Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities, 1550-1820. Originally published by University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, 2007.
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The crushed BARK of the OAK or another TREE, an infusion of which is used in converting HIDE into TANNED LEATHER. Tan bark was taken from the inner bark of the red oak, Quercus robur, and others stripped from trees at the age of nine to fifteen years' [Collins (1877)]. According to John Houghton, 'Oak for tan-bark may be fell'd from April to the last of June by a statute of 1 Jacobi' [Houghton] and the best tan bark was taken from trees felled at an older age. It was thus one of the many commodities taken or made from the oak, the most important being TIMBER, where the exploitation of the one competed with interest in the respective others. The problem was insoluble, as both tan bark and OAK TIMBER were important commodities and essential for the economy.
An early meaning of the term was a large, open TUB-like vessel, usually of WOOD hooped with IRON, but sometimes of LEATHER; especially for a vessel used to carry water. Later the term was applied to a drinking vessel, formerly made of WOODEN - STAVES and hooped, then especially a tall, one-handled JUG or MUG, usually of PEWTER, sometimes with a lid, used chiefly for drinking BEER. Most tankards noted in the Dictionary Archive are of the second type, and most were made of pewter or SILVER, but an early act concerned 'all Sadlers, Girdlers, Cordwainers and all other Artificers, such as make Males, Bougets, Leather Pots, Tankards ... of Leather' [Acts (1552)].
The term indicates that the object so described has undergone a process of curing and preservation by prolonged soaking in a tanning liquor, usually made from TAN BARK, commonly OAK BARK, but also SUMACH.
Tanning served to convert skins and hides into LEATHER and it was a lengthy process. According to John Houghton HIDEs were placed in a smoke house for between one day and a week, and periodically covered with ASH to loosen the hair. After the hair was removed using an IRON PIN the hide was placed in the VAN VAT full of weak tanning solution called ouse, and moved subsequently into a stronger one. The hide was then lain and rolled in layers of RYE - MEAL, and then in layers of BARK, where it remained for a couple of months. Afterwards, it was rolled and lain in fresh bark for a further two. Depending upon the colour required by the tanner it might remain longer in layers of BARK [Houghton]. Because the process was offensive, it took place largely out of the public gaze. As a result of this, and perhaps for other reasons, 'The frauds committed in the tanning of skins ... exceed belief' [Accum (1820)].
SAIL CLOTH and CORDAGE, both of which were prone to rot, were also sometimes subjected to a process similar to tanning, hence the patent for a liquor for tanning thread sail-cloth, and modes of preserving the sail-cloth or 'tanned canvas' from mildewing and rotting [Patents (1768)] and the '18 score yards tand hering lint' [Inventories (1677)] listed among fishing equipment.
Found describing BACK, BASIL SKIN, BEND, BRIDLE, CALF SKIN, CANVAS, COW HIDE, DOESKIN, GLOVES, GOATSKIN, HIDE, HORSE HIDE, LAMBSKIN, LINE, MITT, MITTEN, Muscovy hide, OX HIDE, PARCHMENT, RED HIDE, Russia HIDE, SHEEP LEATHER, SHEEPSKIN, SKIN, TRUNK
Tanning was the main method by which the HIDE from bigger animals like CATTLE and HORSEs were preserved and made usable. Most LEATHER was therefore TANNED and the descriptor was in most cases superfluous, unless it was being contrasted with some that had been TAWED or otherwise treated as in 'Taned Leather drest & Undrest' [Inventories (1678)], and 'All the Tanned Leather and White Leather in the Shop' [Inventories (1737)]. Exceptions to this generalization may be found in official documents, like the Gloucester Coastal Port Books, and in statutes, hence the one to 'discourage fraud and improper tanning'. This found that people had been 'much deceived and abused by selling of tanned Leather by Weight, the said Leather being neither sufficiently tanned, nor thoroughly dried as it ought to be' [Acts (1606)]. Frauds in the tanning and marketing of tanned leather were manifold; indeed Frederick Accum wrote that they 'exceed belief' [Accum (1820)]. Parliament did its best as in the act 'against Regrators of Tanned Leather', which tackled the 'Covetousness of divers greedy Persons, regrating and engrossing all Kinds of Tanned Leather into their Hands, and selling the same again at excessive Prices to Sadlers, Girdlers, Cordwainers and such other Artificers' [Acts (1552)].
Although most tanned leather came from the hides of large animals, tanning processes using other tanning agents and other raw materials were used. For instance MOROCCO was made from GOATSKIN and tanned with SUMACH, while RUSSIA LEATHER was tanned with WILLOW.
Some form of TEXTILE, but it has not been found in the TEXTILE authorities or the dictionaries. A rate of 6s in the Book of Rates of 1660, the only one in which it appeared, suggests a valuable cloth [Rates (1660)].
Found elsewhere in the form of 'tanjeebs', the term comes from the Persian 'Tanzeb', meaning 'body adorning'. It was an uncommon COTTON - TEXTILE imported from Bengal in India and imported in relatively large quantities into England towards the end of the seventeenth century. Some was EMBROIDERED with SILK or COTTON, and it was used to make into PETTICOATs and DRESSes [Montgomery (1984)]. It is possible that the term was used only briefly in British trade in an attempt to avoid the heavy duties imposed on MUSLIN; a strategem that Parliament tried to thwart in turn by defining tanjebs as MUSLIN [Acts (1700)]. However, tanjebs were included among Milburn's INDIAN - PIECE GOODS imported from Bengal [Yule and Burnell (1886, pb 1996)] and the term did appear in Chamber's Dictionary of 1727-41. Tanjebs have not been noted in the shops in the Dictionary Archive so that, if and when they were available for sale, it was probably under the generic term of 'muslin'. Plain and flowered tanjebs are included among MUSLIN in [Acts (1700)].
