FIRE-MAKING APPARATUS. 537 in which a small hollow is cut with a chauuel for the ignited charcoal to run over. In a short time sparks begin to fall through the channel upon finely frayed cedar bark placed underneath, which they soon ignite." The Ahts and Haidas also use cedar fire-sticks of the usual Indian kind. Tlie Hupa Indians of California are of the Athapascan stock. Their fire-drill is a carefully made piece of apparatus (fig. 5). The hearth is of a reddish, punky piece, probably of mesquite, Prosopis juliflora, somewhat harder than the drill, which is charred slightly for some dis- tance along the grinding end. Fire has been made in one of the holes ; the others show the rough, frayed cavities which have been made to start the drill. The notches at each end of the hearth seem to be to facilitate the tying of the pieces together as a precaution to prevent their loss or separation. They are usually intrusted into the hands of the most skillful fire-maker, who wraps them up to keep them from be- coming damp. The efiectiveuess of the sticks increases with use and age ; a stick and hearth that have been charred by the former making of fire in most cases yields the spark in half the time required for new apparatus. Another advantage is that the drill is softer from incipient decay. That this set is in the highest degree efficient is shown by the fact that the writer repeatedly got a glowing coal, the size of a pea, from it in less than twenty seconds. The hearth is 18 and the drill 21 inches long. The McCloud River Indians (Copehan stock) make the drill from the buckeye tree. The Indians of Washoe, Nevada, from their language, have been classed by the Bureau of Ethnology as a separate stock, the Washoan. Stephen Powers, many years ago collected a rather remarkable hearth from these Indians. It has eight rather small holes, in every one of which fire has been made. The wood is soft, well-seasoned pine. Ap- I)arently sand has been made use of to get greater friction, as is the custom of the Zuiiis and Apaches. This device, in a measure, obviates the necessity of having tinder like wood, or wood in a state of partial decay. For the drill any hardwood cylindrical stick might be em- ployed. A strip of buckskin about an inch wide is passed around the hearth over the fire holes to keep them dry (fig. 6). At the end of the hearth is a mass of cement made of the resin of a pine mixed with sand, apparently ; a kind of material used by the In- dians over a large area in the Great Basin and southward to fix their arrowheads, pitch the water-bottles, and for other purposes. It is quite probable that this stick was the property of an arrow-maker, whose need of fire to melt the somewhat intractable cement, caused him to combine these functions in one tool. It has a better finish, and displays greater skill in its manufacture than the fire-tools of the neighboring tribes of Shoshonian (Utes) and
Page:Firemaking Apparatus in the U.S. National Museum.djvu/11
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