Anacard - Anvil

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

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Nancy Cox. Karin Dannehl, 'Anacard - Anvil', Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities 1550-1820, (Wolverhampton, 2007), British History Online [accessed 20 June 2024].

Nancy Cox. Karin Dannehl. "Anacard - Anvil", in Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities 1550-1820, (Wolverhampton, 2007) . British History Online, accessed June 20, 2024,

Cox, Nancy. Dannehl, Karin. "Anacard - Anvil", Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities 1550-1820, (Wolverhampton, 2007). . British History Online. Web. 20 June 2024,

In this section


[anna cardina; anacardium; anacardie]

The CASHEW - nut; the fruit of the West Indian tree Anacardium occidentale. Since it was mainly used as a DRUG it usually appears under its Latin name, Anarcardium. It is not included in a modern compendium of botanical drugs [Wren (1941)], but modern texts on alternative medicine suggest using it as a skin preparation on moles, and as a remedy for a wide range of afflictions including duodenal ulcers, low self-esteem and feelings of persecution [Lockie (online)]. It is not clear whether that was how it was used in the early modern period. It has been noted but rarely in the shops [Inventories (1625)].

OED earliest date of use: 1541

Simone Clarke

Found among the DRUGS, rated by the POUND

Sources: Inventories (early), Rates.
References: Lockie (online), Wren (1941).


[arnatto; arnata; anotto; annotto; annatto; annatta]

An orange red DYESTUFF obtained in central America from the waxy pulp surrounding the seeds of Bixa orellana; used in dyeing and for colouring CHEESE, although the first reference in the OED to its latter use is not until 1784. John Holt referred to the widespread and pernicious habit of this, but also to the use of home substitutes made of SOAP and VENETIAN RED [Holt (1795, facs. 1969)].

OED earliest date of use: 1682

Found described as FOREIGN
Found rated by the LB, POUND Found imported by the LB

Sources: Acts, Houghton, Rates.
References: Holt (1795, facs. 1969).


[ancre; ancher]

A common alternative spelling is ANKER. An appliance for holding a ship etc. fixed in a particular place by mooring it to the bottom of the sea or river. It consists of three parts; the shank, which has a ring at one end to which the CABLE is fastened and at the other two arms or FLUKEs. The third part is the removable ANCHOR STOCK. Anchors were included among SHIPS STORES in an act in the 1780s [Acts (1781)], but they were an essential part of any vessel of reasonable size, being made by specialist anchor smiths [Tradecards (1787)].

Because of their importance in maritime affairs, they acquired an iconic status, being a favourite SHOP SIGN as in the 'Anchor & Maiden Queen' [Tradecards (1746)], and as decoration on items like the BUTTON [Newspapers (1790)].

Anchor was also a name given to the pin or chape of a BUCKLE [Patents (1722)].

OED earliest date of use c880

Found described as OLD Found made of IRON

See also ANKER, FLUKE.
Sources: Acts, Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Newspapers, Patents, Tradecards.

Anchor stock

[stocks anchor]

A bar, usually removable to facilitate storage, which crosses the top of an ANCHOR, at right angles to the shank, and also to the plane of the arms, the use of which is to cause one or other arm to strike the ground.

OED earliest date of use: c1302

Found imported by the piece Found rated by the PIECE

Sources: Houghton, Rates.


[anchovye; anchovis; anchovie; anchovey; anchoves; anchovas; anchoueses; anchofish; anchiove]

A small FISH of the HERRING family found in European waters. Although Hess and the OED suggest that the term anchovy only appeared in English usage in the sixteenth century [Hess (1981)], they soon became a popular food. John Houghton noted that in January 1682/3 that 455 CASKs arrived at London docks [Houghton]. However, anchovies were not common in the shops before 1700, a situation reflected by the writers of cookery books at that date, who seldom used them. Thereafter they are quite frequently found both in the shops and at home associated with CAPERS, another highly flavoured product, for example [Diaries (Blundell)]. Another hint of their early rarity may be found in a reference by Samuel Pepys to an unhappy occasion when he offered wine and anchovies to a guest. These, he wrote, 'made me so dry, that I was ill with them all night, and was fain to have the girl rise and fetch me some drink.' [Diaries (Pepys)]. His experience reflects the fact that anchovies came to England highly salted.

