Rhine - Rippon snaffle

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

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Also found as 'rine', the term comes from the German 'reinhanf', meaning literally 'clean HEMP'. The term was applied to a fine quality of RUSSIAN hemp imported through the Baltic port RIGA; often called (though not in the Dictionary Archive) Riga rhine. In one document it was valued at 27s the CWT as compared with PASS HEMP or RIGA HEMP at 22s [Inventories (1671)].

OED earliest date of use: 1641

Sources: Inventories (mid-period), Newspapers.
References: Rees (1820), IV/332.


[rysse; ryse; ryce; raes]

A term found very early and used for small twigs and the like, and in one quotation in the OED, dated 1889 for the haulms of PEAS and BEANS. It would seem that the 'rice HEMP' noted in one inventory was similar [Inventories (1613)]. It was valued here at 6d the LB, compared with STEEL HEMP at 8d and hemp HARDS at 2d.

OED earliest date of use: c1205 in the sense of small twigs; 1889 as haulms

By extension, and much later 'Rice' was the label applied to a type of REEL or winder. One quotation in the OED gave it as an alternative name for a YARNWINDLE. Randle Holme illustrated a rice (but did not label it as such) as part of a mechanism to draw out WIRE as used by the PIN maker [Holme (2000)]. A pinmaker in the early eighteenth century owned 'two thred Mills and rices and wheels and bobbins' together valued at £4; these rices were probably of this type [Inventories (1707)]. However, rices were also used by weavers and other TEXTILE workers as the OED suggests. In this context, they are found in PAIRs and either with a TRUNDLE as in 'one pair of rices & trundle 5s' [Inventories (1681)] or with a WHEEL as in '2 looms. 1 warping frame. 2 Rices & a Wheel' valued together at 14s [Inventories (1682)].

OED earliest date of use in this sense: 1611

Quite unconnected with the previous meanings and coming from a different root is Rice as the edible seeds of the tropical cereal plant Oryza sativa, one of the most important food grains in the world. It was already a staple food in China by 2800BC, and in India almost as early. Separate varieties may be grown in more temperate zones, but these are not usually interchangeable with those from the tropics [Masefield et al (1969)]. In the Far East many varieties were developed, but these do not seem to have been differentiated among the imports to England. Tropical or sub-tropical rice was introduced to America and grown in Georgia and Carolina, hence CAROLINA RICE.

In the Far East, rice is usually started in seed beds, and then planted out in shallow water. In America it is sown direct. Once harvested, the threshed and winnowed grain, still contained in its yellow husk was sometimes known in India as PADDY and in America as ROUGH rice [Simmonds (1906)].

Rice was commonly available in shops, particularly after 1660, usually valued at 2d-4d LB. John Houghton assumed it was a common element of diet, suggesting that 'The house-wives will know when to lay in their store of sugar, plums, rice, and other necessaries' [Houghton]. In times of war, when WHEAT was short, rice was used in making MIXED BREAD, a practice regularized in 1796 [Acts (1796)], though it is not clear how many bakers did so. What is more certain is that it was used to make STARCH, and the two were quite often listed together, as in for example [Inventories (1697)]. As RICE POWDER it was a component of HAIR POWDER. Probably these practices started after CAROLINA RICE was introduced as it has a higher proportion of starch in it than other types of rice. Although not originally made of it, ARRACK was being made from rice by the eighteenth century, or so it was believed [Diaries (Saussure)].

OED earliest date of use in this sense: a1234

As a GRAIN: Found described as GROUND [INVEARLY], ORDINARY, whole Found in units of BAG, BARREL, C, CASK, HUNDREDWEIGHT, LB, OZ, POUND, QUARTER Found rated by the C pound of 112 LB, HUNDREDWEIGHT

Sources: Acts, Diaries, Houghton, Inventories (early), Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Newspapers, Patents, Rates, Tradecards.
References: Holme (2000), Masefield et al. (1969), Simmonds (1906).

Rice powder

[ric'd powder]

FACE POWDER or HAIR POWDER with a base of pulverized RICE. Rice, and especially CAROLINA RICE, contains a high proportion of starch, which makes it highly suitable for this purpose.

