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

Dave Hause dwhause at JOBE.NET
Mon Jul 9 01:46:07 UTC 2007

When you look at the prices, if these are beams, they are remarkably
expensive, assuming something wooden, since inflation would suggest these
beams were in the range of 1000-1700 current British pounds each.  One would
also think wooden beams might be locally available in Lisbon more cheaply
than having them shipped from England.  Of course, this means I have no clue
what this word means.
Dave Hause, dwhause at jobe.net
Waynesville, MO
----- Original Message -----
From: "Douglas G. Wilson" <douglas at NB.NET>

>>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
>>sold by the pair.  By the way, in the same letter Robinson mentions that
>>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

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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