Lasch - Lazy back

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University of Wolverhampton

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Author

Nancy Cox and Karin Dannehl

Year published

2007

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'Lasch - Lazy back', Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities, 1550-1820 (2007). URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=58807 Date accessed: 02 October 2014.


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Lasch

[lash]

A fine kind of RED LEATHER known at least from the fifteenth century. The OED suggests it may be a form of, or identical with, MOROCCO. It is only found as RED LASCH in the Dictionary Archive.

OED earliest date of use: 14--

See also RED LASCH.

Lash comb

[lash do; lash combe]

A wide-toothed COMB

OED earliest date of use: 1869 under Lash

Found in units of GROSS

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

Lath

[latt; lathe; lathe]

The spellings of lath and LATHE were used interchangeably, though the context should indicate which was intended. In the case of lath the term denoted a thin narrow strip of WOOD used to form a groundwork on which to fix SLATEs, TILEs or the PLASTER of a wall or ceiling or for other purposes (when presumably they were more robust in section) such as to make CART bottoms and the flexible part of a BOW.

John Houghton claimed that the size of laths was regulated by statute, at 1½ INCH wide and ½ INCH thick, though Joseph Moxon suggested width and thickness were more variable [Moxon (1703, facs. 1989)]. Both Houghton and Moxon agreed that lath came in the two lengths of 5 FOOT and 4 FOOT, depending on 'the different intervals of rafters'. Lath was sold in units of 100 to the BUNDLE, and 120 to the LAST. They were made of different types of wood depending on where and how they were to be used, hence DEAL LATH, HEART LATH and SAP LATH [Houghton].

OED earliest date of use: c1000

Found described as BEST, THIN Found made of FIR
Found in units of BUNCH, BUNDLE, C, HUNDRED, LOAD

See also CROSS BOW LATH, DEAL LATH, EAVES LATH, HEART LATH, PANTILE LATH, SAP LATH.
Sources: Diaries, Houghton, Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Rates.
References: Moxon (1703, facs. 1989).

Lath nail

[lathnelle; lathe nayll; lathe nayle; lath nelle; lath nayle; lath naile]

A form of headed NAIL used in the building trades for fixing LATH to battens [Holme (2000)]. Joseph Moxon explained the two types of LATH nails. The first were the 'Reparation or Lath Nails, which are used for plain Tile Lathing, and outside and inside Lathing for Plastring'. The other sort were the 'four Penny, and six Penny Nails, used for Pantile Lathing' [Moxon (1703, facs. 1989)]. In the Dictionary Archive both sorts are found. The former, which were less substantial, seem sometimes to have been described as twopenny or threepenny lath nails, as in 'Twelve thowsand smale ijd lath nailes' [Inventories (1603)], while the latter were indeed described as fourpenny or sixpenny nails. Like many other technical term, lath nails were often listed elliptically as, for example, '7 thousand and half or 4 Lath' [Inventories (1711)].

OED earliest date of use: 1388-9

Found described as CAST
Found in units of C, LB, POUND, THOUSAND

See also LATHING HAMMER, STONE NAIL.
Sources: Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Tradecards.
References: Holme (2000), Moxon (1703, facs. 1989).

Lathe

[lave; lath; lath]

The spelling of Lathe and LATH were used interchangeably, though the context should indicate which was intended. The lathe is a TOOL fundamental to the development of many industrial sectors. As Charles Tomlinson wrote a hundred and fifty years ago, 'The various engines and machines employed in converting the numerous raw productions of the earth into useful fabrics and articles of comfort, convenience, or necessity, could scarcely exist in the absence of the lathe, and of the tools required for the accurate production of the circular parts which enter so largely and so importantly into their structure' [Tomlinson (1854)]. As his eulogy indicates, the lathe was a machine for turning WOOD, METAL, IVORY, HORN, etc., in which the article to be turned is held by adjustable centres, and rotated against the tool by which it is cut to the required shape. It is largely used for oval and circular work.

