Packel head - Paper tapestry

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

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Packel head

[packell head]

Possibly, by analogy with SADDLE HEAD, the front part of a PACK SADDLE that helped to keep the burden in place.

Not found in the OED

Sources: Inventories (late).


[paduck; packduck; pack duck]

A TEXTILE in the form of a LINEN CLOTH similar to CANVAS and DRILLING. It has been noted in the Books of Rates, but not in the shops.

OED earliest date of use: 1545

Sources: Rates.

Padua sauce

Almost nothing is known about this PREPARED SAUCE, except that it was available in the shops in the late eighteenth century and was included in a list of RICH SAUCEs [Tradecards (19c.)]. Since most of the others are known to have been highly spiced or highly flavoured and for use with savoury dishes, meat or fish, one may assume Padua sauce was of this type. However, there is no further clue as to its precise composition, or why it was so called.

Not found in the OED online

Sources: Tradecards.

Paint box

[paint boxe; boxes of paint shells]

This appears to have been a term with two different meanings. In the first, the juxtaposition of paint box with PATCH BOX suggests that the paint was COSMETIC [Tradecards (1771)], as do the 'Beautiful inlaid Paint Boxes' listed among the stock of another retailer [Tradecards (1794)]. However, the entry 'Boxes of Paint Shells; Ditto Lump Paint' suggests a paint box in the usual modern sense [Tradecards (1794)].

OED earliest date of use: 1858 in the second sense only

Found described as Beautiful, INLAID Found made of IVORY

Sources: Tradecards.

Painted box

[peinted box; paynted box; painted neel boxe; painted box'e; boxes painted]

It is not clear from the context whether the painted boxes found in at least one shop were decorative boxes for sale, or functional ones painted to assist the workers in identifying the contents [Inventories (1587)], but the latter seems more likely. Using colour seems to have been one of the usual ways retailers organized their storage units. For example one had 'One nest Boxes uncolered', as well as a 'Green nest', a 'Blew nest' and a 'yellow nest' [Inventories (1665)]. Another had a 'nest of paynted boxes' [Inventories (1603)]. The entry of '120 papers of thin painted Boxes' is more obscure [Inventories (1682)]. The same retailer had 'one wanscoted painted box', which was probably no more than a BOX made of WAINSCOT that had been painted - a common practice at the time for many types of furniture.

Not usefully found in the OED online

Found described as LARGE
Found in units of DOZEN

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

Painted hangings

[paynted hangynge; paynted hangyng; hengeng of cloth peyntted; hangyngs of peynted clothe; hangyngs of olde peynted clothe; hangynges paynted; hangeng of paynttid cloth]

HANGINGS made in imitation of TAPESTRY; in this sense, the term is a synonym of PAINTED CLOTH, made clear in entries like 'hangyngs of peynted clothe' [Inventories (1543)]. It was probably also used sometimes for TEXTILEs like CHINTZ and PINTADO. The term has not been noted after 1660, possibly because textile technology increasingly made available better alternatives. The pressure to find such alternatives is reflected in the patents, for example [Patents (1684)]. In one patent, the effects sought are spelt out in some detail: 'Making a new sort of glazed printed hangings, made of cotton, worsted, or woollen yarn, of all sorts of curious figures and landscapes, which for beauty of colours, exactness of figures, strength, and gloss, is hard to be distinguished from the finest silk tapestry hangings brought from foreign parts' [Patents (1692)].

Not found in the OED online

Found described as OLD

Sources: Inventories (early).


The term is found as 'Palampores' and 'Palempores' in other sources, and according to Yule the etymology is uncertain. He suggested it was possibly a corruption of a hybrid Hindi and Persian term 'Palangposh' meaning a bed-cover that may have become corrupted by analogy to another fabric 'Salempore'. An alternative derivation may be the State and town of Palanpur in Guzerat, which seems to have been an emporium for the manufactures of North India, long noted for CHINTZ of this kind.

The term denotes a kind of CHINTZ - BED - COVERING, sometimes made of beautiful patterns, using typical Indian techniques of the time like mordant-painting and resist dyeing [Montgomery (1984)]. It was formerly made at various places in India, especially at Sadras and Masulipatam. According to Milburn, pallampores were imported from Bengal and he included them in his lists of INDIAN - PIECE GOODS [Yule and Burnell (1886, pb 1996)]. The term is almost entirely absent from the Dictionary Archive, probably because pallampores were sold in England under a generic name like CHINTZ or 'Bed covering'.

Not found in the OED

Sources: Houghton.
References: Montgomery (1984), Yule and Burnell (1886, pb 1996).


[pumpillion; pumpillio'; pumpillia; pompillion; pompiliane; pompeluen]

Note that 'pampillione' has been found as a variant for POPULEON. The earliest use of this term was applied to a kind of FUR used in the fifteenth century and the sixteenth for trimming. Judging by the quotation in the OED it was only current from the late fifteenth century (1487) to the early seventeenth, and it has not been located in the Dictionary Archive. A second meaning that came into use rather later, but died out at about the same time, was applied to a TEXTILE in the form of a coarse WOOLLEN CLOTH. The OED's quotations all support the spelling of this term, but in the Dictionary Archive most examples begin either 'pomp' or 'pump'.

Pampilion was consistently measured by the YARD, an indication (no more) that it was a woollen fabric rather than a linen one. It was very cheap, usually being valued at 3d-4d the YARD. The meaning was extended to cover 'a coat of different colours, worn by servants' [Wright (1857)], though the only example in the Dictionary Archive is for one described as BLACK [Inventories (1634)]. It is presumably from this extension of meaning that Pompillion came to be a term of contempt applied to a man.

