Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities, 1550-1820. Originally published by University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, 2007.
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The term is mentioned in [Acts (1704)]. This means that it was either used in APOTHECARY or as a DYESTUFF. Beyond that nothing about this product has been discovered. It does not, for example, appear in Pembertons Pharmacopoeia [Pemberton (1746)].
The term probably denotes the edible seeds or PINE KERNELS of the stone PINE, Pinus pinea, or other species. They were included in the 1582 Book of Rates as PINE and also known as 'Grana pini' and 'Nux pini' [Rates (1657)].
'Great' is a common variant of GRATE. As an adjective, the term denotes thick, coarse, massive or big. For example, in the Gloucester Coastal Port Books this term was applied to a BARREL (in an entry which specifies another barrel as SMALL), PACK and STONE. The GREAT STONE of 18 LB also appears in this source. In some contexts, for example to define a KETTLE in sixteenth-century inventories, the term seems to have had connotations of prestige that LARGE never had. Most of the diarists represented in the Dictionary Archive used the term excessively, Pepys in particular. Although usually the term has connotations of size in DIARIES, Pepys sometimes used it to mean famous. In those sources that are largely lists of items like INVENTORIES, 'great' was most often a descriptor, but in those mainly designed as advertisement, whether overt like NEWSPAPERS or TRADECARDS or hidden like PATENTS or even the preambles in ACTS, 'great' was usually a 'persuader' or simply a piece of puffery as in 'greatest perfection'.
Found describing ANVIL, ARK, BAG, BASIN, BIT, BOOK, bow pot, BOWL, BOX, BRANDART, BRASS POT, BUCKLE, BUTTON, BUTCHERS KNIFE, CANDLESTICK, CARPET, CAULDRON, CHAIR, CHARGER, CHEST, CISTERN, CLASP, COD, COFFER, COOLER, COWL, CUPBOARD, CUSHION, DRIP POT, DISH, FLAGON, FLASKET, GLASS, GLASS PIPE, HAMMER, HOB NAIL, HOG, IRON - CHEST, IRON POT, JUG, KETTLE, KIMNEL, LEAD, LING, MORTAR, NEWFOUNDLAND FISH, PAIL, PAN, PANNIER, PIN, PLANK, PLATTER, POSNET, POT, PRESS, RAISINS, SADDLE, SALMON, SCALES, SHEARS, SHOP, SKIRT (of a coat), SPIKINGs, STILL, STOCKINGS, STONE, STOOL, TABLE, TROUGH, TRUNK, TUB, TURKEY, VAT, WHEEL
Found in the 1657 Rate Book describing a POUND of 24 OUNCEs as a measure of SILK
See also GREAT COAL, GREAT COAT, GREAT FISH, GREAT GROSS, GREAT NUTS, GREAT POUND, GREAT WARE, LARGE.
Sources: Acts, Diaries, Houghton, Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Newspapers, Patents, Rates, Recipes, Tradecards.
Little is known of this WATER except that it was a supposed cure for 'venereal distemper' and that was patented in 1744 by a 'dealer in medicine' [Patents (1744)]. It is surprising that the patentee chose this appellation as there were connotations of cheating and fraud to the word 'Greek'.
Green, the colour between BLUE and YELLOW, is common in nature, but it was not always easy to produce in manufacture. It had many connotations in use; often denoting youth, inexperience or not fully finished. As applied to vegetable products and STARCH it was used to denote that the goods were not thoroughly dried or unseasoned, hence GREEN BACON, GREEN FISH, GREEN FLAX, GREEN HEMP, GREEN GINGER, GREEN HIDE, GREEN LIQUORICE, GREEN MALT, GREEN STARCH, etc. Although most GREEN TIMBER needed seasoning, certain types were more satisfactory than the seasoned stuff for some TURNED WARES such as a TURNED CHAIR, sometimes called a GREEN CHAIR. In some cases 'Green' was added as a descriptor, merely to distinguish one product from another, as GREEN BICE from BLUE BICE, GREEN COPPERAS from BLUE COPPERAS, or GREEN VERDITER from BLUE VERDITER. There are however many products where it is not clear why the descriptor was added, though it is probable that the colour helped to identify some other characteristic as in GREEN OIL, GREEN SAND or GREEN WOAD.
