A 20th-century book uses 143 bird feathers to illustrate coloring
Throughout history, people have admired bird feathers for their exquisite beauty. At times it was even fashionable to wear feathers, although this sometimes involved acquiring rare and endangered bird species. But due to cost and the difficulty of finding the right color, it has become increasingly common to dye white feathers to the desired shade. The results of this process can be seen in a rare 20th century sample book titled Shades on the featherswhich carefully compiles 143 bird feathers in every color of the rainbow along with instructions on how to get their hue displayed.
Produced by The Bayer Company in the early 1900s, this artifact is extremely unique and features a collection of antique feathers in relatively good condition (considering their fragility). The book is estimated to have been created between 1913 and 1918; this was before the Migratory Birds Act Treaty, which prohibited the hunting of protected migratory bird species.
Each page of this carefully curated book features a selection of hand-dyed feathers affixed to the paper with a white insert. These examples are accompanied by a text box that explains to readers how to reproduce the tint with their own feathers and dyes. He even recommends starting by cleaning the feathers with a lukewarm solution of olive oil soap and ammonia. The method of dyeing feathers is based on the discoveries of German chemist William Henry Perkin, who discovered how to dye materials purple and sparked a boom in dye manufacturers.
The Institute for the History of Science has digitized all the pages of this book, which you can consult free of charge via their website.
A 20th century sample book titled Shades on the feathers illustrates how to dye white bird feathers.
It includes 143 feathers in a spectrum of rainbow colors that have each been hand dyed.
The book tells people how to dye white feathers in a variety of hues.
h/t: [Open Culture]
All images via The Bayer Company, Inc and the Science History Institute.
Artist Creates Incredible Bird-Inspired Works From Real Feathers
Giant rainbow murals inspired by the secret colors of pigeon feathers
Beautiful blue jay still has half its baby feathers as it transitions into adulthood