The word body, as applied to pigments, is almost synonymous with opaqueness. It is the most important property of a pigment, and it is because white lead possesses the quality in an eminent degree that it is so much valued.

Body is sometimes called covering power, but this term is a little misleading, as some may suppose it to relate to the spreading capacity of the pigment.

If two different white leads ground in oil to an equal consistency are applied to different panels of a door, primed in the same manner, the one of the two leads that possesses the better body will be shown by it hiding the grain of the wood better. Some white leads, especially those that are manufactured by the new processes, lack this important quality of body, and three coats will only cover the work as well as about two of old process white lead.

There are numbers of methods of practically testing the body of pigments, among the simplest being the following:

Prime and paint a board with alternate black and white squares, like a chess or draughtboard. Take a sample of a pigment, similar to that to be tested, of which the body is known to be good, and paint a wide strip across the chess board; then paint a smaller strip of the pigment to be tested. When both strips are dry, by comparing them one can tell almost at a glance which has the better body, the superior pigment covering or hiding the black squares better than the other. A second coat may afterward be applied to each over a portion of the strip, if desired.

It is important to notice that in all cases of practically testing paints the results are obtained by comparisons being made, and hence it is necessary in every case to have a standard with which to compare the sample to be tested as has already been explained.

The test of painting over squares of black and white may be varied by using stripes instead. The test answers equally well for white lead, zinc or any color of which the quality of body is of importance. In some colors it is of little moment.