Many fabrics were described as green, but for most it was just a colour. However, GREEN LINEN seems to have had some specific meaning, possibly identifying a cloth before it had been whitened, when some had perhaps a greenish tinge, while GREEN APRON signified a tradesperson or a Quaker. In early part of the period, most TEXTILES defined as green were some form of WOOLLEN CLOTH in its broadest sense, though one fabric that was commonly green often did not include the descriptor, being merely designated as KENDAL. Green SILK was less common, while those fabrics of vegetable origin were rarely dyed green. This changed in the eighteenth century when green textiles made of FLAX or HEMP, and even COTTON, became common. To dye green, involved a double process, first getting a BLUE with WOAD, and then adding YELLOW, perhaps with GREENWEED. The disadvantage of this twofold process was that the two dyes were by no equally fast under all conditions.
Some of the difficulties of getting a good green appear in surprising places. For example, John Houghton gave detailed instructions on the PIGMENTs to be used to marble paper in different colours. For green he recommended INDIGO and AURIPIGMENTUM (an arsenical product), 'the one ground, and the other tempered', mixed and boiled in water [Houghton].
Found describing TEXTILES and textile products such as APRONING, BAYS, BINDING, BLANKET, BROADCLOTH, BUCKRAM, BUFFIN, CADDIS, CADDOW, CALAMANCO, CALICO, CAMLET, CAMLETEEN, CANOPY, CANVAS, CARPET, CAUL, CHECK, CHEYNEY, CLOTH, COAT, COVERLET, COTTON, COUNTERPANE, COVER, COVERING, CUPBOARD CLOTH, CRANKY, CURTAIN, CUSHION, DAMASCELLO, DAMASK, DORNICK, DRESSER CLOTH, DRUGGET, DONJARS, , DURANCE, FEATHER BED, FLANNEL, FRIEZE, FRINGE, FURNITURE, GALLOON, GARTER, GARTERING, GIMP, gladden, GOWN, HANGINGS, HARRATEEN, HEADING, HOSE, KERSEY, KIDDERMINSTER, LACE, LINE, LINEN, LIVERY, LUTESTRING, Manchester stripe, MANTUA, MEDLEY, MOHAIR, MOIRE, MOREEN, OILCLOTH, PADUASOY, PARAGON, PERPETUANA, PENISTONE, PERSIAN, PETTICOAT, PLAIN, PRESS, PRINTED stuff, PURSE, RIBBON, RIBBONING, RUG, SARSNET, SATIN, SEMPITERNUM, SERGE, SERGE DE NIMES, SHAG, SHALLOON, SILK, SILK STOCKINGS, STRING, STUFF, SUIT of APPAREL, TABBY, TABLE CLOTH, TAMMY, TAPE, THICK SET, TWIST, VELVET, VELVET LACE, WADMAL, WAISTCOAT, WASHER, WILDBORE, WORSTED, YARN
Found describing FRUIT and VEGETABLEs, HERBS, BEANS, BORECOLE, BROCCOLI, BUCKTHORN, cos LETTUCE, CUCUMBER, ENDIVE, PURSLANE, SAVOY, TURNIP
Found describing other goods: BOAT, CALF SKIN, CEPHALIC SNUFF, CHAMBER, CONY SKIN, COUCH, FISH SKIN, GOOSEBERRY, HAFTED - KNIFE, KIP, LEATHER, NEST, OAK BOARD, PARCHMENT, RAIL, REIN, ROOM, SAUCER, TABLE PLATE, TOBACCO LEAF, WALNUT
As a colour: Found described as BOTTLE, BUCKTHORN, dark, FRENCH, FROST, grass, INDIA, OLIVE, pea, POPINJAY, SAD, seawater, VERDIGRIS
LIKE A BLUE APRON, a green APRON was apparently an identifying label of some trades people, including weavers [Diaries (Pepys)]. It seems also to have been worn by Quakers, possibly because they often were in trade, and it became a pejorative term applied to non-conformist lay preachers. Green aprons were often made of GREEN SAY [Inventories (1671)].
BACON that had been salted, but not dried or smoked. It will not keep for as long as smoked bacon, but was sufficiently enduring to be included on probate inventories, for example [Inventories (1735)]; [Inventories (1726)].
A term applied in the seventeenth century to a PIGMENT prepared from malachite, a naturally occurring basic COPPER carbonate often found in association with azurite, from which BLUE BICE was prepared. However, by the nineteenth green bice was made instead from SMALT by adding yellow ORPIMENT, and the earlier meaning had been lost [Harley (1970)].
This FIR has not been identified, but John Houghton wrote: 'There is also a fir call'd in Dutch the Green-boome ['green tree' in translation], much used for building merchant-ships, which stand much out of water. 'Tis light and not strong like oak. It comes from Norway, and other Eastland countries: It is heavier than fir, but neither bend sufficiently ...' [Houghton].
