Adatis - African mat

Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities 1550-1820. Originally published by University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, 2007.

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Nancy Cox. Karin Dannehl, 'Adatis - African mat', Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities 1550-1820, (Wolverhampton, 2007), British History Online [accessed 23 June 2024].

Nancy Cox. Karin Dannehl. "Adatis - African mat", in Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities 1550-1820, (Wolverhampton, 2007) . British History Online, accessed June 23, 2024,

Cox, Nancy. Dannehl, Karin. "Adatis - African mat", Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities 1550-1820, (Wolverhampton, 2007). . British History Online. Web. 23 June 2024,

In this section



A COTTON CLOTH imported from Bengal in India and included by Milburn in his list of INDIAN - PIECE GOODS [Yule and Burnell (1886, pb 1996)]. It was defined as a MUSLIN by [Acts (1700)]. It appears to have been very fine. It has not been noted in the shops, although it may well have been present under the generic name of muslin.

OED earliest date of use: 1687

Sources: Acts.
References: Yule and Burnell (1886, pb 1996), .

Adiantum album

[adianthum album]

The term has been found only in the Books of Rates under DRUGS, for example [Rates (1657)]. It was probably what Nicholas Culpeper called 'White Maidenhair' or 'Wall rue', now Asplenium ruta muraria. Like other so-called MAIDENHAIR, it was mainly used for chest complaints [Culpeper (1653, new ed. n.d.)].

OED earliest date of use: 1548 under Wall as Wall rue

Found among the DRUGS, rated by the POUND

Sources: Rates.
References: Culpeper (1653, new ed. n.d.).

Adiantum nigrum

[adianthum nigrum]

In the early-modern period, Adiantum nigrum has been noted only in the Books of Rates among the DRUGS, for example [Rates (1657)]. It appears to have been an alternative name for MAIDENHAIR or Adiantum capillus-veneris. However, the Black Maidenhair is also a species of spleenwort, Asplenium Adiantum-nigrum. Like all the so-called Maidenhairs, it was used for chest infections.

OED earliest date of use: 1866

Found among the DRUGS, rated by the POUND

Sources: Rates.

Admirable water


A SCENTED WATER found only once in the Dictionary Archive [Tradecards (1794)]. There are no clues to the principal ingredients. The name suggests it was a water like NAPLES DEW, designed to sell because it bore an attractive name.

Not found in the OED

Sources: Tradecards.


[adzes; adz; adxes; adses; adge; adds; addes; adces]

A carpenter's or cooper's tool, like an AXE with a thin arching blade set at right angles to the handle and curving inwards towards it; used for cutting or slicing away the surface of WOOD. It was an early tool serving something of the same function as a PLANE, but it left characteristic marks of working on the surface. Unlike the chisel, which acts by pressure, the adze is used with percussion, to cut or slice away the surface of WOOD [Tomlinson (1854)]. For hollowing out the shaped seat of a CHAIR, the cutting edge was curved and dished [Gloag (1952, revised 1991)].

OED earliest date of use: c880

Found described as for coopers Found included among WROUGHT IRON
Found rated by the DOZEN

Sources: Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Rates.
References: Tomlinson (1854), Gloag (1952, revised 1991).

Aeolian engine

[eolian engine]

A so-called ENGINE powered by wind or 'condensed air' intended for working 'pumps, mills, gins, whims, cranes, and other machines' for use in draining or raising water, or for powering machinery generally. The term does not seem to have been in common use, probably because the invention was less efficient than the alternative means of power and was not therefore developed. The term has been noted only in the patent of its inventor [Patents (1785)].

Not found in the OED

Sources: Patents.

Aeolian harp

[eolian harp]

A MUSICAL INSTRUMENT, similar to a HARP but played by the action of a current of air on the strings. It has been noted only once in the Dictionary Archive [Inventories (1779)].

OED earliest date of use: 1791

Sources: Inventories (late).

Aes ustum

[ew uston'; esustum; es ustum; aesustum; aesustum]

The Latin for BURNT COPPER, now known as COPPER oxide. It was used by PARACELSUS and his followers in Paraclesian medicine, but it was not included among the official preparations of metals [Pemberton (1746)]. However prepared, a preparation made of copper would have been toxic, though it would have acted as a bactericide.

OED earliest date of use (in English): 1730-6

Found among the DRUGS, rated by the POUND

Sources: Inventories (early), Rates.
References: Pemberton (1746).

Aetes cloth

[aetes cloath]

A TEXTILE made of LINEN. In the Dictionary Archive, the only reference to it lists it under HOLLAND CLOTH [Rates (1657)], presumably because it came from that region. Since many fabrics do have a place name as a descriptor, 'Aetes' may be the name of a place. If that is the case, it has not been located.

Not found in the OED

Found measured by the ELL

Sources: Rates.

Aethiops mineral

[aethiops mercury]

In some medical books called 'Aethiops mercury' or 'Aethiops Mercurialis-Minerali'. It was an OFFICINAL preparation prepared by mixing and well grinding together equal parts of purified QUICKSILVER and FLOWERS OF SULPHUR [Pemberton (1746)]. It is still used in homeopathic medicine in external treatments.

OED earliest date of use: 1706

References: Pemberton (1746).

African mat

Samuel Pepys was given an AFRICAN MAT, which he used under a BED of state [Diaries (Pepys)]. He made no indication whether the descriptor was because the mat came from Africa or was in what he perceived as African in style. The OED includes this reference under a definition of one type of MAT as an underlay for a bed; especially a coarse piece of sacking on which a feather bed is laid. It seems equally possible, however, that Pepys' mat was for use on the floor as a sort of carpet. African mats, whatever they were, have not been noted in the shops.

OED online earliest date of use: 1666 under Mat

Found described as FINE

Sources: Diaries.