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.
Dr stephens water
A preparation noted only once in the Dictionary Archive [Inventories (1699)] and not found at all in the OED. The name associated with it suggests a medicinal WATER, but the context indicates that it was one of the STRONG WATERS like CINNAMON WATER or GENEVA. A recipe for Dr Stephens water was given in the anonymous 'Queen's Delight', the third part of a trilogy, which was supposedly devoted to confectionery and distillation, with medicine the subject of the first part. The water, however, also called a 'Sovereign Water' was undoubtedly medicinal, although it would also have made an attractive drink. It consisted of a large variety of spices and herbs steeped in GASCON WINE and then distilled. It was claimed 'It comforts the Spirits Vital' and 'with this water did Dr Stephens preserve his life, till extream age would not let him go or stand; and he continued five years ...' [W.M. (1655, facs. 1984)].
The OED suggests that it was a medicinal preparation popular in seventeenth century. It was probably distilled from the leaves of Dracunculus vulgaris, popularly known as DRAGON. The quotations given under mithridatum suggest that it had some of the supposed qualities of MITHRIDATE and was drunk as a prophylactic against the PLAGUE.
A DRAWER for storage, made to fit into a construction such as a NEST or CASE, and hence NEST of draw boxes, so that it can be pulled forward for access to its contents. In the Dictionary Archive they were commonly listed as part of the shop equipment. In this context, the draw box may have been the only moveable part of a built in unit, and so the only part recorded in the probate inventory.
More commonly called a 'Draft loom' in this period, the term refers to a LOOM used in figure weaving, whereby the strings through which the WARP threads passed were pulled by a draw-boy. It was used for making patterned TEXTILEs like figured DAMASK, and for CARPETs [Patents (1797)]. An entry in a probate inventory dated nearly two centuries earlier for 'Cartayn shaftes for a drafte lome ijs' [Inventories (1602)] was a draw loom probably for making WORSTED DAMASK, as were the 'draft loomes' of another East Anglian weaver [Inventories (1674)]. According to Eric Kerridge this TEXTILE was being made in Norfolk by the 1580s, introduced by Flemish weavers [Kerridge (1985)]. His description of the loom with a 'monture' of 'comber-board, pulley box and cords, leashes weighted with lead strips called lingoes, tail cords, a simple and a pair of guides' includes pieces of equipment none of which have appeared in the Dictionary Archive, except the PULL BOX [Inventories (1711)].
It would be easy to assume that this term was synonymous with DRAW BOX or DRAWER, but the occasional entry suggests that it may have been a BOX for holding DRAWING MATERIAL such as DRAWING PENs, CRAYONs and PENCILs.
Although it is possible that this term was sometimes applied to a piece of thin CARD suitable for drawing or sketching, it has not been found in the Dictionary Archive in this sense. It has only been noted in pairs as an IMPLEMENT made of wire prongs with bent teeth set in leather and used a WIG maker to hold or order HAIR by ready for placing it on the body of a wig. Drawing cards are illustrated in Cox's Illustrated Dictionary of Hair dressing [Cox (1966, pb 1969)].
The meaning of PENCIL was only gradually changing in the eighteenth century from a form of fine painting BRUSH to a tube made of wood (often CEDAR) or a REED filled with some substance, often graphite popularly known as BLACK LEAD, which was capable of leaving a mark on PAPER. In the only example in the Dictionary Archive, the drawing pencil was of the latter type.
A dredge box could be a BOX for containing COMFITs, but this precise form has not been noted in the Dictionary Archive, and the meaning is unlikely to have been applied to dredging box. All examples noted suggest that this was a piece of kitchen equipment in the form of a container with a perforated lid. It was used to sprinkle or drudge powder over food.
A TUB used by those preparing skins to make TAWED - LEATHER. Drenching was a process in leather preparation whereby the skins were steeped in order to facilitate the removal of hair and subcutaneous fat. Both drench tubs found in the Dictionary Archive were associated with an ALUM TUB [Inventories (1705); Inventories (1754)].
A German town in Saxony. The name was given to a variety of white PORCELAIN made at Meissen near Dresden, or an object made of this, characterised by elaborate decoration and figure-pieces in delicate colourings. The Dictionary Archive includes several examples of Dresden CHINA, though the term china itself has not been noted, such as 'Tea and Coffee Services of 43 Pieces; ... elegant Dresden sprig'd ditto' [Newspapers (1780)], 'Dresden Sprig'd short Breakfast Sets' [Newspapers (1770)], and 'elegant Tea and Coffee equipages, painted after the Dresden manner' [Newspapers (1780)]. The last example suggests that there were already copies available, presumably cheaper and possibly not even made of china.
'Dresden' was also used to describe a style of EMBROIDERY, possibly because the stitching gave a similar effect to that found on Dresden china, hence a 'Dresden work'd white Waistcoat' [Newspapers (1750)].
A form of PILLOW LACE was introduced into Germany by Barbara Uttmann (1514-1575) as a way of reducing poverty in the area around DRESDEN. With the help of FLEMISH workers she set up a manufactory at Annaberg that was said to have employed 30,000 people. At first only fairly crude lace was made, but the infusion of skills from French and Spanish refugees developed the range of types on offer. However, by the late seventeenth century and continuing right through the eighteenth, Dresden was famous, not for pillow lace, but a form of drawn work in which a piece of LINEN was converted into a LACE by drawing some of the threads away, to form the pattern with some, and a square mesh with others. Although not noted in the Dictionary Archive as such, Dresden lace, or Dresden point as it was sometimes called, was almost certainly available in the shops though under a different name [Caulfeild and Saward (1885, facs.1989)]. It is possible what was labelled DRESDEN TAPE in one document was a form of Dresden lace [Tradecards (1769)].
Presumably a style of TAPE originally made in the German town of DRESDEN, but possibly subsequently made elsewhere. One example found is in the tradecard of a London haberdasher among a range of TAPE, some of which are also from abroad [Tradecards (1769)].