William Hemsley Carries The Day

There’s so much fodder in Mr. Hemsley’s inventory that I could easily have filled three posts, but I will confine myself to just one.

  • Mr. William Hemsley, Queen Anne’s County

This inventory is unusual in that the appraisers valued Mr. Hemsley’s worldly possessions at nearly £1500, and yet he holds no bound laborers, enslaved or indentured.  He must be a merchant – the Schooner with boat Sails rigging &ca worth £220 is a good clue, not to mention several pages of items that must be store goods – and therefore perhaps less engaged in tobacco cultivation.  Still, the complete absence of labor in the inventory of such a large estate is remarkable.

Oh, wait a minute.  The ever-helpful Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature asserts that Hemsley’s estate included 41 bound laborers (33 enslaved; 8 indentured) – but they are not in this inventory.  What gives?  I also see that he’s a stepson of Robert Lloyd and related to just about anybody who was anybody on the Eastern Shore, so I fully expect my Talbot County expert to explain the discrepancy.

But in the meantime, his inventory includes many items that I find interesting (or at least amusing).

1 Childs Rattle

Among the entries for silver, and valued by weight.


Looks like I need to dig out the silver polish.  Do you suppose the Hemsley rattle also had a close encounter with a large black dog?

2 cradle quilts

A parcell of Servants Bedding

The plot thickens – Servants Bedding but no servants?

1 large walnut oval table one smaller Do.

5 maple tables of several Sizes

1 small square tea table

1 small old maple table

1 small round Mahogany tea table

1 old square table 1 small pine table 1 old sideboard

1 large pine tea table 1 small old poplar table

By my count, that’s 14 tables.  That’s a lot of tables.  And to go along with them we have:

12 Cane chairs 11 Do. 8 Do.

12 Leather Do. 7 Flagg Do. 3 Do.

13 Flagg Do. 12 rush Do. 6 Do.

6 Wooden Do.

1 old Leather Elbow chair

Unless I have misread the text, that’s 91 chairs.  Is there a market in tables and chairs that I don’t know about?

1 proving glass

1 taster

Are these tools for testing alcohol content?  And if not, what are they for?  Google searches led me to all sorts of odd things, such as proving glass ceiling discrimination, proving the worth of Cody Glass (the first draft pick in Vegas Golden Knights history), and proving that a man died demonstrating a window’s strength.  But I also turned up this interesting Flaviar piece about measuring the alcohol content in spirits.

1 [pewter] pepper Caster

one Iron Bisquet Dotter

I presume the first is a pepper shaker (a condiment dispenser used in Western culture designed to allow diners to distribute grains of ground peppercorns, says Wikipedia).

Georgian silver pepper shaker, or pepperette, hallmarked London 1803

But the second?  The internet was useless for this (although I did learn that the word ‘dot’ derives from an Old English word meaning the head of a boil – and I would just as soon not have learned that).

Another ‘stop-the-presses’ – I think I found it.  At least, I did if a Bisquet Dotter could be the same thing as a dough docker.  King Arthur Flour describes this better than I ever could, so I will quote at length.

Looking like . . . a very small (3- to 4-inch) spiked rolling pin, the dough docker cuts even rows of holes into cracker dough, or thoroughly pricks the bottom of a tart or pie shell in a few easy swipes. Unless you’re very particular about how your pastry looks, or you’re doing lots of pastry that needs docking, a fork can easily substitute for the docker.

one Hominy Mortar

Much later in the inventory there is an entry for 3 Iron Hominy Pestles. Why aren’t they together? And why three pestles for one mortar?

1 past board, Rowling pin & Pye printer

More items for baking (assuming that’s a pastry board).

A large Frame for drying Cloaths

There are all kinds of imported spices and such – I’m skipping over most of the precise quantities, but there are entries for:

Rum, Molasses, fish Oil, Linseed Oil, Tar,

Barbadoes loaf Sugar, brown Muscavado Do., fine Muscavado Do., finest Do.

Chocolate, Ginger, allspice

Pepper, Mace

A small parcell of Citron Peals

Cinnamon, Nutmegs

13 lbs. of Damnified allspice

48 ¾ Ounces of Indigo

1 lb of Verdegrease

A small parcell of Doctors means

Still glad there’s not a detailed list.

15lb of whale bone

For all that my household includes a whale expert, I really did not know (or at least did not remember) that whalebone is not actually bone but the baleen plate that whales use to filter krill out of the water.  (I did know all about the baleen ‘filter-feeder’ system, just not the rather important distinction between the actual bones of a whale and whalebone.

Photo displaying dozens of baleen plates. The plates face each other, and are evenly spaced at approximately 0.25 inches (1 cm) intervals. The plates are attached to the jaw at the top, and have hairs at the bottom end.
Baleen plates (with attached baleen hair)

I added up the numerous nails of various sorts for you – the total is 18,426, including:

2000 Scupper nails

Which go along with the Schooner – if you want to learn all about it, take a look at An Introductory Outline of the Practice of Ship-building.

As you would expect, there is lots (and lots) of fabric and tailoring/dressmaking supplies, including:

2 pearl Girdle buckles

22 womens brass Thimbles

1195 Needles sorted

12000 Pins

Remember my whole fascination with tools for measurement, including timekeeping? Here we have:

6 minute Glasses 5 half hour Do. one hour Do.

And we finish up with some luxury food items:

1 Pot with a small parcell of Sweetmeats

I confess I get Sweetmeats confused with sweetbreads. Shouldn’t the one made from an animal be called meat and the one that’s a sweet confection be called bread?

2 small Pots with Tammarins

Nothing to do with South American monkeys, of course, but rather the fruit of the tamarind tree (or, more likely, candy or paste made from the fruit of the tamarind tree).

Tamarind leaves and fruit pod

1 Pt. Citron water

All the rage now, and readily available in hotel lobbies across the nation.

Service Ideas Beverage Dispenser (available at Amazon, of course)

That’s it for me and Mr. Hemsley (pending verification of his labor force, that is).  Next up: mourning rings, maul rings, and Joseph Vanswe-ring-en.



Picking Up The Pieces

That was a much, much longer break between posts than I expected.  I think it likely that my apologies are getting tiresome, so I will just dive back in.

