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.
Enamelling is the process of fusing a vitreous glaze onto a metallic surface, usually for decorative purposes. Enamel is based on easily fusible salts, usually silicates or borates of sodium, potassium or LEAD, to which metallic oxides are added to produce colour; TIN for silvery white, LEAD or ANTIMONY to give yellow, GOLD or IRON to give red, and COPPER or COBALT to give blue or green [Trinder (1992)]. Abraham Seeman of Birmingham, was probably one of many retailers who sold enamels. He advertised 'all Sorts of Enamelling Colours, especially the Rose Colour', adding by way of recommendation that 'Most of the eminent Painters of Birmingham have made use of the above Colours to their Satisfaction' [Newspapers (1751)].
The art of enamelling the DIAL PLATE of a CLOCK or WATCH was a particularly skilled one, and it was described at length by Abraham Rees [Rees (1819-20, 1972 ed.)]. Enamel came from the makers in small cakes of about 4-5 INCH diameter, and then had to be ground prior to application. The products of this skill were desirable, and frequently stolen, like the 'small fiz'd Watch with an enamell'd Plate, the Outside-Case Green Shagreen studded, the Maker's Name James Stretch of Birmingham; it had when lost three Stone Seals, a Locket and an Enamell'd Egg, all fasten'd to a black Silk Ribbon' [Newspapers (1760)]. Apart from BIRMINGHAM, other places became noted for their enamelled toys including TUNBRIDGE and BILSTON.
Enamelling was also a well-established technique in ceramics. Towards the end of the period, one pot and glass seller had among his stock '4 Long Duz of Inamled' London cups and saucers, '15 Coffey Cups Inamled', '2 pint Jugs Enameld & Gold '2 Large Enameld Jugs', '2 dn enameld Cups & Saucers', '2 quart Coffee potts enameld', '½ Do Teapots Enameld & Gilt', '1 Do do Mugs & Jugs Enameld', and '4 Setts of Enameld Tea_e' [Inventories (1790)]. The list shows not only the range of enamelled ceramics on offer, but also the domestic environment in which it would subsequently find a home, among the genteel, tea-drinking community. One slightly earlier list of domestic ceramics shows much the same, though it included, along with the equipment for drinking TEA and COFFEE, 'Four Enameld Dishes & two Dozen plates' and 'Two Enameld punch Bowls Crack't' [Inventories (1764)].
The term was extended as a verb to cover other meanings, such as in 'Rich, Fancy and Plain Silks' and 'Enamell'd and Strip'd Lutestrings' [Newspapers (1760)], and 'Lady Molyneux's Italian Paste, prepared by Mrs Gibson (and by no other Person in the World) for enamelling the Hands, Neck and Face of a lovely White' [Newspapers (1780)].
Found describing CHINA, COFFEE CUP, COFFEE POT, CREAM WARE, CUP AND SAUCER, DIAL PLATE, DISH, EGG, GRATE, JUG, MUG, NECKLACE, LUTESTRING, PLATE, PUNCH BOWL, SMELLING BOTTLE (the cap), STOVE, STUD, TEA POT, TEA SET, THIMBLE, TOY, TUNBRIDGE WARE, WATCH
Found rated by the POUND
ENAMEL glass appears only twice in the Dictionary Archive, and not at all helpfully in the dictionaries. The association with PASTE GLASS and STAINED GLASS in both examples suggests a coloured GLASS [Acts (1777)]; [Acts (1787)]. Probably in this context, it was the fusible material already coloured ready for grinding down for use in enamelling.
Of TEXTILES, a half length or HALF PIECE, also called a HALF CLOTH. In the Gloucester Coastal Port Books the term was used especially for COTTONS and SERGE [Gloucester Coastal Port Books (1988)]. By the mid-eighteenth century, the size of the end of WOOLLEN CLOTH from YORKSHIRE were of two lengths, those 30 - 35 YARD long from those of a lesser lenght [Acts (1765)]. For many other textiles, the length can only be deduced from the length of the full piece, if this is known. To add to the uncertainty, the term was used interchangeably with 'Remnant'. The examples 'Imprimis several remnants or ends of broad & narrow Cloth' [Inventories (1677)], and in 'branch and plaine velvet & oth'r silk stuffe in all 6 ends being 6 y'rds' [Inventories (1634)] are unambiguous, but many otheres are not.
