Dutch flax - Dutty

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

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Nancy Cox. Karin Dannehl, 'Dutch flax - Dutty', Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities 1550-1820, (Wolverhampton, 2007), British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/traded-goods-dictionary/1550-1820/dutch-flax-dutty [accessed 20 June 2024].

Nancy Cox. Karin Dannehl. "Dutch flax - Dutty", in Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities 1550-1820, (Wolverhampton, 2007) . British History Online, accessed June 20, 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/traded-goods-dictionary/1550-1820/dutch-flax-dutty.

Cox, Nancy. Dannehl, Karin. "Dutch flax - Dutty", Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities 1550-1820, (Wolverhampton, 2007). . British History Online. Web. 20 June 2024, https://www.british-history.ac.uk/no-series/traded-goods-dictionary/1550-1820/dutch-flax-dutty.

In this section

Dutch flax

Dutch flax was probably a term applied to any flax exported through the big Dutch ports like ANTWERP and AMERSTERDAM. Most of it would have come from the Low Countries. Its characteristics may have differed form that exported through the Baltic ports such as PETERBOROUGH HEMP and DANTZIG HEMP, but if so the distinctions are no longer known. It was probably identical with or similar to FLANDERS FLAX and HOLLAND FLAX.

Found in units of LB

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

Dutch fustian

This may be no more than FUSTIAN that had come from the Low Countries. However, Montgomery suggests that several of the fustians identified by a place descriptor (including AMSTERDAM fustian with which the Dutch fustian was associated) may have been partly of WOOL. Dutch fustians, which were not common in the shops, seem to have been valued in the range of 2s YARD.

Found measured by PIECE, YARD

Sources: Inventories (early), Rates.
References: Montgomery (1984), 244 under Fustian.

Dutch loom

The Dutch loom or ENGINE LOOM enabled a single man to weave several TAPEs or RIBBONs at a time, each with its own warp beam and mechanically propelled shuttle. When introduced in England in 1610, improvements to this Dutch invention already allowed for up to two dozen shuttles. The introduction of the loom threatened the livelihood of many workers who had previously used a light-weight loom that could be sat on an ordinary table and worked even by a child. By 1636 there were about a 100 of these new looms in London and its suburbs alone that were said have taken away the work of 1,200 to 2,000 'natyve borne subjects'. Given that one of the major concerns of Tudor and Stuart governments was the employment of the poor, it is not unexpected that the Dutch loom was banned by Charles I in 1638. Despite some prosecutions and a riot in 1675 referred to by John Houghton [Houghton], the introduction of such a useful innovation could not be halted [Kerridge (1985)]. In 1706 a so-called CHAPMAN, James Barrett of MANCHESTER had 'Two twisting wheeles ffoure paire of Dutch looms Dressing frame Creeles & other material' valued together at £11 5s [Inventories (1706)], while a few years later a TAPE weaver had two valued at £4 with the parts of two others [Inventories (1712)]. The value of these looms here indicates the complexity of their construction and of their potential usefulness.

John Houghton, who consistently called it the ENGINE LOOM rather than the Dutch loom, estimated that there were 1000 such looms in Manchester at the turn of the century and a great many in London. One of its effects had been markedly to reduce the trade in imported TAPE and FILLETING that 'formerly we used to buy ... abundantly from Cologne and Holland' [Houghton]. Further potential of the market is illustrated by an advertisement in Piercy's Coventry Gazette in 1778 for 'two shops' to be let in COVENTRY, which will hold 16 engine looms [Newspapers (1778)], allowing for 400 ribbons to be woven simultaneously in the two shops.

The engine loom is an early example of mechanization and industrialization. At a conservative estimate Barrett on his four engines was capable of producing up to 100 tapes at one time using only four workers. Mechanization was taken a step further in 1745, when John Kay made the operation of the Dutch or engine loom virtually automatic with the pedals controlled by tappets [Patents (1745)]; [Kerridge (1985)].

OED online earliest date of use: 1890 as Dutch engine-loom under Plank

Found in units of PAIR

Sources: Inventories (late).
References: Kerridge (1985).

Dutch matting

It is probably the same as 'Dutch mat' and 'Holland mat', which have also been found measured respectively by the PIECE and the YARD. A form of MATTING, it was used primarily for packing, particularly for CABINET MAKERS WARE, but also as a floor covering. It came in a number of sizes.