  • John Jones, Prince George’s County
  • Captn. John Martindale of Liverpool, Prince George’s County

Capt. Martindale was a bit of a clothes horse. To wit:

 A pair Silver Buckles

a pair Studds

a Silver snuff box

A Suit blue Grogram

2 pr. mens white Gloves

1 Cloath Coat Red Jackett & Breeches

A Green silk Jackett

1 old Coat Jacket & Breeches

1 pr. buckskin breeches

One Riding coat & a very old coat a pr. old cloth breeches

A Banyan

2 pr. Croques

I think these must be ‘crakows’ (or crackowes), a type of shoe with an extremely long pointed toe, although according to Wikipedia such shoes were ‘very popular’ in the 15th century and I am not sure why such a stylish man as Captain Martindale would favor them.  The name alludes to their supposed origin in the city of Kraków – but it’s important to understand (again according to Wikipedia) that although they ‘are also sometimes known as poulaines or pikes . . . the term poulaine, as in souliers a la poulaine, “shoes in the Polish fashion,” referred to the long pointed beak of the shoe, not the shoe itself.’

Poulaines worn in Burgundy ca. 1470

And in case you are wondering, I did first investigate whether those ubiquitous foam sole shoes, i.e., Crocs™, were somehow derived from croques – but I think the lack of long toes puts that hypothesis to rest.

To a Cargo of Goods which the said Martindale had to Dispose of amounting to the sum of L290,1,7 ¾

That’s quite a valuable cargo; pity we don’t know what it contained.

  • Benjamin Smallwood, Prince George’s County
  • Mr. John Edgar, Prince George’s County
  • William Cockran, Baltimore County
  • Richard Lloyd, Charles County
  • Mr. William Penn, Charles County

 1 fluke hoe

1 Jigger & harrow with 2 fluke

I promise to stop already with the flukes – but let me just point out once again that the term fluke fairly consistently seems to refer to the particular shape of the cutting blade on a variety of tools, rather than just a specific type of hoe (or plow or, in this case, harrow).

  • John Newman, Charles County
  • John Macoy, Charles County
  • Dr. John Haw, Charles County

Whoa. This one’s a doozy.  The main inventory is about £178 worth of mildly interesting goods (including 1 Diamond to cut glass), but then there’s this entry:

Apothecarys Medicines Chymical Preparations Chirurgeons Instruments fials Pots Physick books & other as pr. Accot. annext

At first I was distraught not to have any detail about all of this – but be careful what you wish for.  After the concluding text for the inventory proper, I found this:

An Account of what Medicines Instruments & books we found.

Here we go – and bear in mind that “ss” is an abbreviation for the Latin “semis” meaning half; also note the consistent use of , the apothecary symbol for ounce (as discussed in this earlier post).

Drugs. Many of which are Stale & of less Value.

Sperm. Ceti lb ss Coral. rub. 3.

Gum Myrh 4. Radx. Ipecacauan 2

Aloes Succotin lb1 3. Do. Hepatick 3

Croc. Martis Astringens lb1 ss Gamboga 6

Gum Scmon 3. Colacinth lb ss

Pulvis Jalap lb1 ss Arug. Aris lb1 11

Ol: Terebinth lb1 ss Gum Oliban 7

I can’t quite bear to go tracking down all of these drugs and preparations (a number of which have appeared in earlier inventories), but this one did pique my interest.  Turns out terebinth is ‘a small European tree (Pistacia terebinthus) of the cashew family yielding turpentine’ (thank you, Merriam-Webster).

Pistacia palaestina.JPG
Pistacia terebithus

Sal. Tartar 4. Occul. Canoror lb1

Opium 1 Plumb: Rub. & Alb. lb10

Sems. Tanugl lb1 ss & Sems Cardams lb1 ss

Radx. Galanga lb ¼ Radx. Gentians11

Gum Mastic. lb1 Gum Guajc. lb ss

Gum Amoniac. lb ss Sangs. Dracos lb ss

Antimons. Crud. lb ss Laps. Tutia lb1

Gum Elemi lb ss Santal Rub. 11

L’Calaminary 11 Gum. Lac. iii

Assa fetida. I Croc. Anglic. 4

Borax 4 Flos Sulphs. lb ii

Turpentine lb Canthds. 3.

But wait, there’s more:

Apothecarys Medicines &ca

Theirc. Andromc. lbiii Diascord. lb ii ss

Pil. Cynagloss i ss Laps. Hematt. & d’Goa. ii

Emplrs. & Angts. about 3 or 5 Pounds of each

Pil. Salmon. lb ss Empty Pots & fials

3 small Scales only one with weights

One glass Mortr. & Pestle & Do. of marble

Two Pewter Glister pipes one out of repair

3 Crucibles & 3 old rusty Lancets

And yet more:

Chymical Preparations.

Spt. Sal. Armonc. lb 3 Spt. Corn. Cervi 4

Sal. Succin. I Sal. Vol. C: C:

Mercur. Dulc. I Mercur. Sublimt. 3 ii

Ol. Anis. I Ol. Caryophl. ss.

Tartar Vitriolt. lb ss Tinctre Salphr. lb ss

Spt. Vitriol lb ss Ens Veneris ii

Croc. Metallc. 6 Tartr. Emetc. ii

Vitrs. Antimons. I Spt. Lavender i

Some small matters Mrs. Haw gave us Account of that her Uncle had of her


A Set of Capital Instruments & of small Do. damaged

To fials & Pots of several Sizes

For some reason the instruments do not include the rusty lancets itemized with the Apothecarys Medicines.  We can only hope that means Dr. Haw was no longer using them as instruments.


By my count there are more than 20 titles listed in this inventory – but for those you’ll need to pop on over to Colonial Libraries.

  • James Boyce, Charles County
  • Charles Mounto, Charles County
  • James Keen, Charles County
  • Mr. John Bruce, Charles County

Sundry Medicines

Transcribing Dr. Haw’s stock in trade quite wore me out, and I confess I am relieved that Mr. Bruce’s inventory does not detail his sundry medicines.

  • Dr. Wm. Edwards, Queen Anne’s County

5 Dozn. Vials with some drugs with 1 small old box

one Box Apothecaries Scales & weights

Also no detail, and again I breathe a sigh of relief.

This brings us up to another complicated inventory . . . which I am saving until next time.

Falling Behind, Yet Again

I’ve been pretty diligent about indexing a batch of inventories every morning before the day really gets going, which is great — but as a result I have quite a backlog to share with you.  We’ll see how far I can get today.

  • Elizabeth Turner, Calvert County

2 Boxes of spanish Flies

Having gathered a little information about spanish Flies for a previous post, I was a touch surprised to see them in a ‘regular’ estate (as opposed to the estates of apothecaries, which — as we have seen recently — tend to have lots of items that don’t turn up often).

18 [Pewter] spoons country made

2 old Pestles made of Gun barrels

Creative re-purposing.

