Tub - Tutty


University of Wolverhampton



Nancy Cox and Karin Dannehl

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'Tub - Tutty', Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities, 1550-1820 (2007). URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=58902 Date accessed: 19 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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[tube; tubbe; tubb; tobe; tobb]

An open WOODEN vessel, wide in proportion to its height, usually formed of STAVES and HOOPS by a cooper, used for a variety of purposes. In function, if not in shape and manufacture, it was similar to the TROUGH, though some tubs had a TAP at the bottom, from which liquid could be drawn, an unlikely facility on the trough. Randle Holme had some useful generalizations about size. He wrote that a tub with hoops contains 'halfe a Barrell of water, ... if lesse a Tubnell, that is vulgarly a Turnell: if larger, then it is, a Fate, or Vate' [Holme (2000)]. Tub was also an alternative term for the HORSE POT or COUPLE TUB; hence '5 pads 1 pair of Tubs 1 pair of Kipes' among a stock of saddlery [Inventories (1742)].

The tub was a standard unit of measure for several commodities, including BUTTER (see BUTTER TUB), PLATTING [Acts (1770)] and, perhaps, TEA [Inventories (1716)]; [Acts (1745)].

The uses to which tubs were put were numerous, and many have given rise to specialist tubs, each with its own descriptor. In the Dictionary Archive the following occur frequently, and often their significance is not obvious: ALUM TUB, ASH BALL TUB, BAKING TUB, BEEF TUB, BOULTING TUB, BRAN TUB, BREWING TUB, BUCKING TUB, BUTTER TUB, CHEESE TUB, COAL TUB, CORN TUB, DOUGH TUB, DRENCH TUB, DYE TUB, FEATHER TUB, FLESH TUB, FLOUR TUB, HOGS TUB, HONEY TUB, KNEADING TUB, KNOP TUB, LITTING TUB, MALTING TUB, MASH TUB, MEAL TUB, MEAT TUB, MUSTARD TUB, POWDERING TUB, QUICKENING TUB, SALT TUB, SALTING TUB,SCOURING TUB, SIFTING TUB, SILTING TUB, SOAP TUB, STRAINING TUB,WASHING TUB, WATER TUB. Tubs have also been noted described as for BEER, CHALK, DRINKHOPS, OIL, OYSTERS, PICKLE, POTATO and WAX.

The purposes and designs of several types of tub are not understood. These include 'Galforth Tub' [Inventories (1799)], 'Scealing Tub' [Inventories (1748)], a 'Stumming tubb' owned by a silk thrower [Inventories (1671)] and a 'Toule tubb' [Inventories (1617)].

OED earliest date of use: 1386

Found described as BARREL, big, BROAD, BROKEN, for dirt, EMPTY, GREAT, IRON BOUND, LARGE, LITTLE, OLD, ROUND, SMALL, three legged, upright Found containing GLASSes, LIME, ROSIN, TEA Found made of CHESTNUT, IRON, WOOD Tubs of WOOD were found rated by the DOZEN

Sources: Acts, Diaries, Houghton, Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Newspapers, Rates, Recipes, Tradecards.
References: Holme (2000).

Tub bottom

[tubbs bottome]

A circular disk of wood suitable for fitting into the bottom of a TUB, comparable with PAIL BOTTOM and LOOM BOTTOM. The only example in the Dictionary Archive of tub bottoms is found among the stock of PAIL maker [Inventories (1667)].

Not found in the OED online

Found in units of DOZEN

Sources: Inventories (mid-period).



A liliaceous plant, Polianthes tuberosa, with creamy white, funnel shaped, very fragrant flowers and a tuberous root. It is native to Mexico, but was already cultivated in the early modern period mostly under glass in this country, although one 'Nursery and Seedsman' offered the 'roots', apparently for planting outdoors from 'February till May' [Galpine (1983)]. Today it is the DOUBLE form that is usually grown, and they are often planted fresh in succession each year, rather than saving spent roots [Synge (1951, new ed.1956)]. The root was used in PERFUMERY but probably not on a great scale before 1800, judging by the relatively rare occurrence of its products in the Dictionary Archive. One retailer advertised the ESSENCE, a POMATUM, a perfumed POWDER and a WATER [Tradecards (1790s)], another had a POMATUM and a SCENTED WATER [Tradecards (1794)] and a third had a HAIR POWDER [Tradecards (1800)].

John Houghton confused this plant with FLEUR DE LYS, which as he said, is a native of Europe. This may be his ignorance, or common practice, though what he went on to write does suggest he was referring to the tuberose: 'Here about London they are kept in pots, and commonly set into the best rooms of state before the chimney. Our finest ladies also stick them to their stomachers as one of the finest adornments they can place there'. He claimed that a thousand roots were imported 'from the Streights' in 1694-5. It was of the tuberose, and his desire to see it more widely grown and marketed in England, that John Houghton wrote 'I would fain have England the magazine of all the useful things in the universe' [Houghton].

