Mamolwhiates - Marblers plate

Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities 1550-1820. Originally published by University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, 2007.

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An uncommon COTTON - TEXTILE imported from India. It is possible that this term was used only briefly in British trade in an attempt to avoid the heavy duties imposed on MUSLIN; a stratagem an act of 1700 was designed to thwart by defining mamolwhiates as MUSLIN [Acts (1700)]. Mamolwhiates were not included among Milburn's list of INDIAN - PIECE GOODS [Yule and Burnell (1886, pb 1996)], which further suggests that it was not a common term even in India. They have not been noted in the shops in the Dictionary Archive, which suggests that if and when they were available for sale, it was probably under the generic term of muslin.

Not found in the OED

Sources: Acts.
References: Yule and Burnell (1886, pb 1996).

Man trap

A trap for catching people, especially trespassers and poachers on private land. A man trap operated in a similar way to the now illegal gin trap. It consisted of a plate that could be hidden under a light covering of earth or leaves, which activated a spring when stepped upon This caused the teeth to close on the leg. Because the springs were strong enough to prevent escape, a man trap could inflict severe injuries including death. It is difficult, consequently, to square the man trap with the descriptor 'humane' given to it in one advertisement.

The use of man traps became popular with landowners in the eighteenth century as more land was enclosed and the preservation of game became a feature of estate management.

OED earliest date of use: 1788

Found described by humane

Sources: Tradecards.

Manchester quilting

[manchester quilting]

Apart from the obvious fact that this type of QUILTING was made in, or in the style of that made in MANCHESTER, there is not much information about this TEXTILE. There are three examples in the Dictionary Archive (and it has not been noted anywhere else), and they do little more than suggest that Manchester quilting, like other quilting may have changed meaning. In the one, the fabric is advertised as for COATs, suggesting a genuinely QUILTED fabric as a possibility [Newspapers (1770)]. In one of the others it was associated with 'striped and plain Dimitties' [Newspapers (1780)], suggesting a material similar to MARCELLA. Motgomery includes an illustration of a quilted petticoat border woven on the loom, adding that it was characteristic of MANCHESTER GOODS of the late eighteenth century [Montgomery (1984)].

Not found in the OED online

Sources: Newspapers.
References: Montgomery (1984).

Manchester stuff

It appears in the Dictionary Archive only in the period before 1660, but the Gloucester Coastal Port Books show that into the eighteenth century it was carried down the River Severn, sometimes along with KIDDERMINSTER STUFF. What, if anything, made Manchester stuff distinctive is not clear. It is likely that they lost out against the competition from Kidderminster, and Manchester and district began to concentrate on more lucrative lines. Manchester stuffs were cheap, being valued between 6d and 10d the YARD. In other sources, but not in the Dictionary Archive, this term may have been synonymous with MANCHESTER GOODS.

Found described by BLACK and WHITE, COLOURED, WHITE
Found in units of YARD

Sources: Inventories (early).
References: Gloucester Coastal Port Books (1998).

Manchester tape

[manchaster tape; ___chestr tapes]

A distinctive TAPE, presumably originally made in MANCHESTER, but subsequently elsewhere

OED earliest date of use: 1794

Found described as DUTCHmans
Found in units of DOZEN, GROSS, PIECE, YARD

Sources: Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Tradecards.

Mane comb

[mayne comb; mawne combe; manecombe; manecomb; mane combe; maine comb]

A COMB for combing the longer hair in the mane of a HORSE. Randle Holme described it as a 'strong wood comb with a thick back' [Holme (2000)]. Mane combs were not as common as the CURRY COMB, which seems to have been regarded as an essential piece of equipment. The term was possibly a synonym for a HORSE COMB.

OED earliest date of use: 1564

Meyrick Cox and Fiona Walker

Found described by BOX
Found in units of DOZEN

Sources: Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late).

Mangling cloth

A LINEN CLOTH for placing between the rollers of the MANGLE and the washed linen. The use of mangling cloths was believed to impart a better finish to the linen, particularly if the cloth itself was never washed. The best cloths were of a pale BROWN - HOLLAND made expressly for the purpose. Such a cloth could be bought from the mangle makers and might be expected to last many years [Recipes (Whatman)]. It is worth noting, though, that although several makers of mangles advertised in the newspapers, none of them listed mangling cloths.