1 ten Gallon Cag

2 Do.

In keeping with my new policy of being upfront about my ignorance, I admit that I have no idea what these are.  I frequently see cags in inventories, usually amidst kitchen items, but I’ve never taken the time to learn anything about them.  The ten Gallon description is helpful; clearly the Cag is some type of vessel — but my efforts to find a definition or image online proved fruitless.

one foot Plow

Curiously, two of the three places where (according to Wikipedia) the use of a foot plow used to be widespread are Scotland and the Andes.

Illustration of Inca farmers using a chakitaqlla (Andean footplough), by Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala, 1616.

1 cool still

I spent a little time trying to determine if there are different types of stills, one of which could be described as cool, but all I found were discussions of pot versus column stills (thank you, VinePair.com) — plus a lot of sites about fashions that are still cool.

  • Mrs. Anne Gwinn, Charles County

1 Furrow plow

This seems like a redundant description, as the whole purpose of a plow is to make furrows.  So how is a ‘furrow plow’ different from any other kind of plow?

500 double tenns

Another one for my ‘I-should-know-this-but-really-I-don’t’ file.  I see ‘tenns’ pretty often, sometimes as doubles and sometimes as singles . . . but most of my Internet search efforts take me to pages about tennis.

Lawn tennis in the U.S., 1887 (Library of Congress)
  • Matthew Groves, Charles County
  • Andrew Simmons, Dorchester County
  • Richard Tull, Dorchester County
  • Nicholas Paul, Dorchester County
  • William Dicas, Kent County
  • Mr. George Skirven, Kent County

a Sett of Surveyors Instruments

a Quadrant

a Gunter Scale & some rules

6 quire of paper & a seal & chain

the town Plat 10s

Clearly Mr. Skirven kept busy doing surveying work.  That town plat is particularly interesting.  I need to know more about the man.  Was he old enough to have been involved in laying out Chestertown (established 1706)?  [If you follow the link you’ll see that Chestertown is seeking a police chief — just in case you’ve been thinking about a career change.]

  • Nathaniel Pearce, Kent County

1 Iron Pestle weighing 13 Pound

Good heavens, why would a pestle need to be so heavy?

  • John Murrey, Kent County
  • William Waltham, Kent County – Additional Inventory

60 single tens

Here they are again . . .

  • Mr. Samuel Gooding, Kent County – Additional Inventory
  • Comfort Benton, Somerset County

a parcell of Household Lumber Tray Bowls Ladles Loblollysticks &a.

Searching Loblolly (as in the type of pine tree, which I did actually already know) got me to the Wikipedia page for fatwood (which I was surprised to learn is not a brand name).  Apparently Loblolly pines are the tree of choice for commercial fatwood production, because they take so much less time to mature than Longleaf pines.  Is it possible that after early Marylanders finished girdling trees to create fields for planting, they chopped up the tree stumps into fatwood . . . and valued the sticks enough to appraise them in an inventory?

a parcell of small goods in a Drawer

22 pounds of old burnt nails

  • John Turpin, Somerset County
  • Thomas Burch, Cecil County
  • Mr. Richard Warner, Cecil County
  • Mr. Garratt Othoson, Cecil County

32 yds of home made Cloth

Cloth that is not imported is usually described as ‘country made,’ not homemade, so this one caught my attention.  But I must point out that Mr. Othoson’s household goods included wheels and cards and a flax brake — but no loom.  I suspect his home made Cloth was no more homemade than Breyers® Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream.

  • Breyers Original Ice Cream Homemade Vanilla 48 ozLuke Raven, Baltimore County

158 Needles

Somebody actually counted every needle.

½ lb Jesuits bark

Well, who knew?  The Wikipedia page for Jesuit’s bark is deemed to be replete with errors, but there is no disputing the fact that the bark of the cinchona tree is a source of quinine.  There is general consensus that powdered cinchona bark has been used to treat malaria since the early 17th century — and if you have the time and the inclination, you can glean more from this piece in The Lancet.

13 Doz: Corks

Naturally this got me wondering how Luke Raven came to possess so many corks.  Quercus suber (the cork oak), I have learned, is ‘endemic to southwest Europe and northwest Africa’ — which means he did not find them in his own backyard.  A trans-Atlantic trade in corks . . . David Hancock probably says something about that in Oceans of Wine: Madeira and the Emergence of American Trade and Taste; I need to take a look (but it’s $80 on Amazon so I think I’ll be heading to a library).


  • Ann Hall, Baltimore County
  • Robert Gardner, Baltimore County
  • Ninian Edmonston, Prince George’s County – Additional Inventory
  • William Cromwell, Anne Arundel County

1 pair of Tobo. Tongues & stick wax

Um.  Tongs for tobacco?  But with stick wax, so some kind of tool used with wax?  Even Merriam-Webster’s more obscure definitions for tongue are not exactly helpful — interesting objects, but I don’t quite see how any of them could be made out of (or used for) tobacco:

6 : something resembling an animal’s tongue in being elongated and fastened at one end only: such as
a : the flap under the lacing or buckles of a shoe at the throat of the vamp
b : a movable pin in a buckle
c : a metal ball suspended inside a bell so as to strike against the sides as the bell is swung
d : the pole of a vehicle (such as a wagon)

All of which leaves me precisely nowhere.

5 Tomohawkes

  • John Norwood, Anne Arundel County
  • John Dodson, Calvert County
  • James Coolley, Calvert County
  • William Connell, Baltimore
  • John Demmett, Baltimore County

1 pr. Bridle Ranes

Tack again.  I’m not sure whether there are ever reins that aren’t used with a bridle . . . the standard definition seems to be straps that attach to either the bit or the noseband of a bridle.

  • William Rose, Baltimore County

1 new silk Romal Handkercheif

At first this seemed not at all difficult, as Romal Handkercheifs are still manufactured and sold.  You can, for example, buy a package of 12 from SuperBRAND (a go-to online shopping site in Pakistan):

Pack of 12 Handkerchief Romal

Or you can get this reproduction from Burnley & Trowbridge (“Purveyors of Accurate Goods for Historic Fashion”):

Madder Red & Indigo Wool “Romal” Neck-Handkerchief

Yet my sources do betray a little confusion — mostly because romal (or romul) can refer either to a fabric or to an item.  I offer the following definitions, all from Louis Harmuth’s Dictionary of Textiles (1920 edition, and all sic):

Romal—East Indian plain silk taffeta.

Romal Handkerchief—Linen or cotton blue plaid patterns in India; see rumals.

Rumal—1, general trade term in Panjab for white or printed square shaped cotton fabrics of great variety used for ‘kerchiefs: 2, square shaped shawls made at Amritsar, Panjab, or pashm wool.

