Green sand - Green woad

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University of Wolverhampton

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Nancy Cox and Karin Dannehl

Year published

2007

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'Green sand - Green woad', Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities, 1550-1820 (2007). URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=58780 Date accessed: 30 July 2014.


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Green sand

A variety of sandstone, usually imperfectly consolidated, consisting largely of glauconite, which is otherwise known as green earth. In IRON founding, green SAND was a moulding sand used while slightly damp, and not dried before the cast was made [Webster (online)].

OED online earliest date of use: 1796

References: Webster (1913).

Green sauce

[greene sauce]

According to the OED, it was a SAUCE of a green colour, made of HERBS such as SORREL and eaten with meat. The supporting quotations show it to have contained along with the herbs VINEGAR or VERJUICE, which indicates that it had a sharp flavour. It appears always to have been a sauce made in the kitchen and it did not become a proprietary PREPARED SAUCE available in the shops.

In the only example of this term found in the Dictionary Archive, it was used as a descriptor of a 'morter of wood' [Inventories (11598)], and HERBs indeed were usually macerated in a WOODEN - MORTAR. Richard Bradley used his green sauce only with roasted GOOSE. Usually he gave quite detailed directions about how to make his sauces, but in this case he did not, writing only that the goose should be 'eaten with green Sauce, or scalded Gooseberries'. The latter would have provided both the green colour and the sharp taste just as effectively as the more conventional sauce [Bradley (1736, facs. 1980)].

OED earliest date of use: c1460

See also GREEN SAUCE MORTAR, HERB SAUCE, PIQUANT SAUCE.
Sources: Inventories (early).
References: Bradley (1736, facs. 1980).

Green sauce mortar

[greene sauce morter]

A term found only once in the Dictionary Archive, where it was used to describe a MORTAR made of wood, rather than as more usual of BRASS or BELL METAL. Unlike wood, these metals would have discoloured the HERBs being ground inside [Inventories (1598)].

Not found in the OED

Found made of WOOD

See also GREEN SAUCE.
Sources: Inventories (early).

Green say

[grene sey; grene sea; grene say; greene sey; greene see; greene sea; greene saye; greene say; greene saie; green sea; grean sea; graen seay]

SAY dyed GREEN. Although say is found in a big range of colours, green was by far the most popular, becoming almost the standard in the second half of the seventeenth century. [Chambers (1724)] opined that green say was used by the Quakers to make their APRONs, a view that is supported by entries in the account book of Sarah Fell, for example [Diaries (Fell)] and in the probate inventories of known Quakers.

OED earliest date of use: 1724

Found described as BROAD, DOUBLE, FINE, NARROW Found describing BUCKRAM Found used to make APRON, BANKER, CUPBOARD CLOTH, CURTAIN, VALANCE
Found in units of PIECE, YARD Values per yard noted 20d, 22d, 2s, 2s 2d, 2s 4d, 2s 6d (broad), 2s 8d, 2s 10d (fine double)

Sources: Diaries, Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late).
References: Chambers (1724).

Green snuff

A variety of SNUFF, possibly so called from its colour. It may have been similar to 'Herb snuff' such as 'Rowley's British Herb Snuff ' [Newspapers (1770)] and therefore to have been made primarily with HERBS rather than with TOBACCO. In which case it was probably used for its perceived medicinal benefits. It has been found only once in the Dictionary Archive, and then in a newspaper advertisement, rather than in the stock of one who sold TOBACCO. It was one of many snuffs offered by the advertiser, in a typical promotional list where the scale of choice seems to have been at least as important as quality. The advertisement reads: 'Finest Green, Cephalic, Strasbourg, Dutch and Dunkirk Rappee, Spanish and Brazil Snuffs' [Newspapers (1760)]. This concept of choice as a selling factor seems to have been in the mind of Rolt, when he commented, 'the kinds of snuff, and their several names, are numerous, and daily invented, so that it would be difficult, not to say impossible, to give a detail of them [Rolt (1761)].

Not found in the OED

Found described as FINE

See also CEPHALIC SNUFF.
Sources: Newspapers.
References: Rolt (1761).

Green soap

SOAP of a green colour, possibly made by using GREEN OIL in its manufacture. In the Gloucester Coastal Port Books it was described as a SOFT SOAP.

OED online earliest date of use: 1927 under Scrub

References: Gloucester Coastal Port Books (1998).

