Page:Firemaking Apparatus in the U.S. National Museum.djvu/18

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
There was a problem when proofreading this page.

544 REPORT OF NATIONAL MUSEUM, 1888. (Cat. No. 15396, Flu. 16. FmE-MAKiNG Set. . U. S. N. M. Natives of Talaman ppl!pete4 by Prpf. W. JJ. G»bb.) arrows or larger, is provided. Both ends of this are rounded, bnt one end is made smooth, tbe other is left slightly rough. The dried pith of some kind of reed, or more probably of the y ucca, some fibers of the same loosely prepared like hackled flax, some powdered charcoal, I think formed by charring the yucca, and apiece of hard thick leather similar to solo leather, completes the outfit, which is carried in a leather bag made for the purpose. The first described piece of wood is placed upon the knees of the operator with a quantity of the fibrous substance beneath it which has been powdered with charcoal dust ; some of the latter is put into one of the holes and the rough end of the stick inserted, the other end is put into an indentation of the leather placed under the chin, so that a gentle pressure may be exerted. The spindle is then rapidly revolved by rolling it one way and the other between the hands. The friction thus pro- duced by the rubbing of the roughened surfaces ignites the fine coal dust, which, dropping as sparks of fire through the orifice at the bottom of the hole, falls into the dry fibrous prepara- tion, thus igniting that, then by the breath blowing upon it a flame is produced and com- raiiuicated to some fine dry wood and a fire is soon obtained. The whole operation occupies bnt a few minutes. One of the rudest fire- making appli- ances in the Museum was collected by Prof. W. M. Gabb, at Talamanca, Costa Rica. The hearth is a rude billet of charred, black wood, resembling mahog- any. It has central holes, with no gut- ter usaall}^ though sometimes a shallow notch is cut on both sides of the fire- hole. The drill is a light branch, rather crooked, but dressed down roughly with a knife. Another hearth is of .partly de- cayed, worm-eaten woodj with this a har«l wood drill can be used, the hearth wasting away instead of the drill (fig. IG.) The absence of any fire slot, that is, the use of the central fire-hole, is worthy of notice in this locality. I have only observed its use in various parts of the Eskimo area, from East Greenland to Kadiak ; olitside of this range I have not noticed it anywhere else among the presewt tribp^ pf the world. From dgr