Trace chain - Travilors needles

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

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Trace chain

A CHAIN, used in pairs to attach the HORSE COLLAR or YOKE to the SWINGLE TREE, and so connect the HORSE or OX to the CART or PLOUGH, as in 'a swingletree w'th a Cheane' [Inventories (1634)].

Not found in the OED

Sources: Inventories (late).

Train dress

[train dresses]

A DRESS with a train, an addition that was popular in the eighteenth century, even though such APPAREL was unsuitable for ordinary wear, and was confined to special occasions. Numerous examples can be seen in portraits when subjects were often depicted in their best clothes as, for example in the painting of Charlotte Walpole, Countess of Dysart, painted by Joshua Reynolds in 1775 [Ribiero (1983)]. Train dresses were found advertised for sale, though it is unlikely that these were intended for the really fashionable, but rather for those who aspired to be a la mode.

OED online earliest date of use: 1792 under Train

Found described as for LADIES

Sources: Tradecards.
References: Ribiero (1983).


A contrivance set for catching game or noxious animals; usually a spring or other device, released by the animal treading upon it. Several types of trap were designed for specific purposes, such as FOX TRAP, MAN TRAP, MOLE TRAP, MOUSE TRAP, RAT TRAP etc. A trap of this type without further descriptor has only been noted once [Inventories (1721)], while a second example clearly refers to a TRAP BAT. Other meanings for the term have not been noted in the Dictionary Archive.

OED earliest date of use: a1000

Sources: Inventories (late), Tradecards.

Trap ball

[trap batts, balls]

A game, in which a BALL is placed on one end of a slightly hollowed TRAP, from which it may be thrown into the air and hit by the batsman with a TRAP BAT. According to Randle Holme, the game was also called 'Ball and Bandy' and 'Racked and Ball' [Holme (2000)].

OED earliest date of use: 1658

Sources: Tradecards.
References: Holme (2000).

Trap bat

[trap batt]

A BAT for playing the game of TRAP BALL

Sources: Tradecards.



According to the OED, this is an erroneous form of TRIPE, a TEXTILE believed to be thus called because its surface was similar to the lining of the second stomach of a ruminant, known as honeycomb tripe. Trape was an imitation VELVET of WOOL or THREAD; 'mock-velvet', VELVETEEN or FUSTIAN.

OED earliest date of use: c1430

Found rated by the PIECE of 15 YARD

Sources: Rates.


Usually found in the plural, the term denotes a CLOTH or covering spread over the HARNESS or SADDLE of a HORSE or other beast of burden, often gaily ornamented; a caparison. Randle Holme described trappings as 'those Leathers which hang on the Horse Buttock, which are generally set with white and yellow Stud-Nails' [Holme (2000)].

OED online earliest date of use: 1398

Found described as for a horse

Sources: Inventories (mid-period).
References: Holme (2000).


[trasshe; trashe]

In the Dictionary Archive 'trash' has two distinct, if similar, meanings. The first is for anything found contaminating something marketable, as the 'great Quantities of Stones, Dirt and Trash' found when 'Garbling and Cleaning of Pepper' [Acts (1711)]. This meaning was extended to indicate that something was spurious, or false and being passed off as of being of sound quality. For example, one of the big manufacturers of QUACK MEDICINE, Dicey and Co, complained that they had 'heard of Persons ... purchasing their old bottles to fill them with their trash' [Newspapers (1790)]. Both examples strongly suggest dishonest trading practices and the act of passing off false goods to the public.

There is no such undertone in the second principal meaning, which is found only in probate inventories and only before 1660. In its simplest form it seems to have been no more than an unnecessary addition to widely used terms as in 'trashe & thinges forgotten' [Inventories (1613)], or 'Lumber and trash' [Inventories (1639)], or interchangeably with TRIFLE [Inventories (1608)]. In such examples there is no suggestion that trash was of no value, in which case it would not have been recorded at all, but of such little value that it was not worth itemising. In a few examples there is some hint that something more specific may have been intended, as in 'j spade, ij hurden combes, j bench ij sawes, j wimble ij nawgers, j goudge, j chesell, j hatchett, j payre of pyncers, j spoke shave, j hamer & other trashe' altogether only valued at 5s [Inventories (1594)]. Here, and in one or two other examples, it would seem that trash might have been applied to TOOLS or IMPLEMENTS not worth itemising, for example [Inventories (1607)].

OED earliest date of use: c1518, though there is an earlier though doubtful example

Found described as OLD

Sources: Acts, Inventories (early), Newspapers.