OED earliest date of use: 1812 under Matting

Also 'Matting of Holland'.
Sources: Inventories (mid-period), Newspapers, Rates, Tradecards.

Dutch metal

This is not the same as HOLLAND METAL, but another term for DUTCH foil, which was a COPPER alloy. J.R. Partington suggests a ratio of 80 parts COPPER to 20 ZINC [Partington (1953)]. It could be hammered to less that 1/50000 INCH thick and was used as a cheap substitute for GOLD LEAF. The only valuation identified in the Dictionary Archive was 3s DOZEN in the late seventeenth century [Inventories (1687)].

OED earliest date of use: 1825, but 1759 for 'Dutch gilding', which probably refers to the same material

Found described as WHITE, YELLOW
Found in units of DOZEN, PACKET

Sources: Inventories (mid-period), Tradecards.
References: Partington (1953).

Dutch mug

Found in both the plural and the singular. As the former it was probably a generic term synonymous with HOLLAND EARTHENWARE; as the latter it probably referred to DRINKING VESSELs as it does today.

Not found in the OED

Found for sale measured by DOZEN

Sources: Inventories (late).

Dutch oven

The term refers to a KITCHEN - UTENSIL used to increase the efficiency of cooking with an open fire. There were two distinct types. the first utilizes a common COOKING POT which is buried in hot coals. A dish -shaped lid is then placed on top and further coals piled over the whole. According to Lloyds Encyclopædic Dictionary, this equipment was still in use at the end of the nineteenth century in some parts of America and was 'unsurpassed in its results with skilful housewives'. it does not appear to have been common in this country, although the 'Dutch cover' noted may be a lid designed for the purpose. The second type stood in front of the fire, the shape of a tall and broad tube but open on the fire-ward side. It could have shelves or a hook from which to suspend the roast, and worked by increasing the radiant heat conducted onto food cooking in front of the fire, particularly as a joint on a SPIT. It became a common item of kitchen equipment only after 1700. Most were valued at a shilling or two, but the one advertised by Stone & Co. in their 'complete set' of Kitchen furniture was of BLOCK TIN and cost, bought separately 14s 6d [Newspapers (1788)].

Found described as TIN

Sources: Inventories (late), Newspapers.
References: Lloyd's Encyclopædic Dictionary (1895).

Dutch paste

Apparently a form of RATSBANE or rat poison and probably based on ARSENIC, like most of them were. It is possible that the term was a proprietary name for a product that was easier to use and less dangerous than arsenic. If this is correct it is an example of the many precursors to brand names.

Sources: Newspapers.

Dutch pink

CHALK or WHITING dyed with a yellow DYESTUFF mordanted with ALUM. Bristow notes that almost any of the yellow dyes could be used, but probably the most common were the berries of the native BUCKTHORN, Rhamnus catharticus, or other species more common abroad, such as FRENCH BERRIES. Dutch pink was used as a wall PAINT, in paper staining and as a WATER COLOUR. It was similar to, but was said to be better than, English pink [Lloyd (1895)]; [Bristow (1996)].

OED earliest date of use: 1758 under Pink

Sources: Inventories (late), Newspapers.
References: Bristow (1996), Lloyd (1895).

Dutch quill

Chambers described a DUTCH pen as a QUILL that had been passed through hot ashes to 'to take of the grosser fat and moisture thereof', and so making a superior PEN [Chambers (1727-52), quoted by the OED]. It seems likely that this was what was being offered for sale as 'Best Dutch Quills, and London Pens' [Tradecards (1760)].

OED earliest date of use: 1727-52

Sources: Tradecards.
References: Chambers (1727-52), under Dutch pen.

Dutch sealing wax

Since it has been noted only in promotional material, one must assume that the descriptor added value, although it is not clear now, in what way.

Not found in the OED

Found described as BEST, BLACK, RED

Sources: Tradecards.

Dutch serge

A TEXTILE, but whether Dutch serge, like DUTCH FUSTIAN, was anything more than a SERGE made in the Low Countries is not now clear. However, Dutch serges appear, although not commonly, in the shops valued towards the higher end of the price range for serges at 3s 4d YARD in INVEARLY, and 2s 6d - 4s 8d YARD or 62s PIECE in INVMID. Some swatches dating to 1716 held in the Archiev Brants in AMSTERDAM may be Dutch products. They show fine, smooth fabrics in rich colours that were sold in quite narrow pieces (half or three-quarters of a yard) and from 30 to 40 yards in length.

