Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities, 1550-1820. Originally published by University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, 2007.
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A measure of capacity originally referring to the amount of goods loaded on a CART or WAIN, the exact amount varying in relation to the quality of the goods, the strength of the wheels, the condition of the roads and the distance travelled [Zupko (1968)]. This, however, does not cover all possibilities as the load sometimes referred to the amount carried by a HORSE, which would have been considerably less. Only occasionally do the sources indicate which was intended, although extensive study of local records and valuations, may make distinctions possible with regard to those commodities frequently cited in this unit of measure.
Nevertheless it was a common unit of capacity used in documents like the probate inventory and apparently acceptable in this context to the authorities. Appraisers probably had, or at least believed they had, considerable expertise in estimating quantities; for example, in one inventory the appraisers entered CHARCOAL 'computed to be a Load and an halfe and a Bushell and an halfe Bushell' [Inventories (1716)].
Loads were probably used on occasions to quantify almost any commodity that was transported, but the majority of examples noted applied to HAY, to building materials and to timber. With these commodities, Zupko suggests that generally accepted standards may have applied; for example, a load of hay was generally deemed to be 18 CWT being 36 TRUSS each weighing 56 LB (that is half a CWT) making the truss a convenient unit for handling manually. Despite the frequent references to the standardised load of hay in Zupko, parliament was still fine-tuning the definition as late as 1796 when a distinction was made between new hay and old [Acts (1796)]. For building materials, Zupko claims that standard loads had been established for LIME (32 BUSHEL), SAND (36 BUSHEL). For WOOD, particularly FIRE WOOD, the load was generally acknowledged as equivalent to a TON. This was also true of some types of imported TIMBER; for example, that from Ireland [Rates (1660)], although once sawn or squared up into PLANK or the like, the load of various types of timber were to contain fifty foot, and that may or may not have weighed a ton [Rates (1657)].
Regulations such as statutes and Books of Rates give useful guidance on many commodities. Probably they were based on the generally accepted practice and were only gradually enforced. Local variations abounded throughout the period, many being listed by Zupko and a few by Houghton [Houghton].
A further cause of regulation was the state of the roads, the surfaces of which were severely rutted by heavy carts and wagons. Most attention was focused on the vehicles themselves and the widths of their wheels but at least one act attempted to limit the size of loads carried, setting a maximum for MEAL, MALT, BRICKS and COAL allowed within ten miles of London [Acts (1719)]. To what extent these limits approximated to the standard is not clear.
Found described as CART, HORSE, SHIP Found used as a unit of measure for ALABASTER, APPLE, ASHES, bank, BARLEY, BAVIN, BEANS, BELLOWS BOARD, BILLET, BLEND CORN, BROOM, BRUSH, BULRUSH, CHARCOAL, COAL, CUP, EARTHENWARE, FAGGOT, FIRE WOOD, FODDER, HAY, HOOP, LATH, LIME, LOG, MALT, MEAL, MUCK, MUG, OATMEAL, OATS, PEAS, PIPE, PLANK, PLASTER, POTATO, QUARRY, QUARTER, QUICKWOOD, RYE, SACK, SADDLE TREE, SALT, SAND, SEA COAL, STAVE, STONE, STRAW, TIMBER, WAINSCOT LOG, WHEAT, WOOD, WOOLLEN RAGS
A piece of equipment noted only once in the Dictionary Archive [Inventories (1722)]. In this example it was among the equipment used in a DYE house, presumably for loading the heavy cloths into the vats or through the CALENDER. However, it is a term that could have been used in many other operations where loading heavy goods was required.
Magnetic oxide of IRON but its alternative, and earlier, name of 'magnes' or 'magnesian stone' has led to confusion with MAGNESIA. Neither as loadstone nor as magnes, nor even as magnesia does this form of iron appear in the Dictionary Archive, although there are plenty of references to it in other sources. MAGNUS, an alternative name for the black oxide of manganese is another potential source of confusion as 'magnes' was sometimes a variant spelling of that term.
According to Randle Holme, the lock SAW was designed 'to make Key holes in Doors, and to Saw any hole in the middle of a Board where other Saws cannot get in: Some are made thus with a bended or square shouldering; others are streight to the handle. This kind of Saw is by some Artificers termed a Compass Saw, because it is used to cut a round or any other Compass Kerf, and therefore the edge where the Teeth are is made broad, and the back thin, that the Back may have a wide Kerf or Nick to turn in' [Holme (2000)].
