Trade card for celluloid shirt components, 1880s. Put out of the laundry business by celluloid, Chinese-American immigrants return to their homeland. The racist caption reads: “No more washee washee—’Melican man wear celluloid collar and cuff.” Meanwhile, American men demonstrate celluloid’s waterproof qualities. They represent the new, athletic masculinity that began to erase class distinctions in clothing in the early 20th century. (Courtesy of the Trustees of the Boston Public Library, Print Department)
Explore the history of disposability through object stories.