This section is from the "Henley's Twentieth Century Formulas Recipes Processes" encyclopedia, by Norman W. Henley and others.
This product is obtained by mingling with celluloid, under suitable conditions, gelatin or strong glue of gelatin base. It is clear that the replacement of part of the celluloid by the gelatin, of which the cost is much less, lowers materially the cost of the final product. The result is obtained without detriment to the qualities of the objects. These are said to be of superior properties, having more firmness than those of celluloid. And the new material is worked more readily than the celluloid employed alone.
The new product may be prepared in open air or in a closed vessel under pressure. When operated in the air, the gelatin is first immersed cold (in any form, and in a state more or less pure) in alcohol marking about 140° F., with the addition of a certain quantity (for example, 5 to 10 per cent) of crystallizable acetic acid. In a few hours the material has swollen considerably, and it is then introduced in alcohol of about 90 per cent, and at the same time the celluloid pulp (camphor and gun cotton), taking care to add a little acetone. The proportion of celluloid in the mixture may be 50 to 75 per cent of the weight of the gelatin, more or less, according to the result desired. After heating the mixture slightly, it is worked, cold, by the rollers ordinarily employed for celluloid and other similar pastes, or by any other suitable methods.
The preparation in a closed vessel does not differ from that which has been described, except for the introduction of the mixture of gelatin, celluloid, alcohol, and acetone, at the moment when the heating is to be accomplished in an autoclave heated with steam, capable of supporting a pressure of 2 to 5 pounds, and furnished with a mechanical agitator. This method of proceeding abridges the operation considerably ; the paste comes from the autoclave well mingled, and is then submitted to the action of rollers. There is but little work in distilling the alcohol and acetic acid in the autoclave. These may be recovered, and on account of their evaporation the mass presents the desired consistency when it reaches the rollers. Whichever of the two methods of preparation may be employed, the substance may be rolled as in the ordinary process, if a boiler with agitator is made use of; the mass may be produced in any form.