Xylonite collection

Australian Xylonite 1910-1930sXylonite collection
made in Australia 1910-1930

Following my last post, several readers asked me about Xylonite; so herewith, a sample of some of my xylonite collection.

Xylonite was first produced in 1875 – to imitate ivory. It was the first thermoplastic – as an ivory substitute it was first used for knife handles and jewellery, then all manner of domestic products. Xylonite has tiny parallel striations of yellow and bone- which gives it the faux ivory look- although, interestingly- this was an accident. The manufacturers were attempting to create a timber-look-a-like, so named the new celluloid product xylonite – ‘xylon’ being Greek for wood.

Whatever, the production of xylonite saved much real ivory being used. I first became interested in xylonite when I was researching bakelite [after first becoming interested in resin.] So I now have an abiding interest/affection for all types of vintage plastics.

3 thoughts on “Xylonite collection

  1. I collect xylonite too. I remember that my grandmother had a dressing table set in the 1960s which she must have had all her life.

      • Yes a lot of it is very yellowed now. It will be interesting to see how yours comes up. My favourite piece is a trinket box in a shape a bit like a grand piano with beautifully shaped feet. Not sure if you have any of the boxes with holes in the lids? They were used to hold the hair that the ladies removed from their hairbrushes after brushing their hair. Not sure what they did with it then……..

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