A LIVING HISTORY BLOG.

18TH CENTURY LIVING HISTORY IN AUSTRALIA.

Friday, 2 March 2012

More On Flint and Steel Pouches.

Trying to find original images of pouches used for carrying flint and steel is an excercise in frustration! Plenty of contemporary artisans claim to have copied an original pouch, but they never show the original pouch or even give a link. I have to see it with my own eyes before I believe it; no documentation, no write up.

Obviously the tinderbox or seperate tinder, flint and steel were carried in something, some original quotes claim this equipment was carried, by some at least, in their shot pouch:

“Fire making is a simple process with the mountaineers. Their bullet pouches always contain a flint and steel, and sundry pieces of “punk”-a pithy substance found in dead pine trees-or tinder; and pulling a handful of dry grass, which they screw into a nest, they place the lighted punk in this, and closing the grass over it, wave it in the air, when it soon ignites, and readily kindles the dry sticks forming the foundation of a fire.”
Ruxton, 1848.

Frankly using a smoothbore myself, I have little room in my shot pouch for anything other than the tools I need to service my fusil.
I have yet to read anything in regards to keeping the tinder dry by wrapping in an oiled cloth or by placing in an oiled pouch as I do. After reading about Washington and Gist going off into the wilderness with only one "poor hatchet" between them, I am quite ready to believe that there were many woodsmen who simply did not think much about their safety or keeping their tinder dry!


“There was no Way for getting over but on a Raft, which we set about, with but one poor Hatcher, and got finished just after Sun setting, after a whole Day's Work; we got it launched, and on board of it, and set off; but before we were half Way over, we were jammed in the Ice in such a Manner that we expected every Moment our Raft to sink, and ourselves to perish: I put out my setting Pole to try to stop the Raft, that the Ice might pass by, when the Rapidity of the Stream threw it with so much Violence against the Pole, that it jirked me out into 10 Feet Water, but I fortunately saved myself by catching hold of one of the Raft Logs; notwithstanding all our Efforts we could not get the Raft to either Shore, but were obliged, as we were near an Island, to quit our Raft and make to it”. George Washington 18th century. Washington and Gist.
My greased leather fire bag which contains my tinderbox and some kindling grass. This is not a copy of an original, just my answere to keeping my tinder dry.

My belt pouch in which I carry my fire bag, fishing tackle tin and a brass sundial compass.

This was pouch was found on the Mary Rose.

16th Century.

16th century

17th century

Found in the above image.

17th century.

Found in the above image.
This is a mid 18th century belt pouch. Inside the pouch was found a powder measure, vent pick, and a fire steel. It is thought that this is a shot pouch, but of course it could have had another use.

Any belt pouch could be used for carrying items for making fire, the belt pouch took the place of pockets in a time when pockets were few and non existant on some clothing items. Providing you use period materials, and create a pouch of the type that was available in your time period, then this would be an authenticated item to use for carrying your tinderbox.

"and with a girdle of their making, bound round about their middles, to which girdle is fastned a bagg, in which his instruments be, with which hee can strike fire upon any occasion"
Thomas Morton: Manners and Customs of the Indians, 1637
Thomas Morton 1579-1647



2 comments:

Perkunas said...

Hope this works :
http://suomenmuseotonline.fi/en/selaa?pathId=1.90.1105.4526.4532.

The flint & steel pouch, is called TULUSKUKKARO, the TULUKSET, is word used for flint+steel+amadou together as a system, the KUKKARO is the pouch.

Karkku or Tulusrauta = the striker itself

Taulakääpä = horseshoe fungi
Taula = prepared, ready for use amadou.

Piikivi = flintstone.

Le Loup said...

Thank you Perkunas, this information will be of great interest to Finnish living historians.
Thank you.
Keith.