On This Day: 14 June 1704

On this day in 1704, Richard Blackburne sent his bill for twelve pairs of scissors and twelve small swords to Thomas Bowrey. Bowrey endorsed the reverse of the bill Mr Blackburn for knives. In view of this, my guess is that small swords may have been something like a dagger.

When he paid the bill three days later, Blackburne signed the receipt for the full amount of £5/8/0 (worth around £800). A large pair of scissors cost 5s (£37 today – considerably more than you would expect to pay these days).

The scissors and swords were purchased as cargo for the Mary Galley about to leave on a trading voyage to the East Indies. Scissors had been made in Meerut, India since the 1650s so were not a novelty in India. Those purchased by Bowrey seem expensive to modern eyes. It is a puzzle, therefore, why these items were chosen for the voyage.

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