Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities, 1550-1820. Originally published by University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, 2007.
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Also known as the Valentine ALMOND, it is a type of SWEET ALMOND cultivated in and/or pertaining to the eastern Spanish province of Valencia also famed for its RAISINs. John Houghton claimed that Valencia almonds, and another type of sweet almond called the BARBARY ALMOND, were used mainly for the extraction of OIL OF ALMONDS. They were inferior to the JORDAN ALMOND [Houghton].
Pods produced by one of other species of the genus Vanilla (especially Vanilla planifolia), native to central America and brought to Europe during the Age of Discovery. The preparation of these pods involved dipping them in boiling water, and then drying them slowly over a period of several weeks [Masefield et al (1969)].
Vanilla was used chiefly to flavour CHOCOLATE, hence the term vanilla chocolate, found in the Dictionary Archive. Owing to its aromatic qualities vanilla was also used in PERFUMERY to make ESSENCE, OIL and WATER. These applications are discussed regularly in the received literature, but rather less is said about the medicinal qualities of vanilla. According to John Houghton, it was also known as Tilzochitl, and he wrote that it is 'warm, and gives to chocolate, not only a curious scent, but taste, and moderately provokes several evacuations; it strengthens the brain and stomach, dissipates wind and helps digestion [Houghton].
A SCENTED WATER derived from the seed capsules of VANILLA planifolia. It does not seem to have been used often in PERFUMERY, given that only one example has been identified in the Dictionary Archive [Tradecards (1790s)].
A COTTON pile TEXTILE, often ribbed; a variety of FUSTIAN with a VELVET surface. It was largely made in the MANCHESTER area from about 1750, although Daniel Defoe in the 1720s commented upon how the cotton trade had been greatly improved by the invention of velverets [Wilhelmsen (1943)]. Like VELVET, innovators were exploring different ways of giving a finish to this fabric; for example [Patents (1793)] protected a method of making FLOWERED and FIGURED velveret, and several newspaper advertisements have been noted that were asking for journeymen capable of printing this fabric. Advertisements describing runaways show that it had become a favourite among working people, who frequently disappeared wearing garments made of velveret, but it was apparently less attractive to the better-off and therefore not found in TRADECARDS and other promotional material that aimed at this segment of the market.
Included among COTTON GOODS in PATENTS 1106 (1775), among Fustians in ACTS 1774/C072, among FIGURED - STUFFs made of COTTON WOOL in ACTS 1785/C072
Found described as BROWN, COTTON, DYED, GREY, MANCHESTER, OLIVE, PAINTED, PLAIN, PRINTED, STAINED, STRIPED, YELLOW
Found used to make BREECHES, WAISTCOAT
A textile, usually woven of SILK but sometimes with a ground of WORSTED, having a pile warp which, by the introduction of rods during weaving, is raised in loops, forming a short dense pile on one surface above a ground weave. Solid velvets have the pile covering the ground completely; voided velvets have areas of the ground left free of pile. In cut velvet the loops are cut, while in uncut velvet they are not. Velvets may have some areas of cut pile and others of uncut pile; of these, 'cisele' velvets have the cut pile higher than the uncut, while 'broderie' velvets have the cut pile lower than the uncut, or of equal height. Neither of these terms appears in the Dictionary Archive. Pile-on-pile velvets have pile of a single type, that is either cut or uncut, woven in two or more heights. Velvets could be plain, woven in a single colour, but FIGURED, or BRANCHED VELVET, was woven in two colours with two and sometimes three piles. STAMPED velvets are solid velvets with a pattern stamped or impressed in the pile; WROUGHT velvet was patterned with embroidery. From the late 18th century COTTON VELVET was also made.
In their promotional material, retailers made frequent note of their stocks of GENOA and DUTCH velvets, but velvets designated as ENGLISH or from MANCHESTER were also available. Those from Genoa seems to have been more highly priced, probably because they were genuine velvets made with silk. PATENTS and other sources show that all manner of decorative finishes were applied to velvet from the late seventeenth century, and STRIPED, and FLOWERED velvets were available.