In the early modern period most lathes were powered by a flexible pole attached formly to the ground, which the operator could flex and release by a treadle attached to the uppermost end of the pole. This type of lathe, and its parts, are described at length by Randle Home [Holme (2000)]. But there were alternative methods of powering, include manual labour, most often probably child labour, and towards the end of the period, water, and then steam power [Tomlinson (1854)]. In the early-modern period, especially in the eighteenth century, there were plenty of other mechanisms that were called lathes, including the GRINDING LATHE and POLISHING LATHE. Several types of lathe not given a separate headword include those for use in the 'Horn button trade' 'Drilling, Fringing and other Lathes' [Newspapers (1790)], in the possession of a dyesinker and buckle stamper, 'Dye Turning, Scratching and Polishing Lathes' [Newspapers (1780)], and of a 'Button and Toy-maker', 'a very good Die Lathe, an exceeding good large oval Die Lathe, several Setting, Turning and Grinding Lathes' [Newspapers (1780)].

OED earliest date of use: 1611

Found described as for Drilling, Fringing, Scratching, Setting, LITTLE

See also GRINDING LATHE, POLISHING LATHE, POTTERS LATHE, TURN BENCH, TURNING LATHE.
Sources: Acts, Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Newspapers, Patents.
References: Holme (2000), Tomlinson (1854).

Lathering brush

[lathering brushe]

Also a 'Lather brush', and in more recent times, a 'Shaving brush'. The term refers to a soft BRUSH for applying lather to a beard to soften the hair preparatory to shaving [Cox (1966, pb 1969)]. In the only example found in the Dictionary Archive, it was in the advertised stock of a 'Ivory & Hardwood Turner' [Tradecards (1771)].

Not found in the OED

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

Lathing hammer

[lething hammer; lathing hamer; lath hamer]

According to a nineteenth-century definition, a lathing HAMMER was a HATCHET that is so configured that it does not interfere with nailing up LATHs in the corner of a room. One end is used for cutting laths to length, with a notch in it for withdrawing nails. The other end has a normal hammer head [Lloyd (1895)]. In the Dictionary Archive there is also one reference to a 'Lath hammer' [Inventories (1677)], which may or may not be the same tool. Randle Holme listed this among 'Things necessary for Husbandry' to be found in the 'Carthouse' [Holme (2000)]. This suggest a tool for mending roofs laths, rather than for fixing laths for plastering, though the tool, according to Joseph Moxon was similar in design [Moxon (1703, facs. 1989)].

OED earliest date of use: 1573 for Lath hammer; Lathing hammer not found

Sources: Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late).
References: Holme (2000), Lloyd (1895), Moxon (1703, facs. 1989).

Lathwood

[lath wood]

Wood suitable or intended for making LATH. Laths came in several distinct forms depending on where they were to be used in constructing a building, and so the lathwood must have been similarly variable, though it has not been found with similar descriptors. Lathwood was measured by the FATHOM of 6 FOOT, sometimes 7 [Zupko (1968)]. The 1784 Book of Rates listed it as 'Lathwood in Pieces under 5 Feet in Length, the Fathom 6 Feet wide and 6 Feet high' or above that in length [Rates (1784)]. This seems to indicate a substantial piece of TIMBER, about 5 FOOT in length along the grain, but in section 6 FOOT square.

OED earliest date of use: 1835

Found in units of FATHOM Found imported by the FATHOM Found rated by the FATHOM

Sources: Houghton, Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Rates.
References: Zupko (1968).

Laudanum tartari

[laudanu' tartari]

It is not known what this was, though its function was medicinal (hence the Latin name). Laudanum was usually applied to preparations of which the chief ingredient was OPIUM.

Not found in the OED

Sources: Inventories (mid-period).

Laundry stove

Possibly a form of STOVE suitable for laundry work, but more probably a simpler version of the 'Patent Laundress, or Washing Machine' sold by a general ironmonger who offered quite a range or ordinary hardware [Newspapers (1791)]. Other examples noted were supplied by a company of 'Furnishing Ironmongers and Braziers' who claimed to 'Make all Sorts of steel & japan'd register Stoves, Kitchen Ranges with Ovens, on various Principles, bath, pantheon, laundry & hall Stoves' [Tradecards (1797)].

Not found in the OED

Sources: Newspapers, Tradecards.

Lavandula

[lavendula]

The Latin name for LAVENDER. It is derived from the Latin 'to wash' and was used sometimes in medicinal products as OLEUM LAVENDULAE.

Not found in the OED

See also SPIRIT OF LAVENDER.
Sources: Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late).

Lavear

A foodstuff found only listed in association with CAVIAR. Probably it is this association that influenced the spelling, and in reality this is no more than a variant of LAVER. If this supposition is correct, 'lavear' was one of the edible marine algae. One OED quotation dated 1766 referred to 'fine potted laver', another rather later one to a pickle called 'laver'. Laver/lavear was a fashionable product sold in London by those who specialized in edible luxuries and delicatessen. In one example it was listed as a PICKLE [Tradecards (1800)].

