Celluloid In Photography – In the late 1800s photographers were looking for a practicable alternative for light sensitized emulsions on glass plates. The glass was very heavy, fragile and a big burden to early photographer’s.
Any replacement would have to be transparent, light, tough, flexible and unaffected by water and photographic chemicals. Finding a material that would work was extremely difficult. The answer was Celluloid. Among the first to experiment with Celluloid were two French photographers in the 1880s.
Celluloid In Photography – The Celluloid Manufacturing Company – Newark, NJ
By the early 1900s Celluloid was being used for photography and motion pictures. In the 1880s The Celluloid Manufacturing Company was contracted to thinly slice layers of Celluloid out of Celluloid blocks and removing the slice marks with heated pressure plates. After this the strips were coated with a photosensitive gelatin emulsion. This film was first used in early Thomas Edison motion pictures. The introduction of Celluloid roll film provided early cinematography or motion picture experimenters with the material they had been waiting for and made possible the commercial development of movies.
These commercial movies or motion pictures were still images which when shown on a screen created the illusion of moving pictures. Note the old Fox Movietone picture camera on the left.