Green spectacles

Green spectacles, that is SPECTACLES with GREEN GLASS used for the lenses, were tried by Samuel Pepys to see whether they would help his eyesight, which he believed was deteriorating towards blindness [Cambridge History, Pepys (online)]; [Diaries (Pepys)]. They have not been noted for sale, which may be an indication that they were only available specially made for a particular customer.

OED online earliest date of use: 1666 under Spectacle

Sources: Diaries.
References: Cambridge History, Pepys (online).

Green starch

The term refers to STARCH in the process of manufacture before it has been dried. An act of 1711 gave the dimensions of the BOX in which the starch must be dried, and the quantity of dried starch that could be expected as a result [Acts (1711)]. This was altered two years later, presumably because the earlier proportions were found to be unworkable [Acts (1713)].

Not found in the OED online

See also GREEN WATER.
Sources: Acts.

Green talc

[talke green; talk green; talc green]

In the Book of Rates of 1657 it was contrasted with WHITE TALC, which was rated at half the rate [Rates (1657)], though by 1784 the two were rated the same [Rates (1784)]. It was probably the coarse grayish-green TALC that has been called SOAPSTONE or steatite.

OED online earliest date of use: 1770 under Talc

Found rated by the POUND

Sources: Rates.

Green tea

[green do; green ditto; green and bohea tea; green and black tea]

TEA produced from leaves roasted almost immediately after gathering, and then sometimes artificially coloured. Varieties include GUNPOWDER TEA, HYSON TEA, SINGLO TEA. It seems to have been regarded as healthier than BLACK TEA [Diaries (Turner)], while a quotation dated 1789 in the OED suggested that heartburn could be relieved by chewing the leaves [OED online, Heartburn]. The diarist, Thomas Turner, when trying to improve his life style, determined if he drank tea at home or abroad, it was 'to be small green tea and not more than 4 dishes' [Diaries (Turner)].

Valuations as high as 20s per LB have been noted at the beginning of the eighteenth century [Newspapers (1707)], but in common with other teas, prices came down as the century progressed; for example in 1720, 'Fine Green Teas' were advertised in London at 10s a Pound [Newspapers (1720)]. By the 1780s one retailer had 'Common Green' at 6s 6d to 6s 10d per LB, and 'Curl'd Leaf do' at 7s [Newspapers (1780)]. Some retailers offered a considerable choice. For example, a 'Tea man' in LONDON offered 'Good Common green tea at 7s per lb - Good Singlo 7s 4d - Fine ditto 8s - Superfine ditto 9s - Fine Green and Imperial 10s - Superfine Bloom 10s 6d - Fine Hyson or Plain Green 12s 6d - Very Fine ditto 13s 6d - Superfine ditto 16s.' [Newspapers (1780)]. After William Pitt's reduction in duty, prices had dropped in the 1790s to as little as 3s 4d for 'Common Green Tea' with an extra 4d charged for the 'Good', although named varieties like Hyson cost almost twice as much [Newspapers (1791)].

Green tea was an ingredient for a 'Tea Caudle', along with EGGs and WHITE WINE [Recipes (Smith)], although then, as now, teas were rarely used in cookery.

OED earliest date of use: 1704

Found described as BEST, COMMON, FINE, finest, GOOD, SMALL, STRONG Found describing DUST
Found in units of CANISTER, LB, POUND, TUB containing up to 89 LB

Sources: Acts, Diaries, Inventories (late), Newspapers, Recipes, Tradecards.

Green timber

Green TIMBER has not been seasoned and so is still full of sap, and this affects the way it can be worked. John Houghton set out the advantages and disadvantages of using timber in this state with the tools available at the time, writing that 'the greenest timber is sometimes desirable for such as carve and turn, but it choaks the teeth of our saws: and for doors, windows, floors, and other close works, it is altogether to be rejected ...' [Houghton]. Modern authorities also recommend green wood for turning, claiming that it is softer 'making the cutting easier and faster and because it is wet it keeps the tool cooler, which allows it to stay sharp for a longer period of time.' Sanding is also easier, and the process is less dusty [Lewin (online)]. However, while power tools make cutting easier, it was apparently even in Houghton's time advantageous sometimes to cut wood while still green, and at least one merchant had 'Green Oak Boards' and 'Green poplar' ones [Inventories (1735)].

OED online earliest date of use: 1697 under Vomit

See also GREEN CHAIR.
Sources: Houghton, Inventories (late).
References: Lewin (online).