Rumal Andijani—A very soft, thin silk fabric made in Turkestan and used for scarfs and ‘kerchiefs in India.

Thank goodness the appraisers of William Rose’s estate specified silk — we may not be quite sure about the size or pattern of his handkercheif, but at least we know the material.

I am only vaguely in the vicinity of caught up, and there’s another apothecary looming on the horizon (!!), so I am feeling rather overwhelmed — but there are cookies to bake and tomorrow is another day.

Time For True Confessions

Yes, I am prepared to share information that I should have known but didn’t.

  • Solomon Wright, Queens Town, Queen Anne’s County

1 small Crickett

Okay, okay.  Yes, many inventories feature a Crickett or a variation thereof.  And yes, I have never known what that actually is.  A tool?  An article of clothing?  A decorative object?  If I’d had to guess, I probably would have said some kind of cooking vessel or tool, having the vague idea that crickets most frequently are appraised alongside objects of that ilk.

It’s a good thing nobody ever asked me to speculate, as I would have been very wrong.  Turns out a cricket is a specific kind of footstool.  I’m also not entirely sure I knew there could be different kind of footstools, and if I didn’t, then I was wrong about that, too — and this History of Footstools has set me straight.

Peggy McClard Antiques
  • Lazrus Cocks, Queen Anne’s County
  • John Smith, Queen Anne’s County

1 pair of Pottracks

Good grief.  Having confessed my ignorance regarding pot racks in the last post, they are now going to turn up all over the place.

7 Peices of Bastable Ware Tob Bottles

No need for me to confess any embarrassing lack of knowledge here, however — just a failure to ferret out an explanation for these items.

I was distracted for rather a long time by the writing of John Josselyn, who visited New England in the 1670s and described ‘Barstable shot . . . best for fowl [and] made of a lead blacker than our common lead.’  But even if it were plausible that Smith’s Tob Bottles could have been fashioned from lead, we would be wise to discount Josselyn’s information.  According to the editors of Colonial Prose and Poetry, Josselyn was “a writer of almost incredible credulity   [and] his credulousness rises almost to genius, as when he tells us that the Indians disputed ‘in perfect hexameter verse.'”  So he could have been dead wrong about even the existence of Barstable shot.

Once I extricated myself from John Josselyn’s writing, I did some more digging and came up with one source — just one — that sugests Bastable Ware as a specific type of earthenware, and right off the bat that’s far more likely than lead.  An estate inventory taken in 1680 in Bristol (the one in England, not the home of ESPN in Connecticut) includes ‘A small parcel of Barstable earthen ware.’  And that’s it.  I can’t tell you whether Bastable and ‘Barstable’ could be the same place, or if either (or both) places should be Barstable (formerly a region in Essex County, now obsolete) or Barnstaple (a town in Devonshire).  Or, I suppose, Barnstable, Massachusetts — but that would take us back to Josselyn’s lead.  Of these options, I’m going with Barnstaple in Devonshire; it’s only about 90 miles southwest of Bristol and just up the River Taw from Bristol Channel (plus it is possibly the oldest borough in the UK).  [Barstaple, for reference, is on the other side of England . . . and Barnstable is on the other side of the Atlantic.]

  • Mary Wiles, Talbot County

one small box to put writing in

I am charmed by boxes that have a specific purpose.

  • Mary Cooper, Talbot County
  • George Collison, Talbot County
  • Thos. Pitchfork, Talbot County
  • Ennion Williams, Talbot County – Additional Inventory
  • John Burroughs, Senior, St. Mary’s County
  • James Bissco, St. Mary’s County

14 ½ yr[d]s. swann skin

I found this entry deeply disturbing until Merriam-Webster assured me that swanskin could be ‘fabric resembling flannel and having a soft nap or surface.’

7 yds. Grnade

I thought this would be fabric with a name derived in some way from Granada but its etymological root seems to be the French word for pomegranate.  Regardless, it is a silk weave ‘characterised by its light, open, gauze-like feel’ and currently most often used for ties.  As The Styleforum Journal assures us, ‘everyone knows original grenadine is produced exclusively in Como, a small town in northern Italy.’  Yes, of course, I definitely knew that.

  • Mr. William Walker, St. Mary’s County
  • John Redman, St. Mary’s County
  • Charles Mills, St. Mary’s County
  • Daniel Broden, St. Mary’s County
  • John Huttson, St. Mary’s County
  • Capt. John Leigh, St. Mary’s County

11 ½ lb of Allum & the box

Another box to hold a specific item.

1 Silver handle Penknife

4 Razors 1 hone 1 strap 1 rule & 1 Whittle

A strap in this context must be a razor strop, but I was not previously aware that Whittle could be a noun as well as a verb.  Wikipedia claims that ‘casual whittling’ is usually performed with a pocket knife, but Capt. Leigh evidently had a knife specifically for the art of whittling.

pr. of small spitracks

Seems straightforward enough, and yet it took me an astonishingly long time to get from Googling ‘spitrack’ to a source I could reference with confidence.

Screen Shot 2019-08-24 at 3.01.52 PM.png
The Century Dictionary (‘an encyclopedic lexicon of the English language: prepared under the superintendence of William Dwight Whitney’), published 1889-1891.

2 Dozn. pr. of Knitting needles

That struck me as like rather a lot of knitting needles . . . but upon further review I confess that I may well have just as many.

Just a fraction of my collection.
  • Lawrence Gally, St. Mary’s County
  • Eliz. Williams, St. Mary’s County

a Ladle flesh forks & Slice

From time to time I see a Slice among the kitchen items in an inventory, and I have always visualized something along the lines of an egg slicer — despite knowing that an egg slicer was an unlikely object to find in a colonial kitchen.

OXO Good Grips Egg Slice

Having (finally) done some research, I confess that Elizabeth Williams’s Slice is far more likely to have been a tool for managing her fire (even though it is on the same line as a Ladle and flesh forks, which are easy to recognize as tools that actually come into contact with food).  From all I can discover, a Slice is a type of fire iron called a ‘slice bar,’ which has a flatter tip than the more familiar fire poker.  According to Wiktionary, a slice could also be ‘a spadelike implement, variously proportioned, and used for various purposes, as for stripping the planking from a vessel’s side, for cutting blubber from a whale.’  A tool used to stir the coals of a fire makes much more sense.

I spent a lot of time trying to find a picture of an actual slice bar . . . and could only find lots of pictures of slices of pizza (offered up by niche restaurants that consider themselves ‘slice bars’), plus a few shots of iron pokers but nothing specifically identified as the right kind of fire shovel.  I did get hungry, though.

