Frailing cord - Frocking

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University of Wolverhampton

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Author

Nancy Cox and Karin Dannehl

Year published

2007

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'Frailing cord - Frocking', Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities, 1550-1820 (2007). URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=58769 Date accessed: 25 October 2014.


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Frailing cord

[frayling corde; ffrayling corde]

Frailing CORD is a term not found in the dictionaries, though it appears twice in the Dictionary Archive, both from the West Country. There seem to be two possible meanings, both derived from FRAIL and its connotations. The first possibility is a CORD used in the FRAIL, the old implement for threshing CORN; the second for one used to whip frayed ends [Wright (1898-1905)]. The contexts in which it is found in the Dictionary Archive point to the former.

Not found in the OED

Found described as OLD

Sources: Inventories (early).
References: Wright (1898-1905).

Frame saw

Randle Holme claimed that it was an alternative name for a TENON SAW, as well as being called a bow saw and a FRAMING SAW. His description and illustration matches the last two, but not the first. According to Holme, the purpose of this type of SAW 'is to cut Miter and Bevile squares for Frames and Cornishes on the top of Wainscot. The use of the Cheeks to the sides of this Saw, is to keep and strain the Blade streight, which of it self is thin and slender, and cannot do its work without such an help' [Holme (2000)]. In other words, it was shaped like the letter H, with the blade between the two descending arms (which Randle Holme calls the 'cheeks') and a tensioning system stretched between the ends of the upper arms to keep the blade taut. The entry 'Two spring Saws fframes' [Inventories (1715)] probably described saws without their blades.

OED earliest date of use: 1678

Sources: Inventories (late).
References: Holme (2000).

Framing saw

[freaming saw; framynge sawe; framinge sawe; framing sawe]

An alternative name for both the FRAME SAW and the WHIP SAW. The context only sometimes indicates which was intended. For example, the '4 foot freaming saws' could not have been frame saws [Inventories (1718)].

Not found in the OED

Found described as LITTLE, OLD

See also FRAME SAW, WHIP SAW.
Sources: Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late).

Free stuff

In a quotation given in the OED from the Practical Builder, free stuff was defined as 'that timber which is quite clean, or without knots' [Nicholson (1823), quoted in OED]. Randle Holme said much the same, though in rather different words defining it as 'Timber of a good condition to work upon' [Holme (1688)].

OED earliest date of use: 1823

References: Holme (1688), Nicholson (1823).

French comb

Either a COMB that came from France, the descriptor added to give fashionable value, or one used in French combing, a mode of dressing the hair by combing it upwards and outwards so as to create the illusion there was more hair than there was [Cox (1966, pb 1969)]. One tradesman had a French comb from a named maker listed in an advertisement that draws attention to splitting, an apparently common problem with combs; 'Desaise's French Combs, warranted never to split' [Tradecards (1794)].

Not found in the OED online

Found described as Desaise's

Sources: Tradecards.
References: Cox (1966, pb 1989).

French lavender

The common name of LAVANDULA stoechas, i.e. STOECHAS

OED earliest date of use: 1578

Found as an ingredient of MITHRIDATE, VENICE TREACLE Found used to make LAVENDER WATER
Found rated by the POUND

Sources: Rates, Recipes, Tradecards.

French pins

[frenche pinnes; french pynns; french pinns; french pinnes; ffrenche pinnes; ffrench pinnes]

Probably no more than PINS imported from FRANCE, presumably because they were or were deemed to be of better quality than those made in England at the time. All examples noted in the Dictionary Archive were from the sixteenth century, and they were valued more highly than other types [Inventories (1590)].

Not found in the OED online

Found in numbered sizes from 3 to 6 Found in units of DOZEN

Sources: Inventories (early).

French plums

[french and portugal plums]

It is alleged that the French PLUM was brought to France by the Crusaders during the twelfth century, and once introduced, it flourished in the mild climate of the Lot region of southern France. The plums are black, with a purple hue and lined contours.This fruit later became the Agen Prune, though this phrase has not been noted in the Dictionary Archive, where they are invariably known as FRENCH plums. According to the OED, this was the name given to the best PRUNEs. French plums were distinguished from from GUÉMAR PLUMs, although they, too, almost certainly came from France, and also from ORLEANS PLUMs.

Found described as of best quality, FINE, NEW
Found in units of BOX, HALF BOX

Sources: Newspapers, Tradecards.

French prunes

Possibly just PRUNES from FRANCE, but the fruit from that country was highly valued. The fruits were sometimes left on the tree to dry naturally, sometimes harvested and then dried. The old French system was extremely laborious requiring constant attention over several days. Although not noted in the Dictionary Archive, the French system of classification was based on the number of fruits to the LB, the best having 40-44 to the LB, and labelled accordingly as 40s, 44s etc. [Simmonds (1906)].