Martha Bradley included anchovies among the six foreign PICKLEs. She wrote that they were largely caught off the coasts of Provence and Catalonia during May, June and July, whereafter they disappeared through the Straights of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean. They were netted at night, attracted to the boats by a light. Processing was simple. The heads were cut off and the fish gutted. Then they were layered with BAY SALT in barrels and, as Martha Bradley wrote, 'Nothing more is done, for the richness of their Taste is all their own' [Bradley (1756 facs.1996)]. Later in the century, anchovies caught around or processed on the Italian island of Gorgona (commonly found in the variant form of 'Gorgony') seem to have been singled out by retailers, for example [Tradecards (18c.); Tradecards (1800)], and they were offered for sale at the elevated price of 1s 6d LB [Newspapers (1785)].

Being relatively expensive, substitution by cheaper products was an obvious temptation. Martha Bradley observed that at 'the Oil Shops they have a trick of putting right Anchovy liquor to pickled Sprats, and then selling them as Anchovies' [Bradley (1756 facs.1996)]. Since the fishing for sprats occurred during the winter months (see RED SPRAT), this deception might also have served to provide an alternative if there were a shortage of anchovies. Even by the end of the nineteenth century when food was more tightly regulated, Simmonds found that other small fish like SARDINEs and sprats were 'very often put up as anchovies' [Simmonds (1906)]. In the domestic sphere, house-keepers apparently made their own substitutes and cookery writers like Hannah Glasse showed them how to do it [Recipes (Glasse)].

Anchovies were eaten in a variety of different ways by British consumers; raw with OIL or VINEGAR, as part of a SALAD, for example, with ONION, PARSLEY and BEET [Nott (1726, facs. 1980)], on toast, as a sandwich filling, as an ingredient in a number of SAUCEs, or in the form of ANCHOVY BUTTER [Tradecards (18c.)]; [Houghton]. Nott also recommended their use as the basis of cullis, the thickening agent used prior to the later method of thickening with flour and fat, to 'serve as an Ingredient to several Ragoos' [Nott (1726, facs. 1980)]. His Anchovy Sauce adds a new dimension to the use of this fish in up-market cooking. Not only did he add 'a little thin Cutlet of Veal and Ham' to the anchovies, as well as VINEGAR, but he instructed the cook to 'use it with roast meat' [Nott (1726, facs. 1980)].

'Italian & Oil' merchants apparently saw the potential of anchovies as the basis of READY MADE convenience food, and advertised for sale delicacies like ANCHOVY BUTTER and ESSENCE OF ANCHOVIES.

OED earliest date of use: 1596

Simone Clarke

Found in a dish with SWEETMEAT Found as an ingredient in KETCHUP
Found in units of BARREL, CASK, LB, POT, POUND Found imported by BARREL, CASK, POT, POUND Found rated by the BARREL of 16 LB of FISH, CASK, little barrel, VIAL

Sources: Acts, Diaries, Houghton, Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Newspapers, Rates, Recipes, Tradecards.
References: Bradley (1756, facs. 1996), Hess (1981), Nott (1726, facs. 1980), Simmonds (1906).

Anchovy butter

A paste made of BUTTER and ANCHOVY, crushed using a PESTLE and MORTAR. According to one advertisement, this product was designed to be 'very convenient to families', spread on 'Sandwiches, Anchovy Toast, &c.', and as a condiment for FISH [Tradecards (1800)]. It is one of the many READY MADE foodstuffs that appeared in the shops during the eighteenth century. Simmonds warned that much of what he called 'Anchovy paste' was largely made with HERRING with sufficient anchovy to impart a flavour [Simmonds (1906)]. It is likely that this fraudulent practice was no less common in the eighteenth century. More serious was another fraudulent practice noted by Accum. The mass of paste made in the mortar and pestle was a dark brown and some manufacturers added VENETIAN RED to improve the colour. This was safe only so long as the colorant had not been adulterated with 'orange lead' which is 'nothing else than a better kind of MINIUM, or red oxide of LEAD'. He added that the 'conscientious oilmen, less anxious with respect to colour, substitute for this poison the more harmless pigment, called Armenian Bole'. Accum's own recommendation, given in a recipe taken from the 'Cook's Oracle' (2nd edition 1819), used only CAYENNE PEPPER as colorant and 'a very clean iron, or well tinned copper saucepan' to cook it in. It included no butter [Accum (1820)].

