Monday, November 28, 2011

The Place of Fabrics: Callimanco

According to the OED, callimanco (also spelled callimanca, calamanco, &c.) is "a woollen stuff of Flanders, glossy on the surface, and woven with a satin twill and chequered in the warp, so that the checks are seen on one side only; much used in the 18th c."  It was finer than stuff, but still respectably simple: a fabric that a woman of the lower middle class could wear without exciting comment that she was living above her means.  Generally, callimanco seems to fall off in use later on in the century, but it seems to have often been used in shoes.




In the second volume of The Tatler; or, the Lucubrations of Isaac Bickerstaff, Esq. (Sir Richard Steele, 1709), a gentleman relates an anecdote.


An advertisement in the Whig Examiner (1710) runs:


In 1724, John Wright was prosecuted by Martha Mead for assaulting her on the highway, and stealing her gold ring, worth eight shillings.  The trial was transcribed in Select Trials at the Sessions-House in the Old-Bailey.


Everybody's Business, is Nobody's Business (Andrew Moreton, 1725) is a polemic about the bad manners and pride of male and female servants.  Moreton follows an anecdote about mistaking a "Chamber-Jade" for her mistress with:


Daniel Defoe's The Complete English Tradesman (1726) is a collection of letters of advice for young tradesmen.  In one section, he discusses the way a tradesman's wife should dress.


In Samuel Richardson's Pamela: or, Virtue Rewarded (1740), Pamela writes to tell her parents what she will bring home with her.


The hero of The Life and Adventures of Timothy Ginnadrake (Francis Fleming, 1771) comes across a young woman in the woods and eventually takes her up on his horse behind him.


In A Vindication of Gen. Richard Smith (Joseph Price, 1783), the author notes the change in dress from the time when people commonly wore linen and stuff.


 Betty Blackberry, a young woman, describes her plans to Jemmy Jumps in The Farmer (The Dramatic Works of John O'Keeffe, orig. pub. 1787).


A New and Complete System of Bookkeeping (William Mitchell, 1796) demonstrates its subject over the course of many pages.  Some examples are lists of fabrics and their prices.
2 ps. pink calimanco each 30 yards at $8.50 [each]
1 ps. blue d[itt]o, d[itt]o $8.33
1 ps. green d[itt]o, d[itt]o $8.25
2 ps. mulberry durant, d[itt]o $8
1ps. light blue durant, d[itt]o $8.80
...
1 ps. black sattin 18 yards, $30
1 ps. coloured d[itt]o, $38
1/2 ps. senchaw 15 yards, $18
10 yards sattinet, $9
1 ps. calimanco 30 yards, $9
1 ps. shalloon, $9.50
Thomas Wallace, in An Essay on the Manufactures of Ireland (1798), considers the state of manufacturing in Ireland at the end of the century, and how it could be improved.

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