Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities, 1550-1820. Originally published by University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, 2007.
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An IMPLEMENT or mechanical device for holding something fast; a CLAMP or any device such as a VICE or a pair of PINCERS that holds things between its jaws. The term had technical applications in different trades, in some of which it varied with clamp. Randle Holme described one type of clam used by PEWTERers as 'Iron Cheeks, with a Rivet Pin to hold them together; between which if a wedge be put, it will hold any thing so firmly in the upper Claws, that it cannot be moved out' [Holme (2000)]. The pewterer who had 'Clams & rings for the moulds' valued at £2 12s probably had a different type that would hold together the two parts of a mould in which a pewter vessel could be cast [Inventories (1672)]. Other craftsmen who owned clams recorded in the Dictionary Archive were a locksmith with 'ffive Hubbins and side Clams' weighing 24 LB and valued at 5s [Inventories (1727)], and a button maker with '6 Turning Lathes 2 heads 21 P'r of Clams 2 Benches 1 Turkey Stone & some small Tools' in the turning shop [Inventories (1764)].
An act in the 1780s allowing the export of various simple TOOLs used by Saddlers included the clam. Clams or clems were described in the OED in a quotation dated 1886 as 'wooden instruments with which shoemakers or saddlers clip their leather to hold it fast'.
A term not found in the dictionaries, but possibly a variant of CLAM. The only example in the Dictionary Archive appears among the TOOLs of a ROPE maker as '2 Payre of Clammers a Rumbling block & a Seat' [Inventories (1680)].
The usual meaning of clamp gives it as the name of various appliances, tools, or instruments, with opposite sides or parts which may be screwed or otherwise brought together, so as to seize, hold, compress, or pinch anything. In the Dictionary Archive this type of TOOL is referred to as a CLAM and possibly a CLAMMER. Instead, 'Clamp' is used exclusively (in a way not recorded in the OED) as a type of BRUSH, as in 'ffive Oyl Brushes at 4d a peice/ Six large _ Clamps at 5s/' among a longer list of brushes [Inventories (1747)]. One seller of brushes had 'Clamps for Scouring of all Sorts', 'Clamps for Rubbing of all Sorts' as well as 'Dutch Clamps' [Inventories (1763)]. Probably the name derived from their construction, with the BRISTLES or the like clamped together rather than glued into holes in a wooden handle.
A form of small CERAMIC dish, sometimes with a SAUCER, but usually not. One London dealer had a quantity of these items, some described as for BUTTER or 'Cucawdle' (possibly CAUDLE was intended, but it is not what was written) in [Inventories (1699)].
A form of semi-REFINED SUGAR or WHITE SUGAR in which CLAY was used to remove the last traces of MOLASSES. The process was cheaper than the conventional refining, but appears, at least initially, to have produced a slightly inferior product. It was discouraged by the authorities in British colonies, though was successfully used by the French [Smith (1776)]. An alternative name was LISBON SUGAR.
A TEXTILE in the form of a very fine, almost transparent LAWN in contrast to one that is said to be THICK. It was not infrequently listed so as to contrast with LONG LAWN, though it is not obvious why.
A cloak pin was also a peg, or similar devive for hanging up cloaks. The only example of this use in the Dictionary Archive is suggested by the context of 'Coat pins empty boxes & c [Inventories (1702)].
Possibly similar to, or the same as, a JERSEY REEL; that is a REEL for winding THREAD or YARN, on which a simple CLOCKWORK mechanism was attached to make a hammer descend every time one turn of the reel was completed. This interpretation, however, is not supported by the examples found in the Dictionary Archive, since none of the contexts suggest spinning or weaving JERSEY.
Clod BRIMSTONE has not been noted in the OED, nor in the dictionaries or books of historic chemistry. It may be no more than a synonym of the more frequently mentioned STONE BRIMSTONE, which also is found only after 1700, and was similar valued. Like the stone, clod brimstone was also listed along with FLOWERS OF BRIMSTONE [Inventories (1720)]. However, 'clod' and 'stone' are not usually interchangeable in meaning. The OED defines clod SALT as 'the salt which adheres in clots to the bottom of the salt-pans' [OED, Clod], which may give a clue to the meaning of clod brimstone, which similarly may have been an impure residue, left in refining.
