Tinder for a tinderbox

With the mothballing of the International Routier blog, I’m going to reprint some of my posts on this blog, they’ll be given the International Routier tag so you can tell if you’ve seen them before. This post was originally published on internationalroutier.wordpress.com on February 26, 2012

Time for another mea culpa. I had been of the understanding that the use of char-cloth for fire lighting was introduced slightly before the American Civil War. I’ve just discovered I was wrong after reading a quote in the latest Mary Rose book (Vol 3, Weapons of Warre) I’ll give the full quote because it also describes the method for preparing normal tinder and the tinder box.

Take those great things which are called olde Todestooles growing out of the bottomes of nuttrees, beechtrees, okes, and such like trees, drye them with the smoke of fire, & then cut them into as many peeces as you will, and hauing well beaten them, boyle the in strong lie with waule floure, or saltpeeter, till all the lie shal be consumend. After this laying them in a heape uppon a boorde, drie them in an oven which must not be made verie hotte, and after you haue so done, beate them well with a wooden mallet, and when you shall haue cause to use any parte of those Todestooles (now by the means above declared made touchwood) rubbe well that parte betweene your handes for to make it softe and apte to take fire. But when you will make tinder for a Gunners tinder boxe, take peeces of fustian, or of old and fine linnen clothe, make them to burn and flame in a fire, & suddenly before the flame which is in the doth die, choke the fire, & keepe their tinder so made in a boxe lined within with clothe, to the ende that it may not be moyste at any time.

Appendix 20-1, Lucar, C., Translation of Tartaglia, Three Bookes of Colloquies Concerning the Arte of Shooting in Great and Small Peeces of Artillerie with Appendix, London,1588


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