  • John Sweetman, St. Mary’s County
  • Mary Mullon, St. Mary’s County

1 old Silver bodkin

I am now prepared to admit that up until this minute I have not actually known the definition of a bodkin — I just knew it was something old-fashioned and related to clothing.  I should have known long since that it’s a ‘small, pointed instrument of steel, bone, or ivory, used for piercing holes in cloth, etc.’ — or sometimes, ‘a similar blunt instrument, with an eye, for drawing thread, tape, or ribbon through a loop, hem, etc.’ (both definitions from The Century Dictionary, my new best friend).  But now I am up to speed, and you can be, too (even more so with a quick detour to Historic Jamestowne).

  • Mr. William Stoddert, Prince George’s County
  • Mr. William Marshall, Prince George’s County
  • Nathaniel Chew, Anne Arundel County
  • Mary Chew, Anne Arundel County

One new Silver pepper box, two Do. Saltsellers 1 Do. Watch & chain & Do. new Spoons One new Silver Tankard & Cup

As you would expect, many of the items in Mary’s inventory were appraised earlier in her husband Nathaniel’s (which were taken about 18 months apart, even though Mary died less than 3 months after Nathaniel). These new silver items, however, must have been received after Nathaniel’s death — and likely from Capt. John Hyde & Co., merchants in London, to whom Nathaniel was indebted at the time of his demise.

12 pr. of Pelony Shoes

Well. Searching ‘pelony shoes’ just got me pictures of shoes decorated with peonies.

Image result for pelony shoes
Giuseppe Zanotti

When I tried ‘pelony definition,’ Google offered me ‘polony definition,’ which took me to Merriam-Webster and the third possible definition, an adjective meaning ‘Polish.’  Although I quickly abandoned an effort to determine what could make a pair of shoes distinctively Polish (you try weeding out all the hits about how to polish shoes), this seems to me to be the most likely interpretation. [But if you are dying to know what experts have to say about Poland’s sneaker scene, Highsnobiety would love to share opinions gathered at Sneakerness Warsaw.]

And now I am truly caught up — both with the inventories I have indexed and with Poland’s sneaker scene.


I’m not caught up after all.  I conveniently forgot that I spent a couple of mornings adding new inventories to the index before tackling Peter Bouchell’s apothecary shop.  And so we continue.

  • Sarah Combs, Widow, Prince George’s County

No Creditors as yet known by the Admr. & the Relations refuses to sign without any objection to the Appraisement of the Goods of the Deced

Process of probate again.  I wonder what objections the relations had to the appraisal.

  • Mr. William Clarkson, Prince George’s County

one Sane

I am still perplexed by this item and the wide variety in appraised values that I have seen.  This one was deemed to be worth £4 – is it really a fishing net?

  • Elizabeth Plumer, Prince George’s County

1 Potwreck 9 ½ lb.

Should this be pot rack?  Did colonial kitchens sometimes have pot racks?  The previous entry is 4 Iron Pots 1 Iron Kettle, so a pot rack would be logical.  Also I now know that ‘to potrack’ is to ‘make the natural high shrill noise of a guinea fowl.’

[Update: I’ve been gently chastised for not realizing that this potwreck is a stand from which pots were hung over a fire for cooking.  In my defense, I did search every variation of ‘pot’ and ‘rack’ I could think of, and none of the top hits included any discussion of rack as an item from which pots were hung (except as we now use the term, that is).  Revisiting this today, I did turn up chimney crane but still no reference to a rack.  Even with further investigation while tracking down spitracks (for a pending post), I have not come across a definitive online source for pot racks within the fireplace.]

5 Hogsheads Oyster Shells

Modern uses of crushed oyster shells (or oyster flour, which you can buy at Home Depot) include making cement, treating wastewater, and amending garden soil.  That third use strikes me as the most relevant — and specifically the use of oyster shells to control soil acidity.  Plus, you can feed crushed oyster shells to chickens.  Oh, and you can also use oyster flour to maintain your bocce court.

Bocce players scoring.jpg

[Another update: OK, so oyster shells were valued as the source of shell lime, a substitute for limestone and a key ingredient in mortar and plaster.  I did have an inkling of this, and apologize for not pursuing it.  I was distracted by the bocce court.]

  • John Watson, St. Mary’s County
  • Robert Taylor, St. Mary’s County

a parcell of Tradesmans tools

a parcell of Planters working tools

a parcell of Shoemakers Tools

The distinction between the tools of tradesmen and the tools of planters makes sense to me, but I don’t know why shoemakers get special treatment.

  • William Bladen, Esqr., Anne Arundel County – Account of Tobacco Received
  • Stephen Ward, Senr., Somerset County

19 Pd of Nails 9s 6d

49 Pd of Nails 1l~4~6

10 Pd of Nails 5 Shillings

The appraisers of this estate valued nails by weight instead of number, which may not be unique, but is certainly unusual.

5 Alcome Spoons

Any ideas?

6 ½ of Slease Linnen

Searching for this led me to another book that I am sure I will find useful going forward, George S. Cole’s A Complete Dictionary of Dry Goods and History of Silk, Cotton, Linen, Wool and Other Fibrous Substances (1892).  Of ‘silesia’ Cole says:

Formerly a thin linen fabric, or sleasy kind of Holland, so called because made in Silesia, a province of Germany.  At present the term describes a fine-twilled cotton fabric, highly dressed and calendered, used for linings.

If you are wondering, a number of online dictionaries and blogs do assert that ‘sleazy’ derives from the idea that ‘Sleasie Holland’ was a cheap imitation of the fine linen made in Silesia, but this theory is (I think) effectively de-bunked at Mashed Radish, not least because there are the word appears in other contexts several decades before its association with fabric.

  • Edward Vegros, Somerset County
  • William Turvil, Senr., Somerset County

1 old Howell with old Iron

Unlike a few people I know (well, one person, really), I have not spent much time learning about different woodworking tools, so I had to look this up.  I did quickly discover that a cooper’s howel is ‘a carpenter’s plane mounted in a convex sole,’ which was used by coopers ‘to champfer the inside edges of barrels’ ends so the lids would fit snugly.’  (This information is from Discovering Lewis & Clark, ergo discussing tools in the early 19th century, but there’s no suggestion that the characteristics of a typical howel changed at all between 1737 and 1803.)

  • Samuel Roach, Somerset County
  • Jonathan Shaw, Somerset County

an old Joynter Croze & Wimble

Ah, more cooper’s tools — also helpfully explained by Discovering Lewis & Clark.  A jointer was used to bevel the barrel staves, and a croze to groove the ends of the staves.

But the Wimble.  First of all, not a wimple (but wouldn’t that have been interesting?).