A term applied to almost any TEXTILE under certain circumstances, particularly with a descriptor denoting what it was made of; hence COTTON CLOTH, HEMPEN CLOTH, LINEN CLOTH, WOOLLEN CLOTH etc., although SILK - CLOTH has not been noted. Occasionally, the descriptor was omitted, and only the context makes clear what was intended. A useful, though not infallible guide is the unit of measurement; YARD suggests woollen cloth, ELL linen or hempen; hence [Diaries (Burrell)] recorded 2 ells of cloth to make a SMOCK. Colour descriptors may also offer a clue; BROWN CLOTH was generally linen, whereas GREY was more likely to be woollen. The descriptors in SCOTCH CLOTH, IRISH CLOTH and RUSSIA CLOTH may have denoted the places of origin, but they almost invariably indicate linen as well, and in the case of the first a type of cloth not necessarily made in Scotland. Other place descriptors are more ambiguous; LANCASHIRE CLOTH by context seems most often, but not always to have been made of linen, whereas for YORKSHIRE CLOTH the situation is reversed and the term usually denoted a woollen cloth.
More particularly cloth was a fabric made of CARDED WOOL in a plain weave and normally then heavily fulled. It was thus seen as distinct either from TWILL (where the difference lay in the weave) or from STUFF (which was made with long-staple combed WORSTED often mixed with other fibres and left unfulled). Cloth was sometimes used to describe the fabric as made on a standard loom (that is NARROW CLOTH) to distinguish it from BROADCLOTH, but at other times, as in [Acts (1514)], it was used to imply the exact opposite and to distinguish it from 'cloth called NARROWS or STRAITS'. Whatever its width, cloth was the major industrial product of the Middle Ages, with most going for export in the undyed state. It was this reason that the manufacture of cloth was highly regulated, so that ACTS provides a useful source of definitions and of the challenges of manufacture. For example, shrinkage in the processes subsequent to weaving was a problem and was regulated by [Acts (1514)], while the subsequent stretching of the cloth to restore (or to over restore) the loss due to shrinkage, was addressed in [Acts (1597)]. Prices and valuations varied enormously, depending on quality, the width and the nature of the finishing processes, particularly dying. For example Pepys payed 26s 6d the yard for cloth to make his wife's PETTICOAT, though admitedly he regarded it as excessive [Diaries (Pepys)], whereas in [Inventories (1695)] a READY MADE boy's COAT of cloth was valued at a mere 9s.
Like most textiles, nearly all cloth was woven by specialist weavers who devoted their skills to one type. However the use of the descriptors HOME MADE and HOUSEWIFE in conjunction with cloth suggests that some retailers carried small stocks of rough or COARSE cloth made locally. Many areas of England made distinctive types of cloth, the manufacture often regulated by the weavers themselves, who endeavoured to enforce a closed shop and by parliament; hence WORCESTER CLOTH in [Acts (1533)], DEVONSHIRE CLOTH in [Acts (1512)] etc. The importance of cloth in all its variety meant that it was of considerable interest to inventors. Not only were improvements patented for virtually all the processes of manufacture, but one problem received particular attention, that of waterproofing. From [Patents (1634)] to [Patents (1797)] a string of processes were patented; their very frequency possibly indicating their continued lack of success.
Just as cloth acted as a generic term for any fabric, so it was also more specifically used as an umbrella tern for many textiles made in the same way, including COGWARE, COTTONs, DOZENs, FRIEZE, HALF THICK, KERSEY and STRAITs. Most of these, with the exception of frieze and kersey, are found only in the early part of the period and disappear by 1700.
Cloth was stocked by virtually all mercers and drapers, and many of them had a considerable range. For example [Inventories (1665)] had no less than 36 varieties distinguished only by price, while [Inventories (1713)] had 21 varieties distinguished by colour and price with many more broadcloths. The valuations ranged from 7s 6d to 13s 6d the yard. His cloth was probably of a good quality but it was possible to buy cloth for much less, though doubtless of an inferior sort.
