TIL that the first commercial plastic, Celluloid, was invented to replace ivory as a material for billiard balls, as elephants were being hunted to near extinction to keep up with the demand. Unfortunately it was so flammable that the balls would sometimes explode on impact.

Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billiard_ball#History

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  1. “An owner of a billiard saloon in Colorado wrote to Hyatt about the explosive tendencies, saying that he did not mind very much personally but for the fact that every man in his saloon immediately pulled a gun at the sound.”

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