Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities, 1550-1820. Originally published by University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, 2007.
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A GLASS BOTTLE protected by a frame of twigs or WICKER. When in Flanders in 1717, Nicholas Blundell watched workers make 'Twig Bottles for Carrying Spaw-water &c: I saw them twiging of them, for which they have not quite 13d English per dozin' [Diaries (Blundell)].
A substantial BASKET made from BASKET RODs interwoven with WICKER. It could be in any form, with either a single handle, like a HAND BASKET or with two handles, one at each side. Randle Holme described and illustrated several; one he called 'a round Twiggen Arme baskett, with a foote, some haueing a lid or couer of Twiggs'. This type he wrote, 'Yeomen and farmers wiues call ... an egge Baskett for in it they usually carry egges and Butter to the Markett' [Holme (2000)]. Others were too big to carry by hand, and either had two handles for carrying FRUIT or SALT or the like [Holme (2000)], or were carried on the shoulder like the 'Bakers bread Basket, which he carryeth on his shoulder, by the help of the rope that is made fast about it, and the ring to hold it by' [Holme (2000)]. Only occasionally are the contents listed in the Dictionary Archive; an exception is 'a twiggen baskett w'th trenchers and three trencher knyves' [Inventories (1635)].
[twygge cheyre; twigon chaire; twiggon chaire; twiggine cheare; twiggin chaire; twiggen cheoar; twiggen cheire; twiggen cheare; twiggen chayre; twiggen chaire; twigg chaire; twigen cheere; twigen cheer; twigen chaire; twig chaire; twig chair; chaire of twiggs]
A CHAIR made of WICKER, otherwise known as a BASKET CHAIR, or a WICKER CHAIR, which seem to have been more fashionable terms. A TWIGGEN chair was made of wicker work or, perhaps, with the seat only so made, as was made plain in the entry 'Seven Chaires twiggen bottoms' [Inventories (1715)]. Randle Holme only described one type, and it is reasonably certain that most were not of this type. He wrote, 'There is another kind of these chaires called Twiggen chaires because they are made of Owsiers, and Withen twigs: haueing round couers ouer the heads of them like to a canapy. Thes are principally used by sick and infirm people, and such women as haue bine lately brought to bed; from whence they are generally termed, Growneing chaires, or Child-bed chaires' [Holme (2000)].
Twiggen chairs were frequently listed in probate inventories, at least partly to distinguish them from others made differently; a typical entry reads, 'a torned chaire, a twiggen chaire & a childes chaire' [Inventories (1588)]. Almost invariably only one twiggen chair was listed before 1700, and so they may indeed have been of the type Holme described. However, thereafter, sets have been noted and they may be of chairs with wicker seats. Twiggen was not a particularly fashionable term, and was not used in promotional material like newspaper advertisements and retailers' handbills.
The term refers to articles made of twigs or WICKER, that is BASKET work. It has not been located in the Dictionary Archive as such, though there are plenty of items listed that were made in this way, including TWIG BOTTLE, TWIGGEN BASKET, TWIGGEN CHAIR.
The first member of the Twinings family to be involved in the tea trade was Thomas, who moved to London from Gloucestershire and took up employment with a wealthy East Indian merchant, Thomas D'Aeth. By 1706 he was sufficiently expert to set up independently, buying a thriving business just off the Strand called Tom's Coffee House, where, unusually for a coffee house at the time, he sold hot tea along with coffee and the other drinks in demand by the fashionable world. By 1717, Thomas had acquired three small adjacent houses (bought one by one) and converted them to a shop selling dry tea. The furthermost house directly fronted the Strand. In those days there was no numbering, but it was this house that is now number 216 Strand. The new, now famous, doorway to that shop adorned with the golden lion, two Chinese figures and the name became the logo of the firm, which has been in use unchanged for over 200 years. Twinings claim it is the oldest logo in continuous use in the world [Twinings.com (online)].
By 1737 Twining had given up the coffee house and concentrated on selling dry tea. Whether the firm packaged its tea under its logo during the eighteenth century is not clear and Twinings themselves make no such claim, but the quality of its teas was distinctive enough for one writer to comment that 'it was not Twinings tea the Boston rebels tossed into the sea.' at the so-called Boston Tea Party in 1773 [Twinings.com (online)]. Twinings teas were sufficiently well known to be advertised as such before 1804 by one provincial dealer [Tradecards (1804)]. In sum, Twinings may be regarded as genuine BRAND NAME by the late eighteenth century.