Velvet illustrates better than almost any other term in this Dictionary, how changed our perception may be of a commodity depending on which source types were used to investigate it. Probate inventories dated from c1550 to 1660 reveal velvet as a highly desirable but expensive fashion fabric. During this period it was customary to list APPAREL in some detail and in the Dictionary Archive virtually every article of clothing is found made of velvet or, if to make the whole garment of velvet was too costly, it was used for the FACING, LINING, or GUARD. Even in the shops, where valuations hovered around £1 the yard, measurements of the small stocks held were detailed precisely down to the last NAIL. After the Restoration apparel ceased to be listed in detail so this major source becomes relatively useless for the dress historian. Velvet remained fairly rare in provincial shops, with valuations remaining high. For example, in one shop a one-piled velvet was valued at 18s the yard with the three-piled type at 24s. In DIARIES it becomes clear that velvet remained highly fashionable. Samuel Pepys described with pride and some trepidation what he called his 'velvet cloak' - in fact it was one made 'of cloth lined with velvet', but it would seem that for him velvet was the important component [Diaries (Pepys)]. At about the same time, Pepys' contemporary the Rev. Giles Moore, was buying '7 yards of calaminko to make a cassock £1. 4s. 6d., and 1 qr. of a yard of velvet, 6s', presumably to furnish the facing or some other decorative detail [Diaries (Moore)].
In probate inventories dated from after 1660 the first evidence emerges of READY MADE items of apparel made of velvet, particularly CAP, though this only became commonplace after 1700 with a wide range of ready made articles including HOOD, CLOAK, SCARF and BONNET offered in the promotional literature contained in TRADECARDS. It is from the descriptions of runaways advertised in the provincial NEWSPAPERS, that we learn how the popularity of velvet had spread down the social scale. Many workmen were apparently sporting items made wholly or partly of velvet or its cheaper imitations, COTTON VELVET and VELVERET. For example, several wore COATs with velvet collars, while one sported a 'yellow striped velveret waistcoat'. Edward Herbert of Birmingham was offering to make up 'the best Manchester velvet waistcoat clouded or other pattern' for 19s [Newspapers (1780)] By the second half of the eighteenth century even provincial shops were stocking - and advertising - velvets of every kind; PRINTED for waistcoats, and SPOTTED, FLOWERED or PLAIN for CAPUCHINs. The demand for these new, and much cheaper, versions of velvet led to a shortage of skilled workers to process them, and to advertisements for journeymen printers and the like. New processes or products protected by patent, for example [Patents (1767)] for VELVET SHAG made on the STOCKING FRAME, were soon after advertised as available to the public, see [Tradecards (1768)].
Found described as BLACK, BLUE, CHINA, COLOURED, CUT, DOUBLE, DUTCH, DYED, ENGLISH, FOREIGN, GENOA, GREEN, imported from EAST INDIA, MANCHESTER, newest of all, one-pile, out of grain, PAINTED, PLAIN, PRINTED, of every breadth, PLAIN, PURPLE, PURPLE - IN GRAIN, RED, RICH, RIGHT - CRIMSON, RUSSET, SILK, STAINED, TAWNY, three-pile, two-pile, uncut, WROUGHT Found describing CHAIR
Found used to make BONNET, BREECHES, CAP, CLOAK, COAT, COIF, CUFF, DOUBLET, FELT lined with velvet, GIRDLE, GOWN, GUARD, HAT, HAT faced with velvet, HOOD, JACKET, MASK, NIGHT CAP, MORNING CAP, PARTLET, PINPILLOW, PURSE, RIBBON, SCARF, SHEATH, SHOE, SLEEVE, TIPPET, TUNIC, WAIST Found used to cover COFFER, DESK, FLASK, FLASKET, TOUCH BOX Found as 'Spurres black with velvet', 'Spurres gilt with velvet', 'velvet womens ditto [i.e. STIRRUP among the saddlery]
Found included among FIGURED - STUFFs made of COTTON WOOL in [ACTS 1785/C072] Found measured in the shops by ELL, NAIL, PIECE, YARD Found rated by the YARD
An item of HABERDASHERY popular in the period before 1660, but not found later, and the entry in the 1660 Book of Rates is the last record. Judging from the limited data available, it would seem that the DOZEN consisted of 12 YARD, and the PIECE of 36 YARD. Yards were valued in the range of 3d to 5d, very much lower than VELVET.
A PALL made of VELVET. It seems that velvet became in the eighteenth century, if not before, the standard fashionable fabric for palls. Tradesmen who supplied funeral services frequently advertised them [for example, NEWSPAPERS MY1743ABG040].