The term is also applied to the wild plum, Prunus insititia, larger than sloe, and also well-known as a semi-cultivated fruit, though it has not been noted in the Dictionary Archive in this sense.

OED earliest date of use: 1629

Simone Clarke

Sources: Newspapers.
References: Simmonds (1906).

French quilt

[quilts of the french making]

What made the FRENCH - QUILT distinctive is not clear. Since the term only appears in the Books of Rates, it may be that they were rated merely as a method of discouraging French imports, and there was nothing distinctive about them at all. Alternatively they may have been made using FRENCH QUILTING.

Not found in the OED

Found rated by the DOZEN

Sources: Rates.

French quilting

Caulfeild and Saward refer to French quilting as a particular form of QUILTING without defining it, but they then add it was also a form of pique [Caulfeild and Saward (1885, facs.1989)]. In this sense it was probably the same as MARSEILLES QUILTING. For example, one London tradesman proclaimed that he drew 'all Sorts of the Newest fashion'd patterns, for Brussels, French Quilting, Embroidery & Canvas' [Tradecards (1745)], another, even more explicit, 'all Sorts of Patterns as Brussells French Quilting, Embroydery & Canvas with Shades of Silk & Worsted' [Tradecards (1753)]. There can be little doubt from these examples that French quilting was highly patterned, perhaps in the style of INDIA QUILTING, and required a variety of decorative threads to achieve the right effect, and possibly special NEEDLES [Tradecards (19c.)]. This supposition is supported by the linkage of 'India & French Quilting' in one advertisement [Tradecards (1740)]. Much more difficult to interpret is the advertisement for 'India French & Corded Cottons' [Tradecards (1769)].

Not found in the OED

See also FRENCH QUILT.
Sources: Tradecards.
References: Caulfield & Saward (1885, facs.1989).

French trunk

[french trunke]

A type of TRUNK not recorded in the dictionaries, and only twice in the Dictionary Archive. It is not known how it differed from other trunks, but one example was highly valued at 30s [Inventories (1662)], while the other appears in the stock of a London Trunk maker [Inventories (1672)]. This makes it at least feasible that the descriptor FRENCH was used to denote a style and not that the trunk came from France.

Not found in the OED online

Sources: Inventories (mid-period).

French vinegar

[french white wine and burgundy vinegar; ffrenche vineger]

A WINE VINEGAR made in France, although Lloyd suggests that much was made there of CRABs and was in reality a CRAB VINEGAR [Lloyd (1895)]. In the nineteenth century, the large-scale manufacture of French vinegar used inferior wine, or the refuse from wine making. Large casks 'of about the capacity of an old English hogshead' were laid in rows horizontally, and two-thirds filled with filtered wine through a hole in the upper part of the front end. A second hole acted as a vent. The whole process could take several weeks [Tomlinson (1854)].

Not found in the OED

Found described as FINE Found in units of HOGSHEAD

See also BORDEAUX VINEGAR, BURGUNDY VINEGAR.
Sources: Inventories (early), Newspapers.
References: Lloyd (1895), Tomlinson (1854).

Frieze

[fryse; frize; frise; friese; frese; freize; freeze; freese; ffrize; ffrez]

In the early-modern period frieze was not often spelt as it is today. Spelling varied widely and there seems to have been no commonly accepted variant.

A frieze is a kind of coarse WOOLLEN CLOTH, with a nap, usually on one side only; now especially of Irish manufacture, but formerly made widely in Wales, Lancashire and Cheshire as well as elsewhere. It was one of the fabrics which Parliament found expedient to regulate. For example [Acts (1565)] attempted to give to the SHREWSBURY drapers the sole right of regulating the frizzing of WELSH CLOTH, while [Acts (1565)] laid down standards for friezes made in LANCASHIRE.

The nap was so characteristic of the fabric that the verb 'frieze' came to mean to cover with a nap (c.f. COTTON as a verb). Friezing or frizzing, which comes from the French 'friser', to curl, consisted of raising a rough, uneven nap by scrubbing the wet surface of the fabric with iron rubbers so that the upper fibres formed tight curls. Of course, the nap could be raised in the conventional way, which may explain the occasional use of the descriptor 'NAPPED'. Although frizzing was typically used on frieze, it could be applied to other cloths, hence occasional references to frizzed BROADCLOTH etc. Frizzing was also a term applied to LEATHER or SKINs, but in this context it was the result of processing that left the outer side roughened either deliberately or accidentally; hence 'waist girdles of black frysed lether' in [Inventories (1597)].

