Guide to the Celluloid Corporation Records

Administrative Information

Repository Information

Archives Center, National Museum of American History, 1985 July 11

P.O. Box 37012
 Suite 1100, MRC 601
 Washington, D.C., 20013-7012
 Phone: 202-633-3270

Revision Description

 Revised by Robert S. Harding, archivist,  1993 July 23

Conditions Governing Access note

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use note

Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.

Custodial History note

Transferred from the Division of Physical Sciences (now the Division of Medicine and Science) on April 5, 1983.

Processing Information note

Processed by Robert S. Harding, archivist and E.S. Etuk, 1985.

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Summary Information

Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Celluloid Corporation.
Hyatt, John Wesley, inventor
Celluloid Corporation Records
Date [inclusive]
3.00 Cubic feet, 3 boxes
Language of Materials note
Collection is in [English].
The collection consists of trade catalogs, price lists, notebooks, promotional literature, patents, a salesman's kit (including samples), photographs and prints of plant buildings, personnel, celluloid molds and by-products documenting the Celluloid Corporation.

Preferred Citation note

Celluloid Corporation Records, 1883-1943, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.

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Biographical/Historical note

The Celluloid Manufacturing Company is the original corporate name of the present Celluloid Corporation. It was founded in 1872 to present celluloid to the world. The word "celluloid" was registered as a trademark in 1873 by its inventor, John Wesley Hyatt. This registration marked the beginnings of the plastic industry. The first efforts were directed to supplying the dental trade with plates for artificial teeth. In 1882 the corporation began to use amyl acetate as a nitro cellulose solvent, which paved the way for the development of the lacquer industry. In 1910 non flammable "safety film" was made from cellulose acetate. In 1912 the corporation invented Lumarith, a true thermoplastic, meaning it could be molded or cast into any conceivable form without undergoing a chemical change. It came in powder form (granules) for the new injection molding processes. It was injected into the mold and in a matter of seconds the finished article was ejected.

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Scope and Contents note

These records are divided into four separate series: Series 1: Publications, 1891-1935, including news clippings, notebooks, promotional literature, and patents; Series 2: Trade Catalogs, 1883-1928, including price lists; Series 3: Salesman's Kits, 1937-1943, including samples; and Series 4: Photographs, undated, including photo prints of plant buildings, personnel, celluloid molds and other by-products.

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Arrangement note

The collection is divided into four series.

Series 1: Publications, 1891-1935

Series 2: Trade Catalogs, 1883-1928

Series 3: Salesman's Kits, 1937-1943

Series 4: Photographs, undated

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Celluloid Manufacturing Company.
  • Nepera Chemical Company.


  • Catalogs
  • Notebooks
  • Patents
  • Price lists


  • Celluloid
  • Chemistry
  • Physical sciences
  • Plastics--Molding

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Collection Inventory

 Series 1: Publications, 1891-1935

Box Folder

Boehmer, George H. (General Sales Manager) Celluloid, Grand Daddy of 'Em All. Newark, New Jersey: Celluloid Corporation (2 copies) History of development of Celluloid and the Celluloid Corporation, 1935

1 1

Lady on Sleigh; History of the different divisions of Celluloid Corporation, undated

1 2

Records of Experiments, pp. 1-250, 1891-1893

3 7

Amerith and the Arch Line, 1925

3 8

Newark Newspaper Clippings on Celluloid Corporation

3 9

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 Series 2: Trade Catalogs, 1883‑1928

Box Folder

Celluloid Brush Co., 313 & 315 Broadway, New York, Celluloid Novelty Company, 313 & 315 Broadway, New York, Price List. (2 copies), 1883, 1899

1 3

Illustrated Catalog & Price List, 30-36 Washington Place, New York (2 copies), 1899

1 4

Illustrated Catalog & Price List, 427 & 429 Broadway, New York, 1892

1 5

Illustrated Catalog & Price List, 427 & 429 Broadway, New York, 1895

1 5

Electrical Fittings Price List, 1903

1 6

Illustrated Price List, 1906

1 6

Ivaleur (Ivory like substance) Catalog, 1916

1 7

Ivaleur Trade Catalog #116 (of brushes, combs, mirrors, clocks and other articles), circa 1915

1 7

Arch Amerith, Vanity Articles for the Dressing Table: Line of Toilet Requistes and Fancy Goods. New York: Amerith Division of Celluloid Corporation, Includes price list in rear cover, 1925

(This special trademark line is made of amerith and Amer‑glo, a "new" distinctive quality pyroxylin material)

1 7

Arch Amerith, Vanity Articles for the Dressing Table and Other Articles Made of Amerith. New York City: Celluloid Corporation, 1928

1 7

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 Series 3: Salesman's Kit, 1937-1943

Box Folder

The Celluloid Corporation - Lumarith, The New Era Plastic, salesman kit, promotional literature in bound leather, late 1937-1943

2 1

Salesmen's kit, promotional literature titled Protectoid, by G.H. Boehmer, undated

3 1

The Plus Value of Doing Business with Celluloid Corporation (promotional catalog)

3 2

Lumarith Protectoid invites you to meet Personable Packages (promotional catalog)

3 2

Pages from Celluloid Corporation Trade catalogs

3 2

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 Series 4: Photographs, 1837-1920, undated

Box Folder

John Wesley Hyatt, undated

3 3

Celluloid Corporation Employees & Factory Buildings, undated

3 4

Products of the company, undated

3 5

Pages from a book of testimonials to Celluloid dentures, undated

3 6

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