The term was also used widely to denote a piece of fabric designed for a particular purpose, such as to cover a flat surface; hence TABLECLOTH, CUPBOARD CLOTH, FLOOR CLOTH etc. The OED notes several other meanings, most of which are rarely, if ever, found in the Dictionary Archive with the exception of a piece in the sense of a CANVAS for painting, which has been noted ready primed. The term was used occasionally in the period 1699-1727 as a wrapping or measure of BUTTER in the Gloucester Coastal Port Books; in this sense it has not been noted in the Dictionary Archive nor is it in the OED.
Found described as BLACK, BLEACHED, BLUE, brisk coloured, BROWN, CANTLE, CLOUDED, COLOURED, diamond, EAST, ELL WIDE, ENGLISH, FIGURED, FINE, FOREST, GLAZED, GREEN, GREY, HAMBURG, IN GRAIN, INDIA, ISINGHAM, KIDDERMINSTER, LEAD coloured, LEEDS, MANCHESTER, MEDLEY, MILLED, MINSTER, MIXED, NAPPED, NEW, ORANGE, Oxfordshire, PLAIN, POLONIA, Preston, PRINTED, Queens, RED, RUSSET, SAD, Salisbury, SCARLET, SILESIA, Sky coloured, SILESIA, slaughter, Stafford, STRIPED, SUPERFINE, Tamworth, TAWNY, VARNISHED, Warrington, WATERPROOF, WHITE, WHITED, Wiltshire, YELLOW Found used to make APRON, BREECHES, CAP, CAPE, CARDINAL, CARPET, CASSOCK, CLOAK, CLOAK BAG, COAT, CURTAIN, GIRDLE, GOWN, JACKET, MANTLE, PETTICOAT, PURSE, RIBBON, SHIRT, SUIT, STOCKINGS, SURTOUT, TIPPET, TROUSERS, VALANCE, WAISTCOAT Found measured in the shops by BALE, ELL, FANGOT, PIECE, YARD Found rated by the SCOTCH YARD
See also BAG CLOTH, CALICO CLOTH, CHEESE CLOTH, HAIR CLOTH, GLOUCESTER CLOTH, HOUSEWIFE CLOTH, KENTISH CLOTH, LONDON CLOTH, LONG CLOTH, NORTHERN CLOTH, OILCLOTH, PAINTED CLOTH, SAIL CLOTH, SET CLOTH, SHREWSBURY, SPANISH CLOTH, SUFFOLK CLOTH.
Sources: Acts, Diaries, Houghton, Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Newspapers, Patents, Rates, Recipes, Tradecards.
Cloth of gold
Cloth of silver
A type of SERGE distinct from the standard [Kerridge (1985)], but in what way is unclear as the sources are conflicting. One diary entry suggests that it was synonymous with CALAMANCO [Diaries (Stapley)], but the 1660 Book of Rates equates it with CLOTH RASH.
Randle Holme illustrated a clothes BASKET with one shaped rather like a BOWL with two handles, one at each side. It was similar in shape but not in structure or use to a basket he called a 'Burthen Baskett, or Twiggen Baskett'. He continued 'Of these kind of Basketts there are two sorts, the one is made of sticks and Twiggs platted and wouen togather, these are rough made Basketts, and are for euery common use in an house, as for the carrying of coales, dirt, and anything of Burthen; It is with vs commonly called a coale, or dirt Baskett' [Holme (2000)]. The second type that he described under the same illustration was the true clothes basket. It was 'made of more finer stuffe, the Rime and handles platted with shaved wood, the round bottome the like, woven very strongly togather: in which is carried all sorts of washed cloathes, with other necessaries that are to be cleanely transported from place to place. These are termed splenten Basketts. These kind of Basketts in former tyms were called Fanys'.
An upright wooden frame standing upon legs with horizontal bars on which clothes are hung to dry or to air. Often the term was shortened to 'horse' with the use specified as in 'horse to Dry Cloths' [Inventories (1679)].
A difficult term with a variety of meanings that have little apparent connection as items in trade. One meaning was a patch used for repair or protection; hence CLOUT LEATHER. This sense is also present in the term CART clout and WAIN clout. These seem to have been small plates of iron designed to protect some part of the wheel, and the OED suggests the axle. However, it seems at least possible that clouts in this sense were also used to protect the rim of the wheel before it was common practice to use a full metal tyre. Whichever part of the wheel was protected in this way, the plates were fixed down with clout NAILs. One blacksmith had 'a toole to turne clouts in' [Inventories (1638)] and clout nails were also hammered into the sole to reduce wear on the base of the shoe or boot. For this purpose they were short and thick with a flat head.