Sources: Recipes.



The fruit of Mangifera indica, a tree extensively cultivated in India and other tropical countries, it is a fleshy drupe, with more or less of a turpentine flavour; the best kinds are highly esteemed for eating ripe, when they are yellow; the green fruit is used for PICKLEs, as was the ripe fruit [Tradecards (18c.)]. Martha Bradley regarded mango pickle as one of the six major ones imported [Bradley (1756 facs.1996)]. Because mangoes were an exotic fruit, only appearing in this country in the form of a pickle, cooks attempted to make a substitute with green WALNUT, MELON and CUCUMBER spiced with GINGER and GARLIC [Houghton]. It was probably this substitute that was referred to in one retailer's list as 'Melon and Cucumber Mangoes' [Tradecards (18c.)], and in another as ENGLISH MANGO.

OED earliest date of use: 1582

Found in units of DOZEN, JAR

Sources: Houghton, Newspapers, Tradecards.
References: Bradley (1756, facs. 1996).



A ring of metal worn on the arm or wrist of some African tribes, often manufactured in this country to be used in trade to exchange with slaves. For this reason, means of cheapening the expenses of production were sought, as in a patent for making them from CAST IRON [Patents (1771)].

OED earliest date of use: 1556

Sources: Patents.

Maningburg flax

[maningburg and all sorts of rigitska flax]

Possibly FLAX from a place called or rendered Maningburg. The place has not been identified but it may have been a port on the coast of the Baltic or the North Sea. However, Maningburg flax has been noted as having been associated with RIGISCO FLAX, which suggests that it may have been another of the varieties of flax in which the descriptor indicated as much a distinctive way of packing up the flax as a place of origin.

Found described as FINE

Sources: Newspapers.

Mantua hose

Possibly HOSE originating in MANTUA, or of a style associated with that ITALIAN city. The only reference to them in the Dictionary Archive suggests that they were characteristically made of CREWEL [Rates (1660)].

OED earliest date of use: 1618

Found made of CREWEL Found rated by the PAIR

Sources: Rates.



A representation of the earth's surface or a part of it with its physical and/or political features, or of the heavens, delineated on a flat surface of paper or other material, each point in the drawing corresponding to a geographical or celestial position according to a definite scale or proportion.

Maps were unobtainable for all but the richest until advances in printing technology facilitated increased and eventually large-scale production. The first reference in the Dictionary Archive to a (single) map among a shop's wares is as early as 1545 [Inventories (1545)] but during the seventeenth century their availability and use spread rapidly, until by the end of the century, most people of the middling sort decorated the walls of their houses with maps and pictures. Maps of individual counties were especially popular; one enterprising stationer announced that he already had maps of Sussex for sale and that he had in preparation a 'Compleat set of County maps' one to be published 'once a month, until the whole be finished' [Newspapers (1749)]. Sayer and Bennett's Catalogue for 1775 consists of a long list of maps, from 'A General Atlas, an Imperial Folio describing the whole Universe ... Engraved in the best Manner on 62 Copper-Plates', costing Three Guineas 'half-bound', down to 'Kitchen's most accurate Map of the Roads of England and Wales' costing a mere 6d [Sayer and Bennett (1775, facs. 1970)].

Most maps were sold in black and white only, and their colouring was probably done by a specialist who according to Randle Holme was called a 'Washer of maps' [Holme (1688)]. However, Nicholas Blundell, the Lancashire gentleman, chose to apply his own colour to the maps he intended for the back parlour [Diaries (Blundell)]. By his time appropriate 'transparent colours' were available ready prepared in some shops, for example [Newspapers (1760)].

OED earliest date of use: 1527

Found described as dissected, for rooms and staircases, in a frame, land, LARGEr, of ENGLAND, of FRANCE, of Great Britain, of Huntingdon, of Norfolk, of Sussex, OLD, PRINTED Found in units of BALE, BUNDLE, DOZEN, REAM Found imported from HOLLAND by the BUNDLE, REAM
Found described as 'Maps and SEA CARDs of all sorts' Found rated by the HUNDREDWEIGHT, REAM

Sources: Acts, Diaries, Houghton, Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Newspapers, Rates.
References: Randle Holme (1688), Sayer and Bennett (1775).


