A brief history of plastic

Trace the history of the invention of plastic, and how the material ushered in what became known as the plastics century.

For centuries, billiard balls were made of ivory from elephant tusks. But when excessive hunting caused elephant populations to decline, they began to look for alternatives. John Wesley Hyatt took up the challenge. In five years, he invented a new material called celluloid, which would become known as the first plastic. Trace the history of the material that ushered in the “plastics century.”

Directed by Sharon Colman.

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Thank you so much to our patrons for your support! Without you this video would not be possible! Joe Giamartino, Filip Dabrowski, Barbara Smalley, Megan Douglas, Tim Leistikow, Andrés Melo Gámez, Renhe Ji, Ka-Hei Law, Michal Salman, Peter Liu, Mark Morris, Catherine Sverko, Misaki Sato, Tan YH, Ph.D., Rodrigo Carballo, SookKwan Loong, Bev Millar, Merit Gamertsfelder, Lex Azevedo, Noa Shore, Taylor Hunter, Kyle Nguyen, MJ Tan Mingjie, Cristóbal Moenne, Goh Xiang Ting Diana, Kevin Wong, Dawn Jordan, Yanira Santamaria, Prasanth Mathialagan, Savannah Scheelings, Susan Herder, Samuel Doerle, David Rosario, Dominik Kugelmann, Siamak H, Tracey Tobkin, Dwight Tevuk, Anthony Kudolo, Mrinalini, Yanuar Ashari, Ivan Todorović, Alex Schenkman, Brittiny Elman, Ryohky Araya, Paul Coupe, David Douglass, Ricardo Paredes, Bill Feaver, Eduardo Briceño and Arturo De Leon.

50 Comments

  1. SALIL Jamdar Fan on September 19, 2020 at 11:17 pm

    U forgot to mention NOBLE PRIZE winning scientists Zeigler and Nutta for the discovery of Zieglar Nutta catalyst which almost boomed the production of high strength high density linear polyethene. 😁😁

  2. Zz b on September 19, 2020 at 11:17 pm

    You guys can make even the most unassuming topics into worlds of interest and curiousity. Nice job👍

  3. Anup Paul on September 19, 2020 at 11:21 pm

    2:51 It is the shampoo used by and sponsored by TED-ed

  4. heyy iqss on September 19, 2020 at 11:21 pm

    …. and all this knowledge for free.
    God bless you, TedEd people.
    Long live wikipedia n tedEd.

  5. Facts You Did Not Know on September 19, 2020 at 11:21 pm

    2:52 Need these TED-Ed Shampoo bottles. Maybe I will become more intelligent.

  6. Jabby on September 19, 2020 at 11:22 pm

    Can you do history of stoicism?

  7. Yappe on September 19, 2020 at 11:25 pm

    And then the kardashians discovered it. 🤷

  8. Suhas V on September 19, 2020 at 11:26 pm

    My minds full of plastic after watching this

  9. Jennica Mae Notario on September 19, 2020 at 11:27 pm

    I am going to unsubscribe and unlike I am very sorry for now

  10. Passer by on September 19, 2020 at 11:33 pm

    https://youtu.be/Aq4q7yGHu8A a short good 45 sec video

  11. Tyrone Taylor on September 19, 2020 at 11:34 pm

    0:08 lol at the Playstation controller

  12. A Fool's Infinite on September 19, 2020 at 11:35 pm

    Make all the currency notes and coins in the world with plastic.
    That’ll solve some of the issue

  13. Jiyan Mehta on September 19, 2020 at 11:38 pm

    Hi.Just want to say.Y’all are awesome.

  14. Sofia Ortega on September 19, 2020 at 11:40 pm

    It goes without saying that this video lacks the actual ending we need which is that capitalism and individualsm has brought us all to the point of the plastic century. It’s not about finding new ways. It’s about destroying the establishments that clearly only care about their money and not the health of people and the world.

  15. AwExplore Tv on September 19, 2020 at 11:42 pm

    Nice video
    #Awantv

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  17. khulood Al-Asaadi on September 19, 2020 at 11:43 pm

    SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT !

  18. Garv Sharma on September 19, 2020 at 11:45 pm

    Can I know how to get the Ted-Head shampoo?

  19. Nut Breaker on September 19, 2020 at 11:46 pm

    Why my wife aren’t there?

