Goatskin leather - Gorge

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

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Goatskin leather

[goattes lether; goat leather]

LEATHER made from GOATSKIN, probably TAWED rather than TANNED

Not found in the OED

Found in units of DOZEN

Sources: Inventories (early).

Gobee tea

Since the only entry in the Dictionary Archive is for a purchase, the context gives no clue to what type of tea was intended, or indeed possible other spellings [Tradecards (1748)]. It does not appear to have been a highly priced variety, but Simmonds referred to nothing remotely similar [Simmonds (1906)].

Not found in the OED online

Found in units of LB

Sources: Tradecards.
References: Simmonds (1906).

Godfreys cordial

[godfrey's original cordial; godfrey's general cordial; godfrey's cordial]

One of the most popular branded medicines composed, according to Dr James Adair (1728-1802) in his Essay on fashionable disorders (London 1790), of SASSAFRAS, SYRUP and OPIUM [Porter (1989)]. It has been noted in the shops [Inventories (1726)] and Thomas Turner, a Sussex shopkeeper, 'paid Dr. Godfrey in full for three dozen of his cordial' [Diaries (Turner)], presumably to sell in his shop. It was widely advertised in the newspapers, and so was probably distributed with the news, and even promoted on the handbills of some London retailers. Its inventor was presumably the so-called Dr Benjamin Godfrey named in some of the advertisements [Newspapers (1752)]; [Newspapers (1780)].

OED earliest date of use: 1785

Found described as GENERAL, Original
Found in units of BOTTLE, DOZEN (presumably bottles)

Sources: Diaries, Inventories (late), Newspapers, Tradecards.
References: Porter (1989).


A COTTON - TEXTILE imported from India, and presumably named after Hyderabad under its former name. The area was formerly celebrated for its DIAMONDs rather than for textile manufacture. Golconda was defined as a MUSLIN in 1700 [Acts (1700)]. If and when it was sold in England, it would almost certainly have been under the generic name of muslin.

Not found in the OED as a fabric

Sources: Acts.

Gold leaf

[leaves of golde; leaves of gold; leaf-gold; leaff gold; leafe gold]

A small quantity of GOLD, beaten out into an extremely thin sheet. According to Charles Tomlinson, an OUNCE of gold, (that is a cube each side of which measures only 1/12 INCH), can be beaten out to over 100 square FOOT. The process involved placing cutting pieces of a rolled ribbon of gold into pieces an inch square and placing then between sheets of specially prepared GOLD VELLUM made from an ox's cæcum (part of the large intestine), and then beating them until the pieces are four inches square. Each piece is then cut into four and the process repeated two or three times. By the end, the sheets must be picked up with specially designed wooden pincers, placed on a cushion to be blown flat, and then trimmed to about 3½ inches square. 25 of these leaves are placed between the folds of a paper book, the leaves of which are rubbed with red chalk to prevent the gold adhering. It was in this form, gold leaf was sold [Tomlinson (1854)].

Gold leaf had many uses, mostly decorative. MARCHPANE might be decorated with it [Recipes (Nott)] and COMFITs to make a centrepiece for one of the courses in an important meal. GINGERBREAD was also often wrapped in gold to make an attractive and popular FAIRING. Given the minute quantity of gold used, the increase in price was negligible. Gold leaf was also used in a minor way in APOTHECARY to wrap pills and troches.

OED earliest date of use: 1727-41

Found in units of BOOK, C containing 100 Found rated by the 100 leaves

Sources: Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Patents, Rates, Recipes.
References: Tomlinson (1854).

Gold of Genoa

[gold of venice florence and jeane]

It was apparently a GOLD THREAD and presumably made in GENOA or associated with that city. Genoa was a centre for the production of rich ornamental TEXTILEs, which suggests that 'gold of Genoa' was designed for that purpose. From the late fifteenth century, it could only be sold in this country in units of the POUND of 12 OUNCE [Acts (1488)].

Referred to in the OED, but without a citation

Sources: Acts.

Goose quill

[goos-quill; goose-quil; goose quil]

One of the QUILLs or wing feathers of a GOOSE; hence a PEN made from such a feather. The PENKNIFE was designed to shape the base of the Quill to make the pen. The quills were found in the shops; an indicator for the fact that many people shaped their own.

OED earliest date of use: 1552

Found rated by the THOUSAND

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


[gurge; george]

Almost certainly identical with 'George' as in BLUE GEORGE and BROWN GEORGE, although the OED is doubtful whether they are the same. The OED's first citation is for 1684 in one of John Dwight's patents for 'Manufacturing earthenwares, as white gorges, ... stone gorges and vessels..' [Patents (1684)]. The wording of the patents suggest that gorges were not new, but that he had a new method of making them along with other types of CERAMIC ware. A quotation in the OED, dated 1813, indicated that Dwight set up a manufactory to make white gorges.

Several retailers stocked gorges - John Robins of Southwark had over a hundred DOZEN for sale, mostly in STONEWARE, both THICK and THIN and in a variety of sizes. From the contexts in which they were listed gorges were vessels for holding liquids with similarities to both the PITCHER and the CAN with which they have been noted in association [Inventories (1688)]. The defining vocabulary used in the inventories of other retailers was similar [Inventories (1718)]; [Inventories (1734)]. Yaxley notes 'Earthen whie ware ... 3 small gorges' in 1671 [Yaxley (2003)], a citation that predates all those in the Dictionary Archive.

This term has been noted only in documents of trade and not in domestic contexts. Gorge seems therefore to have been one of those terms, like ST MARTINS WARE that was part of the trading vocabulary but not the domestic. The objects must have been present in the home, but were then called differently.

OED earliest date of use: 1684

Found described as BRAZEN, to carry water
Found in units of DOZEN

Sources: Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late).
References: Yaxley (2003).