Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities, 1550-1820. Originally published by University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, 2007.
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One of the PERFUMED WATERS, probably similar to, or identical with EAU DE MILLE FLEURS. Like many items of PERFUMERY, bouquet water was sometimes given a FRENCH label, sustaining the belief that all the best products came from PARIS, hence 'eau de bouquet' [Tradecards (18c.)].
The only reference in the Dictionary Archive is [Houghton], where 'boutal keynes' or 'Boutal, keynes' was listed among the imports into London during the 1680s. The meaning is obscure, but the most probable explanation for the term is that it was a printer's error for 'Reynes, Boutal', that is the TEXTILE, RENNES BOULTEL.
Note that a common variant spelling is 'body'. According to Kerridge, this dye was invented in 1640. COCHINEAL was worked in PEWTER vats or kettles in a mixture of AQUA FORTIS and powdered PEWTER. The effect was to turn what otherwise would have given a red-rose CRIMSON into a flame colour. It was used to dye various TEXTILEs, but particularly TAMMY and SERGE. Occurrences in the Dictionary Archive confirm his findings; our earliest reference to the term being 1662. A quotation in the OED suggests that bow dye may have been subject to fading more than alternative reds. Houghton terms it 'the new Scarlet'. He appears to have been looking for alternatives that used home-produced raw materials, suggesting rather optimistically that a similar colour could be obtained using MADDER.
The usual meaning is for a smooth, level area of grass on which the popular game of Bowls was played. It was for lawns of this type that John Houghton suggested using a liquor made from the macerated green husks of WALNUTs to kill worms [Houghton]. However, by the late-eighteenth century it seems that a board game had been devised, as indicated by the advertisement for 'Bowling green and skittle boards' [Tradecards (1771)]. It was possibly similar to a Shovel board.
A box was primarily a container, usually of WOOD and generally of no standard capacity, though the size of the STARCH BOX was laid down precisely in an act of 1711 [Acts (1711)], and Zupko reports that by 1800, the box for ALOES contained 14 LB, of COAL in Derbyshire 2½ striked or levelled BUSHEL, and of SALMON in Durham 8 STONE [Zupko (1968)]. Boxes were used for packing and storage. For example, Nicholas Blundell regularly used the term to describe the container in which his London purchases were carried back to his home in Lancashire [Diaries (Blundell)]. They may equally be noted as one of the main types of container in the shop, for example [Inventories (1587)].
Some boxes, on the other hand, were more than just containers made out of rough wood. There were those that were made for a particular purpose, for example, for aWIG or a HAT, hence PERIWIG BOX and HAT BOX, also such as BAND BOX, CANDLE BOX, SALT BOX and SPICE BOX, and many more. Other box-like articles were used in manufacture, like the BORAX BOX and SCRAPING BOX or in games, hence the DICE BOX and QUADRILLE BOX. Although many boxes were functional rather than decorative, this was by no means invariable; for example 'Inlaid Boxes, of silver tortoishell, ivory and leather' [Tradecards (1794)].
A whole group of so-called boxes are disconcerting at first sight, until it is appreciated that in the early modern period, the term box was still applied to various receptacles that would now be called a BASIN, a CASTOR or a POT, hence SUGAR BOX, FLOUR BOX, MUSTARD BOX and TREACLE BOX. For other types of box see APOTHECARY BOX, BUTTER BOX, CARTOUCHE BOX, CHRISTMAS BOX, DRAW BOX, DRAWING BOX, DREDGING BOX, FIRE BOX, FOUNDERS BOX, FRENCH BOX, GUINEA BOX, HORN BOX, INK BOX, IVORY BOX, JEWEL BOX, KNIFE BOX, MONEY BOX, NEEDLE BOX, PAINT BOX, PAINTED BOX, PATCH BOX, PEPPER BOX, PILL BOX, PIN CUSHION BOX, PLASTER BOX, POUNCE BOX, POWDER BOX, PULLEY BOX, ROUND BOX, SAND BOX, SHAVING BOX, SHOP BOX, SNUFF BOX, SNUFFER BOX, SOAP BOX, STANDARD BOXES, TINDER BOX,TOBACCO BOX, TOUCH BOX, TURNED BOX,WASH BALL BOX, WHITE BOX, and WORK BOX.
