Kneading trough - Kyle pin

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

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Kneading trough

[neading trough; kneydyng trowyth; kneyding trough; kneeding trough; knedinge troughe; kneding troughe; kneadtroughe; kneadtrough; kneadinge troughe; kneading troughe]

A WOODEN trough or TUB in which to knead dough in order to make BREAD. Common before 1660, they become rather less common thereafter, possibly indicating a gradual abandonment of home baking.

OED earliest date of use: c1386

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

Kneading tub

[neding tub; neading tubb; kneydinge tubbe; kneedinge tubb; kneeding tubb; kneeding tub; knedinge tubb; kneding tubbe; kneadinge tubb; kneading tubb; knead'g tub]

A TUB in which BREAD was kneaded after the yeast had been mixed into the FLOUR (possibly in a QUICKENING TUB), and before being set to rise in a DOUGH TUB. Like these two other terms, 'Kneading tub' was probably applied loosely to any tub used in making bread, given the fact that no probate inventory has been noted that lists all three vessels.

OED online earliest date if use: c1386 under Kneading

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

Knee band

The term has been noted once in 1730 in conjunction with TWIST [Inventories (1730)]. If the combination is more than co-incidental, it may suggest an article of APPAREL similar to a GARTER and designed to keep up the STOCKING. One retailer's stock included a 'dozen paire of Kneebond poyntes at 16d p doz' [Inventories (1680)], presumably to fasten the band. KNEE BUCKLEs were more frequently listed, for example [Inventories (1737)]. These probably served the same purpose as the POINTs. The purpose of one patent in 1788 was to replace the BUCKLE on a knee band with a different form of fastening [Patents (1788)].

Not found usefully in the OED online

Sources: Inventories (late), Patents.


A form of MARBLE and CHILDRENS TOY, made of baked CLAY; especially one placed between the forefinger and thumb and propelled with a jerk by the latter so as to hit another marble. Knicker and marble, however, were not perceived as identical, as in one place John Houghton referred to both [Houghton]. There were alternative meanings, though they follow a similar idea or line of thought. The first is for a large flat button or disc made of metal used as a pitcher in the game 'on the line', the second is for a stone used in a game in Sussex called 'duck' or duckstone'. It may be in this sense that John Houghton recorded the importation of 'knickers and bowling-stones', which he took 'to be all one', which were imported from GERMANY and HOLLAND in large numbers [Houghton]. All the variations of meaning given in the OED appear in the nineteenth century or later.

Found imported in units of CASK, THOUSAND

Sources: Houghton.

Knife box


A BOX in which table knives were kept.

OED earliest date of use: 1848, but without definition

Found described as COLOURED, OLD Found made of MAHOGANY

Sources: Inventories (late), Newspapers, Tradecards.


[knytt; knyt; knitted; knitte; knitt]

The term was used for a TEXTILE, made with KNITTING NEEDLES or on a KNITTING FRAME as opposed to being woven on a LOOM. Knit or knitted articles, particularly CAPs were common throughout the period; for example, an Elizabethan act regulated the 'Occupation and Art of Cappers, as Carders, Spinners, Knitters, ...' and required everybody (with exceptions for the well to do) to wear on Sunday a 'Cap of Wool, knit, thicked and dressed in England' [Acts (1570)]. Before 1660, mostly small items like caps and HOSE were the most common, all hand made, but after the development of the STOCKING FRAME, the range of knitted goods increased, and included BREECHES. 'Knit' was also found used occasionally in the sense of 'knotted' as in 'ffive hundred knitt hoopes' among the stock of a Pail maker [Inventories (1667)].

OED earliest date of use: 1000; 1530 for knitted in the most common sense still used today


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



The formation of a fabric by looping, using KNITTING NEEDLES or a STOCKING FRAME, often in such a way as to make shaped pieces ready to be sown up into a garment, or by knitting round and round, combined with shaping, to make garments such as HOSE and GLOVES that need no sewing up.

Thomas Smith, in his 'Discourse of the Commonweal', saw knitting as one of the solutions to the problem of the unemployed poor, suggesting that they could 'knit sleeves, hosen, and petticoats, hats, caps' [Smith (1954), quoted Thirsk (1978)]. It was a popular idea among the authorities. A proposal to establish a Bridewell in London in 1552 included knitting among those occupations suitable for its inhabitants that 'are lame of legs, and whole of hands' [Tawney and Power (1924-8)]. Two centuries later, knitting was still seen as a suitable activity of the poor, this time for orphans. In 1758 an 'ASYLUM or House of Refuge for Orphans and the deserted Girls of the Poor' was set up in London, and an advertisement posted for three teachers, one of whom was 'to teach reading, knitting, sewing, making linen etc.' [Newspapers (1758)]. The business records of Abraham Dent of Kirkby Stephen show how just one entrepreneur organized the local poor to knit STOCKINGS, sending large quantities to London and elsewhere in the 1780s [Willan (1962)]. The returns of a rather inadequate census of 1787 in Westmoreland, suggest that the knitters were mainly girls and servant whose parents were otherwise engaged, though a few boys were also recorded. But poor men also knitted; Abraham Dent wrote in answer to a complaint from one of his customers that knitting was mainly done 'from September to February when the people have no other employ, or else they could not be done for that price' [Willan (1962)]. On a private basis, employing someone to knit could be quite expensive. Although Sarah Fell paid one woman, Jane Cotton, for this purpose as a rate or 2d-5d a pair in the 1670s in Lancashire [Diaries (Blundell); Diaries (Fell)], her rough contemporary, Giles Moore in Sussex, had to pay much more - 2s 6d to 'Widdow Potter' for 'knitting mee one payr of worsted stockings, 2s. 6d. [Diaries (Moore)].

