Tinder is a scam

Experimental archeology

  "... burns like tinder!" => Children make fire

Did it "spark"?
If you hit a lump of marcasite with a flint stone, a radiant crystallized mineral similar to pyrite (pebbles = 'fool's gold'), you get Spark

                         Fig 3 Fig. 4

Tuber with crystals of pyrite (pebbles) marcasite tuber ("Speerglanz" or Pyrite sun)
[Images from www.geomuseum.tu-claustal.de]

But you can also hit a piece of flint or marcasite with a fire steel. However, since the sparks are too short-lived to start a fire, they have to be caught on an easily flammable surface. Such is offered by the felt-like fabric structure, the 'tinder wool', a dry one Tinder sponge. The protected mushroom (Fomes fomentarius) grows on dead beech and birch trees.

Preparation of the scale
Under the woody, gray crust is the layer of scale (trama) from which the tube layer is separated. You can soak this sponge-like cloth for some time in a solution of about 10 grams of potassium nitrate and 200 ml of water in order to nitrate it. 'Ötzi' probably used his urine for this (it also contains urea). The still damp cloth is then knocked out leather-thin with a wooden mallet and then dried. Some mushrooms disintegrate into powder in the process; but powdered tinder can also be used well. As an alternative to real tinder fungus, charred linen fabric can also be used, and nitrided birch pore can also be used to transmit the fire.

Fig. 7 Fig. 8 Fig. 9

Fire everything up Softly pounded tinder fibers Will there be a spark?
[Image from (2), p. 34]

From spark to fire

It is now only a matter of patience and experience to catch a spark on the described surface and to ignite dry grass, a piece of shredded birch bark or something similar by blowing it. The tinder itself hardly burns, so it can be used several times. With a bit of birch bark you can then easily light a flame. With some dry hay, straw or shavings, you can then light a fire very quickly.

 12      13      14

That's what you need to make a fire: Tinder on flint The igniting spark
Silex, marcasite and / or a fire steel => film sequence [Marca Brandenburgensis]
. avi - open e.g. B. with Windows Media Player

[According to Heppenheim.de/hessentag/steinzeitbauern .. (text above) and Speerschleuder.de (Fig. 12-14]

swell: (1) W. Hein, F. Trommer: ... burns like tinder!
Stone Age fire generation in an experiment. In: Ice Age Workshop, Experimental Archeology. Museum booklet 2, Urgeschichtliches Museum Blaubeuren, 1995, pp. 73-77.
(2) F. Seeberger: Experience the Stone Age for yourself; Weapons, jewelry and instruments built by myself. Theiss Verlag 2002, € 14.90.

Make fire: The tinder fungus [Blumammu

=> Tinder sponge, goodbye lightning strike [Speerschleuder.de]

=> More about the real tinder sponge [Natur-Lexikon.com.de]

=> Ötzi's embers container made of birch bark [oetzl.com]

=> The punch lighter[oetzl.com]

=> ÖTZL and its world (with comic drawings)[oetzl.com]

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     [back to 'fire steel and tinder'] 


[back to fire steel and tinder]

[back to experimental archeology]


  1                2

Real tinder sponge [more: forst.tu-muenchen.de]

On the history of tinder extraction
"In the early 19th century, the tinder sponge was mined industrially.
A center here was Neustadt am Rennsteig and the Bavarian or
Bohemian forest. In 1842 the Neustadt production was 430 quintals. Tinder fungus was imported as far as England. The newly invented string
In the beginning, woods were not a competition, as many people did not have to fear spontaneous combustion with tinder. The whole thing was later no longer lucrative, since the flint required for making the fire had to be imported from France and England at great expense ".

Fig. 5 Fig. 6

Nitrided and soft-pounded ones can be seen in the middle
Scale discs (from above). the 'tinder wool' (the trama).
=> Enlarged section

The Preparation of the material
"The pulp (trama) under the rind is used as tinder. This layer is flaky to hard-fibrous. The crusty rind is thinly cut away with a knife. The pulp underneath is cut into thin slices. I've had the experience that the area under the tip is more suitable because it is softer than the pulp of the hard outer layer ".

Nitriding, tapping and drying
"So I put whole slices in a saltpeter solution and let them soak in for three days. After that, I didn't dry the slices as recommended, but knocked them out on a board while they were wet with a wooden mallet Thicker, softer layer of pulp from the mushroom tip area can be processed better than that from the edge areas. The surface of the scale is considerably enlarged by tapping and takes on a suede-like, velvety feel after drying ". [Experience report fromSpeerschleuder.de]

It will 'spark' in a moment!Nicolas is already working on it.

  10                    11
[Image from (2), p. 34]

The left hand holds a tuber made of marcasite ('fool's gold') in both pictures,
the one on the right the flint stone or fire steel (at picture 11).
There are pieces of tinder underneath to catch the spark: => burn marks!

  15                   16

Prof. Lüning at the "ignition": Even little Vincent
The spark becomes a fire. already practicing with 'ardor'.


  17                  18 

A professional at work: Franz Bürk          Hooray! The fire is burning!
[Fig.3 + 6 from www.heppenheim.de/hessentag/steinzeitbauern ....]

=> Of fool's gold and making fire
[chemieunterricht.de, Fig. 5]

=> Children make fire -1- [www.restena.lu]

=> Children make fire -2- [school classes in the landscape museum]

=>Fire drilling with the 'fire whisk'            [www.kirchrainschule.de]


  up [home]                                            Photos 1, 2, 5, 6, 9, 11, 16: D. Sch.                                    Dieter Schmudlach (D. Sch.): Geä. 11/02/2004 / 05/14/2010