[Accum (1820) seems to refer to Coelius Apicius (1818), Apicius redivivus. The Cooks Oracle ..., 2nd edition, carefully revised (By William Kitchiner. With the words and music of a song beginning 'If gold could lengthen life.'), John Hatchard, London.]

OED earliest date of use: 1845

Simone Clarke

Found made of Gorgona ANCHOVY

See also ANCHOVY.
Sources: Tradecards.
References: Accum (1820), Simmonds (1906).


[lawn yrons; handiron; awndeyrone; aundyrone; aundiron; aundiorn; aundiarn; aniron; aniorn; angrane; angraine; angiers; angeron; anger; angarn; andyron; andrarn; andirone; andiro'; andirn; andiorn; andior; andiern; andian]

Ornamental fire DOGs placed one at each side of the hearth, and therefore usually found in pairs. However, the term does appear in the singular, as in 'one Andiron' [Inventories (1592)] and 'An Andiron w'th fire shoule & Tongues & end irons' [Inventories (1688)]. In this form it may have been applied to a form of FIRE GRATE on which to burn COAL. A late seventeenth-century grate at Polesworth in Sussex, illustrated by Alison Kelly, had a fire basket and a pair of andirons with no back legs, the billet bar of which ran back and forth in loops along the side of the basket. When pushed back, the andirons were merely decorative, but when pulled forward it could be used for logs in the conventional way in front of the basket [Kelly (1968)]. It is possible that the label of a single andiron was given to other dual purpose constructions like this. Entries listing three andirons, which have been noted in southern England, are so far unexplained, as in 'Three Andirons and a fender' [Inventories (1720)], though it is possible that other entries like 'one Iron grate one paire of brasse head Andirons' were recording similar equipment in a different way [Inventories (1667)].

Andirons were intended to be decorative, while fire dogs were more rarely so, hence frequent references, particularly in the late seventeenth century to ornamental features, as in 'One paire of Iron Andirons with Brasse knobbs' [Inventories (1674)]. They have also been noted occasionally apparently made of STEEL, an expensive metal, as in 'a parcell of brass Andirons and Doggs and severall Steele Andirons and Doggs' [Inventories (1697)], though it is possible that only the decorative fronts were so made.

OED earliest date of use: a1300

Found described as CAST, Fire, LARGE, LITTLE, SMALL Found made of BRASS, IRON, LATTEN, STEEL
Found in units of PAIR Found rated by the PAIR, POUND

Sources: Diaries, Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Rates.
References: Kelly (1968).



An old English GOLD - COIN, originally called an Angel Noble, as it was a new issue of the Noble, having as its device the archangel Michael standing upon and piercing the dragon. It was first coined in 1465 by Edward IV, when its value (like that of the earlier Noble) was 6s 8d (one third of a pound). By 1526 its value was 7s 6d, and from 1550 onwards it was the equivalent of 10s [Johnson (1756)]. It was last coined during the reign of Charles I [Chapman (1995)].

For many years after angels were withdrawn from circulation, pricings and valuations continued sometimes to be based around the angel; hence John Houghton's reference to the price of TURBOT [Houghton]. In one inventory [Inventories (1544)], the value of a ring was assessed as being of the weight of one 'angel noble'; in another 'Lviij Angles' were valued at 10s apiece [Inventories (1578)].

OED earliest date of use: 1488

Sources: Houghton, Inventories (early), Inventories (late).
References: Chapman (1995), Johnson (1756).


[angellicoe; angellico; angellica; angelico]

An aromatic umbelliferous plant, Angelica archangelica (synonym of Archangelica OFFICINALIS) is indigenous to Europe, and has been cultivated in England since 1568. It was a common plant in seventeenth century gardens, used for a variety of culinary and medicinal purposes. Most published recipe books included directions for making a CANDY or preserving it in SYRUP, for example [Eales (1718, facs. 1985)]; [Smith (1758, facs. 1994)] and [Raffald (1769, new ed. 1977)], while housewives wrote up their own methods in their personal recipe books, as for example in [Hess (1981)]. Angelica was also suggested as a SUGAR substitute in JAMs, PRESERVEs and CONFECTIONERY [Anon (1695)].

