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Rag & Bone

Posted by Christine Gardener on July 06, 2003

In Reply to: Rag & Bone posted by Christine Gardener on July 06, 2003

: : : : : What is a "Rag and Bone" referring to? What/Where/When is it from? My inability to qualify a decent search has resulted in many references to things named Rag and Bone, but with no hint at what it is... I think it is 'Rag Buying' , That's all because that is what they do. Buy rags, but over the years it's become known as Rag and bone
: : : : : Many thanks in advance.

: : : : : William

: : : : The earliest use I found in a quick search is in a poem by Rudyard Kipling, "The Vampire."

: : : Rag and bone refer to the real items rags and bones. Along with any other recycleable items like scrap metal, they were scavenged by 'rag and bone men', for resale. They often worked with a horse and cart, as in the 60s UK sitcom Steptoe and Son. The bones were boiled to make glue and the rags were used in papermaking I think. These people still ply their trade in the UK. There's a regular around these parts who collects by hand cart. It took me some time to decipher his call, which sounds something like 'agun, agun'. Turns out to be 'rag bone, rag bone'.I think it was originally 'Rag Buying'. Because that is what they used to do. Buy the rags.But over the years it has become known as Rag and Bone.