A TEXTILE, named after Locronan, a village in Brittany, where it was originally made. It was a LINEN CLOTH of variable qualities used to make both WEARING APPAREL and household LINEN. Attempts to regulate its length and breadth appear to have failed [Acts (1529)] and the 1529 act was replaced by one requiring each piece to be marked clearly with its dimensions, rather than universal ones as stipulated in the earlier act. Lockram was the generic name of various other LINEN CLOTH of the same area of which DOWLAS was the most important. Lockram has been noted valued between 10d and 14d ELL.
Probably a distinctive type of BABY made only in LONDON or in that style. The single example in the Dictionary Archive is to be found in a probate inventory. Given that this is a type of document in which recording was factual rather than promotional, the use of the descriptor 'London' does not indicate a ploy by the 'Toy man' concerned to send a message about the fashionability of his stock [Inventories (1733)]. However, in what way a London baby differed from, for example, a DUTCH BABY or any other type otherwise described, is not known.
The best quality of PINS were made in London once pinners there had accomplished a method of blanching or tinning them to make WHITE PINS using granulated BLOCK TIN. By the early nineteenth-century at the latest they also employed a superior grinding technique, using one STEEL MILL to make the point, and another to smooth off any irregularities along the shank [Rees (1819-20, 1972 ed.)].
By the nineteenth century, this was the usual name in India for (white) COTTON - SHIRTING, or CALICO made in Lancashire; but it had formerly been applied to an Indian TEXTILE of like kind exported to England. Milburn included them among INDIAN -PIECE GOODS imported from Bengal where they were chiefly made [Yule and Burnell (1886, pb 1996)]. Long cloths were probably so named because they were made of length unusual in India; cloth for native use being ordinarily made in pieces sufficient only to clothe one person. Or it is just possible that it may have been a corruption or misapprehension of lungi [see LONGHEE]. It appears to have been introduced into Europe in the 1670s and although usually white they were sometimes left BROWN or unbleached or dyed blue [Montgomery (1984)]. They came under the early eighteenth-century prohibitions against the use of calicoes in this country and were thereafter imported only for re-export.
The term was also applied to a WOOLLEN CLOTH. Long cloths in this sense were usually between 29 and 33 YARD long weighing between 78 and 84 LB, but one act gave 30-36 YARD and a weight of 2¼ lb per yard [Acts (1662)], and another over 35 YARD for YORKSHIRE cloth [Acts (1765); Montgomery (1984)]. For all made round Worcester, the wool was carefully sorted and selected, white the best sort were distinguished by a blue list [Kerridge (1985)].
As its name suggests, long flax consisted of the long fibres of FLAX separated out from the shorter ones in the process of combing or heckling. It was the most desirable for making FLAXEN CLOTH and other types of LINEN. [Acts (1736)], for instance, shows that long flax was deemed superior to BARR FLAX and SHORT FLAX for making SAIL CLOTH.
A TEXTILE in the form of a LINEN CLOTH; any further explanation of its name must be conjectural. [Inventories (1752)] suggests that it was not significantly longer than other LAWNs, being listed there like them in the PIECE varying from 13 to 15 YARD in length and at valuations ranging from 2s 2d to 3s 4d YARD. It was not infrequently listed so as to contrast with CLEAR LAWN, though it is not obvious why. In [Newspapers (1751)] is listed 'Plain muslin or long lawn', but it is unclear whether these two are given as alternatives or as synonyms.
The term derives from the Hindi term 'lungi', perhaps originally from the Persian 'lung' and 'lunggi'. It was a SCARF or web of fabric used to wrap round the body, and therefore similar to a dhoty (DUTTY). Longhees were included by Milburn in his lists of INDIAN - PIECE GOODS imported from Bengal [Yule and Burnell (1886, pb 1996)]. The anonymous author of 'The Merchant's Warehouse Laid Open' wrote that it was 'made of the same stuff your Grass Taffeties ... with this difference; this sort is wore with a variety of colours, checker'd, and some wrought with flowers in the midst of the check, this is made of an Indian Grass or Herb, from whence comes the name of Longees Herba; they contain ten yards in each piece, and are proper for slight uses, as Linen of Beds, and for Window Curtains, they wear very slight and thin, being much stiffened, they feel, pretty thick before they are worn or washed, but after either, they are like a rag' [Anon (1696)].