Although it was important as a SWEETMEAT, angelica was esteemed for its supposed medicinal virtues; for instance, Pechey, a seventeenth-century Physician, suggested the candy be 'eaten in the morning to prevent infection' [Pechey (1694a)]. Culpeper waxed enthusiastic about its virtues, suggesting that 'God made it known to man, by the ministry of an angel', and claimed that he wrote about it at such length 'because [it is] not known to many; or else the apothecaries would have their secret virtures concealed'. Like Pechey, he believed that 'it resists poison by defending and comforting the heart, blood and spirits; it doth the like against the plague and all epidemical diseases' [Culpeper (1653, new ed. n.d.)]. Pemberton included angelica in the Materia Medica [Pemberton (1746)], and recommended its seed to disguise unpalatable tastes such as that of ANISEED WATER [Pemberton (1746)]; [Recipes (Pemberton)].

OED earliest date of use: 1577

Simone Clarke

Found described as CANDIED, CONDITED, DRIED Found describing ROOT, SEED, SPIRIT
Found in units of LB, OZ [seed], PINT, QUART [water] Found among the DRUGS rated by the POUND

Sources: Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Rates, Recipes.
References: Anon (1695), Culpeper (1653, new ed. n.d.), Eales (1718, facs. 1985), Hess, (1981), Pechey (1694), Pemberton (1746), Raffald (1769, modern ed. 1977), Smith (1758, facs. 1994).

Angelica water

[angellico water; angellica water; angelico water]

A medicinal WATER made according to Nicholas Culpeper, from the roots of the ANGELICA plant. He deemed this to be much more effective than one made from the leaves. It seems to have been used to treat a variety of ills on its own, but was also used in combination with the root dried and powdered [Culpeper (1653, new ed. n.d.)]. Despite his praise for its virtues, this water has been found only occasionally among the stock of medical practitioners, and may have had a greater place in popular medicine.

Found described as RED
Found in units of GALLON, QUART

Sources: Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period).
References: Culpeper (1653, new ed. n.d.).


[aneile; aneil]

An uncommon name, at least in the Dictionary Archive, for the INDIGO shrub, or the DYESTUFF made from it.

OED earliest date of use: 1581 as a dyestuff; 1712 as a shrub

Found described as of BARBARY
Found rated by the POUND

Sources: Rates.


[gum-anime; gum animi; gum anime]

A name given to various RESINs; the original was obtained from a West Indian tree and was much used in making VARNISH, but the others came from Africa. According to Monardes, the anime of the New World was a GUM or ROSIN 'nere to the coulour of INCENCE' and gathered in the same way. It was rather oily. He recommended it 'principally for grifes of the heade', but also as a perfume. In a rather confused passage he referred to other substances called 'anime' from the Levant and the German Sea [Monardes (1577)].

OED earliest date of use: 1577 under Anime

Found among the DRUGS, rated by the POUND

Sources: Rates, Recipes.
References: Monardes (1577).


[anyseed; anysede; any seed; ans'd; annyseed; anny seed; annitseed; annisseede; annisseed; anniss; annisees; anniseed; annised; annise seed; annise; annis seede; annis seed; annis; annills s'd; annieseed; annice seed; anni seed; anney seed; annett ss; annetseed; annet ss; annes-seed; annessed; anneseed; annelseed; annell seed; annell; annatsead; annat sed; annaseed; annas sed; anisseede; anisi; anise-seed; aniseede; anised; anise; aninseed; aneseed; anatseed; allinsud]

This is the seed of the umbelliferous plant (Pimpernella anisum), a member of the hemlock family. Although a native to the Levant, anise was introduced and cultivated in Europe for its aromatic SEED [Masefield et al (1969)]. It was renowned for its medicinal qualities and was thus sometimes listed among PHYSICAL HERB seeds. While accepting that anise would probably not grow successfully in this country, Houghton suggested it might be a suitable crop to establish in the West Indies [Houghton].

It was particularly famed as a treatment for digestive disorders; for instance, as the medical writer John Gerard noted, it 'wasteth and consumeth winde, and is good against belchings and stireth up bodily lust: it staye the laske, and also the white flux in women' [cited in Hess (191), 373]. Aniseed was available for consumption in a number of different guises as a COMFIT, a CORDIAL (sometimes made with the extra flavour of PEPPERMINT), an OIL (prepared by distillation) and as ANISEED WATER. In addition, it appears to have been used as an ingredient in other medicinal preparations such as DAFFYS ELIXIR, MITHRIDATE and VENICE TREACLE. Houghton noted that a compound of aniseed, CHOCOLATE and CHILLI was popular as a cure for flatulence and diarrhoea [Houghton]. Furthermore the aromatic quality of aniseed was also utilized as a perfuming agent and as a pest repellent. It was sometimes an ingredient of WORMSEED, and Houghton noted that it was used to scent old CASKs in brewing [Houghton].

