Page:EB1911 - Volume 21.djvu/624

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.

train the young homers alone, so that they may become independent of the older birds. When thoroughly trained they may be fiown oxer long distances about once a week The Belgian fanciers generally divide their birds into two classes, one for breeding and the other for racing, though the latter are allowed to breed witlnn certain limits Some fanciers always choose birds with chicks in the nest for long Journeys, claiming that they return faster with this incentive A seamless metal ring marked with the owner's name is slipped over the foot of the pigeon when only a few days old, and during its racing career the longer wing-feathers are stamped with the b1rd's records. At the start of a race the competing birds are tossed together by a starter who takes the time. Upon being released the homer ascends rapidly in spirals until, apparently descrying some familiar landmark on the horizon, it wil fiy straight and swiftlv tovtards lt. As the birds enter their home-lofts the time is taken by the owner. A bird is not considered to have got home " until It has actually passed through the door of its loft.

PIGEON POST. The use of homing pigeons to carry messages is as old as Solomon, and the ancient Greeks, to whom the art of training the birds came probably from the Persians, conveyed the names of Olympic victors to their various cities by this means. Before the electric telegraph this method of communication had a considerable vogue amongst stockbrokers and financiers. The Dutch government established a civil and milvary pigeon system in java and Sumatra early in the 19th century, the birds being obtained from Bagdad. Details of the employment of pigeons during the siege of Paiis in I8]O-71 ll be found in the article POST AND POSTAL SERVICE: France. This led to a revival in the training of pigeons for military purposes Numerous private societies were established for keeping pigeons of this class in all important European countries; and, in time, various governments established systems of communication for military purposes by pigeon post. When the possibility of using the birds between military fortresses had betn thoroughly tested attention was turned to their use for nawal purposes, to send messages between coast stations and ships at sea. They are also found of great use by news agencies and private individuals. Governments have in several countries established lofts of their own. Laws have been passed making the destruction of such pigeons a serious offence; premiums to stimulate efficiency have been offered to private societies, and reards given for destruction of birds of prey. Pigeons have been used by newspapers to report yacht races, and some yachts have actually been fitted with lofts. It has also been found of great importance to establish registration of all birds. In order to hinder the etiiciency of the systems of foreign countries, difficulties have been placed in the way of the importation of their birds for training, and in a few cases falcons have been specially trained to interrupt the service in war-time, the Germans having set the example by employing hawks against the Paris pigeons in 1870-71. No satisfactory method of protecting the weaker birds seems to have been evolved, though the Chinese formerly provided their pigeons with whistles and bells to scare away birds of prey.

In view of the development of wireless telegraphy the modern tendency is to consider fortress warfare as the only sphere in which homing pigeons can be expected to render really valuable serxices Consequently, the British Admiralty has discontinued its pigeon service, which had attained a high standard of efhciency, and other powers will no doubt follow the example. Nevertheless, large numbers of birds are, and will presumably continue to be, kept at the great inland fortresses of France, Germany and Russia.

Qee L dt' Puy de Podio, Dze Brzeftaube tn der Krzegskzmst (Leipzig, 1872), Brmckmeier, Anzuchf, Pflege, und Dressur der Brteftauben (llmenau, 1891).

PIGEON-SHOOTING, a form of sport consisting of shooting at live pigeons released from traps The number of traps, which are six-sided boxes, falling fiat open at The release of a spring, is usually five, these are arranged 5 yds. apart on the arc of a circle of which the shooter forms the centre. The distance (maximum) is 31 yds, handicapping being determined by shortening the distance. The five traps are each connected by wires with a case (“ the puller ”), a single string pulled oy a man stationed at the side of the shooter works an arrangement of springs and cog-wheels in the “ puller, ” and lets fall one of the traps, it is impossible to know beforehand which trap will be released. At a fixed distance from the centre of the traps is a boundary within which the birds hit must fall if they are to count to the shooter. This line variesin distance in the various clubs, the National Gun Club boundary being 65 yds., that of the Monaco Club being only 20 yds. The charge of shot allowed must not exceed ii oz. The best type of pigeon is the blue rock. From the start of the Hurlingham Club at Fulham in 1867 pigeon-shooting was a favourite sport there; it was, however, stopped in 1906. The principal pigeon shooting centre in England is now at the National Gun Club grounds at Hendon. The great international competitions and sweepstakes take place at Monaco. An artificial bird of clay, now more usually of a composition of pitch, is often substituted for the live pigeon. These clay birds are also sprung from traps. This sport originated in the United States, where, under the name of “ trap-shooting, ” or inanimate bird shooting, it is extremely popular. At first the traps invented threw the birds with too great regularity of curve, now the traps throw the birds at different and unknown angles, and the skill required is great. In clay-bird shooting the traps usuaily number fifteen, and are out of sight of the shooter. The Inanimate Bird Shooting Association in England was started in 1893. PIGMENTS (Lat. ptgmentum, from ptngere, to paint). It is convenient to distinguish between pigments and paints, the latter being prepared from the former by the addition of a vehicle or medium. Nor are pigments and dyes identical, although there are cases in which the same colouring matter which yields a dye or stain may give rise to a pigment. A pigment is, in fact, a substance which is insoluble in the vehicle with which it is mixed to make a paint, while a dye is soluble. Pigments exhibit various degrees of transparency and opacity, and ought to possess such qualities as these: ease in working, chemical indifference to each other and, generally, to the vehicles employed, also stability under exposure to light and air. As a rule, it is desirable that pigments should not be seriously affected in hue by the vehicle; at all events, whatever change does occur ought to admit of calculation. In the case of oil colours it should be remembered that a thorough drying of the paint is preferable to the formation of a surface-skin, and that a few pigments, notably white lead, possess properties conducing to this desirable result. It is scarcely necessary to add to these general observations concerning pigments that their artistic value depends primarily upon the nature and amount of the optical sensation which they are competent to produce. Although the number of available pigments is great, the number of chemical elements which enter into their composition is not large. Very many richly-coloured compounds Sources cannot be employed because they lack the properties of insolubility, inertness and stability. Pigments are drawn from various sources. Some are natural, some artificial; some nic, some are elements, some mixtures,

are inorganic, some orga

some compounds. It is not unusual to arrange them into two groups, substantive and

the former group such

adjectwe. Amongst the members of

a pigment as vermilion, where each

particle is homogeneous, may be cited as an example. Amongst rose-madder may be named, for each

the adjective pigments

particle consists of a colourless base on which a colouring matter (alizarin) has been thrown. Most of the inorganic pigments, whether natural or artificial, belong to the substantive group, while there are many organic pigments, notably those of artificial origin, which are of adjective character. The following table presents a summary classification of pigments according to their source or origin:-

Mjne, -al pigments Natural; as terre verte. Artiflclal; as aureolin.

< Animal; as carmine.

Ofgafllc P1§ m€HtS - Vegetable; as madder-lake. Z Artificial; as alizarin-orange.

A variety of processes are in use in order to fit natural coloured substances for employment as pigments. The first step is,