On this day in 1703, Thomas Bowrey paid his account with Mrs Mary Cox for gilding 12 gross (12 x 144 or 1,728) of sheaths.
I wish this receipt said a little more but it does not. I asked my husband, my ‘turn-to’ source for military items what a sheath may be. So, working on the assumption that no one would have gilded the primitive condoms of the time, his only suggestions was a scabbard for a dagger, knife or sword. He thought that the better scabbards may be gilded. If that was so, would Bowrey be exporting so many high-quality scabbards?
Google was not much help. The ancient Egyptians used gilded, cylindrical metal sheaths for papyrus rolls but, again, this is unlikely to be what was being described on today’s document.
At times, I really wish I could have one trip back in a time machine so that I could spend an evening with Bowrey asking him about he papers or simply just request that he spent a little more time annotating them with fuller explanations.