PUTTY, originally tin oxide in a state of fine division used for polishing glass, granite, etc., now known as " putty powder " or " polisher's putty " (from O. Fr. potfe, a potful, hence brass, tin, pewter, etc., calcined in a pot). More commonly the term is applied to a kind of cement composed of fine powdered chalk intimately mixed with linseed oil, either boiled or raw, to the consistency of a tough dough. It is principally used by glaziers for bedding and fixing sheets of glass in windows and other frames, and by joiners and painters for filling up nail-holes and other inequalities in the surface of woodwork. The oxidation of the oil gradually hardens the putty into a very dense adherent mass, but when it is required to dry quickly, boiled oil and sometimes litharge and other driers are used. The word is also used of a fine lime cement employed by masons.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)