Drysalters were dealers in a range of chemical products, including glue, varnish, dye and colourings. They might supply salt or chemicals for preserving food and sometimes also sold pickles, dried meat or related items. The name drysalter or dry-salter was in use in the United Kingdom by the early 18th century[1] when some drysalters concentrated on ingredients for producing dyes, and it was still current in the first part of the 20th century.

Drysaltery is closely linked to the occupation of salter which in the Middle Ages simply meant someone who traded in salt. By the end of the 14th century there was a guild of salters in London. Later salter was also used to refer to people employed in a salt works, or in salting fish or meat, as well as to drysalters.

In 1726 Daniel Defoe described a tradesman involved in the "buying of cochineal, indigo, galls, shumach, logwood, fustick, madder, and the like" as both dry-salter and salter. The Salters' Livery Company tells us that "some of the members who were salt traders were also 'Drysalters' and dealt in flax, hemp, logwood, cochineal, potashes and chemical preparations."

Being a drysalter might be combined with manufacturing - paint, for example - or with trading as a chemist/druggist or ironmonger/hardware merchant.[2]


Wet-salter could refer to a fish curer or to someone tanning leather by wet salting hides.


  1. ^ OED
  2. ^ Scotsman

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Drysalter — Dry salt er, n. A dealer in salted or dried meats, pickles, sauces, etc., and in the materials used in pickling, salting, and preserving various kinds of food Hence drysalters usually sell a number of saline substances and miscellaneous drugs.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • drysalter — [drī′sôl΄tər] n. Brit. a dealer in chemical products, dyes, etc. or, formerly, in dried or salted foods …   English World dictionary

  • drysalter — noun Date: 1707 British a dealer in crude dry chemicals and dyes • drysaltery noun, British …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • drysalter — /druy sawl teuhr/, n. Brit. a dealer in dry chemicals and dyes. [1700 10; DRY + SALTER] * * * …   Universalium

  • drysalter — n. seller of dry goods and chemicals …   English contemporary dictionary

  • drysalter — dry•salt•er [[t]ˈdraɪˌsɔl tər[/t]] n. brit. a dealer in dry chemicals and dyes • Etymology: 1700–10 …   From formal English to slang

  • drysalter —   n. dealer in dried goods, foods, chemicals, etc.    ♦ drysaltery, n …   Dictionary of difficult words

  • drysalter — ˈ ̷ ̷ˌ ̷ ̷ ̷ ̷ noun Etymology: dry (I) + salter Britain : a dealer in crude dry chemicals and dyes …   Useful english dictionary

  • Drysaltery — Dry salt er*y, n. The articles kept by a drysalter; also, the business of a drysalter. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Matas (drug store) — Matas A/S Matas drug store on Kongensgade in Odense, Denmark. Type A/S Genre Drug store chain …   Wikipedia

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