Tar is modified pitch produced primarily from the wood and roots of pine by destructive distillation under pyrolysis. Production and trade in tar was a major contributor in the economies of Northern Europe and Colonial America, particularly North Carolina. Its main use was in preserving wooden vessels against rot. The largest user was the Royal Navy. Demand for tar declined with the advent of iron and steel ships.
Tar-like products can also be produced from other forms of organic matter such as peat. Mineral products resembling tar can be produced from fossil hydrocarbons including petroleum. Coal tar is produced from coal as a byproduct of coke production. Bitumen is a term used for natural deposits of oil "tar" – such as at the La Brea Tar Pits.
Famous quotes containing the word tar:
“The master, the swabber, the boatswain and I,
The gunner and his mate,
Loved Mall, Meg, and Marian and Margery,
But none of us cared for Kate;
For she had a tongue with a tang,
Would cry to a sailor, Go hang!
She loved not the savour of tar nor of pitch,
Yet a tailor might scratch her whereer she did itch:
Then to sea, boys, and let her go hang.”
—William Shakespeare (15641616)
“A thorough tar is unfit for any thing else; and what is more, this fact is the best evidence of his being a true sailor.”
—Herman Melville (18191891)
“The mob is man voluntarily descending to the nature of the beast. Its fit hour of activity is night. Its actions are insane like its whole constitution. It persecutes a principle; it would whip a right; it would tar and feather justice, by inflicting fire and outrage upon the houses and persons of those who have these. It resembles the prank of boys, who run with fire-engines to put out the ruddy aurora streaming to the stars.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)