Q: When was clay pigeon shooting invented?
A: The clay target, as opposed to the glass ball that preceded it, was patented in the US in 1880 by George Ligowsky of Cincinnati, Ohio. It was a dome-shaped saucer made, as the name suggests, of clay or terracotta. It was introduced to Britain by 1882, when it was described in The Field as “a simple saucer-shaped piece of brittle crockery, to which a pasteboard handle is cemented and by this handle it is projected from a spring trap and made to skim for about 40 or 50 yards with considerable velocity, somewhat resembling the flight of a partridge”.
The early targets were hard to break and Cogswell & Harrison introduced new ones, made from a composition of limestone and pitch, in England in around 1888.