[Patents (1767)] and [Patents (1777)] described respectively methods of making velvet shag on a stocking frame and of cutting the pile into patterns, suggesting that this was a TEXTILE susceptible to the whims of fashion and thus attracting the ingenuity of inventors.
A TEXTILE having the appearance or surface of VELVET, but made from COTTON in place of SILK. Unlike velvet, in which the pile is woven into it using an extra warp, in velveteen the pile is an extra weft. It was patented in 1776 by James Woolstenholme, who claimed protection for his 'new kind of goods called velvateans, being an improvement on velveretts' [Patents (1776)].
Venetian red and VENICE red are names used for natural red earths, either extracted in the locality of VENICE or imported through that port. Venetian red usually refers to a specific bluish red oxide, although variations range from violet reds to yellowish ones [Golden Artists Colours (online)]. By the eighteenth century, the name was used for a manufactured PIGMENT of the same colour [Harley (1970)]. Its use to colour SNUFF was permitted in [Acts (1715)], unlike other COLOURING. It was also used in painting.
TREACLE was similar to MITHRIDATE in that it was composed principally of HONEY and was supposed to possess universal alexipharmic and preservative properties. In fact it was described as a 'reform' of mithridate made by Andromachus, a physician to Nero, which gave rise to its other name of THERIACA ANDROMACHI. Like mithridate, Venice treacle was made with numerous other ingredients - the mid-eighteenth century Pharmacopoeia listed as many as sixty including VIPER [Recipes (Pemberton)]. The popularity of Venice treacle is perhaps reflected in the way it was excluded from the general trend to reduce the number of ingredients in medical remedies (see MITHRIDATE). Its dosage was believed to rest with the exact quantity of honey, so that the Pharmacopoeia cautioned its readers to counteract dryness with CANARY WINE rather than additional honey. According to John Houghton it was a cheap remedy, widely bought by the poor, to cure illnesses such as 'stone, rheum, pthisis, dropsy, jaundice, inward impothumes, nay palsy, gout and plague itself' [Houghton].
A variety of TURPENTINE extracted from the LARCH tree, although [Pechey (1694a)] claimed that shops 'falsly' sold the sap of young fir trees under the name. According to Houghton, Venice turpentine was most commonly imported from France and Germany. It was 'a clear oily liquor, transparent, clammy, of a yellowish white colour, fragrant and a little biting to the taste'. It was 'used greatly in medicine.' He also observed that this was sometimes known as 'Augsburg turpentine', while other sources, but not the Dictionary Archive, suggest it may have been a synonym for COMMON TURPENTINE.
See also CHIAN TURPENTINE, COMMON TURPENTINE, CYPRUS TURPENTINE, HORSE TURPENTINE, LARCH, OIL OF TURPENTINE, TURPENTINE OF GERMANY.
Sources: Houghton, Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Rates, Recipes.
References: Pechey (1694).
[virdegrease; vertigrasse; vergrese; vergres; vergrease; verdygrece; verdigrise; verdigresse; verdigrese; verdigreese; verdigreece; verdigree; verdigrece; verdigrease; verdigreas; verdigreace; verdigrasse; verdigrass; verdigrase; verdigrace; verdgrease; verdegres; verdegrece; verdegrease; verdegrasse; verdegrass; vardigrese; vardigres; vardigreece; vardigrece; vardigreasse; vardigrease; vardigreace; vardigrasse; vardigrass; vardegrece]
It was known in the Ancient World, hence its common name meaning 'green of Greece'. It was also occasionally called SPANISH - GREEN [Harley (1970)]. In the Dictionary Archive virtually no two spellings of the term are the same.