Travelling cap

The 'travelling cap', found only twice in the Dictionary Archive and not defined in the dictionaries, was an article of APPAREL advertised in the late eighteenth century, in one case along with 'travelling STOCKINGS' and BOOTIKINS [Newspapers (1790)]; [Newspapers (1790)]. It may have been a CAP designed to protect the traveller's face from the dust thrown up from the road. An OED quotation dated 1859 indicates that one version at least had a veil or something similar that could be pulled down over the eyes. 'Flat Travelling Masks long & short round dit[to]' [Tradecards (1794)] may have served the same purpose.

OED online earliest date of use: 1826 under On

Sources: Newspapers.

Travelling case

[travelling and dressing cases; traveling razor casse]

A general term for a CASE used by travellers. The contexts of the various examples found in the Dictionary Archive suggest that a wide variety were made, some of them fashionable, as the 'Improved Travelling and Dressing Cases of every Description for Ladies and Gentlemen; of Satin-wood and Mahogany, Plain and elegantly furnished with Silver or Plated Articles' [Tradecards (1790s)]. Travelling boxes seem to have been similar if not identical to cases, and hence entries like 'Ladies curious inlaid Travelling, Dressing, Work Netting and Writing Boxes, of various Sorts and Sizes in a pleasing variety' advertised by one retailer [Tradecards (1794)]. Most were probably small, intended for articles of TOILETRY, like the 'Traveling Razor Cases' advertised by another retailer [Tradecards (18c.)], while others seem to have been made specifically as secure packaging for their contents, such as the 'Roll Pomatum in japan'd Cases for Travelling, &c.' [Tradecards (18c.)]. The term travelling case does not seem to have been interchangeable with PORTMANTEAU or TRUNK, which were more substantial and intended primarily to carry clothes.

A form of 'Travelling-trunk, box, or case, which may be converted into a writing or other table, and a seat with folding feet' was patented in the 1780s [Patents (1785)].

OED online earliest date of use: 1744 under Travelling

Found described as for GENTLEMEN, for LADIES, furnished with SILVER or PLATED articles, PLAIN Found made of MAHOGANY, MOROCCO, SATIN WOOD, with LOCK

Sources: Newspapers, Patents, Tradecards.

Travelling sauce

A concentrated sauce to be carried by travellers, made from CLARET, VINEGAR, VERJUICE, SALT, BLACK PEPPER, NUTMEG, GINGER, MUSTARD SEED, and a selection of HERBs. This was to be stored in a dry place and would 'remain good twelve months'. It was intended to be diluted as required, in order to make the meals encountered while travelling more palatable. 'This is a good Companion for Travellers, who more frequently find good Meat than good Cooks' [Recipes (Bradley, R.)]. It seem likely that travelling sauce was a home-made version of some of the many PREPARED SAUCEs advertised for sale in eighteenth-century shops.

Not found in the OED

Sources: Recipes.


[travors; travice; traver; trauors]

A piece of weaving equipment not found in the dictionaries and in the Dictionary Archive only with very variable spelling. It has been noted only for East Anglia, where it is almost invariably found in conjunction with the WARPING MILL. This suggests it was used in preparing the WARP before it was placed in the LOOM. Various other examples of the term have been noted, again all from East Anglia, but not apparently for use by weavers. 'A travers of 3 leaves' owned by a Grocer suggests a TABLE or COUNTER [Inventories (1666)], as does, though with less certainty, the entry 'a Travis a round table & a stand & stooles' [Inventories (1671)]. However, the contexts of the entries 'One traver two wooden armd chairs eight old chairs' [Inventories (1681)], and 'a p're of travers' valued at 6s [Inventories (1685)] provide little or no clues to meaning.

Not found in either sense in the OED

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

Traverse curtain

[trav'rs curtaine; travers curtaine]

A term not found in the dictionaries, and only twice in the Dictionary Archive. In neither of the examples does the context suggest how this type of CURTAIN differed from any other. In one, it was coupled with 'one Carpett & one Cupbord cloth' together valued at 12s [Inventories (1642)], and in the other it was listed with '3 window curtaines & rods' and with its own ROD [Inventories (1666)]. Together these two examples suggest a curtain designed neither to cover a WINDOW nor to be hung round a BED, but possibly one used to pull across in front of a SHELF or a CUPBOARD.

Not found in the OED

See also TRAVERS.
Sources: Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period).

Travilors needles

[travilors needles]

A term not found in the OED and only once in the Dictionary Archive. Thomas Turner, a shopkeeper in Sussex bought some NEEDLEs, including 'travilors needles', WHITECHAPEL NEEDLEs and LOOPING NEEDLEs in 1763 [Diaries (Turner)]. The spelling elsewhere in the text is fairly standard. This suggests caution in assuming that 'travilor' was merely a variant of 'traveller' although that remains the most likely interpretation. If so, then travellers' needles were presumably intended for travelling trades people, possibly tailors. Alternatively 'Travilor' was the name of a maker or a distinctive type of needle.

Not found in the OED

Found in units of HUNDRED, THOUSAND

Sources: Diaries.