Draper - Encyclopedia




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DRAPER, one who deals in cloth or textiles generally. The Fr. drag, cloth, from which drapier and Eng. "draper" are derived, is of obscure origin. It is possible that the Low Lat. drappus or trappus (the last form giving the Eng. "trappings") may be connected with words such as "drub," Ger. treffen, beat; the original sense would be fulled cloth. "Drab," dull, pale, brown, is also connected, its first meaning being a cloth of a natural undyed colour. The Drapers' Company is one of the great livery companies of the city of London. The fraternity is of very early origin. Henry Fitz-Alwyn (d. 1212 ?), the first mayor of London, is said to have been a draper. The first charter was granted in 1364. The Drapers' Gild was one of the numerous subdivisions of the clothing trade, and appeared to have been confined to the retailing of woollen cloths, the linendrapers forming in the 15th century a separate fraternity, which disappeared or was merged in the greater company. It is usual for drapers to combine the sale of "drapery," i.e. of textiles generally, with that of millinery, hosiery, &c. In Wills v. Adams (reported in The Times, London, Nov. 20, 1908), the term "drapery" in a restrictive covenant was held not to include all goods that a draper might sell, such as furs or fur-lined goods.

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