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Vocabulary

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

 

A

Abacus
A frame with wooden beads on metal rods or wire, which settler children used to help them learn arithmetic

Anvil
A heavy, cast-iron and steel block used by a blacksmith to shape iron

Apothecary
(1) A person who prepares and sells medicine; a pharmacist; (2) A shop where medicine is sold

Arithmetic
Mathematics

Artisan
A skilled tradesperson such as a blacksmith or a carpenter

B

Bale
A tightly bound bundle of hay or wheat

Barrel
A large cask that has curved, wooden sides and a flat top and bottom, especially the container holds 36 imperial gallons

Barter system
A system of trading goods and services without using money

Bed tick
A sack filled with leaves, straw, corn husks, or goose feathers and used as a mattress

Bee
A work party at which several people in a community come together to do a job, such as building a barn, husking corn, or making a quilt; also called a frolic

Betty lamp
A bowl of animal fat with a wick used as a lamp

Blacksmith
A person who shapes iron into objects such as horseshoes

Brake
An instrument used to crush flax

Burlap
A course cloth woven from the fiber of the jute plant and used to make sacks

Butter churn
A container with a dasher used for making butter

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C

Cabinet maker
A person who makes fine furniture

Carding paddles
Wooden paddles used for carding or combing fleece to prepare it for spinning

Cask
Any type of container made with wooden staves, such as a barrel, kilderkin, or keg

Castor oil
Oil made from the seed of a tropical plant, which was used as medicine

Cellar
A cool underground room used for storage

Chamber pot
A metal or ceramic pot used as a toilet

Cooper
A person who makes containers such as barrels and buckets from wood

Cornhusk doll
A doll made from dried corn husks

Cradle
(1) A scythe with three wooden fingers and blade; (2) A rocking bed for an infant

Crock
A clay or stone jar or pot

Cutter
A small sleigh pulled by one horse

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D

Dasher
The stick or plunger inside a butter churn

Domestic
A household servant or maid

Drawknife
A blade with handles at both ends, used by woodworkers to shave wood

Dry goods
Items such as cloth, thread, and ribbon; also called soft goods

Dwelling
A place where a person lives; a home

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E

Emigrant
A person who leaves his or her home to leave on another place

Epidemic
The sudden spread of disease among many people

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F

Ferrier
A person who shoes horses

Fiddle
A type of violin used to play folk music or country music

Flail
A tool used by farmers to thresh grain, or remove the seed from the stalks

Flax
A plant with thin stems and blue flowers, its fiber is used to make linen cloth

Fleece
The wool of a sheep

Forge
A raised fireplace on which a blacksmith works

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G

Game
Wild animals that people hunt

General store
A store selling a wide range of items such as food, cloth, clothing, hardware, tools, and household goods

Governess
A single woman hired by parents to teach and take care of their children

Griddle
A flat metal pan or surface used for cooking

Gristmill
A building with machinery that ground grain into flour

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H

Harness
The straps connecting a horse to a carriage

Hearth
A fireplace floor made of brick or stone

Hemp
A tall plant whose stem contains fibers used for making string and rope

Herb
A plant used to make medicine or to flavor food

Hide
The skin of an animal

Homestead
All the land and buildings that form a person’s property

Hub
The center of a wagon wheel

Husk
The dry outer covering of certain fruits or seeds such as that surrounding an ear of corn

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I

Immigrant
A person who comes to live in a place that is far from where he or she was born

Indigo
A plant used to make blue dye

Itinerant
An artisan who travelled from place to place with his or her tools, living with and working for one family after another

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J

Jack
(1) A gadget used to turn a spit above a fire; (2) A worker, such as a lumberjack

Jacob’s ladder
A toy made of several flat blocks connected with ribbon, which appeared to flip down when held in the air

Jig
A fast hopping dance

Journeyman
A trained artisan who did not have his or her own shop but worked for another craftsperson

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K

Keelboat
A boat that was use for transporting goods on a river

Keg
A small strong barrel

Kerosene
A type of oil used to light lamps

Kiln
(1) An oven made of bricks used for firing, or baking, clay to make pottery; (2) An oven used for baking or drying grain

Kindling
Dry twigs or small pieces of wood used to start fires

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L

Lard
Pork fat

Last
Hand-carved, foot-shaped blocks of wood or metal used by a shoemaker to make or repair shoes

Lathe
A machine used by cabinetmakers to shape wood

Linen
Cloth made from flax fibers

Livestock
The animals kept on a farm, such as horses, cattle, oxen, chickens, pigs and sheep

Loom
A machine used to weave yarn or thread into cloth

Lumber
Any wood that has been sawed into large boards or planks

Lye
A strong, liquid chemical made by pouring water over wood ashes that was used to make soap

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M

Manger
A wooden trough used for feeding cattle or horses

Mason
(1) A craftsperson who works with stone or bricks; (2) A member of Freemasonry, a fraternal organization whose membership has shared moral and metaphysical ideals

