History of plastics: how did it come about?
Plastics are considered a relatively recent and modern material, but they have a long history. In the 19th century, Englishman Alexander Parkens, while studying cellulose nitrate, patented the first semi-synthetic plastic, which he called Parkesine (also know as Xylonite), and which was initially used to make handles and boxes.
The real spread of the new material began a few years later, when the American Hyatt brothers discovered the celluloid formula for the production of billiard balls. At the time, the material could not be processed using high-temperature moulding techniques because it was highly flammable. The problem was only solved with the development of cellulose acetate, which was flame retardant and could therefore be used in various sectors such as aviation and film.