linen press

Discuss word origins and meanings.
Post Reply

linen press

Post by Archived Topic » Sun Nov 28, 2004 7:15 am

Linen Press
Why is it called a linen "press"?
Submitted by Hannah C (Exmouth - Australia)
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: Topic imported and archived

linen press

Post by Archived Reply » Sun Nov 28, 2004 7:29 am

Hannah, For those unfamiliar with what a ‘linen press is’ (which included me), it now most often just refers to a large cabinet, armoire, wardrobe, or cupboard, but it can also specifically refer to a cabinet for holding, or device for pressing, linen. It evidently got its name from the older contrivance “a press consisting of a flat bed upon which damp linen was placed for flattening through pressure applied with a large wooden screw.” It is evident from the 2003 ad (see below) that some early ‘linen presses’ consisted of a pressing device above plus some storage space below and I suppose that the name eventually got transferred to the cabinet (originally just for linen) which provided storage but which no longer included the press.
<1887 “A young lassock's [[little girl’s]] petticoat from the LINEN-PRESS.”—‘The Heir of Linne: A Romance’ by R. Buchanan, i> [probably the storage cabinet]

<2003 “ A Victorian pine LINEN PRESS with turned wooden screw and pressing plate of traditional form above a single short drawer with twin turned knob handles”–‘H Y Duke & Son – Antiques, Collectibles,’ 12 December> [press plus storage space]

<2004 “This is a reproduction of an 18th century LINEN PRESS. The rich color of the dyed cherry captures the patina of an aged piece which is only enhanced with the reproduction forged hardware. The dovetail drawers and mortise & tennon tombstone doors add beauty and durability to this period piece. $4,950”—‘ Taylor Woodworks,’ Dover, Delaware> [storage cabinet]

<2004 “William Trimble [[1802-1886, Irish newspaper editor-proprietor]] worked the old-established wooden screw press, little changed over four hundred years from the days of Gutenberg in the fifteenth century and developed from the wine or LINEN PRESS”—‘The Impartial Reporter (County Fermanagh, Ireland), 30 September> [press alone]
(Oxford English Dictionary, Merriam-Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary)
____________________

Ken G – October 2, 2004
Reply from Ken Greenwald (Fort Collins, CO - U.S.A.)
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: Reply imported and archived

linen press

Post by Archived Reply » Sun Nov 28, 2004 7:44 am

Without disputing the above, there seems to be an element other than 'flattening' involved. I have a large wardrobe which was sold to me as a 'linen press', with no screw device. I converted it to a bookcase (not book shelves, which are without doors).
Now old bookcases/bookshelves were frequently called "book presses". And the handwritten code (like 'S3ivb') which owners put on the inside cover to show where the book should go back in the library (stack, shelf, number on shelf from left)are known as shelf-marks but also as 'press-marks'.
Reply from John Barton (New Plymouth - New Zealand)
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: Reply imported and archived

linen press

Post by Archived Reply » Sun Nov 28, 2004 7:58 am

John, With regard to your first paragraph, I thought I made that point clear in the last sentence of my first paragraph and specifically pointed it out in my quotes.

Ken – October 3, 2004
Reply from Ken Greenwald (Fort Collins, CO - U.S.A.)
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: Reply imported and archived

linen press

Post by Archived Reply » Sun Nov 28, 2004 8:13 am

Yes, you ex-pressed the material well, Ken.

Reply from Edwin Ashworth (Oldham - England)
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: Reply imported and archived

linen press

Post by Archived Reply » Sun Nov 28, 2004 8:27 am

And you squeezed it for all it was worth, Edwin.
Reply from Erik Kowal ( - England)
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: Reply imported and archived

ACCESS_END_OF_TOPIC
Post Reply