Not found in the OED

Found measured by PIECE, YARD

Sources: Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period).
References: Montgomery (1985), 345 under Serge.

Dutch table

A piece of FURNITURE in the form of a TABLE, presumably in a style fashionable in the Low Countries. How it differed from other tables is not certain.

One Dutch table was recorded valued at 3s 6d, and in a different inventory, three Dutch table leaves were valued at £1 16 00. All examples were inventoried in the parlour. The two near contemporary records suggest these tables were desirable items of furniture suitable for display, but that they may have varied considerably in form. The same pattern continued after 1700. Dutch tables do not appear ever to have been common, but their positioning in the dwelling house, rather than in the shop suggests a style of table, perhaps originally from the Low Countries, that appraisers could readily identify. Nicholas Blundell arrangement to have his wife's Dutch table mended, supports this supposition [Diaries (Blundell)]. However, despite definitions for a very long list of table types, Gloag does not include the Dutch table.

Sources: Diaries, Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late).
References: Gloag (1991), 652-6.

Dutch tea urn

A Dutch tea urn was apparently distinct in style, since in [Newspapers (1770)] a 'brass candlesitick maker and brasier' was advertizing for workers skilled in their manufacture. Along with Dutch tea urns, other BRASS or COPPER ware of similar type was advertized with 'Dutch' as the descriptor, including COFFEE POTs and KETTLEs.

Sources: Newspapers.

Dutch thread

[dutch threed; dutch flourishing & inland thread; duch' thread]

A LINEN THREAD, probably unbleached. The term may have been applied to any BROWN LINEN thread wherever it was made. It is infrequently found in shops, valued from 2s 1d to 4s per LB, that is it appears to have been considerably less valuable than OUTNAL THREAD.

Oed earliest date of use: 1812, but without a definition

Found in the shops measured by DOZEN (apparently meaning dozen of pounds), LB

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

Dutch toy

[holland toy; duch toy]

The term possibly indicates no more than that these particular TOYs were made in the Low Countries, or further afield in what is now called Germany and exported through the Dutch ports. It is interesting to note that advertisers deemed it worthwhile to specify toys as specifically Dutch, particularly as they were often associated with ENGLISH TOYs, for example [Tradecards (18c.)]. It is not know whether the DUTCH had particular lines of toys not found elsewhere. This is supported by the activities of the eighteenth-century Cornish trader, Valentine Enys who instructed a ship's captain trading out of ROTTERDAM to purchase 'any toy or curiosity' [Enys (1997)] and by the extensive catalogue of S. Bettison that included a list of Dutch toys. These included 'Petites Figures, Mice in Boxes, Snakes in Boxes, Bullet Birds in Boxes, Small Waggons, Coaches, and Preachers in Boxes, Musical Star Gazers, Firmils [FIR MILL] Horsemen, Preaching Foxes, Tents, Churns, Swinging Storks, Chicken Coops, Chairmen, Fidlers, Drummers, Carpenters, Turnabouts, Garlands, Sawyers, Squirrels on Sticks, Fox and Geese, Shooting out Tents, Tortoises, Powlets, Soldiers and Horsemen' [Tradecards (1794)].

See also DUTCH BABY.
Sources: Inventories (late), Newspapers, Tradecards.
References: Enys (1997).

Dutch yarn

According to [Acts (1756)] the term refers specifically to RAW or BROWN - LINEN YARN, apparently not necessarily Dutch in make. [Acts (1751)], although less useful about the composition of the yarn, makes it clear that it was used in the British manufacture of LINEN CLOTH. In the act the duty was substantially reduced to encourage imports.

Not found in the OED

Sources: Acts.



An anglicized version of the Hindi term 'Dhotti'. This was the loin cloth worn by Hindus, but the term was also applied more generally to the type of TEXTILE from which dhottis were made. According to Milburn, dutties were formerly imported from Bombay and Surat in India, and he included them among his list of INDIAN - PIECE GOODS [Yule and Burnell (1886, pb 1996)].

OED earliest date of use: 1622 under Dhoty

Found described as BLUE
Found rated by the PIECE

Sources: Inventories (mid-period), Rates.
References: Yule and Burnell (1886, pb 1996).