Merchant
A store keeper

Midwife
A skilled woman who assists pregnant women in childbirth, paid for her labors

Mill
A building with machines, such as a sawmill, that turns raw materials into a finished product

Millinery
A women’s hat shop

Moccasins
Soft leather shoes without heels, originally worn by Native Canadians

Molasses
A thick, dark syrup made from raw sugar; also called treacle

Mold
A hollow container into which hot fluid material such as molten metal is poured so that when the fluid cools and hardens, it will take on the shape of the container

Mortar
(1) A substance such as clay, mud, moss, or wood chips used to fill the space between the logs of a log cabin; (2) A wooden bowl in which grains or spices are crushed with a pestle

Mouser
A cat that hunts mice and rats

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N

Needlepoint
A craft in which designs are stitched onto cloth using a diagonal stitch

Nutmeg
A fragrant tropical seed that is ground into a powder and used as a spice

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O

One-room school
A school building in which all the children were taught in one room by one teacher

Outhouse
An outdoor toilet; also called a privy

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P

Pantry
A small, cool room where food and dishes are stored

Parlour
The most formal room in a home, used for entertaining; also called the drawing room or salon

Peddler
A person who travels from place to place selling and trading goods

Pestle
A wooden or stone stick used to crush grain or spices in a mortar

Pew
A church bench

Pioneer
A person who is among the first to explore or settle in an area

Plow
A tool used to break up and turn over the soil before planting crops

Potash
A substance made by boiling away the water from lye and used for making soap

Primer
A book containing the alphabet, numbers, and poems used by children learning to read

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Q

Quern
A hand mill with two round, flat stones used for grinding grain

Quill pen
A pen made from a feather

Quilt
A blanket composed of a quilt top (often fabrics pieced together), a layer of batting, and a layer of fabric for backing, all sewn together

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R

Rafter
A sloping beam that helps form and support a roof

Rake
A long-handled wooden tool used to gather straw and leaves or to smooth dirt

Ram
A male sheep

Reel
A lively twirling dance

Reservation
An area of land set aside by the government, on which Native Canadians live

Rug beater
An object used to beat the dust and dirt from rugs and carpets

Ruggle
A wooden brace that stopped a wagon wheel from rolling

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S

Saddle
A leather seat strapped to the back of a horse

Scythe
A tool with a curved blade and wooden handle, used for cutting down grain crops and grass

Seamstress
A woman who sews and mends clothing for money

Settlement
A small, fairly new community or village

Shake
A handcut board or shingle used on a roof to keep out rain

Shavinghorse
A carpenter’s bench that allowed people to sit as they shaped a piece of wood

Sheaf
A bundle of hay, corn, or other grain

Shift
A loose dress worn by women as underwear and a nightgown

Shuttle
An instrument containing a spool of yarn that is passed back and forth during weaving on a loom

Slate
A rectangular piece of slate in a frame on which schoolchildren wrote their lessons

Smock
A loose-fitting shirt worn over one’s clothes to protect them while working

Smokehouse
A small outbuilding in which meat or fish was hung up and dried over a fire to preserve it

Spur
A metal gadget with a spiked wheel, worn over cowboy boots and used to urge a horse to speed up

Stave
A narrow, curved piece of wood used to form the side of a barrel

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T

Tallow
Melted animal fat that is used to make candles and soap

Tinder
Any material, such as shredded rags or wood shavings, that easily catches fire

Tinsmith
A person who makes and repairs tin items

Toothbrush
A twig with a splintered end that pioneers used to clean their teeth

Trammel
A series of hooks on which pots were hung in a fireplace

Trapper
A person who hunts animals and sells their furs

Treenware
Wooden household items, such as buckets, utensils, bowls and plates

Trunk
A large storage box with a hinged lid

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U

Undertaker
A person who arranges funerals and prepare people who have died for burial

Upholster
A person who works at covering furniture with cushions and material

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V

Victorian
Describing the period of time between 1837 and 1901, when Queen Victoria ruled Britain; describing objects, styles, or people of this time

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W

Wainwright
A person who built and repaired wagons, carriages, and sleighs

Washboard
A grooved board on which clothes were scrubbed with soap and water

Well
A deep hole dug into the ground in which water from an underground source collects

Wheelwright
A person who makes wheels for wagons, carriages, and carts

Whirligig
A spinning toy made from a length of string threaded through a hole in a round piece of wood

Wick
A loosely woven cord that draws up fuel to a flame in a candle or lamp

Wrought iron
Iron that has been forged, or shaped, on an anvil

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X

Xylograph
A picture made from a woodcut

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Y

Yard goods
Cloth that is sold by length

Yeast
A substance that helps bread to rise

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Z

Zither
A musical instrument that is made up of a shallow box with 30 to 45 strings stretched over it

Zoetrope
A spinning toy that makes pictures appear as though they are moving

 

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