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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

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Celluloid  cel·lu·loid noun \ˈsel-yə-ˌlȯid\  Change text size for readability...  Print This Page
01:41Celluloid is the plastic material often used on vintage stringed instruments for binding, pickguards and tuner buttons.

Celluloid (cellulose acetate or cellulose nitrate) is the oldest of the plastic materials. It was developed around 1870 as an outgrowth of research on nitrocellulose explosives.

By 1890, celluloid was part of the American stringed instrument industry. The earliest Gibson instruments (1902) and lots of others had white celluloid binding. Later on, celluloid was formulated and processed to look like natural materials such as tortoise, ivory, pearl, lapis, jade, etc. So, the material was also used for the simulated tortoiseshell pickguards or ivory tuner buttons found on many a vintage instrument.

Imitation "natural" celluloid is often called "ivoroid" or "pearloid." Ivoroid, in particular, has been known by many trademark names, including "Ivorine" and "French Ivory."

Celluloid was also used to make a wide variety of consumer products and is not exclusive to musical instruments. Celluloid is extremely flammable and is rarely used anymore for instrument making. It has since been replaced with other polymer and acrylic resin materials which can also be formulated to simulate a variety of natural materials. However, in the same manner "xerox" has become a term used for any copy, "celluloid" is often used to refer to these newer non-celluloid replacement materials.

Also See: Binding
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LAST UPDATED 04-28-2016 12:38


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