Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities, 1550-1820. Originally published by University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, 2007.
This free content was born digital. All rights reserved.
The term appears in a single and late record in the Dictionary Archive in the promotional literature of a Birmingham UMBRELLA maker who offered to supply 'military cap covers [Tradecards (1800)]. Possibly they were some sort of covering to protect from the wet the elaborate caps worn by the military.
Since cap gold was listed in the Book of Rates for 1582 along with CULLEN GOLD and VENICE GOLD it was presumably a GOLD THREAD, though how it differed from these and what the descriptor indicates, is now unknown.
Cap hooks were described in the early Books of Rate as 'Cap-hookes, or hooke-ends'. Beyond the fact that they were sold by the DOZEN and RATED by the gross there are no clues as to what they were, though they almost certainly had nothing to do with the CAP worn on the head. The most likely explanation is that they were part of the FLAIL used to attach the leather straps that joined the upper to the lower part. However, Randle Holme, who lists the parts of the flail does not mention them [Holme (2000)].
The meaning of this term is unclear. Two possibilities are, firstly, a KNIFE with a haft that is capped with some superior material like SILVER, or secondly, a knife where the blade is protected by a sheath or cap.
A specially made WIRE designed to keep in shape the elaborate eighteenth-century CAP worn by women. For example, a bill surviving in the household accounts of the Hill family of Attingham in Shropshire, records several times the purchase of a 'Satin Cap & wyer' [Tradecards (1745)].
The abbreviated and popularised title for the low, trailing Mediterranean shrub, Caparis spinosa; a member of the Capparaceae family that is closely related to the Brassicaceae or mustard family. Their appearance in English is believed to date back to Wycliff's translation of the bible in 1382 [Simmonds (1906)]. By the early-modern period the medicinal properties of the flower buds from the caper bush were well known. Gerard noted that capers were used by classical civilizations to treat 'a moist stomcke' and for 'cleansing away the flegme' [Hess (1981)]. Likewise Nicholas Culpeper included a recipe for oil of capers in his Herbal, and used the buds to make syrup and troches because he believed that 'They open stoppings of the liver and spleen, and help diseases thereof coming; as rickets, hypochondriac melancholy, & c. Men may take a dram, children a scruple in the morning' [Culpeper (new ed.)].
The location and contexts of capers in the Dictionary Archive, particularly in tradesmen's inventories, point to the wider application of capers as a savoury ingredient in cooking or as a condiment. Capers were most commonly listed with ANCHOVIES, and with other spices and condiments such as CARRAWAY, CLOVEs, CORRIANDER, MACE, PEPPER, OLIVEs, and SALT. Contemporary recipe books suggest that capers were usually PICKLED or used to make RELISH, though they were also used to flavour VINEGAR, as a thickening agent and, according to John Houghton, to make an 'esculent' SAUCE.
Found described as BEST, COMMON, FINE, LARGE, Majorca, SMALL, super FINE Found describing SAUCE, Souchong
Found in units of HOGSHEAD, POT Found rated by the CASK, HOGSHEAD, HUNDREDWEIGHT, POUND Found imported from SPAIN, the STRAITS
Presumably a BARREL which originally held CAPERs, hence likely to be quite small. Probably the fact that it had held this PICKLE meant that it had been rendered unfit to use with other less strong-tasting substances. In one recipe a caper barrel was used to store PICKLED OYSTERS [Recipes (Recusant)].
According to John Houghton, pickled CAPERS made 'an esculent sauce' [Houghton]. Although modern capers sauces are not necessarily intended for keeping, caper sauces were available in the eighteenth century as PREPARED SAUCEs, one of the many types available in the shops that stocked sauces. Probably it consisted of little more than pickled capers.
According to Simmonds, caper TEA, which may have been either plain or scented, was composed of various teas made into hard grains by the addition of GUM or rice-water. Scented caper tea he described as 'small and shotty; some black and glazed; others greenish-black or olive-coloured' [Simmonds (1906)]. He suggested the scents used for such teas were commonly sweet-scented OLIVE, Olea fragrans, and the Chulan flower, Chloranthus inconspicuus, sometimes JASMINE and gardenia. The smallest grains of scented caper were called OUCHAIN TEA. Presumably the 'Caper Souchong' noted [Newspapers (1780)], was mainly composed of SOUCHONG TEA.
A form of prepared or semi-prepared TIMBER intended for use as a ship's SPAR. They would therefore have been regarded as part of NAVAL STORES, though they were not so categorized in the Dictionary Archive. Although 1660 is the earliest date of use found both in the OED and in the Dictionary Archive, capravens were rated by the Scotish as early as 1612 [Halyburton (1867)].