OED earliest date of use: 1558

As a fabric: Found in units of YARD
As a garment: Found described as BLACK, OLD

Sources: Inventories (early).
References: Wright (1857).

Pance sugar

Pance SUGAR appears only once in the Dictionary Archive, when it is distinguished from MUSCOVADO and associated with WHITE - POWDER SUGAR and LOAF SUGAR [Acts (1685)]. It seems therefore to have been some form of REFINED SUGAR. It is also found as 'Pan sugar' in the Gloucester Coastal Port Book for 1656 [Gloucester Coastal Port Books (1988)].

Not found in the OED

Sources: Acts.
References: Gloucester Coastal Port Books (1998).


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 muslins; a strategem that an act of 1700 was designed to thwart by defining pandaverts as MUSLIN [Acts (1700)]. Pandaverts 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, suggesting that if and when they were available for sale, it was probably under the generic term of 'Muslin'.

Not found in the OED

Found described as STRIPED

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

Pantheon stove

A form of STOVE fashionable towards the end of the eighteenth century. The descriptor, pantheon, may have been chosen merely as an allusion to classical Rome, but it may also have been intended to describe its form. The original Pantheon was round, so this stove may have had a rounded front.

Not found in the OED

Sources: Newspapers, Tradecards.

Pantile lath

According to Joseph Moxon, PANTILE lath was used for fixing PANTILEs, and a type of DEAL LATH,. They were 10 FOOT long and rather thicker than the usual lath [Moxon (1703, facs. 1989)].

OED earliest date of use: 1776

Found in units of DOZEN

Sources: Inventories (mid-period).
References: Moxon (1703, facs. 1989).

Paper hangings

[printed paper for hanging rooms; paper-hanging; paper hengings; paper hanging; paper for hanging of rooms]

PAPER, usually printed in ornamental designs, was used for covering and adorning the walls of a room, and so taking the place of ARRAS, cloth HANGINGS, TAPESTRY, WAINSCOT etc., that were formerly used for this purpose as WALL PAPER. John Houghton commented on the divers papers 'printed for the hanging of rooms; and truly they are very pretty, and make the houses of the more ordinary people look neat. At Ebisham in Surrey they call it paper tapestry; and if they be in all parts well pasted close to the walls or boards, they are very durable: and it ought to be encouraged, because 'tis introductory to other hangings' [Houghton]. His remarks might be taken to mean that paper hangings were not yet as fashionable as they were to become but this is unlikely. Much of the early paper used for this purpose was imported and expensive; hence comments like 'for Variety Beauty and Duration, equal to the Real India Paper' [Tradecards (1750)] used to promote home-produced paper as it became available. The same advertisement indicates some of what was avilable in the mid-eighteenth century: 'all sorts of Paper Hangings, Paintings of Landscapes, Festoons and Trophies, India Paper, Papier Machee, Ornaments, &c, and a Mock India Paper, made after a method peculiar to himself'. Another contemporary London tradesman offered 'all Sorts of Emboss'd Chints & Common Papers for Rooms with great variety of Papiee Machee & other Ornaments for Cichings, Halls, Stair Cases &c.' [Tradecards (1760)]. As one might expect, this fashionable product attracted the attention of innovators; hence a patent for a 'Machine for printing paper hangings' [Patents (1786)], and another for 'reparing, printing, and silvering paper, to resemble damask lace, and various silk stuffs, for hangings' [Patents (1793)].

As a new way of decorating rooms, paper hangings presented a challenge of installation. In one diary entry, Nicholas Blundell showed at some length how they could be hung [Diaries (Blundell)], but some retailers offered help, like Mr Pope who offered his 'mock India Paper Hangings', adding that 'For the convenience of Ladies & Gentlemen at a Distance from Town, these Hangings are made according to the plan given, & every breadth match'd & numbered, so that they are put up with the greatest ease by any country upholsterer' [Newspapers (1755)].

OED online earliest date of use: 1693

Found described as COMMON, NEAT, newest FASHION, FLOCK WORK, FROSTed, in imitation of IRISH STITCH, PAINTED, PLAIN, prepared against fire, PRINTED, for rooms, STAINED

Sources: Acts, Diaries, Houghton, Inventories (late), Newspapers, Patents, Tradecards.

Paper screw

A paper SCREW appears only once in the Dictionary Archive in an advertisement of an ironmonger and among a variety of industrial machinery [Newspapers (1782)]. In modern parlance the term has two meanings. One is for a small device to keep papers tidy, and consists of a base, a central rod on which papers can be threaded through a hole in them, and a screw top. The context suggests this was unlikely. The second meaning is of a SCREW PRESS used in PAPER making to press out the liquid from the partly made sheets of PAPER.

Not found in the OED online

Sources: Newspapers.

Paper stick

[paper knives and sticks]

Paper sticks appear in only one example in the Dictionary Archive in which they were coupled with paper knives. They were thus not the same. Possibly the stick was a spike fixed in a base onto which papers could be skewered for temporary storage.

Not found in the OED

Found described as BONE, IVORY

Sources: Tradecards.

Paper tapestry

A name commonly used in Surrey (and possibly elsewhere) to denote WALLPAPER or PAPER wall hangings. John Houghton wrote 'truly they are very pretty, and make the houses of the more ordinary people look neat. At Ebisham in Surrey they call it paper tapestry; and if they be in all parts well pasted close to the walls or boards, they are very durable: and it ought to be encouraged, because 'tis introductory to other hangings' [Houghton].

Not found in the OED

Sources: Houghton.