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Parkesine is the trademark for the first man-made plastic, nitrocellulose. It was patented by Alexander Parkes in 1862.[1] In 1866 Parkes formed the Parkesine Company to mass-produce the material. The company, however, failed due to poor product quality as Parkes tried to reduce costs. Parkesine's successors were Xylonite, produced by Daniel Spill (an associate of Parkes), and Celluloid from John Wesley Hyatt. Parkesine was made from cellulose treated with nitric acid and a solvent. The generic name of Parkesine is pyroxylin, or Celluloid. Parkesine is often called synthetic ivory. The Parkesine company ceased trading in 1868. Pictures of Parkesine are held by the Plastics Historical Society of London. There is a plaque on the wall of the site of the Parkesine Works in Hackney, London.[2]


  1. ^ UK Patent office (1857). Patents for inventions. UK Patent office. p. 255. 
  2. ^ "Hackney Council - First Plastic in the World". 2012. Retrieved 9 January 2012.