Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities, 1550-1820. Originally published by University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, 2007.
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The prefix DIA suggests a medicinal preparation, and the context of the only example of diaralistros in the Dictionary Archive confirms it [Inventories (1675)]. Apart from that, no further information as to the meaning of this term has been found.
From the Greek 'a medicinal preparation of ROSEs' and the Latin 'Abba - abbatis' meaning 'abbot' - 'of the abbot' [Souter (1949)], the full title suggests this was an old preparation originating in a monastery. According to Culpeper it was a CORDIAL - POWDER made from dried RED ROSEs, and was 'very good for those that have slippery bowels' [Culpeper (1653, new ed. n.d.)]. A different meaning is given to the term 'Diarhodon' (without its defining 'abbatis) in a late eighteenth-century quotation in the OED that said, rather doubtfully, 'it seems a salve or water of roses for inflammations of the eyes'.
A medicinal preparation the chief ingredient of which was Satyrion, a kind of orchid supposedly with aphrodisiacal properties. Culpeper, for example, wrote that orchids were 'hot and moist in operation; under the dominion of Venus, and provoke lust exceedingly' [Culpeper (1653, new ed. n.d.)]. Either of the two orchids, Orchis mascula or Orchis militaris are the two most likely species. Gerard described four other varieties, saying that 'There is no great use of these in physicke' [Gerard (1597, 1985 ed.)], however, NICOLAUS apparently included a recipe for diasatyrion that was still being used in the seventeenth century, for example [Inventories (1665)].
As a medicine it was usually found listed among DRUGS, the main components of which were the dried leaves of Teucrium SCORDIUM, and OPIUM. In 1746 Pemberton recorded that it was originally an antipestilential, a purpose very different from its use in his time, although he does not mention what that use was. By his time, the plethora of ingredients in the old recipes had been much reduced and the product had been renamed 'Electarium e Scordio' or in English ELECTUARY of Scordium or Water Germander'. It was one of the few medicinal preparations that was sometimes sold from non-specialist outlets, for example [Inventories (1691)]. Although not found in the promotional literature of the eighteenth century, it has been noted for sale by one of the fashionable London shops [Tradecards (1745)].
In old pharmacy a medicine composed of four ingredients; according to a late nineteenth-century source quoted in the OED, these were GENTIAN, ARISTOCHLIA ROTUNDA, LAUREL berries and MYRRH. It was sometimes regarded as one of the TREACLEs. It was also the basis of DIAPENTE, which had a fifth ingredient added.
According to Edward Phillips in his 'New World of Words', diatragacanth was a medicinal preparation of TRAGACANTH [Phillips (1706)]. Elisha Coles was only a little more informative. In his 'English Dictionary' he described 'diatraganth', which was obviously the same, as 'a confection of the gum Traganth &c' [Coles (1676, facs. 1973)]. A Physical Dictionary of 1657 quoted in the OED defined it as 'a confection ... good against hot diseases of the breast'. This would suggest a preparation capable of assuaging heat and may explain the descriptor FRIGIDUS, for cold, that was sometimes attached to it.
A preparation consisting of three kinds of PEPPER. Pemberton included four peppers in his Materia Medica. However, since the preparation was known well before the discovery of the New World, whence JAMAICA PEPPER came, the three used here were WHITE PEPPER, BLACK PEPPER and LONG PEPPER. As late as the sixteenth century the first two were believed to be distinct species [Bailey (1558, facs. 1972)], which explains what might seem to be a duplication. Bailey, under his section on the 'vertues and faculties of Pepper', wrote that this 'famous' diatrion would do 'good against the cold affects of the stomacke, and yet not to heate the liuer or the blood'. He gave two recipes. The one included, in addition to the three peppers, GINGER, THYME, ANISEED and PARSLEY SEED, the other, a more complex recipe, in line with the generally held dictum that 'the greater number of ingredients the better', included several others. Bailey, as was his wont, took his recipes from ancient texts.
Although the OED does not include 'trion' as such, it appears often in formations that have the meaning 'of three'. By analogy, this medicinal preparation should therefore contain three varieties of SANDERS or SANDALWOOD, just as DIATRION PIPERION contained three varieties of PEPPER. It is not clear whether it did, although there were three sanders in trade: RED SANDERS, WHITE SANDERS and YELLOW SANDERS.
The noun 'Dight' is defined in the OED as the action of the verb dight, in various senses: putting in order, dressing, preparing, wiping. Thus dight flax is that which has been through a process of preparation for use; hence probably synonymous with DRESSED FLAX.