OED earliest date of use with this meaning: 1611 under Laver

Sources: Tradecards.

Lavender

[levender; lavendor; lavendar; lav']

A family of small shrubs of which the most significant was the stronly scented Lavandula vera. This has small pale lilac-coloured flowers and narrow, oblong or lanceolate leaves. It is a native of Southern Europe and Northern Africa, but is cultivated widely in other countries for its perfume, and also as Nicholas Culpeper pointed out 'an inhabitant almost in every garden' [Culpeper (1792)]. Other varieties known in the early modern period were the less attractive Lavandula spica, whence OIL OF SPIKE, and FRENCH LAVENDER.

Lavender was much used in PERFUMERY and to a lesser extent in medicine, though Nicholas Culpeper claimed it was 'of a special good use for all the griefs and pains of the head and brain' [Culpeper (1792)]. The complete flower stalk with some leaves was used for most purpose; hence the directions in one recipe to make HUNGARY WATER to add 'one handful of Lavender. I suppose the handfuls to be about a Foot long a-piece' [Recipes (Bradley, R.)]. It was the flower spikes that were imported and listed in the Books of Rates [Rates (1784)]. Perhaps because the scent was relatively easy to extract from the flower heads, lavender was one of the few flowers used to make SOAPs and WASHBALLs, both commercially and at home [Recipes (Nott)]. It has been noted once in the Dictionary Archive among PERFUMED POWDERS [Tradecards (1790s)], presumably intended as a HAIR POWDER, though the like-scented POMATUM has not been found.

Lavender was sometimes used elliptically to refer to one of its products, and it is not always clear which was intended; for example, '4 ounces of Lavender' [Tradecards (1740s)], 'Lavender & Salvolatile' [Tradecards (1745)] and 'Pastils to burn Lavender' [Tradecards (1790s)].

OED earliest date of use: 1265

Lavender flowers are found rated by the POUND

See also ESSENCE OF LAVENDER, LAVENDER WATER, OIL OF LAVENDER, SPIRIT OF LAVENDER.
Sources: Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Rates, Recipes, Tradecards.
References: Culpeper (1792).

Lavender water

[levender water; lavender-water; lavender hungary and other waters; lavender and orange flower water; lavender and honey water; lavendar and hungary water; lav' water]

A SCENTED WATER, being a distillation of the flowers of LAVENDER. Lavender water was an important item of TOILETRY and perfumers were apparently anxious to attach proprietary names to it such as 'the best Lavender Water, made for a Receipt of the famous Mr Boyle' [Newspapers (1741)], and 'Smith's Lavender Water' [Tradecards (1794)]. Retailers also lavished extravagant praise on the ones they sold, like 'best double distill'd' [Newspapers (1760)], 'Of the very finest Quality, such as is certain to give universal Satisfaction' [Tradecards (1800)], and 'Highly improved ... distilled from the Flowers only' [Tradecards (1794)].

Nicholas Culpeper claimed that a little of 'the distilled water of the flowers ... helpeth them that have lost their voice' [Culpeper (1792)], which suggests it was used medicinally, even if only in a minor way.

OED online earliest date of use: 1563

Found described as BEST, DOUBLE DISTILLED, FINE, FOREIGN Found among PERFUMED WATERS
Found in units of BOTTLE, PINT

Sources: Newspapers, Tradecards.
References: Culpeper (1792).

Laver

Although there are many meanings to this term, in the Dictionary Archive it seems invariably to have been applied to a vessel, BASIN or CISTERN for washing, and in particular to a hand WASH BASIN, or water JUG, usually made of metal.

The term was also applied to an edible algae that became fashionable in the eighteenth century. It does not appear as such in the Dictionary Archive, but it is almost certainly what was consistently named LAVEAR.

OED earliest date of use: 1386

Found described as BRASS, BRAZEN, HANGING, LATTEN, MASLIN, WASHING

See also LAVER COCK.
Sources: Inventories (early).

Laver cock

A TAP for emptying a LAVER or similar vessel

OED earliest date of use: 1593 under Cock

Found rated by the POUND

Sources: Rates.

