8.24.2011

chronophages and trade cards

What a great job title: Drawing Master
"Rose, Fancy Ruling and Graduating Engines"— geometric lathes that produced the ornamental designs and sets of fine lines
used on the border of this card and the ones above
"Dealer in Natural and Artificial Curiosities..."
My God, think of the things an antiques dealer in 1801 must have had...
Haberdasher at the Three Pidgeons in Long-Acre, near Drury-Lane, London.
Sells all Sorts of Threads,
Thread and Inkle Tapes,
Manchester & Beggars Tapes,
Boot Strappings,
Quality Bindings,
Silk Ferrets & Galloons,
Silk & Worsted Gartering,
best Silk and Cotton Laces,
Stay Strapping & Silver Twist,
drawn Pockets,
Borders and Huzzeys,
Ticken Pockets & Stomachers,
Shirt & Waistcoat Buttons,
best London Pins and Whitechapel Needles,
Thimbles,
Manchester & Irish Ticks,
Russils and Tabbies of all Sorts,
Paduasoy, Taffaty & Sattin Ribbons,
best Belladine Silk, of all Colours,
Whalebone and Whalebone Busks,
Hooks & Eyes,
Silesia & Scotch Cloth,
Shagreens and Sar[?]
Wadding & Hair Cloths,
Pocket Fustians
Coates of Arms, Seals, Cyphers, Shop-cards, Bills of Parcels, Circulary Letters, to imitate hand-writing,
Benefit, Concert, Masquerade cards
Several years ago I was chatting with an Italian friend whose English had been heavily inflected to begin with, and after a few years living in Paris it was downright mysterious. He complained of some activity that was "a true chronophage..." 
What? 
"What is in English? Very time consuming"
"Chronophage" = literally "time eating." Yes!
Herewith the results of some of my chronophageous pasttimes (looking at old ephemera online; gathering word lists): 18th and early 19th century British trade cards from the exhaustive collection in the British Museum. As per my previous post on Brooklyn trade cards, what has been interesting me most these days is the wording: The lists of strange and exotic items available, the curious and arcane services proffered.

I love the fact that these items were as common as today's supermarket list of low-fat yogurt, BBQ sauce, and lighter fluid, but I have little or no clue what any of them are.
Flambeaux and Links
Gallipoly Oil
Gum Arabic and Dragon
Hartshorn shavings

Neats-foot oil
Pearl ashes
Salt Prunelles
Scouring sand
Smalts
Tea Papers
Tobacco Marks
White Chamber oil

7 comments:

Jud Spug said...

I actually owned a bottle of Neats-foot oil that I used to waterproof and condition leather boots.

From Wikipedia: "Neatsfoot oil is a yellow oil rendered and purified from the shin bones and feet (but not the hooves) of cattle. "Neat" in the oil's name comes from an old name for cattle."

Cattle feet?

angela said...

Yeah I looked it up too. I had never come across that! I can guess what "scouring sand" and "tea papers" are too, so I exaggerated when I said I had no clue.

I'd love some "Pocket Fustian"— probably my favorite item so far.

Jud Spug said...

Fustian is a kind of fabric, and I think, a type of waistcoat. Is it a waistcoat with a pocket or fabric for making pockets?

angela said...

I would say that it is fabric specifically for making/lining pockets. But I believe pockets were an external, separate item from the clothing at this time. You'd tie on a pocket, just like the dreaded "fanny pack".

Fustian is also overblown prose (surely a later, acquired meaning). So "pocket fustian"— if I might take this to the absurd— could be sort of like a portable bit of bombast...

angela said...

Oh Now I know who you are Jud! Hi!!
;-)

Jud Spug said...

Hi, Angela. Yes, I, Judith, am Jud Spug. I rarely read and almost never comment on blogs but I've become a fan of your several productions.

Anonymous said...

You probably already know about this...Am in the middle now...

http://www.amazon.com/Man-Who-Made-Lists/dp/0399154620

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