Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities, 1550-1820. Originally published by University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, 2007.
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Any umbrella shaped fungus toadstool, but generally the edible mushroom Agaricus campestris, or related edible species. Frederick Accum started his essay on poisonous mushrooms [Accum (1820)] with the statement that 'Mushrooms have long been used in sauces and other culinary preparations; yet there are numerous instances on record of the deleterious effects of some species of these fungi, almost all of which are fraught with poison'. He continued by citing several instances of the ill-effects of eating mushrooms garnered from the fields, the principal method of obtaining them in the early-modern period, and of the probability that mushrooms so collected would 'frequently be found to swarm with life'. Nevertheless, mushrooms were highly esteemed in the kitchen , and for preserving at home in the form of KETCHUP [Diaries (White)] and PICKLE. Mushrooms were also found in many forms, though not fresh, in the shops, for instance as MUSHROOM POWDER and MUSHROOM SAUCE, as well as KETCHUP [Newspapers (1760)] and PICKLE [Newspapers (1760)].
A SAUCE in which the main flavouring ingredient was MUSHROOM. Many cookery books gave a recipe for immediate use, but mushroom sauce has already been noted as a PREPARED SAUCE. Since most of these were highly flavoured, this type of mushroom sauce was probably similar to, or identical with, a mushroom KETCHUP.
An odiferous, reddish-brown substance, secreted in a gland or sac called the MUSK COD by the male musk-DEER and used by him as a territorial marker. It has a very powerful and enduring odour, and is used by humans as the basis of much PERFUME as well as in its own right as an ESSENCE, an OIL, a perfumed POWDER, and in WASH BALLs. In MEDICINE, it was included in the eighteenth-century Materia Medica [Pemberton (1746)]. It was believed to be a stimulant and antispasmodic The term was also applied occasionally to substances of a similar odour secreted by other animals.
Found described as CHINA, COARSE, of LEVANT Found describing BALL, ESSENCE, HAIR POWDER, PERFUME, TINCTURE, WASH BALL
Found in units of DRACHM, GRAIN Found imported by OUNCE Found among the DRUGS rated by the OUNCE, OUNCE - TROY
Also called 'Musk seeds', the term refers to the sac containing MUSK found near the anus of the Musk DEER. Musk was imported in this form, hence entries in the Books of Rates, but it is occasionally noted in the shops. This suggests that apothecaries and the like were obliged to extract the musk themselves. Possibly the odour was retained more effectively if transported and store in this form.
A hand GUN of the kind with which Infantry were armed. The term was originally applied to the match-lock gun. In the eighteenth century it was still sometimes distinguished from a gun activated by a FIRELOCK or a FUSEE. From early examples it appears that ARROWS as well as BULLETS were discharged from Muskets. Because of its weight, due largely to the long barrel, it was awkward to use on its own and so required a REST, hence entries like 'a muskett wth rest' [Inventories (1607)]. The entry 'ij Musketts rests, iij collers of Muskett Chargs ij fflasks, ij touche boxes, j duss' of Charges' [Inventories (1608)] helps to explain more generalised entries like 'muskett full furnyshed' [Inventories (1602)]. As the crown depended less on local militia, the possession of muskets by private individuals became less common, though they may be noted throughout the period.
The OED suggests that the term is derived from Mosul (Mausal or Mausil) on the Tigris in Mesopotamia, where muslin was formerly made. Muslin has also been from an early date the name of a textile, but apparently not always that of the thin semi-transparent tissue to which the term is now applied. In the thirteenth century, according to Marco Polo, the term, mosulin, was applied to a delicate fabric from Mosul made from SILK with GOLD [cited in OED]. the term was applied to a delicate fabric from Mosul made from SILK with GOLD. However, muslin was subsequently, and eventually exclusively, applied to the most delicately woven COTTON CLOTH or fine CALICO, although Sir Hans Sloane writing in 1685, suggested it was sometimes made of nettles, that is, presumably the nettle-like Chinese plant Boehmeria nivea from which HERBA TAFFETIES and HERBA LONGEES were also made [Ray Correspondence (1848)]. Muslins were imported by the East India Company from the 1670s and appeared in the shops throughout the country shortly after in various varieties. Although relatively expensive initially at 3s a yard or more, the price dropped rapidly.
