Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities 1550-1820. Originally published by University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, 2007.
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Also known as a 'card of the sea', Randle Holme described a sea card among sailors' terms as a 'Geographical description of Coasts, with the Distance, height and Winds laid down in it, by which the Pilate guides the Ship to its Haven.' [Holme (2000)]. This would appear not to be a MAP, but written instructions. However, the term also referred to a chart or map of a portion of the sea intended to be of use to mariners.
OED earliest date of use: 1534 as card of sea; 1571 as sea card
See also MAP.
References: Holme (2000).
Sea coal ashes
The ASHES resulting from burning SEA COAL. Such ashes were acidic rather than a source of ALKALI like WOOD ASH and FERN ASH, and so were unsuitable for making GLASS or SOAP. They were used in making BRICK [Acts (1770)], and for mixing into certain types of PLASTER [Diaries (White)].
OED earliest date of use: 1699
See also ASHES, SPANISH SCREENED.
Sources: Acts, Diaries, Houghton.
[seegrene; sea greene]
A name applied to a pale bluish-green. It appears not to have been a particularly popular term, and possibly this extended to the COLOUR, since it has only been noticed once in the Dictionary Archive describing STOCKINGS [Diaries (Fell)]. The OED noted sea green as a name for the houseleek, but suggests this may have been a misprint for 'Sengreen'.
OED earliest date of use: 1603 as a colour; 1601 as a houseleek
Sea horse teeth
'Sea horse' was a name given to various large sea creatures, some mythical like the Hippocampus and others real like the walrus or SEA MORSE and the narwhal and even the hippopotamus. All of these have tusks and/or teeth that were much valued in commerce, but which probably appear in most texts as IVORY.
Found in units of LB Found rated by the POUND
Sources: Inventories (mid-period), Rates.
Even today there seems to be some ambiguity about the correct name, for instance, it is labelled Artemisia maritima by Keble Martin [Keble Martin (1965, revised 1971)], and Seriphidium maritimum by Mabey [Mabey (1996)]. Culpeper claimed this HERB had 'as many names as virtues' [Culpeper (1653, new ed. n.d.)] and according to him the seed was the weakest of the wormwoods and best given to children. Pemberton included sea wormwood as an ingredient of what he called 'Green oil' [Pemberton (1746)].
OED earliest date of use: 1578
References: Culpeper (1653, new ed. n.d.), Keble Martin (1965, revised 1971), Mabey (1996), Pemberton (1746).
A HERRING cured at sea. These were often repacked when landed hence the rating of 'unpack'd or Sea-sticks' [Rates (1660)].
OED earliest date of use: 1618
Found described as unpacked Found rated by the LAST of 18 BARREL
This term is not found in the dictionaries and only appears once in the Dictionary Archive in a list of tools that could be exported. Presumably it was considered that export would be unlikely to affect British industry so it was probably a simple and well-established TOOL [Acts (1786)]. Salaman lists it as a TOOL used by boot and shoe makers for setting and hardening the edge of the heel [Salaman (1986)]. Possibly a similar tool was used by saddlers, though he does not refer to it.
Not found in the OED
References: Salaman (1986).
[seeds or ragges of orient pearle; seede pearle; seed perle; seed pearle; seed of pearle; pearl-seed; pearle seed]
A minute PEARL having the appearance of a seed, sometimes drilled and fastened to some material to be used as an ornament, but also prepared or GROUND and used in medicinal powders.
OED earliest date of use: 1553
Found in units of BAG, OZ Found imported by OZ Found among DRUGS, rated by OUNCE, OUNCE -TROY
Sources: Houghton, Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Rates, Recipes.
The form 'Seerbands' and 'Seershauds' are found in other sources. Both seem to mean much the same; a form of turban or veil. The term refers to a COTTON - TEXTILE imported from Bengal, and included by Milburn in his lists of INDIAN - PIECE GOODS [Yule and Burnell (1886, pb 1996)]. It was defined as a MUSLIN in an act of 1700 [Acts (1700)]. Because it retained its clean appearance, even after repeated washing, it was popular for CLOTHING [Montgomery (1984)].
Found described as STRIPED
Sources: Acts, Newspapers.
References: Montgomery (1984), Yule and Burnell (1886, pb 1996).
A TEXTILE; possibly the same as the 'Segovienne' noted by Florence Montgomery, which was a twilled FLANNEL made of SPANISH WOOL from Segovia. It was used for UPHOLSTERY, but also for CHILDREN clothes and everyday clothing [Montgomery (1984)]. The only example identified in the Dictionary Archive is the entry for '3 Segora pettycoatts at 3s 4d' each [Inventories (1717)]. They were listed among other cheapish WOOLLEN fabrics, a fact that fits the findings of Montgomery.
Not found in the OED online
Found describing PETTICOAT
Sources: Inventories (late).
References: Montgomery (1984), .
Self colour/self coloured are defined by the OED as being of a uniform colour, particularly with reference to animals and plants. Used to describe a NECKLACE, it probably meant just that, particularly as the only examples in the Dictionary Archive were in 'the Grinding Room' [Inventories (1764)]. Another possibility is that the necklace was made of a material that was naturally red, like RED CORAL, and therefore not painted.
OED earliest date of use: 1665 for 'self colour'
Found describing NECKLACE
Sources: Inventories (late).
[seltzer water; seltzer and pyrmont water]
The term refers to an effervescent mineral water obtained near Nieder-Selters, containing sodium chloride and small quantities of sodium, calcium and magnesium carbonates. It could also be an artificial mineral water of similar composition.
