Marcella - Mashing machine

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

This free content was born digital. All rights reserved.


In this section



A TEXTILE, in the form of stiff COTTON or LINEN fabric, made of two series of interlacing threads; probably a synonym for the later form of MARSEILLES QUILTING, and according to Montgomery of FRENCH QUILTING [Montgomery (1984)]. Judging by the quotations in the OED, it was particularly used for WAISTCOATs.

OED online earliest date of use: 1795

Found described as LIGHT
Found in units of YARD

Sources: Inventories (late).
References: Montgomery (1984).


[mareschale; marechelle; marechalle]

A SCENT used in PERFUMED WATER, HAIR POWDER, POMATUM or ESSENCE. Cox gives two nineteenth century formuli which suggest that CLOVES was an essential ingredient [Cox (1966, pb 1969)]. 'Mareschale d'Oeillet' from the French was probably also scented with the sweet-smelling pink or dianthus. The scent appears to pre-date the powder by more than a century.

OED earliest date of use: 1676 as a scent; 1788 as a hair powder

Found described by FRENCH

Sources: Newspapers, Tradecards.
References: Cox (1966, pb 1989).

Maredants drops

A supposedly antiscorbutic QUACK MEDICINE that was a 'certain cure for the sea and land scurvy'. Originally patented by John Norton in the 1760s as Maredants Drops [Patents (1764)], it was also known by Norton's own name and by that of his successor, J. Hayman; hence 'Hayman's Celebrated, Or Maredant's Drops' [Newspapers (1790)]. Although the proprietors claimed that the drops were 'perfectly innocent' [Newspapers (1790)], J.M. Adair in his attack on fashionable disorders thought otherwise, averring that they were made of ordinary MERCURY SUBLIMATE [Adair (1790), quoted in Porter (1989), 192].

Not found in the OED online

Sources: Newspapers, Patents.
References: Adair (1790), Porter (1989).

Maridrum water

[maridru' water]

This WATER appears only once in the Dictionary Archive among the stock of an apothecary [Inventories (1625)]. The meaning is unclear, though the reading is fairly unambiguous. Possibly, MARJORAM was intended.

Not found in the OED

Sources: Inventories (early).


[marjorum; mariarum; margerum]

This could refer to any plant of the genus Origanum, especially Origanum vulgare or wild marjoram, a common plant that thrives in limestone or chalky districts, and Origanum marjorama or sweet marjoram, an aromatic herb used in cookery. Both forms of marjoram were ascribed medicinal properties by Nicholas Culpeper [Culpeper (new ed.)], and were included in the mid-eighteenth century Materia Medica [Pemberton (1746)]. A modern herbal suggests little medicinal use for sweet marjoram but maintains that the VOLATILE OIL is a stimulant and rubefacient used in liniments [Wren (1941)]. It adds that the oil of marjoram as sold in the shops is distilled from THYME. The seed of of SWEET marjoram and POT marjoram were available in the shops [Tradecards (n.d.)].

OED earliest date of use: 1390

Found described as DRIED, POWDER, SWEET Found included in Gravy, IPSWICH WATER, METHEGLIN, Sauce

Sources: Recipes, Tradecards.
References: Culpeper (new ed.), Pemerton (1746), Wren (1941).

Marseilles quilting

[marseills quilting]

Montgomery suggests that Marseilles QUILTING consisted of 'two layers of cloth closely stitched by hand, with pattern areas raised by being stuffed through the coarser backing'. A premium was offered in 1783 by the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce for imitating Marseilles quilting in the loom, which resulted in the successful introduction of a TEXTILE called MARCELLA or Pique, though this was also sometimes known by the name of FRENCH QUILTING [Montgomery (1984)]. A late nineteenth-century quotation on English dress claimed that in 1893 'White waistcoats of Marseilles quilting were generally worn', and the OED suggests that by then Marseilles quilting was a stiff COTTON fabric, similar to Pique. This would suggest that the name was largely interchangeable with Marcella. The 'Mosello Quilting' noted in one advertisement, may be an unfortunate mis-spelling [Tradecards (18c.)].

OED earliest date of use: 1762

Found advertised for BED GOWN, COAT

Sources: Newspapers, Tradecards.
References: Montgomery (1984).



Marvel was a label given to various commodities, most of which embraced something of the concept of marvellous. In the first place it was the English name for the plant, Mirabilis jalapa, usually then called 'marvel of Peru', or 'marvel of the world'. It comes from tropical America and was much admired for its handsome, funnel-shaped flowers of various colours on the same plant. Gerard described it at some length, but largely because of its decorative qualities for, as he said, 'We have not yet any instructions from the people of India, concerning the nature or vertues of this plant' [Gerard (1597, 1985 ed.)]. In modern times it has been found to be cathartic, but is not used much if at all in herbal medicine. It can act as a vermifuge, valuable because it does not irritate the skin. Mrs Leyel comments that 'It has always been a matter of surprise that such a very unsatisfactory and comparatively undecorative flower should have such a misleading name ...' [Leyel (1937, pb 1987)].

