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From Ivory to plastic

From Ivory to plastic

From Ivory to plastic

Have you ever wondered how we came to use plastic for eyewear? You would perhaps be surprised to learn that it came about because of a shortage of billiard balls! In the 19th century billiards was becoming very popular, but the balls were made of ivory and most of the worlds elephants had been killed. Phelan and Collendar the billiard company offered a $10,000 prize for someone to come up with a substitute to ivory.Along came John W.Hyatt who invented celluloid. He unwittingly became the saviour of the animal kingdom. Horn was quickly replaced with plastic.If worked in hot water the shape could be altered and reshaped over and over again and could be injected with colour and was used not only for billiard balls but also for the manufacture of  eyewear that had  become increasingly popular in the 19th Century. Hats off to John W. Hyatt. Would he have worn one of our Patchwork reading glasses? You bet he would!!

Ciao for now!

Martin and Judith