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Celluloid - A Firm Maybe by ibdennis Pocket knives or razors made of celluloid are colorful, bright, durable and ornamental.
This synthetic material was widely used from just before the turn of the century until about 1940.
" Very few could even muster a plausible explanation.
Some were heavily decomposed, and others looked as new, even though they were over 60 years old.
The expression that you can't see the forest for the trees certainly fit me this day.
I do not believe that I will provide a solution to stop this action.
So my best bet is to understand and prolong the inevitable as long as I can, without destroying the knife itself.
You might also recognize celluloid on advertising knives, as they would be easy to mark with advertising names and slogans.
The material had its followers, however there were some who affectionately referred to celluloid as "Genuine Mother-of-Toilet Seat." We call this material "celluloid," but that is a trade name much like "Kleenex." The first synthetic plastic material was synthesized in 1856 by Alexander Parkes, and then later was developed as a commercial product in 1869 by John Wesley Hyatt.
I have tried numerous tricks to save a celluloid handle, but to no avail.
What I have done in the past is isolate the knives that are suspect, clean them often and make sure that they do not come in contact with any other knives.
Whenever I purchase a celluloid handled knife, I await the day that decomposition and destruction of the handle will start. The most noticeable is the rusting of the knife blade or metal parts of the knife.
If you open the blade of a suspect celluloid handled knife, you will note rust or a rust stain on the upper part of the blade (opposite the blade edge), while the balance of the blade will not be rusted. The next problem associated with celluloid handles will be the self destruction of the handle itself; it will shrink, crack and crumble on the frame of the knife.
To be more accurate we should refer to knife handles made of celluloid, cellulose dinitrate or pyroxylin; however I see little harm in using the term celluloid as we have in the past.