Sunday, 22 April 2012

Reading Glass Fire Lighting & The Hudson Bay Tobacco Tin.

Making fire with a burning glass or reading glass is easy when using tinder. Plant tinders don't even have to be charred first. But using the Hudson Bay tobacco tin as a tinderbox because it has a burning glass in the lid is not recommended, not by me anyway.
The tinderbox is used to prepare plant tinders. Tinder material is charred directly in the fire & then placed in the tinderbox to smother it. When you want to make fire you simply strike sparks into the tinderbox, hold some dry grass kindling against the smouldering tinder & blow into flame.
If you do this with the Hudson Bay tobacco tin, you will smoke up the burning glass in the lid, & in winter it may crack from the heat of the smouldering tinder. Better I think to carry a seperate reading glass or use specticles if you wear them.

 The Hudson Bay Tobacco Tin.
 Author's reading glass and case.

Author's tinderbox with tinder and a musket flint.

Reading Glass Fire Lighting Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvveEG5yDXc


Gorges Smythe said...

So was the glass used to light tobacco on sunny days, or why was it there?

Keith said...

Yes that is correct Gorges, the burning glass in the lid was used to light a pipe in the 19th century.

Dan Wilkens said...

That's interesting. I'd always assumed the tinderboxes simply functioned as containers for tinderstuff, to keep it dry. Once I get a proper one I'll try your method. Speaking of "quick lights", as someone who works with period artillery I've always wondered how gunners (or musketeers before flintlocks) could get a light at quick notice for their match. Do you have any tips for lighting candles, slowmatch, or tobacco etc. without kindling a larger fire?

Keith said...

Daniel Wilkens. Hi Daniel. Yes the sparks are struck directly into the tinderbox, & fire is made there. However, if you wish to light match cord for artillery, you simply strike the sparks into the tinderbox, place your match against the smouldering tinder, and blow on it to create more heat & light the match.
Charcloth was not as a rule used outside the home, instead plant tinders were used. But there is an exception to this, and that is for the ship's gunner. The ships gunner used charred cloth to ignite the fuse for his cannon. I cannot say this was the case on land, you would have to do some research on artillerymen.
Regards, Keith.

bruc33ef said...

I have one of these tins. Accommodation can be -- and perhaps was -- made. You can fit a thin leather (or other material) removable patch to the underside of the lid to protect the lens from dirt, smoke, and scratches. It won't ignite when the lid is placed on to snuff out smoldering embers, which only takes a few seconds at most. It's a small price to pay for the versatility and sheer beauty of the tin. And, the leather or other material might also come in handy sometime.

Love your blog!