OED earliest date of use: 1664

Sources: Houghton, Tradecards.
References: Galpine (1983), Synge (1951, new ed.1956).

Tuberose roots

The rhizomes of the TUBEROSE. They were used extensively in PERFUMERY, though mostly after 1800, but they also grown in Britain under glass. The only example in the Dictionary Archive was advertised by a retailer noted for exotic foodstuffs and TOILETRY, but not for garden plants [Tradecards (18c.)]. If it were not for the fact that he offered the roots as either SINGLE or DOUBLE, it would have seemed likely that he was selling them to those who wished to process them for their perfume.

Not found in this sense in the OED

Found described as DOUBLE, SINGLE

Sources: Tradecards.


[tuftetaffetye; tufted tafata; tufte taffitoe; tufte taffetye; tuftaffatie; tuft taffata; tuffaffty; tuff taffity]

A term formed by running together the two parts of TUFTED - TAFFETA. Most TAFFETAs had a smooth finish, but tuftaffeta untypically had a pile or nap arranged in tufts. Creating a pile and then cutting some of it only so as to form a pattern was very popular in the sixteenth century and early seventeenth, but largely died out thereafter as different ways of finishing became available. However, weavers of tuftaffeta in LONDON (originally immigrants mainly from the Low Countries and FRANCE) claimed in 1633 to number 10,000, an undoubted exaggeration but suggesting a substantial body of skilled craftsmen, not all of whom were foreigners [Kerridge (1985)]. Tuftaffetas were normally made of SILK and were therefore valued highly, but some were made of half-LINEN [Kerridge (1985)]. Valuations in the Dictionary Archive range from 5s 6d to 9s the YARD; the variation reflecting quality and fashionability.

OED earliest date of use: 1572

Found described as BLACK, BROAD, 'cutt and uncutt', ENGLISH, NARROW, with THREAD
Found in units of YARD Found rated by the YARD

See also TAFFETA.
Sources: Inventories (early), Rates.
References: Kerridge (1984).

Tufted lawn

A TEXTILE in the form of a LINEN CLOTH, presumably made with loops or curls in the weave, as were other so called TUFTED fabrics, like TUFTAFFETA or TUFTED FUSTIAN.

Not found in the OED

Found imported from Holland Found measured by the PIECE

Sources: Houghton.

Tun tub

[tunn tubb; tune tubb; tun tubb]

An alternative name for a MASH TUB, found only in southern England in the Dictionary Archive.

OED earliest date of use: 1842 under Tun

Sources: Inventories (late).


[turn brige]

A small town in Kent that became famous during the eighteenth century for the manufacture of a huge range of fancy goods and TOYs, made in and about Royal Tunbridge Wells and nearby Tonbridge and called Tunbridge ware. Typically, these articles were made of WOOD with a characteristic mosaic decoration, by slicing cross-sections from a bundle of thin strips of differently coloured wood glued together. This gave a number of identical copies of the pattern for sticking on rather like a VENEER. S. Bettison, with his main shop in Margate, included an extended list of Tunbridge ware in his catalogue, starting with 'Ladies curious inlaid Travelling, Dressing, Work, Netting and Writing Boxes, of various Sorts and Sizes in a pleasing variety', which gives a flavour of the goods produced in Tunbridge [Tradecards (1794)]. One tradesman with a 'Tunbridge Manufactory' in Brighton, claimed 'Tunbridge Ware Manufactured in all its Branches, Ornamented in every fashionable Style that can be Introduced in Enamel, Malmatint Japan &c &c. Ladies Work Tables, Cabinets, Boxes &c made to any Plans required, on the shortest Notice' [Tradecards (1815)]. It suggests not only an up-market establishment, but also one that offered a bespoke service. This superior market is confirmed by one of the fashionable London retailers, who mainly sold TOILETRY, but who in addition offered 'Work Boxes, plain and richly fitted up. Painting Cases, complete with superfine Colours, &c. TEA CHESTS and CADDIES, plain and with handsome Cut Glass Cannisters, mounted with Silver, Patent Locks, &c.Jewel Boxes, Medicine Chests, and Bottle Cases Of All Sorts And Sizes' among other goods, all of 'superior Tunbridge Manufactory' [Tradecards (1790s)].

OED online earliest date of use: 1773


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

Turkey leather

[turkey lea'r]

LEATHER that has been TAWED with oil, the hair side not being removed until after the tawing

OED earliest date of use: 1743

Found used to make SHOE

Sources: Diaries.