OED earliest date of use: 1874

Sources: Tradecards.

Rich sauce

Today the term would probably be applied to a SAUCE made with BUTTER and possibly other expensive ingredients. In the eighteenth century it was a common phrase used by the manufacturers of PREPARED SAUCEs, one of whom proclaimed that they were designed 'For Fish, Hashes, Gravies, and all made Dishes', and that they would 'keep good any length of Time, and in all Climates'. In his list of rich sauces, the same manufacturer included several highly flavoured sauces and KETCHUPs like QUINS SAUCE, SOY and MOSCOW KETCHUP, but he also added products not normally classified today as a sauce, like 'Genuine Kayan Pepper' and 'Bengal Currie Powder' as well as PICKLEs like CAVICE and LEMON PICKLE [Tradecards (19c.)]. The common feature of them all was that they would keep and were highly flavoured.

OED online earliest date of use: 1758 under Put


Sources: Tradecards.

Riding dress

[riding dresses]

A form of DRESS suitable for a woman to go riding in. Usually they had a tightly fitted bodice with long sleeves, and a full skirt that covered the legs of someone using a SIDE SADDLE. The term, riding dress, was by the 1780s applied to any costume designed for outdoor activities, and consequently would have served just as well for walking. It was often made in two pieces as JACKET and SKIRT. The influence of masculine styles was strong, so the jacket was cut tight to the waist with a flared pleated frill at the back sloping away at the sides. Other masculine features were a high collar and revers, and conspicuous buttons [Ribiero (1983)]. One advertisement of the 1790s matches this description: 'a Riding Dress of a light Mixture, double breasted, faced with blue Silk, and large Yellow Buttons' [Newspapers (1790)]. One London tradesmen advertised riding dresses made from a variety of fabrics, including KERSEYMERE, ALAPEEN, FUSTIAN, INDIANET, DIMITY, RATTEEN and, somewhat unexpectedly, the less-fashionable, but warm, DUFFLE 'with all sorts of Gold & Silver Trimmings' [Tradecards (1774)].

OED online earliest date of use: 1736-7 under Riding

Found described as for LADIES, in the newest taste

See also HABIT.
Sources: Newspapers, Tradecards.
References: Ribiero (1983).

Riding gear

[rideing geare]

Accoutrements of a riding HORSE, or its rider. The term seems to have consisted chiefly of the SADDLE, that is the part of the equipment that, for a well cared for riding horse, would have been specially made for it, suggested by the entry 'First of all His Purse, Apparel, Best horse and Riding Gear' [Inventories (1742)].

OED earliest date of use: 1535

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

Riga hemp

HEMP imported through the north Russian port of Riga, but probably grown in the south where conditions are better suited to producing a robust plant with strong, long fibres. It was used particularly for making CORDAGE for which purpose the grade called 'Riga RHINE hemp' was regarded as the best and CODILLA the worst, with OUTSHOT and PASS HEMP in between. Valuations start from 7d the LB.

OED earliest date of use: 1802, but see RHINE, which appeared much earlier

Sources: Diaries, Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late), Newspapers.
References: Rees (1820), IV/332, Tomlinson (1854), II/13-5.


A term that has not been noted in the dictionaries, though there are various terms spelled in a similar way that mean a 'ring' or a 'groove'. Rigell appears only once in the Dictionary Archive among the stock of a Devon weaver as 'one pare of warping pines w'th a Rigell' [Inventories (1646)]. WARPING PIN is also a term not yet certainly identified. The context suggests part of the equipment used in preparing the WARP before it is placed in the LOOM.

Not found in the OED online

Sources: Inventories (early).