Lawn

[lawns; lawne; laune]

A TEXTILE, probably first made in Laon, a town in France important for its LINEN manufacture. Lawn was a kind of fine LINEN CLOTH, and later also a fine, lightweight COTTON CLOTH, resembling CAMBRIC or MUSLIN with which it was often associated. A characteristic of lawn lay in the threads used in its manufacture, which were as cylindrical as possible and not pressed heavily like those used for CALICO [Caulfeild and Saward (1885, facs.1989)]. A less satisfactory characteristic was that it tended to wear yellow with age, unlike CAMBRIC, for example [Anon (1696)].

Perhaps because of its long history, lawn spawned a number of secondary yet distinctive types of lawn, most of which were already acknowledged as such by the early seventeenth century, like CALICO LAWN, COBWEB LAWN and SILESIA LAWN. By the end of the eighteenth century it had become a highly fashionable fabric, offered for sale in a variety of finishes; FIGURED, FLOWERED. SPOTTED, etc., and used for a wide range of dress accessories like HANDKERCHIEFs, CUFFs and APRONs.

Because of anxieties about FRENCH competition, the wearing of FRENCH lawn was prohibited by [Acts (1745)] and the duties on imports were very high. There were also attempts to establish the manufacture of lawn in this country; for example at a manufactory at Winchelsea in Sussex [Acts (1764)].

Most lawn was sold in quite short lengths, for example [Acts (1764)] stipulated the length of a PIECE of FRENCH Lawn at 11 ELL, although the Books of Rates generally defined the PIECE as 13 ELL and the HALF PIECE as 6½ ELL. These lengths largely match those found elsewhere in the Dictionary Archive. Surprisingly for a largely imported fabric, most lawn was offered for sale by the yard.

Valuations varied enormously and it is difficult to make sense of them. Before 1660 undefined lawn was valued from as little as 11d YARD to as much as 6s 8d, and little changed over time with perhaps a slight drop for the lowest qualities. In [Inventories (1643)], a mercer of Worcester with a huge range of lawns, some included among his LINEN DRAPERY, but others under HABERDASHERY, he had CALICO LAWN at 16d YARD, but 'br' lawn', which possibly indicated BROAD, is a term not understood, at 3s 4d to 6s 8d. Unlike valuations, prices are uncommon in the Dictionary Archive, but newspaper advertisements give some indication of the range, one offering lawns from as little as 12d to as much as 12s YARD [Newspapers (1757)].

Although in the Dictionary Archive, FRENCH lawn appears to have been nothing more than LAWN from FRANCE, Caulfeild and Saward, towards the end of the nineteenth century, wrote that some 'Lawns, ... are really muslins made of cotton, such as French Lawn ...' [Caulfeild and Saward (1885, facs.1989)]. There is no evidence that this was true a century earlier.

OED earliest date of use: 1415

Found described as BLEACHED, BROAD, CHEQUERED, COARSE, FANCY, FIGURED, FINE, FLOWERED, FRENCH, to line GUN - CASE, HEMP, HOLLAND-WHITED, IRISH, MILLINET, NARROW, ornamented, PLAIN, QUARTER, SCOTCH, to line SLEEVE with, SPOTTED, SPRIGGED with COTTON, STRIPED Found used to make APRON, CUFF, HANDKERCHIEF, STOCK, STRAINER, TEMSE, TOILET, UMBRELLA, WHISK
Found imported from Germany, Holland Found in units of ELL, PIECE, YARD Found rated by HALF PIECE of 6½ ELL, PIECE of 13 ELL

See also CALICO LAWN, CLEAR LAWN, COBWEB LAWN, LONG LAWN, SILESIA LAWN, TUFTED LAWN, LAWN SIEVE.
Sources: Acts, Houghton, Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Rates, Tradecards.
References: Anon (1696), Caulfield and Saward (1885, 1989 ed.).

Lawn sieve

[lawne-sieve]

A fine SIEVE made of LAWN or SILK and stretched and fixed to a wooden frame. It was used in cookery, PORCELAIN manufacture and wherever a sieve of exceptional fineness was required.

OED earliest date of use: 1806

Found described as FINE

See also LAWN.
Sources: Inventories (mid-period), Recipes.

Lazy back

[lazyback]

An IRON - FRAME used to support a FRYING PAN [Wright (1898-1905)]. It has been noted only once in the Dictionary Archive as 'One lazyback and hanger' [Inventories (1719)], the hanger being used presumably to hang the whole contrivance above the fire.

Not found usefully in the OED

See also HANGING PLATE.
Sources: Inventories (late).
References: Wright (1898-1905).