In the sixteenth century, NEEDLEs and PINs were occasionally packaged in clouts, in circumstances where later paper was more commonly used. Whether a clout in this sense indicated a fixed quantity is not known but would seem doubtful. CULLEN SILK was found wrapped in clouts and in the 1582 Book of Rates a clout in this sense was said to contain 4 LB.
Milburn suggested that clout was a common coarse Indian COTTON CLOTH, a product of Bengal, which he included in his list of INDIAN - PIECE GOODS [Yule and Burnell (1886, pb 1996)]. John Houghton included 4000 GUINEA clouts among the imports during one month in 1682/3. He described them as being one YARD wide and an ELL long, which 'Negroes tye about their wastes'. Presumably in this context 'Guinea' is the destination rather than the place of origin. According to him, the manufacture of Guinea clouts in this country had recently been started by an acquaintance of his, a threadman of Bishopsgate called Joseph Allen [Houghton].
Several London tradesmen had clouts, usually termed 'double clouts' among their linen, listed among, but distinct from, TOWELs and NAPKINs. It is also found associated with CHILDBED LINEN, and in this sense may be for swaddling or for use as a nappy.
These were pieces of LEATHER for mending SHOES. They are found scattered over the period in the Dictionary Archive and were a sufficiently important item of trade to be recorded in the Gloucester Coastal Port Books between 1582 and 1619 [Gloucester Coastal Port Books (1988)].
In one tradecard, clouting was found among READY MADE - CHILDRENS and WOMENS - CLOTHES, but it does not seem to have been a garment as such, as it is found elsewhere among the fabrics. It was more likely for use as a swaddling cloth or as nappies in the modern sense.
The common name for various species of TREFOIL. Trifolium Pratense (also called RED CLOVER and clover grass) has RED flowers, while Trifolium Repens (also called DUTCH clover) has WHITE. Clover, 'this noble plant of which has wrought a great improvement in English agriculture than that of any other' was cultivated both for mowing to make FODDER, see [Diaries (Josselin)] and [Inventories (1704)], and for direct feeding [Young (1804)]. A London retailer had in 1668 '148 wethers 39 Ewes & Lambs 3 oxen a parcell of Barley a p'cell of Clover' at his country estate in Essex. Possibly the stock was feeding on the clover, or else it was in store either as hay or as seed [Inventories (1668)]. Almost a century later an unusually detailed entry in a probate inventory indicates how much clover was probably grown in the mid-eighteenth century as well a a valuation: 'Good & bad Hay wth some Clover & ffern intermixed in the house & one a Rick abt ten Tons at 15s p Ton' [Inventories (1750)].
Despite the eulogy from Arthur Young quoted above, growing clover was sometimes problematic, with crop failure and a condition called 'clover sickness' when it was grown for too long or too frequently in the same patch.
Clover was also important in agricultural improvement. It was one of the so-called 'new grasses', hence 'clover grass seed'. Conversely, in trading records like the Gloucester Coastal Port Books, the term 'clover' was often used as shortening for clover seed. Much clover SEED was imported, hence its appearance in the Book of Rates for 1784, but not previously, suggesting that home produced supplies adequately met demand before then [Rates (1784)]. Clover seed has been found in a list of SEEDs to improve land; Nicholas bought 100 LB of seed in 1709 at roughly 2 ½ d LB which he sowed in April [Diaries (Blundell)].
A descriptor used of a NAIL, or the NAIL itself. Club heads were included neither by Randle Holme [Holme (2000)], nor by Charles Tomlinson [Tomlinson (1854)] among their lists of nail types. The only examples of club heads in the Dictionary Archive appear in the probate inventory of a SHOVEL maker, who in fact seems to have specialized in making the metallic parts of a shovel and more especially nails [Inventories (1711)]. 'Club head' was a descriptor applied to the HOB NAIL, which suggests a short nail with a a very substantial head shaped like a club. The term was also abbreviated; hence 'Clob hob nails'.