Page:Firemaking Apparatus in the U.S. National Museum.djvu/16

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542 REPORT OF NATIONAL MUSEUM, 1888. them to the list of peoples who have held it in similar reverance and have practiced similar customs all over the world, ranging widely in time. The wetting of the drill, increasing their labor, may be done to please th^ir Gods. This art must have been practiced for a long time in this region, for Mr. Henry Metcalf found a hearth (Fig. 13) with three fire-holes in a cave-dwelling at Silver City, New Mexico. It is apparently very an- cient. The wood is much altered and has become heavy by impregnation with some salt, probably niter. The Apaches and Navajos belong to the great Atha- pascan stock, that ranges so widely in North America. Capt. John G. Bourke, U. S. Army, collected the hearth of yucca wood shown (Fig. 14), and says : With the stick you now see, the Apache Indians in my pres- ence made fire in not quite eight seconds by the watch, and one asserted that he could make it in a number of motions, which, on the watch, occupied exactly two seconds, that is, under most favorablecircumstances. The experiments, made under my own observation, ran all the way from eight to forty-seven seconds; sand is generally used, although not essen- tial to success. Captain Bourke's observation is very interesting, as it records the fact that the Apache is the most skillful fire -maker in the world. Many other tribes can make fire in less than a minute,- I think by far the majority of them, but there is no eight-second record, while if he could prove his ability to do it in two sec- onds he would arrive at the facility of striking a match. Mr. William F. Corbusier has no- ticed the fire-making of the Apache- Yumas of Arizona (Yuman stock).* They use a drill about 2 feet long and one-half inch thick, made of o-oh-Mdje, or ** Fire-stick bush." Its end is dipped in sand and drilled on a solt piece of J^gfwe or yucca stalk held down by the feet. They carry Fig. 13. Fig. 14. Lower Stick of Fire- a slow torch of dead WOOd fspuuk) Lqweb Piece op Fiiip- MAKixa Srt. _; ^ ___.,. ^ MAKING SpTt MAKING Set, (Cat. No. 35868, U. S. N. M. From a cave at Silver City, Kew MexicQ, Collpcted by Itnxf MetPjjlf, ) •American Antiquarian, .Mendon, npja, Septembf^r, 1886, yni, p. 983. S. N. Af, Apacb« Indiuns, Ariaooa, . pollflct«a by Capt. jDba U,