Dyeing of Ornamental Feathers.

Practical Magazine 20, 1876

(Chemistry applied to the Arts, Manufactures, &c.
Dyeing, Calico Printing, Bleaching, Tanning, and Allied Subjects.)

Ornamental feathers are, as is known, first carefully freed from grease in a bath of carbonate of ammonia or a weak soda lye, then dried with gentle shaking, to preserve their softness and graceful form. They were formerly scarcely dyed at all, except black with logwood and quercitron, or prepared catechu and a few other colours, but, since the discovery of colouring matters extracted from tar, various elegant colours have been applied to them.

Aniline colours are applied to ornamental feathers without any other preparation than a tepid bath. For bright colours, the feathers, after being freed from grease, are put into a chamber, where they are exposed to sulphur vapour. The dyeing bath is very simply prepared by pouring a filtered solution of aniline colours into the tepid water, and the feathers, after having been cleaned and subjected to the sulphur, are manipulated in this bath till they have acquired the desired shade of colour. They are then washed, tied to threads, and shaken in the air till they have resumed their natural brightness, and afterwards powdered with gypsum or oiled.

They are dyed red with a weak solution of fuchsine, magenta with a more concentrated solution, violet with patent violet soluble in water, bluish red and reddish blue with Lyons blue soluble in water, and greenish blue with light blue soluble in water.

Feathers may be dyed fast alkaline blue by dissolving in the bath an ounce of soda, pouring into it the solution of alkaline blue, dyeing bright blue in the bath, and plunging into a bath previously prepared with an ounce of sulphuric acid. The blue is brightened as usual.

Green is produced by treating with a solution of iodine green, orange by a solution of yellow coralline, deep red by a solution of red coralline. A solution of yellow coralline turns, on the addition of ammonia, from orange red to red, and the red solution, on an addition of acetic acid, from red to orange. Conse quently, by an addition of liquid ammonia to the solution, all shades may be obtained with yellow coralline, and the feathers dyed with them. Coralline crimson is more beautiful than the same tints produced on textures, only it does not stand well, which is of little consequence for feathers. With coralline the plunging into a soda lye must be avoided, and the feathers oiled immediately.

For white, feathers treated with sulphur are blued with a very weak solution of bluish patent violet, but in other respects treated like the rest. Latterly it has been the practice to give the extremity of the plumules an orange tint, obtained by dissolving in the water bath bluish or reddish patent violet in alcohol at 194°Fahr., and impregnating the plumes, which are already prepared and oiled with a camel-hair brush in the parts that are to be bronzed, with this solution. The alcohol rapidly evaporates, and leaves a beautiful bronze tint. Only violet soluble in alcohol is employed in this operation, since that which is soluble in water is easily discoloured by contact with the fingers.

- Färber-Zeitung.

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