Other commodities were also measured in ends, when it appears to have been a measure of capacity. This seems to have been variable, since often an alternative measure is given [Inventories (1679)], or a descriptor like SMALL was added [Inventories (1721)]. While in many cases end might simply be an alternative for remnant, the large number of examples where HOPS were quantified in ends suggests that for them at least there was a generally accepted capacity.
As textiles: Found used as a unit of measure for BOLSTER, CARPET, DIMITY, FUSTIAN, JEAN, PILLOW, SACKCLOTH, THICK SET, TICKING, TUFTED CANVAS, WOOLLEN CLOTH
As commodities other than textiles: Found described as SMALL Found quantified in ends ANISEED, HOPS, MADDER, PITCH, TAR
As timber: Found quantified in ends BOARD, OAK, PLANK
See also DEAL END, END IRON, HOOK END, MOCKADO ENDS, WIRE ENDS.
Sources: Acts, Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Rates.
References: Gloucester Coastal Port Books (1998).
This was possibly at times a variant spelling of ANDIRON and part of the furniture on the hearth in a domestic setting. The term is not found in the dictionaries, but was common in eastern England and the Midlands before 1700, and occasionally thereafter. Thomas Wright gave it as a northern term for two moveable plates of IRON to contract the fire-place [Wright (1857)]. They are usually found associated with a GRATE [Inventories (1660)], a single LANDIRON [Inventories (1671)], or a FIRE IRON [Inventories (1662)], all labels at times for a FIRE GRATE.
A name for two species of Chicory, Cithorium intybus, usually called wild endive or SUCCORY, common in many parts of England, and Cithorium endivia, possibly originally from China. The latter was cultivated as a VEGETABLE and blanched before cooking or being used as a salad. A number of varieties was available [Tradecards (n.d.)]. Endive seed was one of the four lesser COLD SEEDs of medicine.
Nicholas Culpeper did not make it clear which part of the ENDIVE was distilled, but probably the leaves, or the juice squeezed out of them. It 'serveth well', he wrote, 'to cool the excessive heat of the liver and stomach' [Culpeper (1792)]. An OED quotation dated 1661 shows that it was also sweetened and given to infants, presumably to relieve discomfort.
A mechanical contrivance, a MACHINE or, more rarely in the Dictionary Archive, an IMPLEMENT or TOOL. The term was used widely and by no means necessarily implied moving parts or the potential of power being applied. It is helpful to class most early modern engines as devices, though some clearly involved PUMPS, and others required hand power. The uses to which engines were put indicates how widely, and how loosely to modern eyes, the term was applied. There were 'frames or Engines' to catch SALMON [Acts (1696)], 'for Watch wheels', which were presumably designed for cutting them, valued at £5 [Inventories (1715)], for making ORGANZINE SILK [Acts (1732)], for draining water [Patents (1618)], for 'making and casting clay, earthenware-pipes' [Patents (1620)], 'for grinding or pressing sugar-canes' [Patents (1709)] and one 'belonging to Ropiers Business', which together with other equipment was valued at less than 30s [Inventories (1753)]. Watch and clock makers were particularly likely to own engines; one had 'one Clock Engine', 'one Barrele Engine', 'one Watch Engine', 'one Watch ffusee Engine', and 'one Ballance Wheel Engine' [Inventories (1738)]. Some engines, including 'Engines for Chasing', 'Drilling Engines', 'Engines for covering of Whips', and 'Engines or Machines used in the casting or boring of Cannons, or any Sort of Artillery' were seen as so important to British industry that Parliament banned their export [Acts (1785)]; [Acts (1786)].
Found described as for softening bones, BRASS, Capital, for chasing, for drainage, for drilling, Italian, for making LACE and OPEN WORK, for weaving Silk Ribbons, for stamping and printing PAPER, for cutting Watch Wheels, for covering WHIP
See also AEOLIAN ENGINE, DRAUGHT ENGINE, ENGINE LOOM, FIRE ENGINE, FUSEE ENGINE, GLAZING ENGINE, POWDER ENGINE, SCOURING ENGINE, SHADING ENGINE, TOBACCO ENGINEWAR ENGINE, WATERING ENGINE.