Muslin imports attracted heavy duties so that Parliament felt it necessary in 1700 to produce a list of such fabrics that were to be included under the generic term [Acts (1700)]. This was probably an attempt to thwart evasion of duty by using a native name. 21 species of muslin, most of which only appear in the Dictionary Archive in this one act, presumably because if, and when, they were sold in the shops it was under the generic name and not the specific. Apart from the fabrics, the act also included three articles of APPAREL: APRON, NECKCLOTH and NIGHT RAIL. These were by no means always made of muslin. Muslin was not included as such in Milburns's lists of INDIAN - PIECE GOODS, although a few named species of muslin appeared there such as BETEELA, JAMDANI and TERRINDAM [Yule and Burnell (1886, pb 1996)].
The manufacture of muslin in Britain started early in the eighteenth century. For example, an act in the 1720s indicates that the manufacture of Muslin in Scotland was well established by this date [Acts (1726)]. However, expansion was held up by the difficulty of spinning a fine and strong thread in sufficiently large quantities. This was only resolved with the invention of Samuel Crompton's Spinning Mule in the 1770s. The spate of patents reflects the importance of muslin to British manufacture. The first, in 1691 related to the use of WEST INDIAN cotton, but the main run came from the 1770s onwards and concerned finishing processes like printing, glazing and stiffening.
Since muslin was both decorative and light in weight, it was widely used not only for small articles of clothing like RUFFLEs, CRAVATs and HANDKERCHIEFs, but also GOWNs and LADIES - DRESSes. In the 1790s the German tourist Johanna Schopenhauer picked out for comment the beautiful draperies of muslin in London shop displays as if, for her at least, this was the definitively fashionable fabric [Diaries (Schopenhauer)]. The same perception of fashionability is reflected in such names as the 'India Muslin Warehouse' and 'Chawners Haberdashery, Millinery and Muslin Warehouse'. Muslin had many varieties and was used for many purposes, both in APPAREL and in furnishings such as CURTAINs, HANGINGs. The term also applied to a DRESS made of muslin.
Muslin included ADATIS, APRON, AWBROAKS, CALICO LAWN, 'and other thin Callicoes', COMERVILLES, COSSAES, DORIA, GOLCONDA, JECOLSIES, JUNAYS, MAMOLWHIATES, MULMULL, NECKCLOTH, NIGHT RAIL, ORINGALL, PANDAVERTS, REHING, ROWALLEW, SALLOWS, SEERHAND, TANJEB, TERRINDAM
Found described as ALLIBALLY, BOOK, BRITISH, CALICO, CAMBRIC, CHECK, clear, COARSE, DYED, ELL WIDE, ENGLISH, FANCY, FLOWERED, FRENCH, FOREIGN, INDIA, JACONET, LACE, LENO, PAINTED, PLAID, PLAIN, PRINTED, 'proper for the Lady's Summer wear', SCOTCH, seeded, SPOTTED, SPRIGGED, STAINED, STITCHED, STRIPED, thick, veined, WHITE, worked Found described as for APRON, CRAVAT, edging, GOWN, NECKCLOTH, NEGLIGEE, SACK Found used to make CAP, CRAVAT, drapes, HANDKERCHIEF, KERCHIEF, RUFFLE, weeper, WINDOW CURTAIN
Sources: Acts, Diaries, Houghton, Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Newspapers, Patents, Rates, Recipes, Tradecards.
References: Montgomery (1984), 304-5, Ray Correspondence (1848), Yule and Burnell (1886, pb 1996).
A term that appears only twice in the Dictionary Archive, and in each case with insufficient context to be confident about meaning. In one instance it is almost an afterthought in an inventory, suggestive of CHAPMENS WARE and may have been HAIR POWDER [Inventories (1605)], but the term is entirely obscure in the second instance [Inventories (1696)].
Mustard is a pungent condiment, one of the few actually grown and produced in Britain, though it was also imported. It was made from the seed of two related species, Sinapsis (or Brassica) nigra, that is BLACK or BROWN MUSTARD, and Brassica alba or WHITE MUSTARD. The former is the more valuable for commercial purposes, though usually both are used to prepare mustard, since the two together are more pungent than either on its own. This was because of the complex reactions that took place between two chemical substances, sinigrin (myronate of potassium) and myrosin (sometimes known as the mustard ferment). The former is found only in the brown mustard, while the latter, although present in both is found to excess in the white. It reacts on the sinigrin to produce the ESSENTIAL OIL of mustard that is the source of the flavour [Simmonds (1906)].
