Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities, 1550-1820. Originally published by University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, 2007.
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The rhizome of GINGER, harvested before it was fully ripe. It is unlikely to have successfully made the long sea journey from its place of growth, so it probably arrived in England most often in the form of PRESERVED GINGER, though as Richard Bradley pointed out, it could be grown and harvested in a heated greenhouse [Recipes (Bradley, R.)]. The leaves and stems were also treated in the same way [Simmonds (1906)].
Most early-modern GLASS had a greenish tinge, but the term was generally applied to a coarse glass with a pronounced green colour used to make BOTTLEs, hence its alternative name of 'bottle glass' or BOTTLE METAL. However, what was probably a finer variety has been noted as having been made into DRINKING GLASSes [Inventories (1614)], and used in SASH windows [Inventories (1716)]. The colouring was caused by the coincidental content of iron in the sand, an essential component of glass. John Houghton recorded that 'Flint, green and ordinary' GLASS was made around London in 24 individual glass houses, around Bristol in nine, and in 14 other counties, most being used to make BOTTLEs. He did however admit that some of the houses were 'not at work' [Houghton]. Green glass is particularly resistant to corrosive substances like AQUAFORTIS, AQUA REGIS and OIL OF VITRIOL and so was probably used exclusively in the production of the distinctive AQUAFORTIS BOTTLE and the VITRIOL BOTTLE. Since glass was an important product, it attracted the attention of innovators and two patents in the 1760s claimed improvements in the manufacture of green glass, [Patents (1760)] and [Patents (1764)].
According to Tomlinson, the external marks of a good hemp brought up from the south to Petersburg were that it was 'green and free from spills' [Tomlinson (1854)]. This gives a new meaning to 'green', which normally means growing, new or young. Here the desirable characteristic of green hemp is the greenish tinge as found in well made hay.
In one example [Inventories (1694)], EGYPT HEMP and green hemp were coupled together, both valued at 11½d LB, although whether they had any characteristics in common other than valuation it is impossible to say.
The term denotes a raw, untanned or unseasoned SKIN or HIDE. If, as Rolt suggested, it had just been taken off the carcase [Rolt (1761)], it will quite rapidly decompose. On the other hand, it could well have been preserved in salt pro tem, and perhaps labelled as a SALT HIDE, or air-dried into RAW HIDE.
Green linen cloth
LINEN CLOTH from Scotland was labelled GREEN when it was traded unbleached and ready for whitening. By the second half of the eighteenth century, it was a speciality of Fife. How it differs from BROWN linen cloth is not clear, and Forsyth in his commentary of Scotland (1806) is ambiguous, writing that 'Large quantities ... are... exported ... in an unbleached state; that is, under the name of brown linen, and green linen.' [Forsyth (1805-1808), IV/309, quoted in the OED online under Linen]. Shortly after the union of Scotland and England Parliament attempted to regulate the manufacture of green linen cloth and that of Scottish BROWN linen. Much of both according to the act was intended for bleaching into WHITE LINEN [Acts (1711)].
Green LIQUORICE was the fresh produce. According to John Houghton, 'The sooner it sold the more it will weigh, and the better it pleases, every one being for green liquorice; but it may be kept indifferent well in a cellar, or boxes covered over with earth or sand.' [Houghton].
An alternative name for fresh FODDER. In the only example found in the Dictionary Archive, the term referred to LUCERNE for HORSEs [Diaries (White)], but it could just as well have applied to other similar food. Although obviously not used in trade, green meat could mean putrid flesh, which acquires a greenish tinge as it decays.
Probably an alternative name for LINSEED OIL or RAPE OIL, both of which are in fact a brownish-yellow colour. A patent of 1708 gave a method of making green oil and stated that it was 'for use in the woollen manufacture, and for making soft soap, the same oil is also edible.' [Patents (1708)]. This would match the characteristics of rape oil. In the eighteenth-century Pharmacopoeia 'green oil' was used to make 'Green OINTMENT', in Latin UNGUENTUM viride [Pemberton (1746)].
GREEN oysters were no more than common OYSTERS treated in a particular way as was done around Colchester. Possibly all COLCHESTER OYSTERS were treated thus, so that the two terms, 'green oysters' and 'Colchester oysters', were synonymous, as John Houghton implied [Houghton].
Richard Bradley described the method used to render the oysters green: 'About Colchester, the Oyster-pits are only small Holes about twelve foot square, by the side of the River, where the salt Water comes up, and has a passage into them at the height of the Tides; in these places the Oysters are laid, and there grow fat, and become green, by a sort of Weed which is called Crow-Silk.' Bradley suggested that this method of greening could be practised wherever there was a tidal water, thereby keeping the oysters fresh for two or three months (and incidentally turning them green) [Bradley (1736, facs. 1980)]. Houghton described the method in a similar way, although he suggested that the water was only changed at the spring tides and that it turned green in the meantime [Houghton]. Treated thus made oysters more attractive to the market; hence the London tradesman who advertised in BIRMINGHAM, 'OYSTERS The best Green Native Colchester, at Three Shillings and Eight Pence' [Newspapers (1780)].
PEAS gathered for human consumption while still green, soft, and unripe. Most peas in the Dictionary Archive were grown in the field, and were either for animal feed or for drying. By the late eighteenth century, however, green peas were an acceptable vegetable, so that recipes using them appeared, as the one by Hannah Glasse for stewing green peas with LETTUCE [Recipes (Glasse)]. Their popularity meant that different varieties were developed so that one nurseryman in 1782 had over twenty that gave crops over a long season [Galpine (1983)].
In the one example of green POMATUM in the Dictionary Archive, it is not clear whether it was distinguished from other pomatums by anything but colour, although it was claimed to 'thicken the Hair', and to keep it 'from falling off' [Newspapers (1769)]. It may have been a refined form of BEARS GREASE, which was used for much the same purpose.