A wool-stapler is a dealer in wool. The wool-stapler buys wool from the producer, sorts and grades it, and sells it on to manufacturers. Staple in this particular context means a market.
Before the 17th century a staple was also a particular type of market, "a place appointed by royal authority, in which a body of merchants had exclusive right of purchase of certain goods destined for export".
The now best known English staple was at Calais but in medieval times there were, at various times, many others throughout the kingdoms of England and Ireland and the facing coast of the Low Countries all involved, though not exclusively, with the English wool trade.
The term wool-stapler fell out of use during the 20th century.
References and sourcesEdit
- Oxford English Dictionary entries for 'wool-stapler' and 'staple'.