Sources: Acts, Houghton, Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Newspapers, Patents, Tradecards.
Of or belonging to England or its inhabitants. In the context of trade this term was used to denote home produced goods, and it was largely, but by no means completely, replaced by BRITISH after the Act of Union with Scotland in 1707. In the Gloucester Coastal Port Books the earliest use of this term is 1673, apart from a few records such as English BANK FISH (1595), English FISH (1595 and 1599), English BRANDY (1596), and English WOAD (1612). Elsewhere in less official documents, it was used quite extensively, probably most often to distinguish goods that also came from other parts of the world and which probably had different characteristics. Examples in this respect mostly come from promotional literature and include 'India and English Fans' [Newspapers (1737)], 'Westphalia and English Hams' [Newspapers (1760)], 'French, Italian and English Stays' [Newspapers (1790)], 'Prints, both English and Foreign' [Newspapers (1750)], and 'French & English Hoops' [Tradecards (18c.)]. Sometimes the alternative source was not spelt out. For example most people would have known that the '5 dozen English rumalls at 9s per dozen' [Inventories (1702)], consisted of English made ROMALs rather than ones from India. Where there was an obvious price differential this also was made clear. For example, one soapmaker had English ASHES at 10s 1d per C, but EAST COUNTRY ashes at 20s [Inventories (1670)].
Terms where the addition of the descriptor 'English' is used to denote something distinctively different like ENGLISH BERRIES, ENGLISH COFFEE, ENGLISH ELL, ENGLISH MANGO and ENGLISH WHEAT have separate entries.
In the Dictionary Archive found describing ABC, ALUM, ARTILLERY, ASHES, BAR IRON, BEEF, BEER BARREL, BASON, BONE LACE, BRUSH, BUCKRAM, BURDET, CALAMINE, CALICO QUILT, CAMBRIC, CANVAS, CARPET, CASTOR, CATLING, CHEYNEY, CHINA WARE, Chow Chow, CLOTH, CONY SKIN, COVERLET, CROWN PAPER, CUT WORK, COPPERAS, DRAWING PAPER, ELM, FAN, FLAX, FLINT, FLOWER, FUSTIAN, GAUZE, GENEVA, GLUE, GREASE, HAM, HARD WAX, HOOP, HOPS, HORN, IRON, KETCHUP, LACE, LINEN, LIQUORICE, LOOM, MATTING, MOHAIR, MUSLIN, NANKEEN, OAK, OCHRE, PEARL ASH, PHILIP AND CHEYNEY, PICKLE, PIG IRON, PILCHARD OIL, PILLOW FUSTIAN, PINK, PLANK, POWDER, POMATUM, PSALTER, RIBBON, ROPE, SAFFRON, SAUERKRAUT, SHEEPSKIN, Smack, SNUFF, SPIRITS, SPRING KNIFE, STEEL, STRAW HAT, SWEETMEAT, TALLOW, Tammet, TAMMY, TANNED LEATHER, TAPESTRY, THREAD, TICKING, TOY, TRUFFLE, TUFTAFFETA, VELURE, VELVET, VINEGAR, WAX, WINE, WINE MEASURE, WOAD, WOOD, WOOL, WOOLLEN MANUFACTURE, WORSTED
In the Gloucester Coastal Port Books found describing ALUM, ANISEED WATER, AQUA VITAE, ASHES, BANK FISH, BAR IRON, BARLEY, BATTERY, BEANS, BEER, BEES WAX, BOTTLES, BOXWOOD, BRANDY, BRASS, BRASS KETTLE, BRASS MANUFACTURE, BUCKSKIN, BUTTER, CAKE SOAP, CALF SKIN, Calf Skins in the Hair, CALICO, CANDLE, CAST IRON, CAST IRON POT, CHINA WARE, CIDER, CLOVE WATER, COMPOUND WATERS, COPPER, COPPERAS, COW HIDE, COW HORN, DEAL, DOESKIN, Dressed Calf Skin, Dried Pelt, Dry Sheep Pelt, EARTHENWARE, Empty Glass Bottles, FISH, FLAX, FLOUR, GLASS BOTTLE, Glass Bottles of Cider, GLUE, GRAVES, HAIR, HAM, HARD SOAP, HAT, HEMP, HERRING, HONEY, HOPS, IRON, IRON POT, IRONWARE, KELP, LAMBSKIN, LEAD, LEAD ORE, LINEN, LINEN CLOTH, LINEN YARN, LINSEED OIL, LIQUORICE, LIQUORICE WATER, MALT, Melted Tallow, METHEGLIN, MOLASSES, MONEY, NUTS, OAK BOARD, OATS, OIL, OX HORN, PAPER, PICTURE, PITCH, PLATE IRON, PORK, POWDER, RAPE OIL, RAW HIDE, REFINED SUGAR, ROD IRON, ROSIN, SAILCLOTH, SALT, SHEEP PELT, SHEEPSKIN, SNUFF, SOAP, SPIRITS, Spirits Drawn from Molasses, STEEL, STOCKINGS, STRONG WATERS, TALLOW, Tanned Calf Skins, Tanned Hide, Tanned Skin, TICKING, TIN, TRAIN, TRAIN OIL, TREACLE, VERJUICE, VINEGAR, WHEAT, WHITE SALT, WINE, WIRE, WOAD, WOOL, WOOLLEN STOCKINGS, WOOLLEN YARN