  20. Danielthesiberiancat on September 19, 2020 at 11:46 pm

    A brief history of plastic(my friends in deviantart and furaffinity)

  21. Arriel Aranggo on September 19, 2020 at 11:46 pm

    Alternative Title: A Brief History of my Friends

  22. Eunice Rodrigues on September 19, 2020 at 11:48 pm

    #banpaper

  23. 1K subcribers Before 2021 on September 19, 2020 at 11:49 pm

    WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU A HUNDRED REASONS TO CRY, GIVE LIFE A THOUSAND REASONS TO SMILE.”

  24. Expat47 on September 19, 2020 at 11:50 pm

    Are you involving China in your crusade against plastic? How are they responding to the idea?

  25. Danny Yang on September 19, 2020 at 11:50 pm

    i still don’t get how petrochemicals and petroleum makes plastics. I thought they were fuel?

  26. Li Phing Liew on September 19, 2020 at 11:51 pm

    Interesting.Thank you
    Word of the day or sentence: discussing coco I go permanently ruin Quincy

  27. Minh Thư Phạm on September 19, 2020 at 11:51 pm

    I wanna ask you guys, what does this phrase "stay tuned" mean?

  28. Jennica Mae Notario on September 19, 2020 at 11:52 pm

    She’s shivering all day and all month so please I will if you tell me it will

  29. David Blame on September 19, 2020 at 11:53 pm

    And the plastic people too

  30. Ashutosh verma on September 19, 2020 at 11:56 pm

    When any person eat plastic what can happened plz tell us . I want video on this

  31. Ayush Kumar on September 19, 2020 at 11:57 pm

    So history of plastic started mainly with billiard balls challenge.
    And now we need a new challenge to end it.😂 Lol. #AllTogetherCleanup

  32. Siddhartha Singh on September 19, 2020 at 11:57 pm

    noticed the toy story 3 toy at 3:58

  33. TED-Ed on September 19, 2020 at 11:57 pm

    Global plastic waste is a problem that affects us all, and all of us can be part of the solution. With the support of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, we’ve launched #AllTogetherCleanup to see just how much litter and waste we can remove from the environment. Every piece counts! Learn more and join the challenge here: https://bit.ly/TEDEdCleanup

  34. Usama Bin Azad on September 19, 2020 at 11:59 pm

    Why there is a VLC Player Icon in the thumbnail? 😂😂

  35. Peh Yanbin on September 19, 2020 at 11:59 pm

    Use acid to break down plastic

  36. Garv Sharma on September 19, 2020 at 11:59 pm

    Someone: invents a new polymer
    Governments: This means WAR

  37. Ratnakar pratap singh on September 19, 2020 at 11:59 pm

    Irony, plastic invented to save environmente.

  38. Hemang Mankad on September 20, 2020 at 12:02 am

    when will think like a coder 10 episode come?

  39. Yash Balayan on September 20, 2020 at 12:02 am

    That shampoo name was awesome

  40. Zz b on September 20, 2020 at 12:05 am

    You guys can make even the most unassuming topics into worlds of interest and curiousity. Nice job👍

  41. Ivan abdurrofi Al hakim on September 20, 2020 at 12:06 am

    Why not just reuse the plastic bag or if broken just throw it to the recycling bin.

  42. fuson 1 on September 20, 2020 at 12:08 am

    Крутые видео 👌🏻

  43. Jonathan Court on September 20, 2020 at 12:08 am

    Disappointed by a few factual and graphical inaccuracies that will make this frustrating to use in school. Come on TED-Ed, we need 100% accuracy. The definition of "plastic" isn’t quite right, polystyrene is hard, not spongy (that’s expanded polystyrene which is treated to make it like that), the injection moulding graphic shows items made in several other ways, e.g. bottles (blow moulding), etc …

  44. Vegan Queen on September 20, 2020 at 12:09 am

    Hate plastic bags, bring your own bag to the store people, it is not rocket science. Especially those with cars, I see them walk into grocery store and walk out with 200 plastic bags. Dude just keep reusables in the trunk and bring them in, please!

  45. Jennica Mae Notario on September 20, 2020 at 12:10 am

    Happy

  46. Funtime Felix on September 20, 2020 at 12:10 am

    the cycle of death: we create plastic, we buy it, we use it, we break it, we throw it out, it goes in the ocean(sometimes), fish eat it, we eat the fish, we die 🙂

  47. Debendra Sabat on September 20, 2020 at 12:10 am

    Bring the think like a coder 10 episode fast

  48. Lee O’kelly on September 20, 2020 at 12:12 am

    It’s weird that you didn’t mention how the artificial billiard ball led to the creation of film

  49. PiggyPua Pie on September 20, 2020 at 12:13 am

    959th comment😁

  50. Garv Sharma on September 20, 2020 at 12:15 am

    4:06 Also pls tell how to get the Ted-Ed computer

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