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General => The Common Room => Topic started by: Spiral on Friday 01 October 21 10:45 BST (UK)

Title: What did a Plumper do?
Post by: Spiral on Friday 01 October 21 10:45 BST (UK)
Looking through some Edinburgh baptisms for 1699 I see one father’s occupation being described as a Plumper. Has anyone any knowledge of what this might be? In particular is it related to a goldsmith or jeweller?
Title: Re: What did a Plumper do?
Post by: PaulineJ on Friday 01 October 21 10:51 BST (UK)
A Plumber would work with lead.

Have you gained a second opinion on what the word actually is?
Title: Re: What did a Plumper do?
Post by: Kiltpin on Friday 01 October 21 12:23 BST (UK)
I believe that a plumper was/is the person who rectified the goods after they had been stamped by the Assay Office. During assay the bowls/plates/cutlery, whatever, were deformed by the stamping. The plumper would reshape them.  I believe. 

Regards 

Chas
Title: Re: What did a Plumper do?
Post by: Spiral on Friday 01 October 21 14:05 BST (UK)
I believe that a plumper was/is the person who rectified the goods after they had been stamped by the Assay Office. During assay the bowls/plates/cutlery, whatever, were deformed by the stamping. The plumper would reshape them.  I believe. 

Thank you
This is most interesting as the family I am researching were goldsmiths, silversmiths or worked in the Assay Office over several generations. Can you tell me the source of this information?
Title: Re: What did a Plumper do?
Post by: Spiral on Friday 01 October 21 14:07 BST (UK)
A Plumber would work with lead.

Have you gained a second opinion on what the word actually is?

I have not done so yet. I thought I would see if there were any possibility it was indeed “Plumper” as there are so many odd job descriptions in old documents  ;)
Title: Re: What did a Plumper do?
Post by: Jon_ni on Friday 01 October 21 17:49 BST (UK)
is not in the 1921 official UK classification list
http://doot.spub.co.uk/
but do see in google listed in 1915 USA similar book "Index to Occupations, Alphabetical and Classified
By United States, Bureau of the Census" which just says Tannery industry. Obviously both somewhat later than your document.
Title: Re: What did a Plumper do?
Post by: majm on Friday 01 October 21 23:55 BST (UK)
Well in the mid 1870s in the then British Colony of Victoria, (Australia), the Local Government Law addressed the question 'What is a Plumper?'  Here is the newspaper report:
https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/244267370 The Herald 22 November 1876.

Earlier, back in August 1870, in the then British Colony of Western Australia, there's plumper matters over vote splitting ...  here: https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/3756117 Perth Gazette 19 August 1870.

Back in the 1820s in the then British Colony of New South Wales, there's mention of plumper as though it is an alternative word for palter  https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/2186608 Sydney Gazette 27 Sept 1826

And yet, in the late 1820s, in the then British Colony of Van Diemen's Land there's a plumper being quadruple votes ... https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/4211827   Hobart Town Courier 5 December 1829

And then I googled :  ;D  ;D

https://www.wordnik.com/words/plumper 

noun In elections, a vote given to one candidate only, when two or more are to be elected, thus giving him or her the advantage over the others; a person who gives his or her vote thus is said to plump, or to plump his or her vote.
noun A voter who plumps his or her vote.
noun A downright, unqualified lie.


https://penandpension.com/2015/09/30/straights-splitters-and-plumpers/ 
".....
almost every constituency, large or small, returned two members to the House of Commons. That meant each elector had two votes. Eighteenth-century electors had all the modern tricks available to them: voting for a candidate you were not expected to favour, changing your mind at the last moment, or voting for someone purely to deny another candidate a majority. ......linked to the various ways you could apportion your two votes between the candidate. And that was without the extra bonus of demanding a large bribe for voting as someone wished you to do. ...."


JM


Title: Re: What did a Plumper do?
Post by: Spiral on Monday 04 October 21 14:26 BST (UK)
Thank you for the very interesting links to the use of the word for multiple votes (I loved the ingenious way of converting 4 votes to 16;) )
It seems unlikely that that use of the word would relate to a profession mentioned in a baptismal record - I will have to go back and look more carefully.
Title: Re: What did a Plumper do?
Post by: Kiltpin on Monday 04 October 21 14:51 BST (UK)
I do not wish to pour cold water on any theory, but I very much doubt that any elections in 1699 would have needed anyone to adjust the outcomes. In 1918 universal suffrage was still not a thing in this country.
Regards

Chas
 
Title: Re: What did a Plumper do?
Post by: majm on Monday 04 October 21 23:16 BST (UK)
I do not wish to pour cold water on any theory, but I very much doubt that any elections in 1699 would have needed anyone to adjust the outcomes. In 1918 universal suffrage was still not a thing in this country.
Regards

Chas
 

I agree, nought gained by pouring cold water on any theory,  but nothing in my posts had anything do to with the introduction of universal suffrage.  Male universal suffrage came to my neck of the woods in the 1850s, and included the introduction of secret ballots, females had to wait until the 1890s.
 ;D  ;D  ;D

I can assure you though, that if seats in some of those 'Home Counties' early parliaments, required two or more persons to be elected to represent that seat, then there was every opportunity for a voter to become a plumper.   ;D  ;D  ;D.   

JM