My girlfriend and I were wondering this today as we looked at getting a new top for my touring.
Were the windows originally plastic? We didn't know that clear, flexible plastic existed back then. What would they have been made of?
They were made out of celluloid: https://www.google.se/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://en.m.wikipedia.org/w iki/Celluloid&ved=0ahUKEwjeqveG69bJAhUKFCwKHXzNCpoQFgggMAE&usg=AFQjCNE2Ny4RKfhBf ZdqsJaZXdqgjP6qWA&sig2=USPcnqoLlHRS9t8Jjh99nQ
I have always thought they were isinglass
a pure, transparent or translucent form of gelatin, obtained from the air bladders of certain fish, especially the sturgeon: used in glue and jellies and as a clarifying agent. (added by me; some beers use it as a clarifying agent)
mica, especially in thin, translucent sheets.
As I recall the mica is used in stove windows and is not all that clear.
celluloid is correct. I looked it up. I should have done that in the first place.
It's of much better quality today, and is available in several thicknesses.
Where may this celluloid be purchased?
Any boat shop...it is clear vinyl today
You can't find 'celluloid' anymore. It had a bad habit of being one of the most flammable items ever produced.
The side curtain drawings for my C cab specify .030" thick celluloid in case there is a question on thickness. I would guess that the cars had the same thickness.
As I understand it early windows were made of cellulose nitrate. If you try to buy it today you will likely find yourself on the No-Fly list!
Trying to remember if early movie film wasn't made of cellulose nitrate? That's why it was so dangerous.
IIRC it is one step away from gunpowder.
The celluloid on original side curtains is only about .012" to .015" I don't remember if I used .20" or .030" on my unzip-from-the-bottom side curtains.
: ^ )
I used to work in a musical instrument shop, the owner had a supply of original celluloid for restorations. One day he showed me just how flammable the stuff was...scary ! They used to make men's shirt collars from it...the old expression "went up like a celluloid collar" still applies
Best source is to get some old X-rays and boil the emulsion off them.
And who was it that invented celluloid, arguably the first "Plastic", in 1878?
Why, it was none other than our old friend, John Wesley Hyatt. Yeah, THAT Hyatt. The man that also gave us Model T owners our roller bearings.
He invented celluloid as a replacement for the (even then) quickly becoming scarce ivory that was being used in the manufacture of piano keys and billiard balls.
When it was discovered that celluloid was extremely flammable, a guy by the name of Leo H. Bakeland came up with some stuff called phenolic that was a lot less flammable but, you couldn't make movie film with it.