Turkey plain

A TEXTILE, a type of LINEN CLOTH described in [Rates (1784)] as 'Linen viz Alexandria or Turkey plain'. Each of the two forms of the term each suggest that the fabric came from the Middle East. It has not been noted in the shops under this name, though it was almost certainly there under a different label.

Not found in the OED

Found rated by the ELL and in various widths

Sources: Rates.

Turkey red

The most famous RED shade produced with MADDER was Turkey red, a colour of great brilliance and fastness. It was used particularly to dye the YARN before weaving COTTON CLOTH and in PRINTED - CALICO. The technique originated in INDIA, but was later transmitted to TURKEY (whence it became known in Europe as LEVANT red or Adrianople red). The exact route by which the technique was first brought to Europe is disputed, but it was established in SCOTLAND in the late eighteenth century.

The original classical process involved sixteen separate operations and took a month to complete. It required a very pure form of ALUM, which the manufacturers marketed as red alum, and an OIL, produced in this country as turkey red oil or soluble oil, produced by the action of sulphuric acid on CASTOR OIL. The scientist John Mercer did much work on this, patenting many of his findings, see for example, patent no. 11, 252 (1846) [Ponting (1980, pb 1981)]. Caulfeild and Saward include what appears to be a simplified version of the process: 'The bleached yarn is soaked in oil, then dipped in carbonate of soda, and exposed to the action of air and of steam ... It is then passed through a solution of nut-galls and a red mordant successively, and is thus ready for dyeing. To this effect it is boiled for two or three hours in a vessel containing madder-root, ... and, lastly, it is boiled in a solution of soap.' [Caulfeild and Saward (1885, facs.1989)] Caulfeild and Saward make no mention of the sources of animal protein that early dyers believed would help the penetration of the dye into the cotton. Turkey red dyers were known to use blood, dung, or urine in the dyeing process, and this aspect of the process was continued in Britain. For example, in the heyday of the Scottish industry 130,000 GALLON of BULLOCKs' blood was used [Ponting (1980, pb 1981)].

OED earliest date of use: 1789

Sources: Newspapers.
References: Caulfield & Saward (1885, 1989 ed.), Ponting (1980, pb 1981).

Turn bench

[turne benches; turnbenches]

According to Randle Holme, the turn bench was a small LATHE used 'to work small work in Metal; it is made either of Iron or Brass; and is by the Work-men termed a Turn-Bench, or rather a Vice Lathe, because when it is used, it is Screwed into the Chaps of a Vice, and having fitted the Work upon a small Iron Axis with a Drill Barrel fitted upon a square shank; with a Drill Bow and String carry it about with the Drill Bow in the left hand, and the Tool in the right hand: The Tools for these small Works are commonly a Graver, and sometimes a Scalper, both pointed, round, and flat; also great and small' [Holme (2000)].

In the Dictionary Archive turn benches have only been noted with any degree of certainty among the equipment of CLOCK and WATCH makers, who often had several. Given that one hand had to be occupied in drawing the bow back and forth, so that only one hand was free to operate the tool, its operation must have involved considerable skill. By this name, turn lathes were not common, but entries like 'a vice, and lathe topps, and a hold fast' valued in all at 3s', was probably indicating such an implement [Inventories (1629)], and less certainly 'formers & gougees the turning fram a vice the benchees all things in it' belonging to a joiner [Inventories (1696)].

OED earliest date of use: 1680 under TURN

Found described as LARGE, SMALL Found in units of PAIR

Sources: Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late).
References: Holme (2000).

Turned box

[turne box; turnd money boxes]

A small cylindrical receptacle, possibly with a screw-on lid. It has been noted once among APOTHECARY ware [Inventories (1573)], when it was probably used as a PILL BOX. The 'turnd money boxes' noted in a shop may have been of this type [Inventories (1682)]. One of the other example is more contentious, being listed among HABERDASHERY as 'turned boxes and balls' [Inventories (1609)]. Such a one as these may well have been a TOY similar to the '4 Ivory boxes with balls and Allabaster and other Ivory toyes' [Inventories (1671)] found elsewhere. In this case, it may have been a TURNED piece of solid wood or IVORY that was then hollowed out in such a way that some was left inside shaped into the form of balls.