See also ENGLISH BIBLE, ENGLISH BOOK, ENGLISH FLAX, ENGLISH MADE, ENGLISH PLANTATION, ENGLISH SPIRITS, ENGLISH TAKEN, ENGLISH TAKEN AND MADE, ENGLISH TEA.
Sources: Acts, Houghton, Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Newspapers, Rates, Recipes, Tradecards.
Almost certainly COCHINEAL, it was produced in the ENGLISH colonies, probably the WEST INDIES. The only example in the Dictionary Archive comes from an Act of 1704 and reads 'Grain of Seville in Berries and Grains of Portugal or Rota, English berries from the Plantations, French berries and Salt petre' [Acts (1704)].
A BIBLE written in English. In most cases it was probably the Authorized version of 1611 that was so described, and again, in most cases 'English' seems to have been added to distinguish the Bible from one in another language, for instance from the WELSH BIBLE.
A BOOK written in English as opposed to some other language. Most of the examples noted make the contrast, as in 'divers other both lattin & English bookes' [Inventories (1620)], or 'Books Lattine, Greek & English' [Inventories (1696)]. One testator not only distinguished the English from the English, Latin and Greek books concerning Physick, which he left to his brother, but he excepted 'onely Two or three of the English Bookes which my wife may desire to to have and shall first Choose' [Inventories (1686)].
A concoction unrelated to COFFEE, though drunk in the same way. The advertisement for 'Roes English Coffee' claimed to be a 'composition of the choicest aromatic and balsamic herbs, roots, barks &c'. It was targeted at those who found that 'tea and foreign coffee do not agree', and 'as a restorative for weak and decayed constitutions' [Newspapers (1787)].
English FLAX has been noted in more than one case immediately adjacent to an entry concerning flax from a different place, as '20 heads Hollands flax & stone 02 14 00', followed by '2 stone 7 li English flax at 6/p stone 00 15 00' [Inventories (1701)]. This suggests that the descriptor ENGLISH was only added when it was necessary to contrast with that which had been imported. Whereas imported flax has been noted measured usually in large units, flax designated as English was sometimes also present but in units more often found in shops. A typical couple of entries are 'Eight stone of english fflax 01 08 00' followed by 'A Hundred of Rigisco fflax 02 04 00' [Inventories (1717)].
Growing flax in this country came with the risk of the stalks being discoloured by the not infrequent heavy rainfall in late summer and early autumn. This was hard to remove by subsequent processing [Tomlinson (1854)]. Apart from this, the spring rains and moist summers typical of this country produced ideal growing conditions, though English farmers were slow to adopt flax as a field crop during this period.
A term used to describe goods made in ENGLAND, (though this probably included Wales in many cases), as opposed to BRITISH MADE. It became therefore less common after the Act of Union in 1707, but did not disappear. It was an official term found in documents like Acts of Parliament, the Books of Rates and the Gloucester Coastal Port Books but not much elsewhere. It was used to distinguish manufactured or processed goods that would have had to pay duty if from abroad. In many cases the term was probably identical in meaning to ENGLISH.