OED earliest date of use: 1398

Found described as DAMAGED, FINE, POWDER, SPANISH Found used to make CORDIAL Found in units of BAG, C, DOZEN, DRAM, END, HUNDREDWEIGHT, LB, OZ, QUARTER, STONE Found rated by the BARREL, C of 112 LB, HUNDREWEIGHT

Sources: Acts, Diaries, Houghton, Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Newspapers, Rates, Recipes, Tradecards.
References: Masefield et al (1969), Hess (1981).

Aniseed comfit

[anised comfett]

A COMFIT made by coating ANISEED with SUGAR, possibly after first coating it in white of egg, or with SYRUP and drying in a stove. Comfits were eaten as a SWEETMEAT but were also a popular remedy for flatulence. However, recipes to make them rarely appear in cookery books.

OED earliest date of use: allusively 1756

Simone Clarke

Sources: Inventories (early).

Aniseed water

[anyseed water; ans'd wat'r; annyseed water; anny seed and clove waters; annitseed water; annisseeds water; annisseede water; annisseed water; anniseed wat'r; anniseed water; annised wat'r; annise water; annis seede water; annetseedwater; annet ss water; anneseed watter; anneseed water; annelseed water; annell watt'r; annell water; annaseed water; anisi sp'r; aniseed-water; aniseed wat'r; aniseed war'r; aniseed war'r; aninseed water; aneseed water; anell seed watter; an water]

It is also known as anise water. The name was applied to two different products made from ANISEED. Firstly, it was a by-product of the distillation of OIL OF ANISEED used in medicine. Secondly it was a medicinal WATER in which ANISEED was the main ingredient. In the 'Narrative' at the beginning of Pemberton's Dispensatory, aniseed water was described as useful, but of an 'exceptionable flavour, unless to such, as by frequent use have reconciled themselves to it'. It was suggested that it would be improved by adding ANGELICA SEED [Pemberton (1746)], which indeed he did in his recipe for making aniseed water (which he also calls in Latin 'AQUA Seminum Anisi COMPOSITA'. As well as the two seeds, it included PROOF SPIRIT with enough water to prevent it burning [Recipes (Pemberton)].

By the eighteenth century it was one of the most popular spirituous beverages, being nothing more than a form of GIN flavoured with aniseed rather than with JUNIPER BERRIES. Daniel Defoe recalled a street seller in London, nick-named 'Aniseed Robin', who was so well known for his liquor and his broad-brimmed hat, that it became almost a proverbial saying to speak of someone looking like Aniseed Robin [Dillon (2002, pb 2003)]. Like CLOVE WATER it acquired the cant name of RED TAPE [OED, Tape].

In the Dictionary Archive it is almost invariably listed in association with other STRONG WATERs such as BRANDY, so is likely to have the second meaning.

OED earliest date of use: 1727-51


Sources: Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Recipes.
References: Dillon (2002, pb 2003), Pemberton (1746).


[anchor; anchor]

An uncommon northern European measure of variable capacity. The one of Rotterdam in HOLLAND was much used for WINE and SPIRITS, which was 10 WINE GALLON or 8 ½ imperial GALLON. HALF ankers have also been noted used for BRANDY, for example [Newspapers (1761)].

OED earliest date of use: 1673

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

Ankle sock

[anckle sock]

A SOCK reaching only to the ankle, rather than half-way up the calf

OED online earliest date of use: 1936 under Ankle

Found made of COTTON Found in units of PAIR

Sources: Inventories (mid-period), Newspapers.


[andlet; amlett; amblet]

A small RING like those used in ring MAIL, for instance as in 'Andlets called mailes' [Rates (1582)]. The spelling varies but, based on the context in the Dictionary Archive, the forms 'amblets' and 'amletts' have been identified as probably being identical with anlet.

OED earliest date of use: 1557

Found described as GILT Found made of SILVER
Found in units of C, LB, THOUSAND Found rated by the C of 100 LB, LB

Sources: Inventories (early), Rates.

