Celluloid toy, blow-moulded, in form of red devil.

Made:
1910-1930

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Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Celluloid toy, blow-moulded, in form of red devil. Jointed, moveable arms (attached by pins to upper body). Facial features and hair applied in black paint.

This small plastic toy is made of an early (semi-synthetic) plastic. Plastic is everywhere today, but the cellulose-based material considered to be the first man made plastic was invented in the 1860s by Alexander Parkes, a British chemist and inventor. His invention, Parkesine, was never a commercial success, but later developments built on his work. This toy is made of celluloid, an American variation on Parkesine. This new material type had many advantages over natural alternatives. It could be moulded to show precise detail, like this toy devil’s face and it could be dyed vibrant colours like this red. Mass-production methods made it quicker and easier to produce this type of toy making it cheaper and therefore affordable to far more people.

Details

Category:
Plastics and Modern Materials
Object Number:
2001-767
Materials:
cellulose nitrate and metal
type:
devil toy
credit:
Penfold, R.

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