A wimple as shown in Portrait of a Woman, circa 1430-1435, by Robert Campin (1375/1379–1444), National Gallery, London.

Rather, a gimlet — but not this kind:

Image result for gimlet


I confess that although I have known from context that a gimlet is a woodworking tool, I could not have told you what it looks like or the task for which it is used.  Now I can do both — it looks something like this:

Good Vintage Gimlet Auger Drill Bit in Boxwood Handle Pretty 19317
Good Vintage Gimlet Auger Drill Bit in Boxwood Handle, courtesy of The Vintage Tool Shop

And it is used to drill small holes without splitting the wood (at least by craftsmen who, for one reason or another, don’t want to use a power drill).  Do you want to know more?

A gimlet is always a small tool. A similar tool of larger size is called an auger. The cutting action of the gimlet is slightly different from an auger, however, as the end of the screw, and so the initial hole it makes, is smaller; the cutting edges pare away the wood which is moved out by the spiral sides, falling out through the entry hole. This also pulls the gimlet farther into the hole as it is turned; unlike a bradawl, pressure is not required once the tip has been drawn in.

Yes, I pulled all that straight out of Wikipedia.

  • Mr. James Lindow, Somerset County

1 Dutch tea table

1 brass Extinguisher Snuffers & stand

Well, good grief.  I always thought that a candle snuffer was the useful and often highly decorative tool that you employ to put out the candles after a holiday dinner (holiday dinners generally being the only times our family uses candles) but it seems I am wrong.  Well, not precisely wrong; rather, the nomenclature for candles has . . . evolved?  What is now typically called a snuffer (as evidenced by Wikipedia and every shopping site that comes up if you search ‘candle snuffer’) used to be called an extinguisher.  But before the middle of the 19th century, a snuffer was the tool used to trim candle wicks.  These tools still exist — I know, because I have one — but now they are called ‘wick trimmers.’


(It took me a while to find these.  As I have indicated, they don’t get a lot of use.)

1 Banhan

Thanks to Tuesday’s post, I can confidently identify this as another banyan.

1 box of Doctors means

2 Boston Axes

Way, way back in July 2017 I went on a little riff about New England axes, which show up in Maryland inventories pretty regularly.  I still don’t know whether New England axes were actually imported from the New England colonies or if ‘New England’ identified a specific style of axe head but not necessarily a specific place of manufacture.  Either way, Boston Axes are a new variation on this theme.

  • Samuel Horsey, Somerset County
  • John Donelson, Somerset County

8 lights in frame for Vessells

Portholes?  Not likely — although Donelson’s inventory also includes 1 old vessell Gun.  These lights (i.e., pieces of window glass, which is not strictly speaking the correct terminology) are in a frame, and therefore looked more like this:

Antique Casement 8 Lite Window Sash Cabinet Cupboard Door image 0

than like this:

— although I don’t expect they really looked like either.  More like this (but surely not nearly as grand):

about a peck Indian beads

Definitely beads, not beans or peas.

some old Junk

  • Ezekiel Denning, Somerset County

1 old quilted Jacket

Not a banyan . . . I guess Ezekiel wasn’t a super studious guy (or at least not in comparison to Benjamin Rush).  [Ideally this link would take you right to Rush’s quote, but I have not thus far figured out how to link to specific text within a post.  But it’s in there, I promise.]

  • John Linch, Sr., Somerset County – Additional Inventory
  • Mr. Boar Outterbridge, Somerset County

1 minute glass broke frame

  • Mr. Thomas Layfield, Somerset County – Additional Inventory
  • Clare Mackeel, Dorchester County
  • Joseph Nicolls, Dorchester County – Additional Inventory
  • James Barkhurst, Queen Anne’s County – Additional Inventory
  • Thomas Barber, Queen Anne’s County
  • William Burroughs, Junr., Queen Anne’s County
  • Henry Johnson, Queen Anne’s County
  • James McLeane, Queen Anne’s County
  • Mr. John Rowles, Queen Anne’s County

a parcell Tea Geer

Still Life: Tea Set, ca. 1781–83, painting by Jean-Étienne Liotard
  • William Pinder, Queen Anne’s County

2778 Pounds of Tobco.

600 Pounds ground leaves

I don’t often see the ground leaves appraised — aren’t they useless?

mans Phila. Saddle

First Boston Axes, now a Phila[delphia] Saddle.  Can’t Marylanders make anything for themselves?  (But seriously: What would make a saddle a Philadelphia saddle?)

6 pr. small x garnets

pr. Dufftailes Ditto

Hinges, in both cases.  Cross garnets are now more commonly called strap hinges, and dovetails are butterfly hinges.  [Thanks to Captain Gray’s Houses: A History of Sion Row, Twickenham for a concise presentation of this information.]

3 ½ Bushell Wheat Sowed

2 ½ Ditto for house use

  • William Pinder, Queen Anne’s County – Additional Inventory

Still not caught up.  And my next post will build on the Wimble and the Extinguisher — I plan to come clean about lots of things I should have known but didn’t.

Just Seven Today

But then I will be caught up — and I may even have time to bring Colonial Libraries up to date, too.  [Update: No such luck.  But tomorrow is another day.]

  • Saml. Harper, Dorchester County
  • John Howison, Charles County
  • Henry Mudd, Charles County
  • Jess Jacob Bourne, Gent., Calvert County

Several things to discuss here, but like items are not listed consecutively in the document, so I am taking the liberty of rearranging a bit.

1 five foot Chest & 1 old Dutch Case

1 Large Strong box L & K

1 Case L. Key & 12 bottles

1 small Dausick Case (no L Key) & 8 bottles

It would be great if that ‘u’ were clearly an ‘n’ — so Dansick, which could be Danzig, and then I could show you this, from The Antique Dispenary:

Antique Case Goldwasser Bottle

Danzig No1

Antique Case Goldwasser Bottle Danzig No1
A rare sealed bottle indistinctly marked DANZIG below a crown. Light aqua glass with circular pontil to base. Danzig is another word for Gdansk in Poland and these bottles were made in this region of the Baltic states.

But it really looks like a ‘u’ — pity.

4 hanging Maps

2 small Maps & 3 small pictures

a small Mapp

The first of these map entries made me realize that I had always just assumed that the maps that show up in inventories were intended to be hung.  I don’t know why . . . perhaps because in my mind’s eye antique maps are framed and hung for display, and by definition these are antique maps (now, that is, not necessarily then).  Plus if a map were more along the lines of a rough sketch on a piece of parchment, then would it have been appraised at all?  Inventories do not, to the best of my knowledge, include random pieces of writing (letters, promissory notes, household accounts, that sort of thing).  I expect maps that get appraised fall somewhere in the middle: enough of a tradeable commodity to merit enumeration, but not necessarily so fancy as these 4 hanging Maps.