Antacid lozenges

[antiacid lozenges; anti acid do]

Antacid lozenges were a popular form of QUACK MEDICINE made by several manufacturers, including Thomas Greenough [Tradecards (1790s)], and Edmund Swinfen. The ones made by Swinfen were typical, purporting to be a remedy for 'the Heartburn, Indigestion, Sourness in the Stomach, &c' while directly removing 'the disagreeable Effects of bad Wine or Spirits' [Tradecards (1797)]. They were possibly just proprietary versions of MAGNESIA LOZENGES, though there were other specifics for these conditions; for example, a late edition of Nicholas Culpeper's 'English Physician' recommended GALANGA or WORMWOOD [Culpeper (1792)].

Not found in the OED online

Found in units of BOX

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


[antirines; antime; antharine; anteroon; anterine]

The term is derived from a Greek word, having the same root as ANTHOS and meaning flowery or brightly coloured. As 'anterne' in Montgomery and elsewhere, although not in the Dictionary Archive, it was a TEXTILE; a typical light fabric or STUFF made of WOOL and SILK or of MOHAIR and COTTON [Montgomery (1984)]. The interpretation instills greater confidence than the one given in the OED, which appears to be based on an imprecise reading of one of the available quotations.

OED earliest date of use: 1710

Found described as STRIPED Found used to make MANTUA, PETTICOAT
Found in units of PIECE, YARD

Sources: Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late).
References: Montgomery (1984).


The Greek word for 'flower' used as an alternative label for ROSEMARY that was known as the flower par excellence. This term appears only in the Dictionary Archive among apothecarial stock and there most often as the main ingredient of a CONSERVE; hence entries like 'cons'ua anthos' [Inventories (1573)]. It has also been noted in the form of a CHEMICAL OIL as 'Ol. Anthos chym' [Inventories (1665)].

OED earliest date of use: 1585

As a CONSERVE: Found in units of DRACHM, LB, OZ
As a CHEMICAL OIL: Found in units of DRACHM, OZ

See also ROSEMARY.
Sources: Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period).

Antigo tobacco

[antegoe; antego tobacco; antego]

The place or origin of this TOBACCO was consistently spelt this way, though it presumably referred to ANTIGUA. Although occasionally measured by the POUND, it normally appeared in the shops in a ROLL, hence entries like '3 Row. Antego Tobaco qt 44 li att 9d ½' [Inventories (1689)], and 'i Rowle Antego qt 16 li 00 12 00' [Inventories (1685)]. From these two examples, it would seem that a roll of this tobacco usually contained 15-16 LB. Antigo tobacco has not been noted in the shops under that name after 1700.

Not found in the OED

Sources: Inventories (mid-period).


[antigo; antegoe; antego]

Antigua was one of the small, most easterly WEST INDIAN islands. It was acquired by the English in 1632. TOBACCO was grown there as well as SUGAR, hence the entry 'Neat Antigua and Barbadoes Rum at 7s 6d per Gallon' [Newspapers (1750)].

Not found in the OED

Sources: Inventories (mid-period), Newspapers.

Antimonium crudum

[crude antimonie; antimon crudu'; antimon crud; antimn crud]

In English crude ANTIMONY. Probably this was stibnite, the most common ore of antimony. It was imported, and also found in this form in the shops, albeit rarely.

Found in units of OZ Found rated by the CWT of 112 POUND, POUND

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


[antimonium; antimoni; antimon; antemony]

