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British Celanese Ltd. Letter

An inventory of its collection at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: KD
Date: 14 Jan 2019

Biographical History

British Celanese Ltd. was formed in 1916 under the original name "British Cellulose and Chemical Manufacturing Co." by Swiss brothers, Henri and Camille Dreyfus.

The British Government invited the brothers to London to produce for the war effort their recently developed cellulose acetate dope for aircraft canvas skins as an alternative to the nitrocellulose dope, which was easily ignited by bullets. The name was changed from the original "British Cellulose and Chemical Manufaturing Co." to "British Celanese Ltd." in 1918, "Celanese" being a contraction of "cellulose" and "ease."

The company, and their American division, the Celanese Corporation of America (originally "The American Cellulose and Chemical Manufacturing Co." or "Amcell" for short), produced acetate yarn, Celastoid, nonflammable celluloid, aircraft dope and lacquers, nylon, and a large variety of other materials over the years.

Henri Dreyfus died in 1944, followed by his brother Camille in 1956. In 1957 the Courtaulds acquired the company, which was then sold to Hoechst AG in 1987. The company is still in operation today under the name "Celanese," based in Dallas, Texas and with multiple locations throughout the world.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The British Celanese Ltd. Letter is a 3-page letter written by H. W. Walsh describing a visit to British Celanese Ltd. with "Mr. Miller," a representative of the company.

Arrangement of the Collection

Single item.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Subject Headings


Dreyfus, Camille Edouard, 1878-1956.

Corporate Bodies

British Celanese Ltd.


Cellulose acetate.
Plastics industry and trade -- Great Britain.
Plastics industry and trade -- Technological innovations.

Genres and Forms



Chemical engineers.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

British Celanese Ltd. Letter
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information


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