Glass Balls – The Predecessor of the Clay Pigeon

381192146Before the clay pigeon (which was first produced between 1883 – 1887) Guns use to practice their winged game shooting on glass balls.

The balls were two and three quarter inches in diameter, about the size of a cricket or baseball. They were often stuffed with either white chicken feathers or talcum powder so that a “white puff” was produced when the ball was struck by shot.

The glass ball originated in Boston USA around 1866 as a result of the many complaining about the use of live pigeons in shooting competitions.

The original concept of hurling the balls into the air to simulate fleeing pigeons was flawed due to the poor throwing machines used. Around 1877 a better thrower was designed by an American named Adam Bogardus. Bogardus’s catapult which became known as a “Ball Trap” could hurl the balls at least sixty feet through the air in a long arc.

The Shooting Schools in London at the time seized on the Ball Trap concept and set about installing Ball Traps and Towers that would enable them to better simulate flight of game birds.

This concept in turn with its variety of targets, led to the introduction of the new discipline Sporting Shooting. The first British Open Sporting Championship was held in London in 1927.

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