A metallic element, used in one or other of its forms in COSMETICS and in medicine, despite its toxicity. It was an element that fascinated people more than most and that gave rise to some curious misconceptions. For example, Basil Valentine, writing probably in the late-fifteenth century, chose to call his monograph on it 'The Triumphal Chariot of Antimony'. Although he acknowledged that it was poisonous, he was convinced that 'its venomous quality, against which so loud an outcry is raised, may be removed, and itself prepared, changed and transmuted into a pure Medicine, containing not a single trace of poison' [Valentine (1685, new edition 1992)]. Later in his book, he wandered off into an alchemeic discourse on the 'virtue of Antimony', claiming that it 'combines the virtues of all other precious stones, as is sufficiently evidenced by its colors.' He goes on: 'As to the metals, its black corresponds to Saturn, its red to iron, its yellow to gold, its green to copper, its blue to silver, its white to mercury, its mixed colors to tin. And not only does Antimony contain the colors, it also contains the virtues and qualities of all other stones and metals, only human life is too short for any one to learn all the potencies that lie concealed in the heart of Antimony' [Valentine (1685, new edition 1992)]. Hakluyt, writing in 1580 to merchants prospecting for markets seems to suggest that medics and alchemists had not found all the marvels that Valentine had hoped. Hakluyt suggested they 'see whether they have any ample use there for it, for that we may lade whole navies of it and have no use of it, unlesse it be for some small portion in founding of bels, or a litle that Alcumists use: of this you may have two sortes at the Apothecaries' [Tawney and Power (1924-8)]. It was in fact found in at least six forms in the apothecaries' shops, and elsewhere; ANTIMONIUM CRUDUM (crude antimony), 'Antimonium preparatum' or STIBIUM (prepared antimony), VITRUM ANTIMONIUM (glass of antimony), ANTIMONY DIAPHORETIC, CINNABAR OF ANTIMONY, and CROCUS OF ANTIMONY. It has also been noted in a seventh form as the official 'Tinctura antimonii' [Pemberton (1746)], as in 'Tinct Antim' [Inventories (1730)]. Few apothecaries had more than one or two forms, though one did have four [Inventories (1665)]. Apart from its use as a cosmetic, it was an ingredient of SPILSBURYS ANTISCORBUTIC DROPS and John Houghton suggested that antimony could be used to cure SHEEP rot [Houghton]. Beyond these uses, antimony was the hardening agent in BRITANNIA metal and in some forms of BRASS. A patent of 1739 claimed 'new invention for making a tough or short brittle white mettall ... produced by melting once or oftener ... antimony oare or crude antimony' [Patents (1739)].

Antimony seems to have troubled the medical fraternity, despite its inclusion in the Materia Medica [Pemberton (1746)], not surprisingly given its toxicity. The names of a number of preparations was changed during the eighteenth century, in the hope of more accurate labelling. For example, the 'Antimonial Caustic' was the new name of what had once been called BUTTER of antimony or, when liquified, OIL of antimony [Pemberton (1746)]. This may be what has been noted as 'Cerus Antim' [Inventories (1730)], and Cerus Antimoni' [Inventories (1663)]. It is not known what 'Antoniu' Cordu' was [Inventories (1615)].

OED earliest date of use: 1477

Found described as FOREIGN, POWDERED
Listed among the DRUGS: Found rated by the HUNDREDWEIGHT of 112 LB (crude antimony), POUND (prepared antimony)

Sources: Acts, Houghton, Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Rates, Tradecards.
References: Pemberton (1746), Tawney and Power (1924-8), Valentine (1685, new edition 1992).

Antimony diaphoretic

[antimoniu' diaphoret; antimon. diaphorb; antimon diaphoreticu'; antimon diaph.; antimon diaph]

Diaphoretic comes from Greek, meaning 'having the property of inducing sweat', so that the original intention of this preparation of ANTIMONY is clear. However, the name was changed in the1740s to Calx antimony 'till its medical properties shall be better agreed' suggesting that doubt had arisen about its efficacy for that purpose. As well as ANTIMONY it contained NITRE [Pemberton (1746)].

OED earliest date of use: 1725

Found in units of DRACHM, OZ

Sources: Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late).
References: Pemberton (1746).


[anvyle; anvill; anvile; anvell; anveld]

The block, usually of IRON, sometimes case hardened, on which the smith hammers and shapes the metal that he is working. If used with a water-powered forge, they may be found in association with FORGE HAMMERs or as part of a STAMP. The export of these substantial pieces of equipment was banned in the 1780s in an attempt to protect British industrial technical know-how [Acts (1785)].

Anvils varied enormously in bulk and weight. The largest one noted weighed over two hundredweight [Inventories (1677)], but there were several weighing more than one [Inventories (1715)]. Valuations ranging from 3d ½ to 5d per LB, suggest that they were more than just a lump of CAST IRON. Two have even been noted, quite small ones, made of 'bright Cast' STEEL at 9d per LB [Inventories (1799)]. The same person had several specialist anvils including '5 small old cutting Anvils' valued at 3d per LB and '1 Blacksmith's Anvil old & broken' valued at only 1d ¾ per LB. Shaped anvils were also used, for example to make SPOONs [Inventories (1700)].

OED earliest date of use: a800

Found described as Beating, Broken, Flat, for forging mills for IRON and COPPER, GREAT, LITTLE, OLD, SMALL, SPOON, for STAMPs, WROUGHT Found made of CAST IRON, IRON, STEEL Found measured in units of CWT, LB, QU, SCORE - POUND Found rated by the HUNDREDWEIGHT

Sources: Acts, Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Newspapers, Rates.