Found described as BOOK, Bound with BRASS, Butchers, CABINET, CADDIS, CANDY, CARD, Cased, CHAISE, CHILDS, CIVET, CLOSE STOOL, COACH, COAL, COFFIN, COMPASS, CORNER, with a Cover, Cribbage, DOUBLE, DOWEL, EMPTY, ESSENCE, Flat, Friction, GILT, GREAT, HANDKERCHIEF, INLAID, JAPANNED, JOINED, LARGE, LETTER, LITTLE, with LOCK, Long, Loose, MATCH, NAIL, NARROW, NETTING, OATMEAL, OLD, PACK, Parted, with Partitions, PLAIN, Puzzle, RING, ROSIN, ROUGE, RUFF, SALVE, Show, SMALL, Smoothing, Sorted, Spitting, SPONGE, Square, Stall, Standing, for SWEETMEAT, THREAD, TOILET, WAFER, WEIGHT, WELSH, WHEEL, WIG, WOODEN Found made of or covered with BONE, BRASS, Chip, Coco, COPPER, ELM, FIR, IRON, IVORY, LATTEN, LEATHER, LIME, OAK, PAPER, PASTEBOARD, PEWTER, SEALSKIN, SILVER, STRAW work, TORTOISE SHELL, TIN, WAINSCOT, WOOD Found describing BAND, BEAD, COAT, FENDER, GRATE, HAFT, MALLET, OVEN, TRUNK
Found rated by the SHOCK of 40 boxes
See also BOX COMB, BOX HINGE, BOX HIVE, BOX IRON, BOX RULE, BOXWOOD, NEST OF BOXES.
Sources: Acts, Diaries, Houghton, Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Newspapers, Patents, Rates, Recipes, Tradecards.
References: Zupko (1968).
A COMB made out of BOXWOOD. This HARD WOOD made a better, more durable, and more expensive comb than the cheap WOODEN COMB, with which it should not be confused. But it was less decorative than some of the more expensive varieties like the HORN COOMB, IVORY COMB or TORTOISE SHELL COMB. Randle Holme suggested that a barber should have a SET of box combs among his equipment for combing the hair 'smooth and even' [Holme (2000)].
Box for writings
An article of commerce noted several times in the Dictionary Archive that may have been simply a WRITING BOX, but seems to have been intended more for keeping documents than the requisites of writing. A typical entry reads 'ij blacke boxes for wrytings vjd' [Inventories (1587)]. Probably similar in use were the 'Four Cases for writings' listed among the 'Stock of Tin Wares' [Inventories (1738)]. The examples suggest a container that was cheap, possibly made of metal, though John Houghton referred to 'boxes for writings' made of the 'thin lamina of scale of this wood [BEECH] ... superinduced with thin leather or paper' [Houghton].
A small HINGE, probably designed so that the two plates could be inset into the wood and so be virtually invisible from the outside. For this reason there was no need for any part of the hinge to be ornamental.
A form of bee HIVE that was patented in 1675 consisting of 'boxes placed one on another, with holes in the top, and several entrances backwards and forwards' [Patents (1675)]. According to John Houghton, 'Mr [Moses] Rusden, ... bee-master to the King's most excellent Majesty, viz. Charles II' promoted their use in his book published in 1679 with the backing of the Royal Society. Despite this, Houghton wrote that they quickly went out of use, 'the old fashion'd straw-hives' being 'much warmer, therefore better' [Houghton].
A SMOOTHING IRON with a cavity to contain a HEATER, hence entries like 'box yron & heats' [Inventories (1667)]. It was also frequently listed with its stand or rest as in 'two Box Irons & Rests' [Inventories (1690)]. Although the iron was of a more complicated structure than the FLAT IRON, and possibly did not give quite so powerful a heat, it was cleaner to use as the iron itself did not come into contact with the fire. Because of their importance in housewifery, and because they were tedious to make, there were at least two patents to improve methods of manufacture [Patents (1722)]; [Patents (1738)].
In modern terminology, it is part of the firing mechanism of a 'game gun', but this does not seem to have been the case in the early modern period, when the term was applied to a LOCK suitable for fixing in a BOX. According to Sheraton, 'box locks with link plates' were used in 'tea chests and wine cisterns' [Gloag (1952, revised 1991)].
A RULE made of BOXWOOD. This wood is well suited to making rules since it is very hard, and therefore less prone to damage through nicks in the side, which means that it retains a good edge for longer.
Often shortened to BOX, the term refers to a good HARDWOOD derived from the native shrub or small tree, Buxus sempervirens. It was popular with the turner and joiner where a hard wood was required and it was used to make a variety small items, particularly the BOX COMB. For instance, 'A piece of Box Tree & Oil' was found by the appraisers of a clockmaker [Inventories (1734)]. Its ESSENTIAL OIL was used in the treatment of epilepsy, syphilis and piles. The common boxwood was in the eighteenth-century Materia Medica [Pemberton (1746)], while the so-called American boxwood, Cornus florida, has also been used as an alternative to quinine in the treatment of malaria [Wren (1941)]. A PERFUME was formerly made from the bark and a mixture of the leaves with sawdust has been used as an auburn hair dye.