Marvel was also an alternative name for MARBLE in some of its manifestations, as a TEXTILE and as the CHILDRENS TOY. In neither of these senses has the term been found definitively in the Dictionary Archive, though it may be marbles that were referred to in the entry 'marvells and buttons valued all 12d' [Inventories (1729)].

Sources: Inventories (early), Inventories (late).
References: Gerard (1597, modern ed. 1985), Leyel (1937, pb 1987).

Mash rule

[mash-rule; mashrule; mashrewe; mashe rule]

Also found as mash roll, the term denotes an implement for stirring the mash when BEER was being made.

OED earliest date of use: 1389 under Mash

See also MASH STAFF.
Sources: Houghton, Inventories (early), Inventories (late).

Mash staff

[mashing tubs & staff; mashing staff; mashing staf]

An implement in brewing, the same as, or similar to, a MASH RULE. It was sometimes referred to merely as a STAFF, but in conjunction with a MASH TUB, as in 'two mashing tubs & staff' [Inventories (1706)].

OED earliest date of use: 1796 under Mash

Sources: Inventories (late).

Mash stool


A STOOL or STAND on which the MASH TUB stood in order to facilitate draining the WORT into an UNDERBACK.

Not found in the OED

Sources: Inventories (early).

Mash tub

[mesh tub; mass tub; mash-tub; mashing tubbe; mashing tubb; mashing tub; masheing tub; mash tubb; mash and galforth tubs; mas tub; marshing tubb; marsh tubb]

Not to be confused with a WASHINB TUB, particularly when in the variant form 'Mashing tub'. The term denotes a TUB used in brewing in which MALT is steeped in hot water to be mashed and stirred with a MASH RULE or MASH STAFF in order to release the sugars, hence entries like 'two mashing tubs & staff' [Inventories (1706)]. The liquor is then drained off to form WORT. This vessel was variously named; in the Dictionary Archive MASH TUN, MASH VAT, MASHING COOMB, MASHING LOOM have all been noted. Draining the wort off was easier if the tub stood on a stand or MASHING STOOL or LADDER; hence entries like '1 Mesh Tub & Stand' [Inventories (1750)] and 'Mash Tubb w'th Storer & triangle Stool' [Inventories (1711)].

OED online earliest date of use: 1542 under Mashing

Found described as LITTLE, OLD, SMALL, 5 STRIKE

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

Mash tun

[mash-tun; mash tunn]

A vessel used in the early stages of brewing for mashing the MALT in order to release the sugars; in the Dictionary Archive more often termed a MASH TUB.

OED earliest date of use: 1713 under Mashing

Sources: Inventories (late), Patents.

Mash vat

[meshfatt; meshfat; mashing fatt; mashing fat; mashfatt; mashfat; mash ffat; mash fatt; masfatt]

A vessel used in the early stages of brewing for mashing the MALT in order to release the sugars; another name for the MASH TUB.

OED earliest date of use: 13-- as Mashing vat under Mashing

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

Mashing coomb

[mashing coump; mashing comb]

This type of COOMB is used in the early stages of brewing for mashing the MALT in order to release the sugars. In the Dictionary Archive it is more often termed a MASH TUB.

Not found in the OED online

Sources: Inventories (late).

Mashing kettle

Mashing KETTLE is a term that appears twice in the Dictionary Archive. It is most probably no more than a variation of a MASLIN kettle. This would make sense of the entry '3 small flanders & mashin kettles' [Inventories (1719)]. However, maslin is not noted elsewhere in this form, certainly not without its 'L'. The alternative is a Kettle used in brewing for mashing the MALT, or possibly for boiling the WORT when it has been drained off. The context of neither of the entries in the Dictionary Archive support this suggestion.

Not found in the OED

Sources: Inventories (late).

Mashing loom

[meshing loome]

A vessel used in the early stages of brewing for mashing the MALT to release the sugars. In the Dictionary Archive it is more often termed a MASH TUB.

Not found in the OED

Sources: Inventories (mid-period).

Mashing machine

A mechanical device by which the mash was stirred in brewing, thus replacing the hand held MASH RULE or MASH STAFF. This was hardly applicable in home brewing, but important when and where the operation was industrialized. A patent in 1792 presented a method by which it could be operated by steam or other power [Patents (1792)].

OED earliest reference to such a mechanism (but not the actual name): 1839

Sources: Patents.