Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities, 1550-1820. Originally published by University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, 2007.
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Interest in Etruria became fashionable in the mid-eighteenth century, particularly after Josiah Wedgwood developed a way of making VASEs in imitation of ancient pottery discovered in Etruria, and patented by him [Patents (1769)]. George Lichtenberg described in 1775 how Boulton's factory in Soho in Birmingham had picked up the fashion, and were making 'coffee-trays of paper and all kinds of other vessels, black with orange figures in the style of Etruscan vases, which are indescribably handsome' [Diaries (Lichtenberg)]. In the same year, Lord Willoughby purchased a 'Fine Etruscan Tea Cade with Figures @ 52/6 [Tradecards (1775)].
The OED's preferred spelling is 'etui'. However the most common usage in the early modern period appears to have been 'etwee'. Originally a CASE for surgical instruments, subsequently a small CASE, usually ornamental, for small articles such as a BODKIN, NEEDLEs, TOOTHPICK, etc., they became both popular and fashionable in the eighteenth century and were widely advertised. For example, in one extensive catalogue were listed 'Pocket Housewives, and Etwees, Every sort and price you please' along with 'Etwee Cases, with silver Instruments, inlaid with gold' [Tradecards (1794)], while a 'Stone & Gilt Etwee' cost the fashionable Mrs Hill 90s in the 1750s [Tradecards (1751)].
A genus of the Natural Order Compositae, abundant in America, but of which only one species, Eupatorium cannabinum, or HEMP agrimony, is British. In pharmacy it was sometimes called Agrimonia, though this has not been noted in the Dictionary Archive. It was believed to cure jaundice, and still finds its place in modern herbal medicine [Wren (1941)], though it was not in the mid-eighteenth century Materia Medica [Pemberton (1746)].
A GUM resin or latex imported from the north African coast obtained from certain succulent species of Euphorbia, especially Euphorbia resinfera. This substance forms in irregular pieces, usually about ½ INCH in diameter and often perforated where it formed round the stem. It is an extremely acrid substance, formerly used as an emetic and purgative. The powder causes violent sneezing [Wren (1941)]. Although still found in modern herbals, it seems to have died out of use after 1700, and was not in the mid-eighteenth century Materia Medica [Pemberton (1746)].
A material used in the sixteenth century and the seventeenth for the military dress and for outer wear generally, apparently identical with DURANCE. The term was later applied to another durable CLOTH, strongly twilled, also called LASTING, used, among other purposes, for ladies' SHOEs [Montgomery (1984)], as in the advertisement for 'a large Quantity of Damask and Everlasting Shoes, of several colours' [Newspapers (1751)]. This term was also applied in other circumstances when durability was the main characteristic, for example to the embroidered edging for underclothing, which was called EVERLASTING trimming.
A female SHEEP. The gender of sheep was rarely mentioned in probate documents, so references to ewes are relatively rare. However, it may be assumed that most flocks had a substantial proportion of ewes, which were kept for their WOOL and for MEAT as well as for breeding. According to Gervase Markham, ewes were 'fit for generation' from the age of two years until ten, and were then 'only for the Shambles'. Sheep were also valued for their milk in some parts of the country, hence Ewe BUTTER [Diaries (Fell)]. According to John Houghton the SKIN of a ewe was better for PARCHMENT than that from a male sheep, because of being less greasy [Houghton].
A PITCHER with a wide spout. It was used to bring water for washing the hands and therefore were often associated with a BASIN as in 'mashlyn basen and Uores' [Inventories (1562)]. These two were in daily use in better households until the introduction of the table FORK, being used for keeping the hands clean at table [Gloag (1952, revised 1991)]. Thereafter ewers became less common, but never disappeared. Most ewers were made of metal.
In pharmacy, an uncommon generic name given to what was perceived as a morbid growth, or a protruberant swelling on an animal or vegetable body. It is not known what medicinal products would have been included under this heading, but GALL and JEWS EAR are likely candidates for 'excrescients of trees' and BEZOAR and CRABS EYE for 'excrescients of animalls'. In the only example in the Dictionary Archive, the former were valued at much less than the latter [Inventories (1637)].
A common term used for medicinal and other products in the early-modern period that seems to have had much the same meaning as ESSENCE, hence entries like 'Producing an essence or extract, from which fine spruce beer may be made' [Patents (1772)]. One of the purposes of such extracts was to facilitate making some product when the usual raw materials were not available; as for example, in the patent for 'Reducing malt and hops into a solid essence or extract for making beer at sea and in distant climates' [Patents (1778)]. For reasons now unexplained, whereas an ESSENCE was extracted from various HERBs like CELERY, MINT, PARSELY, THYME and even ONION, an extract was made from SHALLOT [Tradecards (1800)]; [Tradecards (18c.)]. Extract of LIQUORICE was in the mid-eighteenth century Pharmacopoeia, as were extracts of LOGWOOD, PERUVIAN BARK, LIGNUM VITAE, and JALAP [Pemberton (1746)].
According to Pemberton's Pharmacopoeia, the extract of GENTIAN was made by boiling GENTIAN ROOT in water and subsequent straining. The liquor was then reboiled until 'the consistence of a pill' [Pemberton (1746)]. The result would have been very bitter. It was probably added to medicines intended to relieve indigestion.
A loop of metal or THREAD and especially the eye used in the fastening of a GARMENT. Eyes are almost always associated with the other part of the fastening as in HOOK AND EYE, but occasionally they are found on their own as in 'a pap'r eyes 8d' [Inventories (1701)].
Originally a MAGNIFYING GLASS or microscope, but later a lens of GLASS or CRYSTAL for assisting defective sight. The only example in the Dictionary Archive is in an advertisement: 'Eye and Reading Glasses in great variety of mountings' [Tradecards (19c.)].
A lotion for the eye. John Gerard quoted (and translated) the couplet ' Of Fennel, Roses, Vervain, Rue, and Celandine, Is made a water good to cleere the sight of eine' [Gerard (1633, facs. 1975)]. Of these FENNEL WATER, ROSE WATER and CELANDINE WATER have been noted in the Dictionary Archive, along with EYEBRIGHT WATER and ELDER FLOWER WATER, which was also used for this purpose.
An infusion recommended by a physician to treat eye problems [Diaries (Blundell)]. Eyebright was the popular name of Euphrasia officinalis, which was reputed to be a remedy for weak eyes. Presumably the infusion was called a TEA either because it was made in a similar fashion, or to give it, by association, some of the benefits supposedly gained by drinking that beverage.
As the name suggests, eyebright, Euprasia officinalis, was held as a sovereign remedy for weakness of the eye, though it was not part of the mid-eighteenth century Materia Medica. Nicholas Culpeper commented caustically that if the 'Herb was but as much used as it is neglected, it would half spoil the spectacle makers trade'. He suggested the juice or the distilled water could be taken internally or 'dropped into the eyes' [Culpeper (1792)].