MUSTARD SEED ground or pounded to a powder (often with admixture of other subtances such as WHEAT FLOUR which supposedly improved the keeping qualities), was sometimes called FLOWER OF MUSTARD. This was made into a paste with the addition of water or VINEGAR, and served as a condiment of extreme pungency, or applied to the skin as a rubefacient in the form of a POULTICE or PLASTER. For this purpose a mixture of the two types was recommended medicinally. Grinding the seed by hand with a MUSTARD BALL or even the MUSTARD QUERN, was laborious and the condiment once constituted did not last more than a week. The development of the MUSTARD MILL simplified the making of mustard flour, which could more easily be transported and made up as required. It was made commercially at least from the 1720s, one of the earliest being DURHAM MUSTARD. Prior to this Tewkesbury was a centre for the production of mustard, where it was made into MUSTARD BALLs [Mason and Brown (1999)].
Two distinctive types of FRENCH mustard may well have already been available in the early modern period, though they do not appear in the Dictionary Archive; Dijon mustard was mixed with VERJUICE, Bordeaux mustard with unfermented wine [sic] [Froud and Turgeon (1961)]. Two oils are extracted from the seeds; ESSENCE OF MUSTARD and OIL OF MUSTARD.
See also COMMON MUSTARD, DURHAM MUSTARD, GARLIC MUSTARD, JUG MUSTARD, MITHRIDATE MUSTARD MOUTARDE A LA RAVIGOTE, PATENT MUSTARD, READY MADE MUSTARD.
Sources: Diaries, Houghton, Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Newspapers, Recipes, Tradecards.
References: Froud and Turgeon (1961), Mason and Brown (1999), Simmonds (1904).
A heavy ball, sometimes called a 'mustard bullet' or a 'mustard stone' was once used in place of a PESTLE for crushing MUSTARD SEED [Wright (1898-1905)]. Given the pungent taste of mustard, a ball kept more or less exclusively for the purpose may have prevented contamination of other spices prepared in the MORTAR and pestle. The process was time-consuming; Richard Bradley wrote that 'we must spend an Hour in the Ceremony of grinding it in a wooden Bowl, and an Iron Cannon-Bullet, according to the old custom' [Bradley (1736, facs. 1980)].
Mustard balls of another sort were prepared at Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries from MUSTARD SEED ground coarsely and mixed with HORSE RADISH, formed into balls and dried. These were sold across the country, although they have not been noted in the shops, and could be prepared for use by adding VINEGAR or VERJUICE or even CIDER or WINE [Mason and Brown (1999)].
There is no definition in the OED, but the quotation given there refers to a 'Mustard Box without mark' suggesting it was probably made of SILVER. The contexts of the two examples in the Dictionary Archive suggest that mustard box was an alternative name for a MUSTARD POT; hence the '2 Salts & a Mustard Box' among the PEWTER [Inventories (1733)], and the 'Musterd Box and spoons' [Inventories (1715)], though it is equally conceivable that the mustard box was akin to a CANISTER in which to keep FLOWER OF MUSTARD.
A MILL for grinding MUSTARD, the mustard mill was an important innovation as grinding by hand was slow and inefficient, and it allowed the product to be developed commercially. In the Dictionary Archive, mustard mills have been noted before 1660 only in the south. Thereafter they disappear almost entirely from shops and the home, presumably because ready ground FLOWER OF MUSTARD was more readily available.
A small POT in which to keep or serve MUSTARD. There is suggestion, no more, that the mustard pots found in trade were generally made of PEWTER, particularly in the early part of the period. However, as the manufacture of EARTHENWARE became more common, and more decorative, that material came into use, for example [Inventories (1699)], as was SILVER. In consequence, pots actually described as of pewter also occur more frequently after 1660, whereas this feature may have been treated as a given. Pewter or silver pots almost certainly contained an inner vessel of glass to prevent damage to the metal, although this is rarely spelled out as in 'a Lignd outer must'd pott' [Inventories (1723)]. One maker had a huge range of mustard pots, mostly listed elliptically as 'mustards'. He had them in the relatively new 'cream' earthen ware, 'edged' and in fancy shapes as in '6 blue artichoke Mustards @ 3d' [Inventories (1790)].
Although a sarcastic reference dated 1425 quoted in the OED implied mustard pots at the time had PARCHMENT tops to exclude air, later pots had more durable lids, either made of the same material as the body, or of ceramic with silver or pewter lids.