In the Dictionary Archive found describing ALKMAAR HOLLAND, CAP, DORNICK, EARTHENWARE, HABERDASHERY, HAT, HERRING, LINEN, PICTURE, SAIL CLOTH, SPANISH SATIN, STRONG WATERS, THROWN SILK, TRAIN OIL
In the Gloucester Coastal Port Books found describing BAR IRON, GLASS BOTTLE, HARD SOAP, IRON, MAST, OIL, PITCH, RAPE OIL, ROD IRON, SALT, SOAP, WIRE
A PICKLE that was probably an imitation of the true MANGO pickle imported from the East. This imitation pickle was made with WALNUT, MELON and/or CUCUMBER spiced with GINGER and GARLIC as recorded by John Houghton [Houghton]. One retailer stocked 'Melon and Cucumber Mangoes' [Tradecards (18c.)], which were probably a version of this.
A term used to describe goods from the colonies, particularly those in North America. It continued in use after the union with Scotland in the early-eighteenth century, although after that BRITISH PLANTATION would have been more correct. It was used officially in Acts of Parliament, the Books of Rates, as well as in Customs records like the Gloucester Coastal Port Books. Goods so described paid duty at a lower rate.
In the Dictionary Archive found describing COTTON WOOL, Dyeing Woods, FUSTIC, GINGER, INDIGO, MUSCOVADO - SUGAR, PITCH, SUCCADE, SUGAR, TOBACCO, TRAIN OIL, WOOL [in other words COTTON WOOL]
In the Gloucester Coastal Port Books found describing COTTON WOOL, PITCH, TRAIN OIL
In the Books of Rates, the alternative label of 'domestic spirits' was used. DISTILLED SPIRITS were often of foreign origin but also made in Britain for a home market, rivalling such traditional staples as ALE, BEER and WINE. Early modern consumers might have considered such CORDIALS and medicinal tonics as AQUA VITAE, AQUA COMPOSITA, HOT WATERS, as well as BRANDY within the category of English Spirits. However, this term was most universally applied to home-produced GIN. The use of this as an alternative label to this single well-known product could account for the virtual absence of this term in the Dictionary Archive.
First introduced to Britain by soldiers returning from the Netherlands in the 1570s, gin soon transformed British drinking habits, most notably by encouraging a shift in 'spirit-drinking from medical to more purely pleasurable purposes' [Burnby (1983)], and by providing a cheap alternative drink for the working classes. A series of government measures ensured that gin was competitively priced in the British marketplace, such as the imposition of excise duties on ale, beer, CIDER and PERRY in 1643, and then the heavy duties imposed on French wines and brandy during the 1690s after the accession of William III. By comparison British distillers enjoyed relative freedom because they paid only 2d duty per GALLON and retailers were not required to have a license. Not surprisingly consumption rose. According to John Burnett: 'British-made spirits contributed substantially to total consumption by the end of the century', noting that the officially recorded statistics for England and Wales rose 'from 527,000 gallons in 1684 to 948,000 in 1693 and 1,223,000 gallons in 1700' [Burnby (1983)]. Actual figures may have been even higher as contemporary writers observed that the production and consumption of gin in particular had reached epidemic levels by the early eighteenth century. Despite laments about gin-mania sweeping the country, it remained largely a phenomenon of the capital. Every one house in four in London was reputed to sell gin that was advertised with such slogans as 'Here a man may get drunk for a penny, and dead drunk for twopence' [Hackwood (1909, new ed. 1985)]. The 'Gin Act' of 1736, that instituted a retail license costing £50 to gin sellers, did nothing to curb this trend as it was notoriously evaded. However, the stepping-up of the military presence at the royal court and Whitehall [Hackwood (1909, new ed. 1985)] when the legislation was passed demonstrates that officials feared a civil uprising; such was the popularity of this drink. In fact, of greater impact than any government policy were short-term fluctuations in grain supplies, as prices rose periodically due to a series of poor harvests in the second half of the eighteenth century. This said, spirits remained popular well into the nineteenth century until the moral climate changed, and increasing class distinctions in terms of sobriety and temperance emerged.