A TEXTILE that may have originated in Damietta, Dimyat in Arabic, but according to Milburn, dimities were manufactured in Bengal in India and he listed them among INDIAN - PIECE GOODS [Yule and Burnell (1886, pb 1996)]. It was a stout COTTON CLOTH, similar to FUSTIAN often with a LINEN mix, but distinctive because it was stripped or patterned with fancy figures in the weave [Montgomery (1984)]. In Britain, dimities were mostly manufactured in Lancashire, although there was a base in Coventry by 1722 [Kerridge (1985)]. According to John Houghton, Lancashire dimities were made with imported yarns; the linen warp coming from Hamburg. Dimities were usually left undyed, probably because the cloth bleached to such a pure white.
The anonymous author of the 'Merchant's Warehouse Laid Open' described dimity as 'being of several sorts, and of great use in our Nation, and being of our English Manufacture, I shall therefore discourse on every sort in particular, and shall begin with the strongest, which is called Pillow Fustian, it is of great use to put Feathers in for Pillows, and is exceeding strong for Wast-coats, and for Lining of Breeches, but many will not use them for either, because they think them too thick, it being double wove; it is about twenty yards long, and almost half an ell wide, the courser they are, the narrower and the shorter: The next sort of Dimetty, is the common sort of plain, which is usually the same length of the former, but those are single Wove and are but half as thick as the former, and the finest sort is commonly the broadest and longest; there is two sorts of those, one has a Nap on, and the other sort, which is always the finest without a Nap, and is used only for to Work Beds on, they are the former length and very strong, some pf the Pillow Fustains are Brown, those are always dyed sad colour for mens Frocks, and there are some of the single dyed, these are used to foot stockings with and to line Breeches; there is another sort of flowered white, which is used only for Wast-coats for Men, and Petticoats for Women, they are made broader than the plain, and if they are not cut in the working, will wear very well, ... if you would discern the Cuts that is in them, you must look on the wrong side, which you will find sewed up again, if there be not many Cuts it is excusable, for they cannot cut the Cotten which is on the right side, without cutting some holes through'. He continued by describing several types ornamented with stripes, which were 'generally called by these names, the Common-stripe, the Packthread-stripe, and the Vienna-stripe', the packwood-stripe being 'the sort most in fashion, and is always the deaest, for it is really the strongest of all sorts, both of the Flowered and Striped' [Anon (1696)]. The fashionability and ubiquity of goods made of dimity is indicated in the number of advertisements listing stolen property.
Found described as BERMILLION, BLACK, CALICO, COARSE, COLOURED, CORDED, DYED, FIGURED, FOREIGN, imported by the East India Company, INDIA, NARROW, PAINTED, PLAIN - WHITE, PRINTED, ribbed, STAINED, WHITE, YARD WIDE Found describing PILLOW Found used to make BASKET, BED, BED GOWN, CAP, CLOAK, COAT, COUNTERPANE, CURTAIN, DRAWERS, FURNITURE, GOWN, HANGINGs, NIGHT CAP, PETTICOAT, PILLOWCASE, POCKET, RIDING DRESS, ROBE, STAYS, TROUSERS, UNDERCOAT, UPPERCOAT, WAISTCOAT
Found measured for sale by END, PIECE, YARD Found rated by the YARD
Sources: Acts, Diaries, Houghton, Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Newspapers, Patents, Rates, Tradecards.
References: Anon (1696), Kerridge (1985), Montgomery (1984), Yule and Burnell (1886, pb 1996).
One of the SURGEONS INSTRUMENTS. According to Randle Holme, it was 'in forme and fashion like the Ioyners Tenant Saw, onely this hath the handle and the back all made of Iron worke: with this bones are Sawed asunder, when either a Legg, or Arme is to be taken off. By the benefite of a Screw, the Saw plate is made either strait, or more loose, in the iron frame' [Holme (2000)].
VINEGAR that has been distilled, and sometimes even DOUBLE DISTILLED [Tradecards (18c.)], thus increasing its strength. It was also known as SPIRIT OF VINEGAR, particularly when used medicinally, and used for food, particularly for PICKLED food, which were often required to keep for a year or more. It also had industrial uses, for example in making SUGAR OF LEAD. Frederick Accum warned of the dangers of distilling using a common still that was usually made of LEAD, which caused the toxic metal to leach into the vinegar [Accum (1820)].
ROSEWATER or other WATERS, which had been distilled from flowers or impregnated with their essence. Before the mid-seventeenth century few distilled waters were made for consumption as a pleasurable drink, so they are often subsumed under APOTHECARY, for example [Inventories (1573)].