The meaning of the term is ambiguous. Much early-modern FURNITURE was painted, and GREEN was a popular colour. It is therefore likly that some green chairs were painted green, particularly if found, say, 'in the green chamber', or along with other green furnishings. The entry 'Item one back chaire of greene, and two lowe greene stooles one high blew chaire' [Inventories (1637)] suggests painted chairs fairly unambiguously. Chairs were also often covered as in 'Itm a Chair embroderd wt greene Clothe' [Inventories (1587)], and these may in other contexts have been recorded simply as green chairs.
However, entries such as: 'One Table one side Cubbard one Couch six Greene Chairs two green Stooles' [Inventories (1674)], raises the question of why only the chairs and stools were designated as green. Green chairs are found in probate inventories much more often than other furniture recorded as green, and it was almost the only colour apart from black recorded for chairs. There are a number of instances in the Dictionary Archive when only chairs were defined as green, and no colour was given for other furniture, for example [Inventories (1630)]; [Inventories (1608)]. Where other colours are found, the appraisers may have been referring only to the colour of the upholstery. It seems therefore at least possible that green chairs were often so defined because of some other characteristic than colour.
The turning of GREEN TIMBER is much more straightforward than of seasoned wood. The green shrinks across the grain so that, when turned components are fitted into seasoned wood, they shrink one way, and tighten up naturally [Edwards (2000)]. This was important for making satisfactory chairs and stools in particular, but also other furniture with turned parts. We suggest, therefore, that these chairs were what in other contexts were called TURNED CHAIRs. The two terms, green chair and turned chair, have not been noted in close proximity in the Dictionary Archive, where a distinction is made between green and JOINED STOOLs, as in 'four joynd stooles and one greene stoole' [Inventories (1670)]. This again supports the contention that green chair was an alternative name for a turned chair.
[grene copress; grene cop'as; greene copris; greene copres; greene copras; greene coppris; greene copprice; greene coppresse; greene copperis; greene copperas; greene cop'is; green copp's; green coppris; green copperis; green copparas; green coperas; copperas green]
The sulphur compounds of IRON are very complex, and it is unclear to what extent early-modern users were able to distinguish them. For example, pyrites, or fool's gold, and marcasite, or coal brasses, are both forms of iron disulphide. The former is commonly found in conjunction with COAL, and is the source of much of the sulphur dioxide produced when that is burnt [Partington (1953)].
The green crystals of ferrous sulphate were by far the most common form of COPPERAS noted in the Dictionary Archive, and most of that designated merely as copperas was almost certainly green copperas as well. It may be made by the slow oxidation by air of marcasite or pyrites, which had first to be roasted, in the presence of water, or by dissolving iron or ferrous sulphide in dilute OIL OF VITRIOL, now known as sulphuric acid. It can then be filtered and evaporated when the green crystals form [Partington (1953)].
A TEXTILE, a variety of Britsh-made DORNICK, probably defined as GREEN for the same reason as GREEN LINEN CLOTH was so defined. It was most likely an alternative way of describing an unbleached fabric. It only appears in the early Books of Rates, as 'Dornix called green dornix or Tirentalles, the peece containing xxx yardes [Rates (1582)], and also as GREENS [Rates (1582)].
According to Webster, green ebony comes from the West Indian leguminous tree, Brya ebenus, or from Excaecaria glandulosa [Webster (online)], but the OED online suggests either the latter or Jacaranda ovalifolia. According to a quotation given in the OED, dated 1849, it was used for 'round rulers, turnery, marquetry-work, &c'.
However, John Houghton noted that there was a type of ASH wood that was 'curiously camletted and vein'd'. This was as 'prized equal to EBONY' and was known as green ebony. He said it was used to make handles for CUTLERY among other things [Houghton].
Otherwise known as STAPLE FISH, Green FISH was freshly killed fish, not SALTED or DRIED, or only partially so. The term was applied to several varieties including COD, HADDOCK, HERRING, LING, MACKEREL, PILCHARD, SALMON, SALMON TROUT, SKATE, SOLE, TURBOT, and WHITING, although it was especially applied to cod and CODLING. According to a quotation in the OED dated 1655, the latter when salted was then called LING. However, the inventory of a seventeenth-century Staffordshire fishmonger, who had among his stock 'iij quarterons & halffe of grene saltfishe & grene linge price xls' [Inventories (1578)], shows that the term was not a precise one.
FLAX pulled from the ground before the seeds were ripe, which was seen by some as producing better quality fibres than those from plants allowed to ripen [Vancouver (1808, new ed. 1969)]. It seems to have been a speciality of Scottish production and it is possible that the short summers and the cooler and damper climate there meant that it was difficult to ripen the seed, making it of less moment if it were sacrificed to production of better fibres.