This section is from the "A Complete Dictionary of Dry Goods" book, by George S. Cole. Also available from Amazon: A complete dictionary of dry goods and history of silk, cotton, linen, wool and other fibrous substances,: Including a full explanation of the modern processes ... together with various useful tables.
Celluloid. A combination of gun cotton and camphor. Its successful manufacture and introduction has only been accomplished in the past twelve years. Celluloid consists of vegetable fibre, treated with certain acids; this fibre is then united with camphor and other substances to make it elastic and capable of being molded in any form. Of recent years there has been much experimenting indulged in for the production of a whiter and clearer substance than celluloid. An Austrian has invented a material called celluline that combines some of the properties of glass and celluloid. It is made by dissolving 4 to 8 parts of celluloid wool (gun cotton), in about 100 parts of alcohol, by weight, and adding 2 to 4 per cent of castor oil and 10 per cent of resin or balsam. The mixture is then dried on a glass plate at a temperature of 120 degrees. The compound soon solidifies into a transparent sheet. The addition of magnesium chloride reduces its inflammability and zinc white gives it substantially the appearance of clear ivory. By increasing the relative proportions of castor oil and resin, the toughness and pliability of leather is imparted to the material.