Page:Firemaking Apparatus in the U.S. National Museum.djvu/59

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FIRE-MAKING APPARATUS. 571

irjcbes, tilltbe wood begins to be ground off and made to go into a little 

heap at the end of the groove; then he gradually accelerates the speed and moves with a shorter range until, wheu he pushes the stick with great velocity, the brown dust ignites. This is allowed to glow and if it is required to be transferred to dry leaves or chips of wood it is done by means of a tinder made of frayed or worn tapa cloth. The groove (fig. 43a) is the most characteristic feature of this appara- tus, there being apparently no definite form of implements for this pur- pose. Fire is made on any billet of dry wood that is available. It is not necessary to cut a slot, or even a groove, the hard wood rubber will form one, so that there is no more need of apparatus than among the Navajos, where two bits of yucca stalk collected near by form the tire tools. That making fire by this way is difficult to those inexperienced in it is not strange. Mr. Darwin found it quite so, but at last succeeded. The Samoan gets fire in forty seconds, and so great is the friction and the wood so well adapted that Mr. Austin, before quoted, says it some- times actually bursts into flame. The Australians in some parts use a method very much like the one described. They rub a knife of wood along a groove made in another stick previously filled with tinder.* IV.— PERCUSSION. . FLINT AND PYRITES. Ac pi'imnm silici scintillaui excndit Achates Suscepitque iguum foliis atque arida circuni Nntriinenta dedifc, rapuitquo in foinile llammani. (.Eiieid B. 1, 174-17G.) One of the oldest methods of fire-making that we know of is, that by the percussion of tiint and pyrites. It is believed to have been the original discovery, if there is any difference in the difficulties of con- ception and execution in either of the inventions, it lies in favor of the sticks of wood. The distribution of the flint and pyrites method, both in time and place, is very interesting. Mr. Evans, in his epoch-making work, Ancient Stone Implements," page 14, remarks that the name of pyrites {Ttof), fire) is itself sufficient evidence of the purpose to which the mineral was applied in ancient times. Whatever the fact is in Koman history, the Eskimo calls pyrites firestone, some Indjan tribes call flint fire- stono, the German name for flint is feuerstein, and it is a reasonable supposition that whatever people nsed flint or quartz, pj^rites, or other forms of iron ore for making fire, would call the stone firestone The statement of Pliny that fire was first struck out of flint by Pyrode, the son of Oilix, Mr. Evans thinks, is a myth which points to the use of silox and pyrites, rather than to steel. " R IinmgliSiuit.li. — The Aborigines of Vicfnii;). London, 1878. I, j). :{*.)!.