Not found in the OED

Found in units of DOZEN

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

Turning lathe

[turning and grinding lathes]

A LATHE for turning WOOD, METAL, IVORY and the like, in which the article to be turned is held in a horizontal position by means of adjustable centres and rotated against the tools with which it is cut to the required shape. This was used chiefly for turning circular and oval work, but it is also used for turning irregular forms and in engraving figure-work and geometrical designs on metal. Although most turning lathes noted in the Dictionary Archive appear in the eighteenth century, one was listed in the sixteenth: 'the turning lathe and abenche' valued at 3s 4d [Inventories (1578)]. Randle Holme illustrated the 'Turner, Turning (or Throwing) at his Lath' [Holme (2000)]. It shows a metal worker with a foot-operated pole lathe, but is a relatively simple machine. By the eighteenth century, while wood-worker like turners and joiners continued to use a simple form of lathe to turn wood, hence a joiners '2 Turning lathes and Tools' valued at 8s 6d [Inventories (1747)], metal workers were requiring more complex pieces of equipment. For example, a TOY maker had '6 Turning Lathes 2 heads 21 P'r of Clams 2 Benches 1 Turkey Stone & some small Tools' valued in all at £4 4s [Inventories (1764)].

OED earliest date of use: 1611

Sources: Inventories (early), Inventories (late), Newspapers.
References: Holme (2000).


[turpintine; turpin'; turpentyne; turpantine]

Originally the term applied to the semi-fluid RESIN from the TEREBINTH tree, Pistacia terebinthus, now usually defined as CHIAN TURPENTINE or CYPRUS TURPENTINE. Later it was applied to the various oleo-resins that exude from coniferous trees, consisting of more or less viscous solutions of resin in a volatile OIL. It is a distillation of this that gives OIL OF TURPENTINE and ROSIN. It was an important component of NAVAL STORES. Various varieties are listed by Davies, including VENICE TURPENTINE (most commonly from Frances and Germany) and Strasburg turpentine [Davies (1831)]. The latter is presumably the same as the 'turpentine of Germany' that was listed among unrated DRUGS in an early-eighteenth century act [Acts (1704)]. In a much earlier act, turpentine is referred to as a common adulterant of WAX[Acts (1581)]. John Houghton noted that turpentine was commonly used to protect cuts and wounds from 'external air', to treat coughs, arthritis, and as an ingredient of some OINTMENTs. Pepys probably indicated its most popular use - as a laxative. He recorded that he began to take a daily dose of it in the form of a pill, having been shown how to take it by a physician [Diaries (Pepys)] and [Diaries (Pepys)] in 1664. Its importance in English trade is suggested by the lists of imports given in Houghton, and by the many acts that tried to encourage trade from desirable sources and to discourage those from the less desirable.

OED earliest date of use: a1398

Found described as COMMON, of Germany, of the growth of East Florida, REFINED, strained Found contained in bladder, BOTTLE
Found imported from America, Spain Found among the DRUGS in the Rate Books, rated by the HUNDREDWEIGHT Found imported and rated by the CWT, LB

Sources: Acts, Diaries, Houghton, Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Rates, Recipes, Tradecards.
References: Davies (1831).

Turpentine of germany

According to John Houghton, it was an alternative name for VENICE TURPENTINE, and was so called because it was 'brought chiefly from France and Germany'. He described it as 'a clear oily liquor, transparent, clammy, of a yellowish white colour, fragrant, and a little biting in the taste' [Houghton]. It was classified as an unrated DRUG in [Acts (1704)].

Not found in the OED

Found rated by HUNDREDWEIGHT

Sources: Acts, Houghton, Rates.


[tutenage; tutanag; tuetinac; tooth and egg; toot and egg]

A common variant was 'Tooth and egg'. A whitish alloy consisting, according to Charles Tomlinson, of eight parts of COPPER, six and a half of zinc and three of nickel, sometimes with a little IRON. It is hard, but not easily rolled, so best adapted to casting [Tomlinson (1854)]. It was said originally to have been imported from China. In the Indian trade, and in sources other than the Dictionary Archive, the term was occasionally used for zinc. In the Dictionary Archive it was also called 'Indian metal' [Newspapers (1770)] and 'White copper' [Newspapers (1770)], suggesting both its main ingredient and (loosely) whence it was believed to come. It became fashionable in the eighteenth century for small metal objects usually made of BRASS, like the CANDLESTICK, but clearly it needed workers with a particular skill; hence the advertisement for 'good Workmen in the Metal Candlestick branch ... to dress Tutenage or Silver Candlesticks' [Newspapers (1770)].

OED earliest date of use: 1622

Found used to make CANDLESTICK
Found in units of LB

Sources: Newspapers, Patents.
References: Tomlinson (1854).


[tuty; tuttyr; tutia]

A crude oxide of zinc, almost invariably listed in the form of LAPIS TUTIAE. It was found adhering in grey or brownish flakes to the flues of furnaces in which BRASS was made. It also occurs in some countries as a native mineral. It was used medicinally as an astringent, particularly in UNGUENTUM TUTIAE.

OED earliest date of use: c1400

Found rated by the POUND

Sources: Inventories (early), Rates.