Like gin, English spirits appear relatively rarely in the Dictionary Archive. John Josselyn in his list of things an English emigrant to North America might need included various alcoholic liquors including English spirits 'For private fresh provision ... (in case you ... should be sick at Sea)' [Diaries (Josselyn)]. Elsewhere one retailer had 'five and thirty gallons of English spiritts att 1s 10d a galo' [Inventories (1686)] but otherwise, they receive no mention.
An official phrase found in the Gloucester Coastal Port Books and other Customs records, but also occasionally in Acts of Parliament and the Books of Rates. It was used to describe FISH, particularly HERRING, as well as some fish oils like TRAIN OIL. It indicated fish caught by ENGLISH boats but processed in England rather than on Atlantic coasts. Goods thus designated paid less, or no, duty. One example in the Dictionary Archive used a slightly different phrase, 'White or Red Herrings of English catching' [Acts (1663)].
English taken and made
An official phrase found in the Gloucester Coastal Port Books and the like, but not in Acts of Parliament or the Books of Rates. It was used to describe FISH and fish oils like TRAIN OIL, taken in ENGLISH boats and processed by the ENGLISH whether on Atlantic coasts or at home. Goods thus designated paid less duty.
The composition of English tea is unknown, but it has been noted among advertisements for QUACK MEDICINE. When TEA was first introduced, it was assumed to have medicinal value, and the name was taken over by other beverages for which similar claims were made such as in 'Dr. Solander's Sanative English Tea' [Tradecards (1790s)]. The term is occasionally found in other contexts, in which 'tea' is used elliptically for TEA SET and the 'English' merely denotes that it was of English origin rather than coming from the Far East, as in '1 Sett Blue Breakfast Engl. Teas 3s/6' [Inventories (1790)].
A tall vigorous variety of WHEAT, Triticum turgidum, with solid, thick-walled stems. It was once the principal wheat in southern England, but gave a flour of low quality for making BREAD [Masefield et al (1969)]. It has not been noted in the Dictionary Archive, but there is one consignment of it recorded in the Gloucester Coastal Port Books, although that may refer not to the variety but to wheat from England as distinct from elsewhere [Gloucester Coastal Port Books (1988)].
Engraving by incising patterns, coats of arms or writing into the surface of an object became fashionable during the eighteenth century so that many articles were thus engraved. Upmarket retailers advertised the service. For example one offered that 'Coats of Arms, Cyphers, &c.' would be 'Engraved In A Superior Stile, On Cornelian, Steel &C.' [Tradecards (1790s)], while another offered a range of products including 'Nutmeg Graters, in Ivory, Bone and Wood, Plain, Tip'd, Engine-turn'd and Engraved', 'Alphabet Books and Boxes, Cut and Engraved', and 'Patch Boxes, in Ivory and Bone, curiously Engraved' [Tradecards (1794)]. The advertisement shows not only some of the materials deemed suitable for the art, but also the range of objects, the value of which was deemed to be enhanced by it.
The term denotes the process of incising a pattern or object on a suitable material, and by extension an object so engraved. The meaning was further broadened to include an impression taken from an engraved plate. Skilled workers were in demand, hence advertisements like the one for 'an Assistant in the Steel Engraving Branch ... Specimens, with the Terms, are requested' to undertake the engraving of SEALs [Newspapers (1790)].
It is particularly in the third sense that engravings are found in the Dictionary Archive. Foreign visitors noted engravings in shop windows [Diaries (Lichtenberg)]; [Diaries (Schopenhauer)], and retailers advertised them [Newspapers (1780)]. One of the earliest patents acknowledges their importance [Patents (1617)], while Parliament protected the rights of producers [Acts (1735)]. At a more mundane level, printers were advertising possibilities of 'Engraving in all its Branches, Viz't visiting Tickets, Coats of Arms, Seals, Book Plates, Frontispieces, Shopkeepers Bills &c' [Tradecards (1791)].
An early name for a chemical and medicinal preparation later combined with Flores martiales or Martial flowers under that name, since the Royal College of Physicians considered them insufficiently distinct. It was prepared from a mixture of COLCOTHAR of GREEN VITRIOL and SAL AMMONIAC sublimed until it attained a 'beautiful yellow colour' [Pemberton (1746)].