Hyatt, John Wesley

Hyatt, John Wesley,

1837–1920, American inventor, b. Starkey, N.Y. He is known especially for his development of celluloidcelluloid
[from cellulose], transparent, colorless synthetic plastic made by treating cellulose nitrate with camphor and alcohol. Celluloid was the first important synthetic plastic and was widely used as a substitute for more expensive substances, such as ivory, amber,
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; with his brothers, he began its manufacture in 1872. He also invented the Hyatt filter, a means of chemically purifying water while it is in motion; a widely used type of roller bearing; a sugarcane mill superior to any previously used; a sewing machine for making machine belting; and a substitute for ivory in the manufacture of billiard balls and other articles.
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