Friday, June 01, 2018

What is a "stave dealer"?

Background: Today's post was going to be about a research breakthrough, but I ran into something needing resolution before the intended post can be published. I worked many hours on the problem, but it may require more resources than available online. I'll keep working on it, and hopefully its resolution will be found.

An alternate post needed creation. While researching the problem, I came across an occupation called "stave dealer." I looked up the definition of the word "stave," finding it is a piece of wood used in making barrels. An entry for the occupation "Cooper" in a mid-nineteenth century British publication explained:

The business of a Cooper is to make vessels for the safe keeping of liquids. Those vessels are made of different kinds of wood, oak being generally used for the larger vessels where the staves are required to be of great length and thickness. They are cut before they are imported into England from the Baltic, and are sold to the Cooper by the stave-merchant who imports them. Staves are sent here cut to the lengths required for various sorts of vessels, and are sold under the following designations: viz. pipe staves, five feet, six inches in length, two inches thick, and six inches wide; hogshead staves, four feet long; barrel staves, three feet, six inches; there are also long and short headings of various sizes. The stave-merchant sorts them for the Cooper, according to the quality required calling them best and seconds. There are a vast quantity of staves imported from Canada; but though they are finer in the grain and make up better to the eye than the staves of the north of Europe, they are not found to be so durable.*

Other online sources indicate the stave industry thrived in the United States as well. The stave dealer I found worked in Illinois.


* N. Whitlock, J. Bennett, J. Badcock, C. Newton, et al. The Complete Book of Trades, or the Parent's Guide and Youth's Instructor in the Choice of a Trade or Profession . . . London: Thomas Tegg, 1842, pp. 160-161.

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