Frieze was ideally suited for making up into outer garments. [Inventories (1695)] included both COATs and SURTOUTs of frieze READY MADE, as well as a good range of friezes. Being noted for its hard-wearing qualities, frieze seems to have been popular for working men's cloths and some of the runaways proclaimed in NEWSPAPERS had on garments that were designated shabby or old - a clear indication of their hard-wearing qualities and their lack of fashionability. However, frieze could be a fashion fabric. In NEWSPAPERS in one advertisement frieze CLOAKs and CARDINALs were included in winter fashions [Newspapers (1770)]. If the examples in the Dictionary Archive are typical it was rarely, if ever, used for furnishing.

Like many other TEXTILEs the price of friezes seems to have risen markedly during the first half of the sixteenth century. The London Drapers estimated in 1551 that the best Welsh Friezes had formerly been 'solde by the clothmen' for 23s-24s the PIECE, the price was now 46s 8d, whereas those from Bristol were then 24s-25s and were now 44s-45s. Valuations in probate inventories appear to continue the trend through to the eighteenth century, but this may be an illusion as many of the examples noted after 1700 seem to of a better quality. For example, whereas most friezes stocked before 1660 were in the undyed state as 'grey frieze', after that more have been dyed or came from an area such as WORCESTER where high-grade cloths were made. Valuations in INVEARLY were typically between 12d and 18d, with a low of 7d and a high of 2s 6d; in INVMID typically between 18d and 2s, with a low of 16d and a high of 3s; and in INVLATE typically between 2s and 3s, with a low of 12d and a high of 5s.

Very occasionally the term 'frieze' or more frequently 'frieze cloth' referred to a fine LINEN. This meaning has not been located in the OED, but it appears in the Books of Rates [Rates (1643)] and [Rates (1660)] quite ambiguously and in INVLATE as frieze and frieze Holland, in both cases valued at 3s 8d the ELL. This is quite a high valuation for linens. Presumably it was so named as it was identified with the region called Friesland (c.f. HOLLAND).

OED earliest date of use: 1418

The weight and dimensions of frieze were regulated by [ACTS 1565/C012].
Found categorized in [ACTS 1565/C007] as a WELSH CLOTH Found described as BLACK, BLUE, BRISTOL, BROAD, BROWN, COARSE, DRAB, GREEN, GREY, INDIGO, of Ireland, IRISH, LEOMINSTER, MANCHESTER, NAPPED, NARROW, ROCHDALE, RUG, SAD coloured, unfrizzed, of various colours, WELSH, WHITE Found describing BROADCLOTH, COTTON, JERSEY, PELT, SHEEPSKIN Found used to make a CARDINAL, CLOAK, COAT, GOWN, JERKIN, MANTLE, SUIT, SURTOUT
Found measured in the shops by ELL, PIECE, YARD Found rated by the YARD

See also FRIZADO.
Sources: Acts, Diaries, Houghton, Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Newspapers, Rates.
References: Kerridge (1985), 19 and many other references, Montgomery (1984), 243 for a fuller description of the process of frizzing, Tawney and Power (1928), II/192, Wilhelmsen (1943), 65.

Frigidus

[frigida; frigid; frig; fri; ffrig]

In old medicine, frigidus was used to denote 'cooling'. The term is most often found in the Latin version of COLD SEEDs, 'frigidi semeni', although it has been noted describing other medicinal products believed to have cooling properties such as DIAMARGARITON, DIAMARY and DIATRAGANTH.

Not found in the OED

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

Fringe

[frynge; fryng; fringed; fringe; fring; frindg; freng; freinge; ffrynge; ffringe; ffring]

The term was applied to an ornamental bordering consisting of a narrow band to which were attached THREADs of SILK, COTTON, WOOL etc., either loose or formed into TASSLEs, twists etc. GOLD THREAD and SILVER THREAD were also used at times, as well as COPPER THREAD, either plain or GILT. The list of materials from which fringe was made, the number of articles edged with fringe, as well as the terms used to describe it all show the importance of fringe to decorate both APPAREL and FURNITURE throughout the period. According to an act of 1662, 'Great numbers of this kingdom' were employed in making fringe among other items of HABERDASHERY from 'much foreign thread and silk', yet 'great Quantities of foreign ... Fringe' was imported, and consequently prohibited [Acts (1662)].

OED earliest date of use: 13--

Found described as BLACK, BROAD, BUGLE, CHANGEABLE, COARSE, COLOURED, CRIMSON, DAMAGED, GREEN, HAND, KNOTTED, OLD, PILLION, RED, SADDLErs, SINGLE, SMALL, STATUTE, STAY, STOOL, TUFTED, WHITE, YELLOW Found describing INKLE, LACE Found made of CREWEL, GIMP, INKLE, MOHAIR, SILK, SILVER, WHITE THREAD, WORSTED Found used to edge BED, BELT, CAUL, CHAIR, GIRDLE, GLOVES, HAT, NAPKIN, PARASOL, SADDLE CLOTH, TABLE CLOTH Found in units of DOZEN, ELL, LB, OZ, PAPER, PIECE, YARD

See also BOOTHOSE FRINGE.
Sources: Acts, Diaries, Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Patents, Rates, Tradecards.

