Page:Firemaking Apparatus in the U.S. National Museum.djvu/58

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


570 REPORT OF NATIONAL MUSEUM, 1888. So in Australia, while the rotary drill is the usual way, some tribes have acquired the art of producing fire with knife or rubber, that is, the sawing method presumably under foreign influence.* III.— FIRE-MAKING BY PLOWING. One of the most marked of fire-making methods in its distribution is that pursued by the Pacific Islanders, confined almost entirely to the '^ Polynesian cultural area. It has spread to other ] islands, however, being met with among the Negritos I of :N^ew Britain: I « They rub a sharpened piece of hard stick against the inside I of a piece of dried split bamboo. This has a natural dust that I soon ignites. They use soft wood wheu no bamboo can be pro- cured, but it takes longer to ignite. The flame is fed with grass. t I There is a close connection between the Malay saw- I ing method and this, as there is a decided Malay pre- I ponderance in the make-up of the population of the Islands. The fire-sticks shown (fig. 43) were procured by Mr. Harold M. Sewall, at Samoa, and deposited in the museum by him. The wood is a light corky variety, probably of the Hibiscus tiliacus, which is used for this purpose at Tahiti, or i)erhaps it is of the paper mulberry. The rubber may be of some hard wood, although fire may be nnide by means of a rubber of the same kind of wood as that of the hearth, though no doubt it requires a longer time to make fire if this is done. In the Sand- wich Islands, Mr. Franklin Hale Austin, secretary of the King, states that the rubber is of koh or o/w«, that is, hard wood and the hearth of Jion^ or soft wood, and the friction is always in soft woods; this is true, 1 believe, everywhere this method is practiced, in spite of the fact that a sol't rubber on hard wood will answer as well. Lieut. William I. Moore, U. S. I^^avy, gave the writer a complete description of the manipulation of the 8a- moai) fire-getting ap|)aratus. The blunt pointed stick is taken between the clasped hands, somewhat as one takes apen, and projected forward from the body along the groove at the greatest frictional angle consistent with the forward motion which has been found to be from 40 to 45 degrees. Kneeling on the stick the man forces the rubber forward, slowly at first, with a range of perhaps Fis:. 43. FiKR-MAKiNo Sticks (aSHOVViis'o GuoovK). (Cat. No. h, U. .S. .. M. .Samoil. neiKJ.siteil by Harold M. .Sewall.)

  • R. Brough Smith.— The Aborigines of Victoria,

t W. Powell. —Wanderings in a Wild Country. Loudou, lrt;8. 1, y. 393. p. 206.