Carmine - Cartouche box

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

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Nancy Cox. Karin Dannehl, 'Carmine - Cartouche box', Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities 1550-1820, (Wolverhampton, 2007), British History Online [accessed 22 June 2024].

Nancy Cox. Karin Dannehl. "Carmine - Cartouche box", in Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities 1550-1820, (Wolverhampton, 2007) . British History Online, accessed June 22, 2024,

Cox, Nancy. Dannehl, Karin. "Carmine - Cartouche box", Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities 1550-1820, (Wolverhampton, 2007). . British History Online. Web. 22 June 2024,

In this section


A beautiful RED or crimson PIGMENT or LAKE obtained from COCHINEAL, used as a WATER COLOUR (and less often as an OIL COLOUR), food colourant and as a COSMETIC. The term began to be used occasionally for the LAKE made from cochineal in the second half of the seventeenth century, but it did not become common until the eighteenth. This product had usually been referred to formerly as ENGLISH lake to distinguish it from the Indian lake or LAC lake. The two were usually valued at about the same, but carmine had the advantage of being easier to use, even though it was less durable, which may be why it was preferred for use as a cosmetic. According to an authority quoted by Harley, about 50,000 of the tiny insects from which cochineal was extracted weighed two pounds, while 70,000 were needed to make one pound of carmine. It was used in artwork mainly as a WATER COLOUR, but it made a satisfactory oil paint if ground in NUT OIL and used with a drying oil. The high price meant that it was sometimes adulterated, and according to Accum, carmine was 'often mixed with vermillion' [Accum (1820)]. The different nature of the two products may have made it difficult to produce a smooth wash with the mixture, but it would have improved its capacity to last without fading [Harley (1970)].

In the Dictionary Archive it has been particularly noted as a PERFUME or a COSMETIC, for example [Tradecards (18c.)]. It is found promoted in phrases of excessive puffery as in the advertisement of Rebecca Pastorine of the 'Italian Warehouse'. She offered for sale 'Rose, Pink, and fine Carmine Sun Dew, or the four Seasons of the Year, and infallible Italian Wash, and perfectly innocent' [Newspapers (1760)].

OED earliest date of use: c1450

Found listed as a COSMETIC, PERFUME, as well as among 'the Richest Perfumery Goods'

Sources: Newspapers, Recipes, Tradecards.
References: Accum (1820), Harley (1970).


[cornation; cornatain; cornacon; corn; carnshion; carnature; carnat'; carnacon; carnac; carna'; carn]

In some early sources the carnation was termed a 'Coronation', though in the Dictionary Archive this form appears only in CARNATION TAPE. Much more common was the alternative spelling 'cornation'. It was the general name for the cultivated varieties of the Clove pink, Dianthus caryophyllus. They were popular throughout the period, but in the Dictionary Archive only appear in the eighteenth century, when they were advertised in fashionable garden outlets [Newspapers (1760)]; [Tradecards (n.d.)], and attracted the attention of thieves [Newspapers (1770)].

OED earliest date of use in this sense: 1538

'Carnation' was also used to describe two colours; firstly that of human 'flesh' or skin, hence flesh coloured or a light rosy pink, and secondly a deeper crimson colour as in the carnation flower. Particularly before 1700, this was one of the most popular colours for articles of HABERDASHERY like INKLE and RIBBON. It was often the only colour singled out when describing these wares. For example, one retailer had in stock '10 dz 5 peeces of Coullered Incle', '25 peeces Carnshion Incle' and '9 peces of white Incle [Inventories (1667)]. It is not clear why this was so. With other TEXTILEs, it was mainly used to describe SILK fabrics.

OED earliest date of use in this sense: 1535

As a flower: Found described as whole blowers, double podded, FRENCH Found in the form of layers

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

Carnation tape

[curnation tap; coronation tape; cornation tape; cornacon ditto; corn tape; carnat tape; carna' tape; carn & wt stay tapes]

Commonly found as 'Cornation tape'. Although occasionally noted as 'Coronation tape', for example [Inventories (1696)], it had nothing to do with crowning the sovereign. It is also occasionally found referred to simply as 'Carnation' as in '17 peices cornation at 5d [Inventories (1705)].

The term referred to a type of TAPE quite common in the shops throughout the period. Its name would suggest that its distinctiveness lay in its colour; that is flesh- pink or sometimes a deeper CRIMSON as found in some types of the flower, CARNATION. However, coloured tapes are not overly common, and it seems likely that carnation tape was used for a specific purpose. It may therefore be an early-modern synonym for RED TAPE.

Not found in the OED

Found in units of DOZEN, PIECE

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


The carob is a leguminous evergreen tree, Ceratonia siliqua, otherwise known as the LOCUST tree. It is a native to the Mediterranean area where its pulpy fruits are used as animal food. The seeds were the original CARAT used as a weight by goldsmiths [Synge (1951, new ed.1956)]. The carob has a long history of medical and mystical use, but it seems to have been of little importance in early modern medicine. It was not part of the Materia Medica and it has not been found in the Dictionary Archive.