Fringe loom

According to Knights 'Dictionary' of 1874 quoted in the OED, a FRINGE loom was 'One in which the WEFT thread is carried and detained beyond the limit of the WARP, which has thus a series of loops beyond the selvage.' In the only example of fringe looms in the Dictionary Archive, they were listed under TUNBRIDGE WARE in a catalogue composed largely of TOYs and other knick-knacks for the domestic market [Tradecards (1794)]. This suggests that at least some fringe looms were quite small and simple devices comparable with the INKLE LOOM and used at home to produce tapes with a fringed edge.

OED earliest date of use: 1858

Sources: Tradecards.

Frize

Not to be confused with FRIEZE, this is a TEXTILE in the form of a LINEN CLOTH, presumably made in Friesland to the north of the Zuider Zee. According to the anonymous author of the Merchant's Warehouse, it was 'the strongest and best colour of any HOLLAND of that fineness'. He wrote that it was not calendared but was 'just as it comes from thee Whitster without any of the least deceit'. However, he claimed that drapers were unwilling to stock it despite its wearing qualities, because it was not filled or otherwise processed so that its immediate appearance was less attractive than some similar fabrics. It only appears once in the stock of a retailer in the Dictionary Archive at 3s 8d ELL, but it was rated in 1647 and again in 1660 under the generic heading of 'Flanders Holland Cloth' and in the latter charged at the exorbitant rate of 5s ELL [Rates (1660)].

Not found in the OED

Found measured by ELL

Sources: Inventories (late), Rates.
References: Anon (1696).

Frock

[frocke; ffrock]

The frock was an article of APPAREL, but in its long history it has appeared in many forms. Its earliest manifestation dating back at least to the fourteenth century was as a long habit with large open sleeves mainly of ecclesiastical use. In this form it does not appear in the Dictionary Archive. By the seventeenth century it was sometimes an upper garment worn chiefly by men; a long COAT, TUNIC or MANTLE. In this form the frock may appear occasionally in the Dictionary Archive. For example, in one long list of male garments recorded for probate there was 'A Morning Gown 1 ordinary Coat 2 Frocks 2 bla: Coats & waste Coats ...' valued together at £10 [Inventories (1711)]. The most common form of frock in the Dictionary Archive is one that emerged in the sixteenth century, that is as an outer garment for indoor wear, of women and children, consisting of BODIES and skirt; a GOWN or DRESS. However, the waters are muddied by the common use elliptically for 'frock' in place of ROUND FROCK, as in 'A Canvis frock and Britches' valued together at 4s 6d [Inventories (1718)], or the 'blue Lindsay Frock and Apron' worn by an escaped prisoner [Newspapers (1751)]. Usually context, valuation and the materials used to make the garment provide clues to type. For example, many frocks made for boys [Inventories (1695)], or worn by socially inferior men [Newspapers (1760)] were made of FUSTIAN, whereas dresses for small children and women were often of a lighter fabric like HOLLAND [Tradecards (1740)], or MUSLIN as in a description of a stolen frock made of 'white new Muslinet' with 'two Tucks in the Skirt, and Four in each Sleeve' [Newspapers (1790)].

During the eighteenth century, if not earlier, London shops, often run by women, advertised frocks for sale. Although rarely explicitly so defined, they seem to have been primarily for CHILDREN, as in 'All Sorts of Childrens Coats, Frocks ...' [Tradecards (1781)]. In one example the wife of a LINEN draper ran a business of making children's clothes, including frocks, presumably using her husband's stock [Tradecards (1743)]. There is much less evidence of frocks for adults offered for sale, though there were exceptions, like the 'Frock-shop' of Mary and Ann Hogarth [Tradecards (1735)].

OED earliest date of use as a woman's garment: 1538

Found described as BLUE, BOYS, BROWN, CHILDREN, FASHIONable, GREY, MEN, PAINTED, READY MADE, WHITE Found made of CALICO, CANVAS, CLOTH, DRILL, FUSTIAN, HOLLAND, LINEN, LINSEY, MUSLINET, SERGE, THICK SET, TICKING

Sources: Diaries, Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Tradecards.

Frocking

[ffrocking]

A TEXTILE. The two examples in the Dictionary Archive suggest a cheap LINEN CLOTH such as CANVAS suitable for making a ROUND FROCK, the type of over-garment worn by labourers.

OED earliest date of use: 1864

Found made of LINEN
Found in units of YARD

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