[marbull; marbell]

Marble is a form of limestone in a crystalline, or more correctly granular, state, capable of taking a high polish. The varieties of marble are numerous, each with its own decorative and functional characteristics, though none of these has been noted in the Dictionary Archive. The best are highly decorative, hence its use for making MARBLE CHIMNEY PIECEs, GRAVESTONEs and STATUEs, for although hard, marble is fairly easy to carve. Some craftsmen went to some lengths to attract up-market customers, like a 'stone cutter' of Birmingham who employed 'an able Artist from London, capable of executing all the different Branches of Carving; such as Ornaments in wood, Stone, and Marble, after the Chinese, Gothick and modern Taste, with Variety of Drawings and Designs, after the most elegant Manner' [Newspapers (1760)].

Although vunerable to attack by acids, marble is resistant to attack from alkali. It transmits neither odours nor taste and so was esteemed for vessels carrying food and in medicine, and consequently its use in making such items as MARBLE MORTARs, SALTs and some APOTHECARY POTs, which is what the '12 dozen 1/2 of Marble Potts' valued at 30s in one inventory probably were [Inventories (1642)]).

Because it was so desirable a material, entrepreneurs were encouraged to improve the ways of working it, and patents exist for methods and implements such as the 'Engine for working, sawing, and polishing marble' [Patents (1668)]. There were also numerous attempts to make cheaper alternatives, like the one for 'Staining, veining, spotting, clouding, and otherwise imitating, marble, porphyry and other rich stones' [Patents (1724)], and another rather later one for 'Laying oil-colours in thin layers, on canvas, wood, iron, stone, or any similar substance, to imitate marble, for chimney-pieces, pillars, or floor-cloths, and for other purposes' [Patents (1790)]. Although imitations have not been noted in the Dictionary Archive, Thornton gives several examples, some of them from the highest echelons of society, including Queen Annes 'attiring chamber' in which the chimney piece in 1710-11 was painted 'with divers culloured stones as rance, [red and white marble], white and black marble, serpentine and purfire' [Thornton (1979)]. Methods of further ornamenting marble more cheaply than by carving were developed, such as the patent for the 'Art or method of inlaying scagliola or plaster, upon marble and metals, to imitate flowers, birds, &c.' [Patents (1770)].

Marble, or MARVEL, was used as a label for a TEXTILE made to resemble the veining in marble. 'Marbre' was a novelty WORSTED made in NORWICH and later imitated in the West country [Montgomery (1984)]. They were plain woven with dark and light threads alternating in both the WARP and the WEFT and were not dissimilar to MEDLEY cloth. They had a considerable vogue in the early eighteenth century [Kerridge (1985)].

A third meaning found in the Dictionary Archive is for a little BALL originally made of marble, but also from baked CLAY, PORCELAIN, GLASS and the like, used in a children's game called marbles. There was apparently a considerable market for these toys defined by Houghton as 'for boys to play with'. He claimed that in 1694 'there came from Germany tuns twenty three, barrels ten; from Holland sixty two thousand two hundred, and casks ten' [Houghton]. They were occasionally stocked in the shops, but wherever noted, they are usually found in quite large numbers; for example one retailer had 300 [Inventories (1716)]. Interest was sufficient for entrepreneurs to patent new methods of production like the 'Machine for making marbles for children' [Patents (1788)]. A century earlier Randle Holme listed several games played with marbles, writing 'Long Taw, circle Taw, Bank about Rubbers, are players with round Balls, or Marble Bullets called Marvels' [Holme (2000)].

The curious juxtaposition of 'Six Groce of Corks 6/ Six Groce of Marbles 6/' [Inventories (1741)] could be taken to suggest that the technology of placing a marble in a GLASS BOTTLE to seal it was already practised in the eighteenth century. It is unlikely in the extreme, as the entry was found among the conventional stock of a grocer, and not of a GLASS manufacturer.

OED earliest date of use: c1290

As a CHILDRENS TOY: Found described as for CHILDREN, for boys to play with Found in units of GROSS Found imported from GERMANY and HOLLAND by the BARREL, CASK, TON

Sources: Acts, Houghton, Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Rates, Recipes, Tradecards.
References: Holme (2000), Kerridge (1985), Montgomery (1984), Thornton (1978).