OED earliest date of use: 1548

References: Synge (1951, new ed. 1956).

Carolina rice

RICE from Carolina, one of the southern states of the United States of America. According to John Houghton, the growing of rice in that area was introduced by a Mr Ashby, who 'was encourag'd to send a hundred pound bag full of rice to Carolina: from which rice, I am told, came last year hither sixty tun' [Houghton]. According to Toussant-Samat, however, the introduction came about after some enterprising colonists planted rice found on board a ship wreck [Toussaint-Samat (1987)]. Whichever way rice was introduced, the growth of rice in these southern states suited the slave economy entrenched there. Certainly it was well established by the mid-eighteenth century, with a reference to rice carried from southern Carolina and Georgia in an act of 1765 [Acts (1765)]. Carolina rice may already have been distinguished by a higher proportion of starch compared with other rices, for instance for a later period Simmonds states that it consists of 80 per cent starch, and by a more rounded grain [Simmonds (1906)]. In which case rice from Carolina would easily have been distinguishable. It seems to have been promoted by fashionable retailers, and was offered both whole and GROUND [Tradecards (19c.)].

Not found in the OED

Found described as GROUND, whole

Sources: Tradecards.
References: Simmonds (1906), Toussaint-Samat (1987).

Carpet strainer

[carpet strainer]

A term not found in the OED, but probably the same as a 'CARPET stretcher'; a toggle-jointed frame to stretch a carpet on a floor prior to tacking it down [Lloyd (1895)]. In the Dictionary Archive it has been noted only once among 'Upholsterers Tools' [Inventories (1780)].

Sources: Inventories (late).
References: Lloyd (1895).

Carriage trumpet

The Index of Patents, the only document in which this term has been noted, gives no detail for the carriage trumpet or the COACH TRUMPET. It was probably a form of SPEAKING TRUMPET that allowed the passenger to speak to the driver or attendants.

Not found in the OED

Sources: Patents.

Carrick buckram

[carricke buckram]

A type of BUCKRAM, probably designated from its place of origin, which might be Carrick, Scotland, or perhaps Carrickmacross in Ireland, which was incidentally also famous for its LACE. Against this it was listed in the Scottish Book of Rates of 1612 rated at 20s for the SHORT PIECE (Scottish valuation) [Halyburton (1867)]. In the English Book of 1660 the rate was 2s, considerably lower than other types of buckram [Rates (1660)].

Not found in the OED online

Found rated by the SHORT PIECE

Sources: Rates.
References: Halyburton (1867).

Cart clout

[charte clowte]

A PLATE of IRON designed to protect the AXLE TREE on a CART from wear. It seems to have been obsolete as a term by the early seventeenth century, though plates known under another name continued to be used. It is called in modern sources a Clout plate [Jenkins (1961, new ed. 1972)], or a Cleat [Arnold (1977)].

OED online earliest date of use: 1446; neither Cleat (in this sense) nor Clout plate are to be found in the OED

Found described as 'and materials to it'

Sources: Inventories (early).
References: Arnold (1977), Jenkins (1961, new ed. 1972).

Cart gear

The term was probably applied variously, but it seems most often to have excluded the CART itself as well as the CART WHEELs. This leaves the HORSE GEARS, and items like the LADDERs etc.

OED online earliest date of use: 1418-9

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

Cart harness

[carte harnis; carte harnesse; cart harnesse]

The HORSE HARNESS designed for use with a CART and usually distinguished from the PLOUGH HARNESS, as in 'plowe harnis & carte harnis xvs' [Inventories (1610)]. The full cart harness for a single horse and cart included a CART SADDLE and chain going over it to take the weight of the shafts, the HORSE COLLAR, and a set or straps, called by John Seymour the Britchin, fixed to the shafts and running round the back quarters of the horse to prevent the cart running into it [Seymour (1973)]. The cart harness may or may not have included the BRIDLE. Although cart harness was generally plainer than COACH HARNESS, some decoration was sometimes added, hence 'i li' of ffrenge [FRINGE] for cart harnesse' [Inventories (1622)].

OED earliest date of use: 1818 under Cart

Sources: Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late).
References: Seymour (1973).

Cart nail

[carte naile; cart naile]

Possibly the NAILs used to attach the iron plates sometimes fixed round the outside of the wheel to serve in the same way as the iron tyre that was shrunk on to fit. However, the '20 carte nailes' valued at a penny each in one inventory, suggest something more substantial like a CART CLOUT [Inventories (1638)]. A 'cart nayle toole' valued at 20d has also been noted [Inventories (1596)].

OED earliest date of use: a1661, but no definition

Found in unit of LB Found rated by the SUM

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

Cartouche box

This is a CARTRIDGE box, that is, a box for storing or carrying cartridges and the case in which a soldier carries his supply of cartridges. It was classified in 1752 as a component of MILITARY STORES [Acts (1752)].

OED online earliest date of use: 1697 under Cartouche

Sources: Acts.