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  1. #21

    Join Date
    Jun 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Sukach
    The base used for some of the earliest films was indeed, nitrocellulose. It was developed, long ago, as an entry into a contest designed to find a material that could be substituted for elephant ivory in the production of billiard balls. It won.

    Nitrocellulose is produced, essentially, from the action of Nitric acid on Cellulose... possibly wood fibers.. or?
    We are familiar with it under different identities: "Cellophane", "Celluloid" and interestingly enough, "Smokeless (Gun)powder" - containing other "stuff" to modify burning characteristics.

    There is, as with all plastics, a "Flame Test" for identification: Light a strip with an ordinary match. Nitrocellulose will burn evenly with a "clear", yellow flame. It will not explode unless contained. It will be self-sustaining, with very little "smoldering", very little smoke, and very little ash. The burning rate reminds me, somewhat, of ordinary paper. It is quite stable.

    Nitrocellulose caused the destruction of quite a few movie houses, in the early days. It was not too healthy a situation to have a considerable amount of the stuff in close proximity to the Carbon Arc Lamps used in the early projectors.

    With thanks to the University of Mass. at Lowell, and their basic "Plastics Engineering Classes".

    hey ed -

    i can't imagine hitting a pool ball made out of collodion! talk about a explosive game of pool - maybe it was only the 8-ball

    i documented a nitrocelulose plant at the picatinny arsenal in dover new jersey ... it (collodion/nitrocellulose) was used as a propellant charge in missles, and one of the "bases" in a double base ordnance, with the other one being nitroglycerine. the way they made it ( at the arsenal ) was by taking linens and soaking them in a nitrate solution, then they would remove the cloth from the vats, and put them in another vat containing alcohol ( to rid of the water from the nitrate solution ) and i think they would ddissolveit in ether. for propellant charge the thick clear collodion was extruded (noodled) and carefully cut into pellets, and then packed into the ordnance.

    they also used collodion in wartime as a covering for wound after surgery. it made a clear, tough, protective layer ( new-skin at your local drug store is the same sort of stuff ) ... all i have to say is that it must have hurt like a &*&^% - good think there was booze, ether and a heavy mallet handy

    i used to get jars of it from my local pharmacy and make my own cellophane --- if the ether that was given off as the liquid converted to a solid didn't make you woozy, if you the stuff on your fingers it would burn like mad. not to mention i always shook in my boots when i carefully opened a partially filled bottle of collodion! for a while there i could have been a safe-cracker - no finger prints
    Last edited by jnanian; 06-16-2005 at 12:44 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  2. #22
    DKT
    DKT is offline

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    Sep 2002
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    504
    Quote Originally Posted by chuck94022
    What a coincidence, KT. My grandfather has some of his work in the Maritime Museum here in Beaufort. In fact, they have a model shop named in his honor: the John S. MacCormack model shop. He was known for his ship models. He used to have some of his scrimshaw on display as well, but that has since been taken down. His paintings, sculpture, furniture, and wood carvings are in private collections. We visit the Maritime Museum every time we come to Beaufort (we have a vacation home here, on Front Street).


    I've contacted a local commercial photographer, Scott Taylor (who does wonderful coastal images), and if he has time he's going to help by doing some proofs for me.

    The envelope idea is great - I'll pick some up. Thanks!

    -chuck

    Hey--wow, small world...well, look I mean it when it comes to the negatives. If there are pictures of NC, and your family is from the state, I know people who would be interested in seeing them. It sounds like with the camera as well, you have quite a collection. Anyways, if you ever want to show them off, let me know.

    Good luck again--if you want to email me direct:

    kent.thompson@ncmail.net

    KT

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