Green usquebaugh

[green and yellow usquebaugh]

A single reference to green USQUEBAUGH has been noted, in an newspaper advertisement in 1751 along with YELLOW USQUEBAUGH [Newspapers (1751)]. According to Richard Bradley, making green usquebaugh was a complicated process involving a infusion of FRENCH BRANDY and SPICEs to which Spirit of SAFFRON was added. Into this went a second infusion of WHITE WINE, RAISINS OF THE SUN and LIQUORICE. Finally, SUGAR was added and the juice of SPINACH, a standard green colourant in food [Bradley (1736, facs. 1980)].

Not found in the OED

Sources: Newspapers.
References: Bradley (1736, facs. 1980).

Green verditer

[grene varditer]

Green VERDITER was the manufactured equivalent of malachite, the source of GREEN BICE. Like BLUE VERDITER, it was usually a by-product of refining SILVER, made by pouring COPPER nitrate on WHITING. The PIGMENT was then drained, washed and dried.

It was rarely used as an artist colour and by the eighteenth century its use for this purpose had virtually ceased. The fact that green verditer was easier to make than the blue is reflected in the valuations noted; whereas the blue was valued at 2s-3s LB, the green came at half that [Harley (1970)].

OED earliest date of use: 1683

Found in units of LB

Sources: Inventories (mid-period), Tradecards.
References: Harley (1970).

Green vitriol

Ferrous sulphate, also known as ENGLISH - VITRIOL and DANTZIG VITRIOL and GREEN COPPERAS. It may be made either by dissolving IRON or ferrous sulphide in dilute sulphuric acid, formerly known as OIL OF VITRIOL or SPIRIT OF VITRIOL, or by the slow oxidation of 'coal brasses', also known as SULPHUR STONE, which was abundant in a coal mine near Wigan in Lancashire, and prepared in manufactories in Wigan, Whitehaven and Newcastle-upon-Tyne [Partington (1953)]; [Rees (1819-20, 1972 ed.)]. In the early-modern period a third method was also used. Much green vitriol was prepared at Deptford from 'martial pyrites' the common name then for IRON pyrites. This was found in many places round the south coast. By exposing it in large heaps to the air, oxygen is absorbed, and the new-formed salt separated by washing [Rees (1819-20, 1972 ed.)].

There was much interest in the eighteenth century in extracting the various sulphates from their ores. For example, a patent of 1780 proposed a method of extracting 'alum, sulphur, and white and green vitriols, from lead-glitter, blue-stone, and iron-ores [Patents (1780)]. According to Pemberton, some refiners of AQUA FORTIS used uncalcined Dantzig vitriol [Recipes (Pemberton)], though the preferred official method was to use both calcined and uncalcined GREEN VITRIOL. It was also an ingredient of VENICE TREACLE [Recipes (Pemberton)].

Most green vitriol was consumed in the production of OIL OF VITRIOL, but its importance, and the production of it therefore, decreased when alternative methods of making oil of vitriol direct from sulphur were devised in the mid-eighteenth century.

OED earliest date of use: c1400

Found described as calcined, uncalcined

Sources: Patents, Recipes.
References: Partington (1953), Rees (1819-20, abridged 1972).

Green ware

Either articles of EARTHENWARE moulded and shaped, but not yet baked [Webster (online)], or fresh fodder or GREEN MEAT.

OED online earliest date of use: 1884 in the first sense; 1744-50 in the second, both under Green

References: Webster (1913).

Green water

The scrapings of STARCH left after it has been properly papered and stamped. These were then dissolved and strained and, as GREEN WATER, put in the frames to make more starch [Acts (1786)].

Like GREEK WATER, a water of the name of green water was also a remedy for venereal disease, but it has not been noted as such in the Dictionary Archive.

Not found in the OED as part of the manufacture of starch

Sources: Acts.

Green wax

SEALING WAX of a GREEN colour, apparently used by the Exchequer and on some legal documents such as escheats.

OED earliest date of use: 1299

Sources: Acts.

Green woad

[green-woad; green wod]

Possibly semi-processed WOAD with the leaves pressed into balls, but not yet fermented. It has only been noted in the Gloucester Coastal Port Book for 1576, and in the Books of Rates, in which it was invariably distinguished from TOULOUSE WOAD and rated less harshly. The 1660 Book of Rates had an entry for 'Islands or green-woad' [Rates (1660)]. This and the favourable rate of duty, suggests that green woad may have come from the Mediterranean islands outside the influence of France. In this case, 'green' may have been used as a descriptor merely as an identifying characteristic of colour.

OED earliest date of use: a1618

Found rated by the C of 100 POUND, HUNDREDWEIGHT, TON of 20 HUNDREDWEIGHT

Sources: Rates.