1671 - Nova Terrae-Mariae tabula
Map of Maryland by John Ogilby, 1671
Enoch Pratt Free Library / State Library Resource Center

1 pr brass button Moulds

1 pr Do. bullet Moulds

1 pr Do. Spoon moulds

A trifecta.

1 pr wt Mettal Spurs

1 small old spur box

1 Man’s old Saddle wth. old Cloth Housen

1 Mans Saddle With fringed housen & bridle

2 new Cart bridle bits

Keeping up with my evident interest in all things equine and equestrian.  I especially like two different descriptions of saddle housing (i.e., saddle pads, if you happened to miss the earlier discussion), which suggests that the value of a decedent’s tack could be affected by the quality of the housing.

1 tin Lanthorn a Shark Hook & short Chane

Image result for what is a shark hook

Shark hooks . . . I didn’t see anything on the Internet that discussed shark hunting in a colonial context.  I did see a lot of disturbing images of modern shark hunting.

  • Mr. Henry Brome, Calvert County
  • Johanna Hall, widow, Baltimore County

1 pr. Girls Lamb Mittens

a pcell. of old unsorted Mohair

1 ½ lb. of fine Bellendine Thread

Well.  Searching ‘Bellendine thread’ turned up absolutely nothing.  Searching ‘Ballendine thread’ yielded two hits — and both of them are transcriptions of the 1751 estate inventory for Mr. Henry Holland Hawkins of — wait for it — Charles County, Maryland.  So . . . why can I not find a trace of this specific type of thread anywhere except in these two Maryland inventories?

a Frett line

Also a mystery; I could not get the Internet to give me anything except information about guitars.

1 pr. Spanish Leather Shoes

I prefer Boots of Spanish Leather.  (Actually, I prefer the Nanci Griffith cover.)

2320 lb. of Corn fed Pork

Why specify corn fed?  My best guess is that the hogs had been kept in a pen and fed corn, rather than being permitted to forage about the countryside eating goodness only knows what.  Whether people would pay a premium for corn-fed pork, as I do for grass-fed beef, I do not know — but evidently the appraisers felt the corn-fed-ness of the pork was noteworthy.

  • George Drew, Baltimore County

2 pair of hound Couplas

A new one for me.  It’s to do with fox-hunting — which I now know thanks to Harvard Fox Hounds.  Hounds are always counted in couples, and a couple is a device for keeping two hounds joined for training.

Leather collar couples with brass coupling chain.
Berney Bros. Ireland
Saddlery & Riding Wear

a Shark hook

Another one.

Watson and the Shark
John Singleton Copley, (1738–1815)
Oil on canvas, 1778
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

This fellow is using a spear, not a hook, but the image — gruesome as it is — is so much less disturbing than the hooked sharks I could show you.

3 Plough Muzzles small

Interesting.  The first hit for my search was the Dictionary of the Scots Language, which tells us that a plough muzzle is ‘the bridle or iron loop at the front of the beam to which the draught is attached and which has holes or notches so arranged to regulate the depth or width of the furrow.’  Please note: Using ‘plough’ and not ‘plow’ makes a difference; the top hit for ‘plow muzzle’ is about muzzling cats.  Yes, cats.

600 Gallons of bad Cyder £7.75

It’s bad, but still worth £7.75?

1 old Cheese fat 6d

So appetizing.

a Gold ring Sett with a Turkish Stone

I checked: There’s no folk song titled ‘A Ring of Turkish Stone.’

And that’s it.  I am all caught up, which means tomorrow bright and early I can start indexing some more inventories.

A Short Break, Indeed

Diving right back in, and hoping to chip away at my inventory backlog.

  • John Crockett, Baltimore County

A Stript Ginghan Banian

That would be a striped gingham banyan (also called an Indian gown).  As this helpful page from Colonial Williamsburg explains, a banyan was a loose, informal robe worn instead of a coat.

2 yards ordinary Chex

Fabric, of course – not the party mix.

1 best London Razor 1 best Surgeons Do

3 ordinary Razors

1 Neat Razor Case with a hone Glass Oyl bottle & pair of Scizzars

1 Londo Lancet

3 old Ditto and Case

Crockett is not identified as a doctor or chirurgeon, but he certainly has the equipment.

A Seed Plow with furniture

1 Harrow Plow with Clevis Bold & Chain

A fluke Colter and Stock

Flukes again — and this time definitely a plow, not a hoe or an anchor.  [You can find previous musings about flukes here and here.]  I thought at first that perhaps Colter was actually supposed to be a collar, but my friends at Merriam-Webster set me straight: a colter is ‘a knife, sharp disc, or other cutting tool that is attached to the beam of a plow to cut the sward in advance of the plowshare and moldboard.’

A pad Saddle

And saddle housing again, but this time described more in line with modern terminology.

one brass kettle wt 7lb at Joppa

Another item abroad, but at a specific location, not left somewhere vague like Peter Bouchell’s cloak.

A Circumferentor and Seal Skin Case with a pair Compasses 4 Sparelegs & Protector and 2 Perch Chain

Fancy surveying tools.

And just in case you haven’t been paying meticulous attention to both blogs, I refer you to Colonial Libraries, which has a post devoted to Crockett’s extensive library.

  • Samuel Lowe, Baltimore County
  • Thomas Tolley, Junr., Baltimore County

An old Saddle ^bridle^ and Gambadose

What the heck could gambadose be?  I thought this would be a challenge to interpret, but actually my first search attempt yielded gambadoes, which dictionary’s.net explains is the same as gamashes.  What’s that you say? You are not familiar with gamashes either?  I guess you are not up on your archaic Scottish.  According to the ever-helpful Merriam-Webster site, these are leggings or gaiters worn by horseback riders — in other words, what my equestrian expert calls half chaps.

  • Jonas Hewling, Baltimore County

a parcel of Smiths Tools

a parcel of Shoemakers Tools

a parcel of Sea Instruments

a parcel Ship Carpenters Tools

a parcel of Joiners Tools

a parcel Coopers Tools

Quite an assortment of trades represented here. Tools for shoemaking and cooperage are pretty common, and joinery tools show up fairly frequently, but I believe the combo of blacksmith tools and navigation instruments is unusual.  [These are not consecutive entries in the appraisal, by the way, with the longest gap between the first two sets of tools.]

