John Hyatt

John Hyatt

American inventor
Date of Birth: 28.11.1837
Country: USA

  1. Biography of John Hyatt
  2. The Invention of Celluloid
  3. Hyatt's Celluloid Manufacturing Company
  4. Other Inventions and Achievements
  5. Recognition and Legacy

Biography of John Hyatt

John Hyatt, an American inventor, is best known for his creation of celluloid, the first stable and practical plastic. He was born in Starkey, New York and began working as a printer at the age of 16. Later, Hyatt became interested in inventing and went on to obtain several hundred patents throughout his career.

John Hyatt

The Invention of Celluloid

Hyatt's most famous invention is celluloid, a substance he developed through experiments with "parkesine" - a solid plastic-like element made from nitrocellulose and ethanol. Parkesine, invented by Alexander Parkes in 1862, is considered the first true plastic. However, it did not achieve commercial success due to its high production costs. Hyatt patented his own version of this material, called celluloid, in 1869. Celluloid stood out for its stability and quality, leading to a wide range of products being made from it.

Hyatt's Celluloid Manufacturing Company

In 1872, Hyatt established the "Hyatt's Celluloid Manufacturing Company" in Albany, New York. The company specialized in producing dental prosthetics, billiard balls, and piano keys. Eventually, the company was relocated to Newark, New Jersey. During this time, a British inventor named Daniel Spill developed a similar substance called "xylonite." Hyatt and Spill engaged in legal battles from 1877 to 1884, with Alexander Parkes ultimately being recognized as the original inventor of celluloid. However, other manufacturers were allowed to continue their production.

Other Inventions and Achievements

In addition to celluloid, Hyatt made several other interesting inventions. He patented a new model of a bearing and a multi-stitch sewing machine. In 1892, he founded the "Hyatt Roller Bearing Company" in Harrison, New Jersey. In 1895, Hyatt hired Alfred P. Sloan, the son of the company's main investor, as a draftsman. Sloan eventually became the president of the company in 1905. In 1916, the company was sold to General Motors, and Alfred Sloan became the president of GM.

Recognition and Legacy

For his contributions, John Hyatt was awarded the Perkin Medal and was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Today, celluloid objects from the early 20th century are considered rare and valuable collectibles, showcasing the impact of Hyatt's invention on various industries.