Marble chimney piece

[marble chimney peice]

The CHIMNEY PIECE was often the focal point of a room, and there were obvious advantages, if one could afford it, for it to be made of MARBLE, which was hard and easy to clean. As fixtures, marble chimney pieces are elusive in many of the documents used in trade, but their desirability is reflected in the way they were advertised to promote house sales, for example [Newspapers (1743)]. 'Marble masons' also chose to pick out chimney pieces in their promotional literature as something they were competent to make, for example [Tradecards (1786)]. Because of the high cost of marble and its high status, attempts were made to imitate it and the products usually made from it, including chimney pieces, as in the patent for 'Making, marbling, rounding, and finishing mantel-pieces for chimneys, to imitate marble' [Patents (1686)].

Not found in the OED

Found described as ELEGANT

Sources: Newspapers, Tradecards.

Marble mortar

[marble morter]

MORTARS were made of a variety of materials, the most common being BRASS or BELL METAL. However, both these could contaminate the substances to be ground up, wherefore MARBLE was also popular, particularly with those involved with APOTHECARY, hence entries like the 'blew Marble Morter & Pestill' valued at vs vijd [Inventories (1634)], and the 'Marble Morter & Pestle' valued at 10s [Inventories (1700)]. Marble mortars were not cheap, and are therefore less likely to be found in the home than in a shop.

Not found in the OED

Sources: Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Recipes, Tradecards.

Marble paper

PAPER coloured to look like MARBLE. It was popular for covering small BOOKS, for example [Newspapers (1790)], and for the end papers inside. The process of marbling as done in the late seventeenth century is described by John Houghton [Houghton], and according to nineteenth-century technology by Charles Tomlinson [Tomlinson (1854)].

OED earliest date of use: 1680

Sources: Houghton, Newspapers, Patents, Tradecards.
References: Tomlinson (1854).

Marble soap

SOAP (and hence also WASH BALLs) patterned to produce an effect like MARBLE, usually with bluish veining, by the inclusion of IRON sulphide (then called sulphuret), though other colours have been noted. The effect sometimes occurs spontaneously in the SODA used in making SOAP [Spon (1879)].

Found described as cream, RED, WHITE

Sources: Newspapers, Tradecards.
References: Spon (1879).

Marble stone

[marble-stone; marble stonne]

It is often found abbreviated to MARBLE. According to the OED, it denotes a MARBLE floor, monument, tomb etc. However, in the Dictionary Archive it more usually meant a slab of MARBLE, predominantly used in the preparation of medicines. After being pounded with a PESTLE in a MORTAR, ingredients were mixed with a little water or oil and 'polished' on a marble stone with a MULLER. The marble stone with its muller was not cheap; one noted was valued at 8s [Inventories (1700)].

OED earliest date of use: c1200

Sources: Houghton, Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Patents, Recipes.

Marble table

[table of marble; marble basons tables]

According to the OED, this is a flat and comparatively thin piece of MARBLE, a slab or tablet. Although this is often the correct definition, the term was also applied to a piece of FURNITURE, that is a TABLE, with a MARBLE top; hence entries like 'A large Marble Table, on a Mahogany Frame' [Newspapers (1743)]. Marble, being fairly unsusceptible to wet was suitable for GARDEN furniture, for example [Inventories (1723)].

OED earliest date of use: 1447

Found rated by the square FOOT

Sources: Inventories (late), Newspapers, Rates.


Variegated in colour like MARBLE. The OED's quotation suggest that the term was mainly applied to PAPER, but in the Dictionary Archive, there are occasional instances of it applied more widely as in the patent for 'Manufacturing earthenwares, as white gorges, marbled porcelain-vessels' [Patents (1684)], and marbled 'Mugs and Jugs' [Inventories (1790)].

Sources: Inventories (late), Patents.

Marblers plate

[marbelers plate]

A term found in the Dictionary Archive only in the 1582 Book of Rates [Rates (1582)]. Although the units of measure were different, it may be a similar object to a MARBLE TABLE that appeared in the 1784 book [Rates (1784)]. Alternatively it may be what the OED calls a 'marbler', which is an instrument used in marbling PAPER. However, the OED's quotations all date from the nineteenth century.

Found rated by the C of 112 LB

Sources: Rates.