Verdigris is basic acetate of COPPER; a green or greenish blue substance sometimes occurring naturally on copper or BRASS, but obtained artificially by the action of acetic acid (for example, VINEGAR) on thin plates of copper. The modern method described by Partington involves layers of copper plates alternating with 'marcs', that is the residue of grape skins after the juice has been extracted for making WINE [Partington (1953)]. This method is not dissimilar to the one in a seventeenth-century recipe quoted by Harley [Harley (1970)]. The main difficulty in its manufacture was that the acetic acid could cause contamination from the vessel in which the verdigris was being made. If an iron vessel were used the result could be some iron acetate, but if LEAD, then SUGAR OF LEAD would be formed, which is toxic. For this reason a patent of 1691 advised the use of WOODEN vessels [Patents (1691)], though EARTHENWARE pots would have been practical and they were used by French manufacturers at Montpelier, the main centre of FRENCH production [Harley (1970)]. These considerations aside, it was so easily made that an anonymous author gave instructions that anyone could follow at home [Recipes (Save Wealth)]. Even so, it was apparently not made on an industrial scale in this country before the late eighteenth century, most supposedly being imported from France, although customs records show some came from the Netherlands and from Italy [Harley (1970)].
It was used as a PIGMENT, though the common sort was impure, and it was better re-dissolved in distilled vinegar and crystallized [Harley (1970)], hence the two forms COMMON and crystallized mentioned in the Books of Rates. Although it gave a bright green colour, it was only moderately satisfactory for artwork as it lacked durability and was incompatible with some other pigments. It was used extensively, however in house decoration [Harley (1970)].
In dyeing it was used as a copper MORDANT, and in medicine, sometimes under its Latin name, Ærugo, in external applications like UNGUENTUM Basilicum Viride (formerly UNGUENTUM MARTIATUM), or Green Basilicum [Pemberton (1746)].
Verdigris was a problem in that it formed an unattractive and toxic greenish layer on copper and brass cooking vessels, hence patents to prevent its formation by TINning [Patents (1673)]; [Patents (1768)].
Found described as COMMON, crystallized, FOREIGN, FRENCH, of all Sorts Found used to dye BONEs
Found in units of LB, OUNCE, OZ, POUND, QUARTER Found rated by the C - POUND containing 112 LB, among the DRUGS rated by the POUND Found imported by LB
Sources: Acts, Diaries, Houghton, Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Newspapers, Patents, Rates, Recipes, Tradecards.
References: Harley (1970), Partington (1953), Pemberton (1746).
A PIGMENT of a green, bluish green (GREEN VERDITER), or light blue colour (BLUE VERDITER), usually prepared by adding CHALK or WHITING to a solution of nitrate of COPPER. It was much used in making CRAYONs and to a lesser extent as a WATER COLOUR. Neither the blue nor the green form were much valued as a PIGMENT, because better alternatives were available.
A form of rich TAPESTRY ornamented with representations of trees or other vegetation. In the Dictionary Archive it has been noted most commonly before 1660 and in the decoration of CUSHIONs. The term was also used occasionally as a substantive, as in 'Hung with old Verdures' [Inventories (1673)]. The Books of Rates show that items of verdure were imported, and therefore rated.
Originally verjuice was made from SORREL, hence its name of 'green juice', but it was later made from the unfermented juice pressed from unripe fruit, preserved merely by its high acidity, and extensively used in cooking in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In areas where unripe GRAPES were available, these provided the raw materials, elsewhere, as in much of this country, CRABs provided a substitute [Mason and Brown (1999)]. Contrary to received wisdom these days, verjuice does keep, and it seems to have been esteemed when it was matured, given that it was sold in this form by some up-market outlets [Tradecards (18c.)].
See also CRAB VERJUICE, VERJUICE BARREL.
Sources: Acts, Diaries, Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Newspapers, Recipes, Tradecards.
References: Mason and Brown (1999).
CINNABAR, or red crystalline mercuric sulphide, was much valued as a PIGMENT on account of its brilliant scarlet colour. It was largely used as a pigment or in the manufacture of RED - SEALING WAX. The term was also applied to any similar red earth used as a pigment. It was difficult to make, and it may have been manufactured by specialists in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries rather than the artists who used it, although recipes for it were given in some instruction manuals. Contamination with RED LEAD was a problem, particularly with English vermilion so that much was imported from Holland since the Dutch pigment was deemed more reliable. Importation reached a peak in 1760 when 32,000 LB passed through Customs [Harley (1970)]. Accum, writing in 1820, suggested a method of detecting impurities in vermilion, a sure sign that there were problems in obtaining the pure product [Accum (1820)].
Vermilion was also the label given to a TEXTILE, one of the many types of FUSTIAN. However, it probably owes its name to a confusion between vermilion and BARMILLION, and it seems likely that they are not distinct, and that the latter name (which is more common) is the correct one.