Wednesday, July 3, 2013


From English Historical Fiction Authors:
The tinderbox usually  contained at least three items - a flint, a firesteel  (like the one above) and a piece of tinder (typically charcloth). It might also contain  "matchsticks," made of deal dipped in  brimstone, which would be lit from the charcloth, and  a damper (to extinguish the charcloth after it had been used).

The charcloth was made by scorching a piece of material so that it was easy to ignite. An old piece of linen would be held by tongs close to the flames until it blackened. It would then be allowed to burn for a fraction of time before being extinguished, and popped into the box for future use. If charred cloth was not available then straw might be used or even, or if you were French, a thin slice of a mushroom known as 'amadou' dipped in saltpetre. In England it was known as "horse’s hoof fungus"  because of its shape. (Read entire post.)

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