A narrow, woven strip of stout LINEN, COTTON, SILK, etc., used as a string for tying garments, as binding and for other purposes where flat strings are suited, for instance as measuring lines. Many retailers kept tapes in variety, suggesting that each type was distinct even if the differences are not clear today; for example, one Midland retailer stocked COLOGNE TAPE, DIAPER TAPE, HOLLAND TAPE and OPEN TAPE valued together at over £100 [Inventories (1698)]. John Houghton wrote that 'with linen-yarn they make tape and filleting. These are woven as ribbons; and formerly we used to buy them abundantly from Cologne and Holland; but since engine-looms have been known, we make great quantities; and long since I have been in-formed that there has been above 1000 of these looms in Manchester only' [Houghton].
Found described as BEST, BLACK, BLACK and WHITE, BLUE, BLUE and GREEN, BROWN, CHECK, , COARSE, COLOURED, COMMON, FERRET, FINE, GREEN, Herringbone, OLD, ORDINARY, PENNY, SMALL, STRIPED, WHITE Found describing GLOVES Found used to make APRON STRING Found made of COTTON
Found in units of CASE, DOZEN, GROSS, LB, OUNCE, PAPER, PIECE, YARD Found imported from HOLLAND Found rated under HABERDASHERY WARES by HUNDREDWEIGHT of 112 LB
A measuring line of prepared TAPE, marked with feet and inches, especially one of five or six FEET long, used by tailors and dress makers etc. The OED's earliest date of use is 1873, and it may be that earlier ones were not always made of fabric. Randle Holme described the measures used by WIG makers as 'lengths of Paper of Parchment, with Figures on, by which the hair is Woven in the rounds, according as it is to fall in the Wig, whether long or short' [Holme (2000)].
TAPESTRY was much use during the early modern period for HANGINGs around the room and the bed. Attractive, tapestry hangings were expensive and therefore only available to the rich. Most were imported despite attempts by the government to cut imports by promoting the development of English made alternatives [Acts (1663)]. Innovators, too, patented new methods of making PAINTED HANGINGs, such as the one for '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)].
The form 'tapseil' is found in other sources. According to Montgomery, a cheap STRIPED - COTTON - TEXTILE formerly imported from Bombay and Surat in India [Montgomery (1984)]. It was included by Milburn among INDIAN -PIECE GOODS [Yule and Burnell (1886, pb 1996)]. Its importation was seen as a threat to British manufacture and was thus prohibited for home use, though its importation continued for re-export to Africa.
TAR was invariably stored in a BARREL. One of the two examples of a tar tub in the Dictionary Archive suggest that the this was not an alternative method of storing tar, but of carrying a smallish amount to where it could be used - perhaps to treat sheep with maggots. In this example, the tar tub is listed along with '1 Remnant of Pitch and Tarr barrell' and a LADLE [Inventories (1660)].
A VINEGAR, apparently a WHITE WINE VINEGAR was preferred, in which the 'leaves of tarragon just as it is going into bloom' were steeped [Farley (1792)]. It was also known by its French name, VINAIGRE A L'ESTRAGON. The method suggested by John Farley for TARRAGON would no doubt have been applied to other herbs such a THYME and ROSEMARY, though the first has not been noted in the Dictionary Archive, and the second only as VINAIGRE DES QUATRE VOLOURS.
In chemistry this is labelled bitartrate of POTASH (acid potassium tartrate) present in GRAPE juice. During the process of fermentation it is deposited on the sides of the cask in the form of a hard crust. At this stage it was normally referred to as ARGOL in the early modern period. The OED suggests the term was later applied to argol when it had undergone partial purification, but the date given for the earliest date of use in this sense is 1893, and it remains uncertain how far back the usage extends.
Sulphate of potassium. Pemberton gave a recipe for making 'vitriolated tartar' in his Pharmacopoeia, by boiling GREEN VITRIOL in water and then adding salt of TARTAR. The product could finally be crystallised [Pemberton (1746)]. The recipe is very similar with that given more briefly in the quotation in the OED from John Harris's Lex Technicum (1704).
Tawing was a method of making a SKIN into LEATHER by steeping it, after suitable preparation, in a solution of ALUM and SALT. The result was white and pliant and known as ALUM LEATHER, WHITE LEATHER or Hungarian LEATHER. The process was set out in an act of 1710, which also enacted that all 'Collar makers, Glovers, Bridle Cutters and others who dress Skins or Hides ... in Oil, Allom and Salt or Meal ... and who cut and make the same into Wares ...' to be accounted as Tawers or Dressers [Acts (1710)]. The process was used almost exclusively for light weight skins, and not at all for such as were defined as HIDE. Its importance meant that it attracted the attention of innovators who patented improvements [Patents (1661)], particularly for making skins suitable for making GLOVES [Patents (1799)], one of the main uses for tawed leather.