OED earliest date of use: 1741
Found described as GENUINE, 'directly from the Springs', REAL
Sources: Newspapers, Tradecards.
The common name of the North American plant Polygala senega and of the drug obtained from its root and/or rhyzome. The drug is an irritant that in small doses is used as a diuretic and expectorant, but in larger doses as an emetic [Wren (1941)]. It was formerly believed to be an antidote to snake bites. There is no relationship between this drug and GUM SENEGAL, although the names were sometimes confused.
OED earliest date of use: 1738 under Senega
Found describing ROOT
As Seneca root: Found among the DRUGS, rated by the POUND
See also GUM SENEGAL, SNAKE ROOT.
References: Wren (1941).
[sergh; searge; searg; sarge]
A TEXTILE, normally a WOOLLEN fabric, the nature of which has probably changed considerably over time. The term itself suggests that it was originally of SILK, but early sources in this country suggests it was of wool, though by the seventeenth century at least, STUFF weavers were making SILK SERGE (see SERGEDUSOY). It is distinguished from SAY only in the weave only by its inconspicuous warp. In this period Serge was generally a durable TWILLed CLOTH of WORSTED, or with the warp of WORSTED and the woof of wool. It was of a lighter weight than BROADCLOTH and generally of better quality than KERSEY. In the Dictionary Archive it has been found included among STUFFS and of a rather heavier type than other varieties. It is usually included among the NEW DRAPERIES.
The keen rivalry between France and England, two countries where the manufacture of serges was well established, meant that the weavers made serges in imitation of the respective other. The French made 'Serges facon de Londres', while the English made 'SERGE DE NIMES', later abbreviated to DENIM. In the Dictionary Archive there is considerable variation in valuations, ranging from 10d to 6s a yard. According to Kerridge, 'serge of Athens' was introduced in the early seventeenth century and was either all worsted, or part silk. It has occasionally been noted in the shops.
Serge was one of the most widely stocked TEXTILEs, some shops having more than a dozen varieties; even quite small provincial shopkeepers stocked up to half a dozen. The price range was considerable, in provincial shops it could be as low as 8d per YARD rising to 8s and more. During the seventeenth century especially it was popular, usually in red for the FURNISHINGs in the best rooms. It was also used extensively for APPAREL. A common variant spelling of this term is 'sarge'.
OED earliest use: c1386
Found described as of Athens, bastard long, BLACK, BLUE, BOOT TOP, BOW DYE, BROAD, BROWN, burral, CHECKERED, COARSE, Cockermouth, COLOURED, CRESTED, DOUBLE, DYED, DUTCH, DUTCH of Johnson, ELL broad, ELL WIDE, FINE, FLANDERS, of FLORENCE, FLOWERED (possibly meaning of Florence as it sometimes appears in the form 'flo:'), FRENCH, GREEN, GREY, HAIR colour, Hondschoote (Hounscot), LEAD coloured, Leicester, long ell, MANCHESTER, MANTLE, middling, MILLED, MIXED, NARROW, ORDINARY, PADUA, PADUA of Gest, PRESSED, PROOF, RED, ROUGH, RUSSET, SAD, SCARLET, SHALLOON, SINGLE, STRIPED, TARTAN, TAUNTON, TAWNY, WHITE, WOOLLEN, YELLOW Found describing FLANNEL, PRUNELLA Found used to make BOOT HOSE tops, BREECHES, CARPET, COAT, COIF, COUNTERPANE, CURTAINS, FROCK, FURNITURE, HANGINGS, HOOD, HOSE with tops, MANTLE, MANTUA, NIGHT GOWN, PETTICOAT, WAISTCOAT, WHISK
Found in the shops measured by ELL (only occasionally), PIECE, YARD Found rated by the YARD
See also CLOTH SERGE, GERMAN SERGE, SERGE CLOTH.
Sources: Acts, Diaries, Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Newspapers, Rates, Tradecards.
References: Kerridge (1985), 7, 57, 67, and many others, Montgomery (1984), 344-5.
This has been noted only in the 1582 Book of Rates and the meaning is not known [Rates (1582)]. T.S. Willan suggests that the fruit of the SERVICE tree was intended, but the Latin form of that tree's name is Sorbus and 'serves' has not been found otherwise as a variant for service [Willan (1962)]. It is possible that CERUSE (that is WHITE LEAD) was meant, although the addition of 'albi' would seem to be redundant and ceruse, in the form 'Serusa' was also listed.
Not found in the OED
Found rated by the POUND
References: Willan (1962).
Either a stick used for making holes for 'setting' or planting (now only dialect), or a rod used for stiffening the plaits or 'sets' of ruffs, a poking-stick (now obsolete). In none of the examples noted in the Dictionary Archive does the context make it possible to be sure unequivocally which was intended.
OED earliest date of use: 1556 in the first sense; 1575 in the second
Sources: Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period).
[sivell oringes; seville and china oranges; sevill oringes]
The bitter ORANGE, formerly Citrus bigaradia, now Citrus aurantium, is used now mainly for making MARMALADE. In the early modern period, they were used more widely, for example, to make ORANGE SHRUB [Newspapers (1749)]. They were for sale in the eighteenth century, not only in London, but also in provincial towns like BIRMINGHAM, where competition was fierce to announce the earliest imports and the cheapest prices, for example [Newspapers (1743)].
OED earliest date of use: 1593
Found used to make SHRUB
Sources: Diaries, Newspapers, Recipes.