experiments, he discovered that an attractive and practical plastic material could be made by mixing nitrocellulose (a flammable nitrate from common wood or cotton cellulose), camphor (a waxy resin obtained from Asian camphor trees), and alcohol and then pressing the mixture. in a heated mold.
Hyattand his brother Isaiah first tried to commercialize the plastic, which they patented in 1870 and christenedCelluloidin 1872, as a substitute for hard rubber in denture plates. In 1872 they moved their celluloid manufacturing company from Albany to Newark, New Jersey, where they put to work on numerous patents to build what became the world’s leading celluloid company. TheHyattthey concentrated on forming celluloid into sheets, rods, and other unfinished shapes, generally leaving their manufacture into practical objects to licensed companies such as Celluloid Brush Company, Celluloid Waterproof Cuff and Collar Company, and Celluloid Piano Key Company.
In the 1880s,HyattThey established a company that used a proprietary process to purify water through the use of coagulants and filters. John Hyatt went on to invent a number of new or improved industrial devices, including roller bearings, sugar cane mills, and sewing machines.