Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities, 1550-1820. Originally published by University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, 2007.
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A type of GINGER only found in the shops before 1700. It was probably RACE GINGER in small pieces, as opposed to LARGE GINGER, although the difference in valuations is inconclusive. It was almost certainly synonymous with PETTY GINGER, which was the more common term and seems to have been valued in much the same price range. In the one other example, where valuations were comparable, large ginger was valued at 13d LB, with small at 8d [Inventories (1631)], while petty ginger at about the same time has been noted at 7d LB [Inventories (1643)]. Race ginger, on the other hand, has been noted for as little as 2d LB or so [Inventories (1689)].
Small tooth comb
A small, fine-toothed comb for drawing through the HAIR and so to remove dandfuff and nits; otherwise known as a DANDRUFF COMB [Cox (1966, pb 1969)]. Randle Holme described it as a 'small tooth comb, haueing teeth on both sides, on side wider then the other' [Holme (2000)].
This term is almost always found in the Dictionary Archive in the plural as 'Smalts'. This could be confused in transcription with SMELT, also commonly found in the plural. The OED does not suggest this as a possible variant of SMALT, but it was thus used in the Dictionary Archive.
Smalt was a form of GLASS, made by the fusion of roasted COBALT, called ZAFFRE, with SAND and POTASH (crude potassium carbonate). The cobalt gave it its usually deep BLUE colour [Partington (1953)]. After cooling, the glass was finely pulverized for use as a PIGMENT or as COLOURING matter in food. It was the favoured blue to colour SUGAR when that was made into a PASTE and shaped for banquets etc. It was the sole or chief ingredient of POWDER BLUE used to improve the appearance of whiteness in white LINEN.
It has been noted imported in small quantities [Houghton], which suggests that much was manufactured in this country. There was, for example, a patent for its manufacture as early as 1619 [Patents (1619)]. It was very cheap, being valued between 5d and 14d the LB, with the highest designated FINE, and with similar variations for the pound of smalt as there were for the ounce of LAPIS LAZULI, the best blue pigment.
A woman's undergarment. It was apparently made in two parts, judging by the entry 'ij smocke skyrtes of new Clothe wth the boddyes xxd' [Inventories (1564)]. 'Smock' as a term, but not as a garment, was replaced with SHIFT after 1700, and in the nineteenth century by 'chemise', though 'smock' survives in the name of another article of APPAREL, the SMOCK FROCK.
There is no entry in the OED, but the eighteenth-century writer on cookery, Elizabeth Raffald who grew up in Yorkshire, gave a recipe for salting tongues (apparently those from a pig) and presumably the process of the subsequent smoking would have been similar to the one she gave for smoked ham [Raffald (1769, new ed. 1977)]. It is found in the promotional literature of those selling prepared foods.
The chief port of Asia Minor, situated at the head of the gulf of the same name, used elliptically for a number of different commodities, particularly SMYRNA RAISINS and SMYRNA WINE. Although not found in the Dictionary Archive, Smyrna was also noted for its FIGS [Simmonds (1906)]. Trade with Smyrna seems to have increased after 1600 when SMYNA RAISINS (in two types) first appeared in the Books of Rates. Thereafter incidences of commodities from Smyrna increase both in number and in range.
According to the 1877 edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica as quoted in the OED, Smyrna COTTON was a variety of INDIAN cotton grown in the LEVANT. It has been noted only once in the Dictionary Archive in a newspaper advertisement listing several varieties of COTTON WOOL for sale in Manchester, in which this consignment at least seems less well favoured than the rest, since it was not designated as FINE like the others [Newspapers (1790)]. This is not entirely surprising, as Rees claimed that Smyrna cotton was 'distinguished by its want of colour', which was believed to indicate a lack of fineness. He described it as 'a short mossy kind, and rather dirty used to make candlewicks'. Even so up to 1200 BAGs (each of 300 LB) were imported each year into London during the late 1790s [Rees (1819-20, 1972 ed.)].
SMYRNA was the chief port of Asia Minor, situated at the head of the gulf of the same name. Some RAISINS grown in the hinterland for making WINE were known simply as Smyrna, others, into this century at least, were made from seedless grapes and are now called sultanas, although this is a term not noted in the Dictionary Archive [Simmonds (1906)]. Although Smyrna raisins were first rated in 1660 [Rates (1660)], and Houghton reported small quantities imported in 1682-3 [Houghton], they do not appear in the shops until the eighteenth century. The 1660 Book of Rates distinguished two varieties, RED SMYRNA RAISINS and BLACK. Nothing is known about the latter, except that they produced 'a strong bodied wine' [Dodd (1845)].
Varieties of WINE grown in the Middle East and exported through SMYRNA. Mid-eighteenth century newspaper advertisements suggest they were of good quality [Newspapers (1780)], an opinion supported by Dodd almost a century later, who wrote that the 'Black Smyrnas' [raisins] produced 'a strong bodied wine, and the 'Red Smyrnas' and the 'Valencias' a 'rich and full wine' [Dodd (1845)]. Prices quoted in the newspapers are 3s 6d GALLON in small quantities and 3s 3d in large.