  • Richard Stevenson Vickry, Baltimore County
  • Mr. John Spencer, Kent County

Like Jonas Hewling, Mr. Spencer’s inventory includes tools for a couple of different trades, except the items that could loosely be considered smith’s tools are just 1 pair of old bellows and 1 pair of old Smith Vice [sic] and then there’s a random Bricklayers Trowel. Woodworking tools, however – whoa, Nellie. Would you believe 53 entries for woodworking tools, including more than 15 different kinds of planes?

2 Pannel Plans

7 Rounding Plans

6 Hollow Plains

2 quarter Round & Groving Plans

3 quarter round Plans

4 Plow Plans

2 Nosticles planes

2 Square head Plans

2 hallow and round Plans

3 Cornish Plans

2 Back Ogee Plans

1 small hallow Plan

1 Beed Plan

1 Stoon Moulding Plan

1 Sash Plan

1 Ogee and Beed

2 long Jointers

1 Jack Plan and 2 small Do.

1 Turning Plan

1 old Cornish Plan

I *could* have spent a lot of time cutting and pasting pictures of different of planes . . . but instead I will refer you not only to Wikipedia (for the basics) but also this fun site: The Vintage Tool Shop.  And just in case you think I’m slacking, I did search for both Nosticles and Stoon Moulding to no avail; the other descriptive terms are easy to find.

Additional items of interest:

1 Joiners Iron Stand

1 Scribing Iron

11 Shifting Scribes

I thought perhaps a Shifting Scribe might be something along the lines of a pantograph (invented in 1603, and nothing to do with the kind that collects energy for buses or trams).  But it seems unlikely that Hewling had 11 such contraptions, however useful they might be.

Pantograph used for scaling a picture. The red shape is traced and enlarged.

[Don’t ask me how Wikipedia got that animated image or why I was able to keep the animation when I pasted it here; I have no idea.]

2 old Muzling Turnovers

This one should have been easy, as Muzling is surely muslin and therefore a turnover is some sort of garment.  Still, it took me a while to zero in on turnover as a category of collar.  Although one generally thinks of a collar as an integral part of a shirt, Wikipedia explains that “among clothing construction professionals, a collar is differentiated from other necklines such as revers and lapels, by being made from a separate piece of fabric, rather than a folded or cut part of the same piece of fabric used for the main body of the garment.”  So there.  In hindsight I realize I should have figured this out more quickly, given how often Georgette Heyer’s heroines need to freshen up by putting on a clean collar — although in my defense I don’t believe Heyer ever specifies a turnover collar.

  • Mary Anderson, Kent County
  • Mr. Richard Normansell, Kent County

3 Dozen bottles of red wine

But only one wine Glass — I guess he didn’t like to share.

2 Dozen and nine Milkpans

Mr. Normansell only had one Cow and Calf and two year old heifer, so I am not entirely sure why he needed so very many milk pans.

The end of this inventory provides useful information about the process of probate.  In order to be accepted by the county’s deputy commissary (the local agent of the colony’s Commissary General, who held administrative and judicial authority over matters of probate) as an accurate appraisal of a decedent’s estate, an inventory had to be signed by two kinsmen (or women) and by two creditors (who also could be – and not infrequently were – women). Because close relatives and creditors had the most to gain from the distribution of the assets, their approval was a check against any fraudulent valuation of the items.  In this case, however, the administrator (Normansell’s widow) explained to the dep. comm. (as I like to refer to him) that she was unable to collect the necessary signatures:

Katherine Normansell Admx. of Richard Normansell being duly and Solemnly Sworn on the Holy Evangels of Almight God Deposeth to the Justness and truth of the foregoing Inventory in such manner and form as is prescribed by his Honour the General Commissary in his instructions directed to me [the dep. comm.] and she further made Oath that she caused a Letter to be wrote directed to Capt. William Finch and Robt. Bradley Mercht. signifying to them (believing them to be two of the Greatest Creditors to the Deceased) to be at the Appraisement of the said Deceased Estate and that she hath great reason to believe the said Letter of Notice came to their hands but that neither the said Finch or Bradly were at the said appraisemt. nor had she a convenient opportunity to tender the Inventory of the said Deceased Estate to them to Sign the same they living at so great a distance from her and that she knows of no Person Related to the said Deceased but the aforesaid Capt. Willm. Finch

  • Peter Dozen, Kent County
  • Abraham Milton, Kent County

A prsell Shoemakers tools, & Seat

Tools for making shoes are very, very common – but I don’t believe I have seen a seat specifically designated for shoemaking before.  (In a Maryland inventory, that is; of course I am familiar with a shoemaker’s bench, having been to many, many living history museums.)

Shoemaker’s bench attributed to Brother Richard B. Woodrow, 1845 [Shaker Museum, Mount Lebanon]
  • Thos. English, Kent County

6 Slays for a Weaver’s work

3 pair Weavers harness

a Weavers Loom, warping box & quilling wheel

The quilling wheel, I should point out, obviates the need for a swift, and the yarn is spun directly onto a quill for weaving.

  • Capt. Harmanus Schee, Kent County
  • John Borris, Kent County
  • Patrick Gault, Kent County

One very old Stampt linen Banjan

Ah, another banyan.

Ward Nicholas Boylston in a brilliant green banyan and a cap, painted by John Singleton Copley, 1767.

Gault’s inventory lists a number of tools that I am reliably informed are those of a silversmith, including:

14 Crucibles

2 pr old tongs

1 Silver Smith Ladle

2 pr Silver Smiths old bellows

And in case you’d like to try some silversmithing for yourself, here’s a handy WikiHow page to teach you to melt silver. [Step 2 is ‘Get a foundry crucible’ and Step 3 is ‘Find some good heavy-duty crucible tongs.’  Sure thing — let me just hunt for those out in the garage.]

  • St Legr Codd, Esqr., Kent County – Additional Inventory
  • Richd. Jerman, Kent County
  • Mordock Dowlin, Anne Arundel County
  • John Fanning, Kent County
  • George Gleaves, Kent County – Additional Inventory
  • Charles Baker, Kent County
  • Joseph Carman, Kent County
  • Danl. Cox, Dorchester County – Additional Inventory

2 old Indian Gowns at 5/ pr.

Suddenly banyans are everywhere!  And why not?  As Benjamin Rush observed,

Loose dresses contribute to the easy and vigorous exercise of the faculties of the mind. This remark is so obvious, and so generally known, that we find studious men are always painted in gowns, when they are seated in their libraries.

1959.0160 A, B Painting and Frame, view 1
Benjamin Rush 1746-1813
Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827)
Oil on canvas, 1783 and 1786
Winterthur Museum

Not so much studious women, however.  We get corsets.

Anne Catherine Hoof Green, c. 1720–1775
Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827)
Oil on canvas, 1769
National Portrait Gallery