Daniel Spill's Ivoride Works, Homerton, London, c 1870s.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Lithograph by Daniel Greenaway. The first mouldable plastic was invented by Alexander Parkes (1813-1890) in 1855, who named it Parkesine. Ivoride is a form of it used to imitate ivory. It was also known as Ivorine, Ivorite and French Ivory and was used as an inlay for musical instruments and for the manufacture decorative objects. After unsuccesful early ventures in manufacturing the plastics invented by Parkes, Daniel Spill (1832-1877) established a factory in Homerton in the mid 1870s, producing Ivoride and Xylonite, a plastic devised by Spill himself. From 1875, Spill was involved in a lengthy and ultimately unsuccesful legal battle over alleged patent infringements by the Celluloid Corporation founded by the Hyatt Brothers of New Jersey.