Eatables - Eaves lath

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

This free content was born digital. All rights reserved.


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

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

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

In this section


It refers to foodstuff generally, but in particular a staple like BREAD. 'Eatables' were distinguished from 'drinkables', in a quotation in the OED, dated 1694 under Consumption: 'The Excise, commonly called the Consumption; which is upon Tobacco, Wine, Salt, Grain, etc. and all Eatables and Drinkables brought into any town'. It was not a common term in the Dictionary Archive. In the singular, 'Eatable' was an alternative for 'Edible', as in 'Eatable hiccory' [Tradecards (n.d.)].

OED earliest date of use: 1483 as an alternative to Edible; 1672 in the plural as Foodstuff under Eatable

Sources: Diaries, Tradecards.

Eating oil


By analogy with 'Eating water', which was water fit to drink [Wright (1898-1905)], it was presumably an OIL of an agreeable taste and texture, as opposed to those that are only suitable for lighting and the like. W.H. Simmonds recognizes eating oils as a category, but does not define the term [Simmonds (1906)]. In one advertisement 'Finest Eating Oil' was offered at 18d the PINT, while 'second sweet oils' were priced at 5d to 11d the POUND [Newspapers (1782)], while in another it was listed along with FLORENCE OIL, GALLIPOLI OIL and GENOA OIL (all varieties of OLIVE OIL) and other oils mainly used for other purposes [Tradecards (18c.)]. These two suggest that eating oil may have been a grade of Olive oil, or possibly an oil from another vegetable source like OIL OF ALMONDS or WALNUT oil. It was unlikely to have been applied to RAPE OIL or the various forms of TRAIN OIL, both of which are edible, but unpalatable.

Not found in the OED online

Found in units of FLASK, PINT

Sources: Newspapers, Recipes, Tradecards.
References: Simmonds (1906), Wright (1898-1905).

Eating set

[eating sett]

A term found only in one tradecard offering fashionable ware in the late eighteenth century. The one entry of 'Wine, Punch, and Eating Setts' [Tradecards (1794)] lies between 'Tea Setts of different Sizes', which implies CERAMICs and 'Punch Ladles'. This leaves the precise meaning uncertain, but the term could have been applied to ceramics other than TEA SET, or to KNIFE AND FORK and other CUTLERY.

Not found in the OED online

Sources: Tradecards.

Eau d'arquebusade

The French term for HARQUEBUSADE WATER, which was a lotion regarded as a specific for gunshot and other wounds. It has been noted in a list of PERFUMED WATERS [Tradecards (18c.)].

OED earliest date of use: 1747

Sources: Tradecards.

Eau de canelle

A French name for the popular CINNAMON WATER

OED earliest date of use: c1205 for Canelle only

Sources: Tradecards.

Eau de cologne

A PERFUME consisting of alcohol and various ESSENTIAL OILs originally made at COLOGNE by its inventor, Jean Marie Farina. Much was still sold under his name, most of it spurious, in the mid-nineteenth century. Charles Tomlinson gave details of three published recipes, but declared he had 'no faith in any of them'. One at least of them contained ESSENTIAL OILs of CEDRAT and CITRON as well as the OIL of ORANGE FLOWER called NEROLI OIL [Tomlinson (1854)]. This accords with the instructions given by Lloyd's, who suggested it was scented with oils extracted from the flowers and rind or various species of citrus fruits. These should be blended so that 'no individual oil can be detected' [Lloyd (1895)].

OED earliest date of use: 1823

Sources: Tradecards.
References: Lloyd (1895), Tomlinson (1854).

Eau de jonquille

Literally WATER of jonquils. It is a toilet water derived from the jonquil, a species of Narcissus which has long linear leaves and spikes of fragrant white and yellow flowers. It has been noted in a list of PERFUMED WATERS [Tradecards (18c.)].

OED earliest date of use: 1629 for Jonquil only

Found described as Veritable

Sources: Tradecards.

Eau de luce

Medicinal preparation of alcohol, ammonia, and oil of AMBER, used in India as an antidote to snake bites, and in England to treat wounds and sometimes as SMELLING SALTS. Probably not the same as EAU DE LYS, although the spelling of neither is reliable. For example, eau de luce has been noted among SOAPs, where eau de lys seems more probable [Tradecards (1794)].

