Quartermaster James

Making fire

80 posts in this topic

I thought there was a discussion addressing this, but I cannot find it via the search function. If anyone can point me to it, I would be much obliged.

So, when off boat and out on foot (Morgan and Dampier, for example) how was fire made? Did the buccaneers carry flint & steel? What about ECW soldiers?

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Yes, yes and by the way yes ....flint and steel was one of the most common ways of fire starting for centuries

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glass lenses were also used. There was an art to being able to safely transport embers and keep them live enough to be used at the end of a days travel. I think its Dampier who describes a bamboo tube with a piston in it used by a pacific tribe. a bit of tinder is placed at the bottom of the bamboo tube and the piston is slammed down on top of it. the sudden compression causes a spontaneous combustion of sorts, from how i understand it. I think its pretty slick, but have never seen it done.

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Thanks guys! I think I'll add fire making to our pyrate immersion day!

Dampier mentions fire pistons, eh? Intrigomon...just the excuse I need to get one!

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I think its Dampier who describes a bamboo tube with a piston in it used by a pacific tribe. a bit of tinder is placed at the bottom of the bamboo tube and the piston is slammed down on top of it. the sudden compression causes a spontaneous combustion of sorts, from how i understand it. I think its pretty slick, but have never seen it done.

Cruise on over to YouTube and search "fire piston" and you'll get a bunch of hits.

Our prototypical striking-type match wasn't invented until 1826, 100 years out of date, when a John Walker stumbled upon a chemical concoction that produced fire. After stirring together a mixture of chemicals, which did not contain phosphorous, John removed the stick he used, only to find a dried lump at its end. When he scraped the stick against the floor to rid it of the lump, the stick ignited. His mixture of antimony sulfide, potassium chlorate, gum, and starch could produce fire. In his rush to demonstrate his discovery to others, John bypassed the patent office.

In no time, a person at one of John's demonstrations, Samuel Jones, spotted an overlooked, golden opportunity, and patented the invention under his name. Mr. Jones produced matches he named Lucifers, which produced phenomenal sales. The widespread availability of the matches actually led to a significant increase in smoking.(http://www.coolquiz.com/trivia/explain/docs/match.asp)

I haven't used a match to start a fire since I learned how to use flint and steel and to make my own charcloth four years ago. I even use it to start fires in the home fireplace. I use slowmatch (which I also make using potassium nitrate) to light my pipe.

All that having been said, one would look for fire and "borrow" some, say, from a candle, lantern, fireplace or another lit pipe. Striking one's own was a skill used only if fire couldn't be found close at hand. Fire was an integral part of daily life and was everywhere during the period, often saved over from one work fire to the next as a burning candle or banked coals.

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I recently came across an article describing the transfer of flame via Spills ~ a long curled shaving of wood or paper, though paper was not preferred, due to undesirably fast burn and ash production. Dated back to the 15th century, the spill acted as the match precursor.

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I also recall an old method of preserving fire for journeys. A wooden box was filled with reeds, wool (if I recall correctly on this material), or wood shavings. Then, an ember was put in it, covered with more of the packing material. The lid was closed, and the ember would have insulation to stay warm, just enough oxygen entering the box to keep it burning, and additional fuel surrounding it as well. I think I saw this on a history channel show about the exodus, so it definitely predates GAoP, but I wouldn't be surprised if similar fire boxes were around then.

Coastie

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I haven't used a match to start a fire since I learned how to use flint and steel and to make my own charcloth four years ago. I even use it to start fires in the home fireplace. I use slowmatch (which I also make using potassium nitrate) to light my pipe.

This is why you should be captain.

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Now, now, we all agreed: No captain. I will gladly command during engagements, though. Besides, since we have such a stellar Quartermaster, a captain is rather superfluous anyway...er, I mean, some ruddy bilge rat of a captain would be extra baggage, Mate.

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Am I persistant? Aye.

Am I silly? Aye.

Am I wrong...?

No. I'm having bumper stickers made up.

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One of my most popular demonstrations. Here's a good article on the subject, also check out the companion article on tips for fast fire striking:

http://www.northwestjournal.ca/I1.htm

Bo

If you want to be cruel, you hand flint, steel, and charcloth to visitors and tell them to start a fire.

Mark

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I make strikers as well, and sometimes there is one or two in the crowd that show real interest, so I send them home with a set to play with in hopes of sparking some interst (pun intended). I use the burning lens too, when the sun is shining. For the winter solstice, you need a larger lens, around three inches works best. The small size lenses (under two inches) work well in the summer solstice.

I also do a ball-casting demo that people love to watch. I have found a source for lead-free solder to use in place of lead in public demos. This makes everybody happy and I give the finished bullets to kids whopse parents don't mind. After seven years of this, I have had not one complaint or refusal from attendees.

I am working on making semi-professional-like teaching blocks (guides) out of these demos, and one on the hide trade in hopes to provide them to any willing to teach them.

Bo

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Am I persistant? Aye.

Am I silly? Aye.

Am I wrong...?

No. I'm having bumper stickers made up.

And what will these bumper stickers say? "Follow me! I'm persistent, silly and sometimes right!"

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And what will these bumper stickers say? "Follow me! I'm persistent, silly and sometimes right!"

No. Jim Warren for Captain.

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Does that mean that you want me to depose Captain Sterling, you traitorous pyrate hunter? Or is it that you want to be an honest pyrate again? Wait till Sterling finds out about this...you'll be hearing from the Captain of Marines, no doubt!

Thanks for the vote, though. We'll make a good pyrate out of you again; you'll see!

Edited by Captain Jim

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wot are ya talkin about man.....Pyrate Hunters are Pyrates...they just eat better... :blink:

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What were we talking about? Another thread pyrated!

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so i picked up a fire piston at pip and it works like a charm. no rum charlies pop was showing one off at the fudge stand and i happened to catch it. he had an extra he was gracious enough to sell. it takes a bit to figure out the right ammount of compression, but once you do a glowing ember comes out each time. amazing!

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I definitely have to make another "New Mexican Tinder Tube"....

After loosing my lighter Saturday night at PiP, I could either bum a light, or use my flint and steel (tink...tink....tink...) to light my smokes.....

A few people tried to "show" me how I was "doing it backwards"... but with a tinder tube, I want the sparks to fall where they were falling..... (It's just what I am use to...)

A New Mexican Tinder Tube, is cotton covered with cotton cloth (sewn over it)into a long wick.(I haven't made one using linen or wool, but that might work also...) and then inserted into a copper or brass tube... They are called New Mexican Tinder Tubes because that is where some have been found, but I've seen a picture of one made from cane...

I can't say if they are period or not, but if someone found the remains of one, they probably wouldn't be able to identify it anyway....

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from ember to tinder to sustainable flame in thirty seconds!

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So lighter fluid and a bick are not historically accurate? :D This is why I am NOT the cook ...can't get the fire going ...not to mention that cooking for one doesn't translate to feeding a crew.

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I bought Mark a Swedish steel for his backpacking Christmas present before we left ~ and at PiP bought flint and steel for myself from Greg... Now to practice ~ Is char cloth period? Having luck with the spark, but getting it to catch is another matter entirely.

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