Fwd: "three pairs of Baulkes costing 12, 16 and 18 guineas each"

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Sun Jul 8 15:29:09 UTC 2007

>>Does anyone know what might be meant by
>>"baulkes" in this text [see Subject] from 1785?
>>They'd been bought by Thomas Robinson, Lord Grantham, on behalf of his
>>friend Carlos José Gutiérrez de los Ríos y
>>Rohan-Chabot, sixth count of Fernán
>>Núñez, and were being shipped to Lisbon, where the count was Spanish
>>ambassador. I know of "balks" as beams but am surprised that they should be
>>sold by the pair.  By the way, in the same letter Robinson mentions that he'd
>>bought "several pairs costing 25 guineas each" for Louis de Visme.

MW3: "balk" [noun]: sense 9: <<one of the
stringers placed from boat to boat on which the
flooring is placed in a floating bridge>>.

A type of beam, of course.

It would be conventional to use matched pairs
(one balk supporting each side of each segment of
a bridge). A bigger bridge could use three or
more balks per segment, again usually necessarily
matched in length and probably preferably matched in cross-section.

I don't know whether this is what is meant, or not.

-- Doug Wilson

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