OED earliest date of use: 1756

Sources: Newspapers, Tradecards.

Eau de lys

'Eau de Lys, or the Spanish Ladies Cosmetic' [Newspapers (1760)] may only be a variant spelling of EAU DE LUCE, but this seems unlikely given that it is clearly a PERFUMED WATER rather than a medicinal product. More probably, eau de lys was an article of TOILETRY, in which the scent was provided by ORRIS, otherwise known as Fleur de Lys or Lis, or Fleur de Luce.

Eau de luce has been noted as a type of SOAP [Tradecards (1794)] and in this case it was probably a variant spelling of eau de lys.

Not found in the OED

Sources: Newspapers, Tradecards.

Eau de miel

A French name for HONEY WATER

Sources: Tradecards.

Eau de mille fleurs

A PERFUMED WATER or PERFUME, so called because it supposedly contained the scent of a thousand flowers.

Sources: Newspapers, Tradecards.

Eau de ninon

A toilet preparation intended 'to clear the Skin' [Tradecards (1790s)]. The name was possibly a reference to 'Ninon de l'Enclos' (1620-1705), a noted French wit and beauty. If so, it is a typical attempt by English manufacturers to exploit all things French.

Not found in the OED

Sources: Tradecards.

Eau de noyaux

[eau de noyau]

Probably a RATAFIA in which the alcohol is flavoured with stones from fruits like the CHERRY. Larousse Gastronomique gives a recipe for 'Ratafia de noyaux de cerises', which is probably similar to, or identical with, what was advertised for sale in the eighteenth century [Tradecards (1800)]; [Froud and Turgeon (1961)].

Sources: Tradecards.
References: Froud and Turgeon (1961).

Eau de vie

The FRENCH name for BRANDY. The term is a literal translation of the Latin AQUA VITAE, in English 'water of life'. Lloyd stated that it was a label usually applied to the less purified varieties [Lloyd (1895)].

Found defined in the OED under Eau, but no first date of use

Found described as COGNAC, Vielle [for vieille, the French for OLD]

Sources: Tradecards.
References: Lloyd's (1895).

Eau des carmes

A PERFUMED WATER, sometimes known as Carmelite water, made by the Carmelite nuns at their Convent in Paris [Newspapers (1760)]. It was probably made of alcohol with ESSENTIAL OILs that gave the scent.

Sources: Newspapers, Tradecards.

Eau divine

A LIQUEUR or medicinal water that has been noted only once in the Dictionary Archive in an advertisement [Tradecards (1800)]. Nothing is known about its ingredients.

Sources: Tradecards.

Eau d'or

In English literally GOLD - WATER. It has only been noted once in the Dictionary Archive, and there among a list of other WATERs apparently designed for pleasurable drinking rather than as a TOILETRY [Tradecards (1800)]. An alternative possibility is that Eau d'Or was the same as the AURUM POTABILE that was heavily promoted in the late-seventeenth century, in which case it was a QUACK MEDICINE.

Sources: Tradecards.

Eau royal

A PERFUMED WATER promoted for 'its fine Smell' and as one that 'far exceeds any other sweet Water now sold in Town' [Newspapers (1760)]. The advertisement gave no clue as to its contents.

Not found in the OED

Found described as FINE

Sources: Newspapers.

Eau sans pareille

[sans pareille]

A PERFUMED WATER or PERFUME, the name of which in English would be 'water without equal' or 'matchless water'. Since FRANCE, and in particular PARIS, were seen as the centre of production of PERFUMERY, the use of French names was not uncommon. There are no clues in the advertisements for this product about its ingredients.

Not found in the OED

Found described as FINE

Sources: Newspapers, Tradecards.

Eaves lath

[eveslath; eves lath]

A type of LATH, presumably more substantial than the usual, designed to raise the SLATEs at the edge of the roof. Unlike other types of lath, eaves lath was measured by the FOOT.

OED earliest date of use: 1422-3 under EAVES

Found in units of FOOT

Sources: Inventories (late).