The OED gives a single quotation from the Dublin Mercury in which this TEXTILE is associated with CAMLET, POPLIN, royal rigg and STUFF, deducing that it may be an error for RUG. However this seems at odds with its context, which suggests that rigg was in fact a stuff. The Dictionary Archive has occasional references to rigg, some of them in line with the Dublin Mercury extract. Others, however, suggest an alternative. Very much in line with the Dublin Mercury, but a century earlier is the probate inventory of a Norwich WORSTED weaver, who had a piece of Royal rigg valued at £2 5s among the list of Norwich stuffs [Inventories (1662)]. On the other hand, two other inventories also list rigg among their FUSTIAN [Inventories (1684)] and [Inventories (1711)], and one, [Inventories (1665)], has rigg at 2s 2d a yard placed immediately after SHALLOON, but immediately before a long list of fustians. From this rather slim evidence it may be concluded that rigg was a label given to two different fabrics. Royal rigg certainly, and rigg possibly, seem to have been stuffs, probably largely made of worsted, but possibly partly of SILK, while rigg certainly, and royal rigg probably not, was a type of fustian.

OED only date of use: 1769

Found described as ROYAL

Sources: Inventories (mid-period), Inventories (late).
References: Kerridge (1985), 82.

Rigisco flax

[rigitska flax; ragisco ditto]

This is another term like BUNDLE FLAX, FADGE FLAX, KIRTLE FLAX, etc. in which the descriptor is a unit of measure for FLAX. The 'Rogisca', according to Randle Holme [Holme (2000)], consisted of five HEAD weighing three POUND. It seems from the many examples of this type of label, that some types of flax were bundled up in a particular way and so became an identifier even when the flax itself was in different units of measure.

Found described as FINE

Sources: Inventories (late), Newspapers.
References: Holme (2000).



The bark of a tree or plant; sometimes, inner as contrasted with outer bark. In this sense 'rind' has appeared only once in the Dictionary Archive in an act regulating the importation of the bark of QUERCITRON [Acts (1792)]. The term is more commonly used today to refer to the peel or skin of fruits and vegetables. In this sense, too, 'rind' appears only once in the Dictionary Archive as 'Rindes of Pomegranates' [Inventories (1634)], in other words, POMEGRANATE PEEL.

OED online earliest date of use: 888 as a bark; c1400 as peel

'Rind' was also the name given to an iron fitting that served to support an upper MILLSTONE on the spindle, as in 'A paire of mill stones, w'th Rinde, & spindles' valued together at £5 [Inventories (1631)].

OED online earliest date of use in this sense: c1343

As BARK: Found in units of CWT
As PEEL: Found in units of OZ

Sources: Acts, Inventories (early).

Rind hoop

A HOOP of fibrous bark or of a supple ROD like a PERSH ROD, it was used for binding round the STAVEs of a BARREL etc. and keeping it in shape. In one OED quotation dated 1670, it emerges that rods were made from CHESTNUT 'for bark or ryne hoops'. The term has not been located in the Dictionary Archive, but it appears in the Gloucester Coastal Port Books.

OED online earliest date of use: 1670

References: Gloucester Coastal Port Books (1998).

Ring flax

A term found only once in the Dictionary Archive among the goods of a substantial London tradesman [Inventories (1670)]. It is likely that his ring flax was imported from the Baltic, but apart from that there is no clue to its quality or its place of origin.

Found in units of HUNDRED, LB

Sources: Inventories (mid-period).

Rippling comb

[ripling comb]

A COMB used to ripple HEMP or FLAX. This was the first stage of preparing the fibres for spinning and consisted of removing the seed heads by running the stems through a rippling comb.

OED earliest date of use: c1440

Sources: Inventories (late).

Rippon snaffle

[rippon ditto; ripping snaffle; ripin snaffle]

A style of SNAFFLE, probably originally made in the YORKSHIRE town of Rippon or Ripon, but by the end of the seventeenth century also made in Walsall. John Houghton indicated that the distinctive feature of this type of snaffle lay in the side or ends rather than in the mouth piece itself, but it is not clear how it differed from the common variety in this respect [Houghton]. However, Rippon was noted for the manufacture of SPURs, and it may be that the descriptor of 'Rippon' was attached to a snaffle when the side pieces bore some resemblance to a spur rather than designating a place of origin.

Not found in the OED

Found described as full, SMALL

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