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Celluloid pens are back, but they can be very expensive due to the high cost and relative scarcity of suitable rods or sheets, and the fact that celluloid manufacturing is a bit of a black art. Celluloid is a bit softer and more scratch prone than acrylic; it is also flammable (so do not hold your celluloid beauty over an open flame).


In the late 1940s-1950s celluloid was one of the primary resources for fountain pens.  Many fine fountain pens were made with celluloid material. Today they are collector’s items. Now there is resurgence in interest in this material for fine writing pens. So what is celluloid? Celluloid is regarded as being the first thermoplastic. Then the different materials for celluloid compound were nitrocellulose and camphor. The formula has been altered from the beginning but the basic chemistry is still there. As thermoplastics, celluloid has found a wide variety of uses in the 19th and the first half of the 20th century. Early celluloid could be extremely flammable! Celluloid has certain characteristics, which differentiate it from other plastics. In general, pieces made from celluloid tend to be thin, light, somewhat brittle, and sensitive to heat. Today’s celluloid is easily molded and shaped, making it easy to turn. It was first widely used as an ivory replacement. Celluloid pens are easy to turn and polish to an almost glass-like finish. If you have a hard time, distinguishing between celluloid and other acrylics of today put your nose to it. When placed briefly in hot water, early celluloid smells like camphor, while later cellulose acetate smells like vinegar.