The knitting industry was one of hand work, using minimal equipment and employing largely young people, women and the under-employed. This changed radically when the stocking frame began to reach its full potential in the eighteenth century following a string of innovations. Unlike other forms of comparable work, knitting by hand survived, although the frame allowed the production of cheaper COTTON STOCKINGS and SILK STOCKINGS, as well as ready shaped pieces to make a WAISTCOAT or BREECHES.

Knitting was sometimes used elliptically for the YARN used for knitting, as in '36 li of raw knittings single & double att 4s 6d p pound' [Inventories (1660)], and also as a variant form of NETTING. It is not known what a Knitting board was, as in 'In the Worke Chamber ... two peare of sheares one sheare board and knitting board xxiiijs, among the stock of one engaged in weaving [Inventories (1626)].

OED earliest date of use: a1420

Found describing COTTON, SILK, THREAD, WOOL, WORSTED, YARN Found described as RAW

Sources: Acts, Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Newspapers, Tradecards.
References: Smith (1984), Tawney and Power (1924-8), Thirsk (1978), Willan (1970).

Knitting case

Either a case for holding KNITTING NEEDLES, or an alternative name for a KNITTING sheath, that is a cylindrical sheath for holding one knitting needle steady while KNITTING. The only example in the Dictionary Archive was a catalogue listing of 'Assortment Knitting Cases, of various Sorts' [Tradecards (1794)].

OED earliest date of use: no date for the first sense; 1888 in the second sense, though 1755 for Knitting sheath

Sources: Tradecards.

Knitting needles

[nittinge neadles; nitting pins; niting pins; knytting pinnes; knytting nedles; knittings pins; knitting-pins; knitting-needles; knitting-needle; knittinge needles; knittinge nedles; knittinge nedells; knitting pinns; knitting nedls; knitingnedles; kniting neilds; kniting needles; knetting needells; kittinpins]

Long straight blunt needles, or slender rods, used two or more at a time, in KNITTING. STEEL is now usually used for fine work, while WOOD, IVORY etc. are used for larger gauge needles. Before steel became commonplace in the nineteenth century, BONE, BOXWOOD and IVORY were probably the most common materials used for all sizes. Although knitting needles were almost certainly sold in graded, but no necessarily standardized, sizes, no evidence of this has been noted. However, the several entries listing them by weight suggests that different sorts were available, even though the appraisers did not distinguish them according to size. In the early part of the period knitting needles were sometimes called 'Knitting pins', a label that more accurately reflects the shape of those used for knitting with two needles. Their use in a few recipes suggests that they were common in eighteenth-century households [Recipes (Eales)].

OED earliest date of use: 1598 under Knitting-needle; 1857 for knitting pin under Knitting

Found in units of LB, POUND

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

Knocked ginger

[knockt ginger]

A synonym for BEATEN GINGER

Found in units of LB

Sources: Inventories (mid-period).

Knop tub

[knoptubb; knop tubb]

'Knop' is a northen term for a large wooden TUB, so the addition of 'tub' in 'Knop tub' seems superfluous. The term has been noted only in the stock of a northern cooper along with other items of COOPERY [Inventories (1671)].

OED online earliest date of use: 1563 as Knop

Sources: Inventories (mid-period).

Knotting shuttle

[notting shuttle]

The term denotes a small SHUTTLE that was used in some forms of ornamental NET making, called 'Knot work' in the sixteenth century and, though possibly not until the nineteenth, 'Tatting'. Unlike crochet and knitting, where each stitch is dependent on its neighbours, in tatting each is knotted, the KNOTTING THREAD being manipulated by the shuttle. The result is very robust [Caulfeild and Saward (1885, facs.1989)].

Not found in the OED as such, but earliest date of use: 1767 for a shuttle for this purpose described under Shuttle

Sources: Tradecards.
References: Caulfield and Saward (1885, facs.1989).

Kyle pin


Probably a PIN used to secure together other parts, particularly those made of WOOD. John Houghton indicated that these were made of WILLOW [Houghton]. There is, however, some doubt, since the OED suggests that kyles were small IRON wedges used to fasten the head of a PICKAXE, HAMMER, etc. onto the shaft.

OED online earliest date of use: 1747

Found made of WILLOW

Sources: Houghton.