Black mantel clocks, which were made of marble, black-painted metal, or black enameled wood were popular from about 1880 to 1920. Adamantine, which is a patented, colored celluloid veneer, was used on clock cases to imitate onyx, marble, wood grain, and other finishes. Celluloid is a trade name for the first artificial plastic, invented in 1869. Some clock cases in the early 1900s were veneered with this highly flammable material.

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