A simple apparatus with which to grind MUSTARD, consisting of a fixed lower stone, and an upper stone that can be turned. For this reason they are often found in pairs. Later it possibly became, as the OED suggests, an alternative name for a form of MUSTARD MILL. John Evelyn advised that, above all the mechanisms that could be used to grind mustard, he preferred the QUERN, which should be 'contrived for this purpose only' [Evelyn (1699, new ed. 1996)]. Mustard querns seem to have died out of use after 1700 in shops and the home, possibly because ground FLOWER OF MUSTARD was more readily available.
MUSTARD seed was one of the most important of the SPICEs that could be grown in this country. John Evelyn called it 'another noble ingredient', next in importance after SALT. He claimed that the best came from Tewkesbury in Worcestershire or else it should be 'compos'd of the soundest and weightiest Yorkshire seed, exquisitely sifted, winnow'd, and freed from the husks, a little (not over-much) dry'd by the fire ...' [Evelyn (1699, new ed. 1996)].
Richard Bradley, writing somewhat later, distinguished three varieties, 'The white Sort, which is a large grain, and not so strong, and the black Sort, which is a small Grain'. However, he recommended above all the seed of the wild mustard, which grew widely in Essex and 'which sells the best in the Markets'. He suggested, for those 'who do not love their Mustard over strong' to use equal quantities of black and white in the grinding. All writers stressed the importance of seed 'free from Mustiness, which happened from the gathering of the seed wet, or in the Dew, and laying it close together before it is threshed' [Bradley (1736, facs. 1980)]. By the late eighteenth century, much mustard was grown in Norfolk. According to Marshall, the crop was reaped in September, tied in sheaths and left four or five days in the stubble. Rain at this stage turns the seed grey, losing it much of its value. A good crop was six to seven COOMB an acre [Marshall (1818, facs. 1968)].
See also BROWN MUSTARD, DURHAM MUSTARD, WHITE MUSTARD.
Sources: Diaries, Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Rates, Recipes, Tradecards.
References: Bradley (1736, facs. 1980), Evelyn (1699, modern ed. 1996), Marshall (1818, facs. 1968).
Early MUSTARD spoons were SHOVEL shaped, possibly because they were intended primarily for use with MUSTARD SEED or FLOWER OF MUSTARD. Later ones were designed to go with the MUSTARD POT. Advertisements show that in trade, they were often assosiated with MARROW SPOONs [Tradecards (1771)], or SALT SPOONs [Tradecards (1794)], presumably because all three were of a non-standard shape.
One of the two examples in the Dictionary Archive suggests it was a TUB in which to keep MUSTARD SEED [Inventories (1764)], rather than a container for made MUSTARD, which does not keep well and would not have been marketed in such quantities as would warrant a tub. Although no lid was mentioned, some tubs did have lids or a fitted head like a BARREL. A mustard tub in this sense was probably no different from any other tub and was defined only by its contents.
Known also as the 'purging Indian plumb' [Rolt (1761)], the myrobalans were the astringent plum-like fruits of various tropical species of Terminalia. They are now chiefly used as a DYESTUFF, in tanning (see TANNED) and in the making of INK [Collins (1877)], but formerly they were regarded as useful medicinally. They were not, however, listed in the Materia Medica in Pemberton's version of the Dispensatory [Pemberton (1746)] and Rolt wrote that they were 'much more used in Arabian than the Greek pharmacy, and more among the antients than the modern; but still more abroad than in England [Rolt (1761)]. Collins described the pods as being 1 or so inches long, ovoid in shape, furrowed and covered with a yellowish or dark brown skin covering an astringent, hardened pulp [Collins (1877)]. However, according to Rolt there were five varieties imported from the East Indies, each with distinctive fruits though with similar purgative and astringent properties: 'citrini', 'black or Indian', 'ebeluli', 'emblici' and 'bellerici' [Rolt (1761)]. His account is confirmed by entries like 'the v kinds of mirabilans' among the stock of one retailer and the 'quinque gen's mirabolanon' in that of another [Inventories (1573)]; [Inventories (1665)]. Three out of the five varieties have also been noted; 'Mirabilons Citri', 'mirab emblicoru', and 'Mirabilans Ind' [Inventories (1624)]; [Inventories (1623)]; [Inventories (1690)]. Mostly myrabolans seem to have been offered for sale without further preparation. Although not found in shop stocks after 1700, 'Mireabellas' were advertised in 1800 among his 'West Indian Sweetmeats and Preserves' by one London retailer [Tradecards (1800)], suggesting that by the end of the period at least, myrobalans were sometimes offered in the form of preserved relishes.