Christmas Card Factory Fire Kills 7 In England
Collodion was discovered in by 1846 Louis-Nicolas Ménard who devised a mixture of ether and ethanol that rendered cellulose nitrate into a clear gelatinous liquid. It was used as a photographic emulsion. In 1855 Alexander Parkes mixed cellulose nitrate and camphor to make celluloid, regarded to be the first thermoplastic. Celluloid is easily molded and shaped and it was first widely used as an ivory replacement. Celluloid is highly flammable. In thin sheets, it can be cheaper than paper.
On July 23, 1912 in a 4 story building that made celluloid Christmas cards in London, England, a fire broke out in the front room of the top floor. The firm employed many young women. When their escape route was blocked off, the women fled to the roof. The back room was quickly abalze and girls jumped from the roof and windows. In all 7 girls died and 5 were injured.