Lightning and fire making
For a smoke you need a fire. The oldest way is to strike a fire with flint and iron. The spark lights a piece of tinder that lights on its turn a chip of wood. Flint and iron are known since ages and from all cultures around the world. 18th century Europe provided beautiful tinderboxes, with inlays of mother-of-pearl.
Much more practical is the fidibus, a folded piece of paper used to bring fire to the pipe, presented in a special fidibus-holder. These porcelain vases are painted with the popular early 19th century images, but also glass examples exist.
Later in the 19th century the match is invented, not yet in the well-known chip or card board box, but in specially designed boxes of ceramic, glass or even silver and agate, always fitted with a rough surface to strike the match. This rough part could be on an unobtrusive place such as the bottom or under the cover.
Around 1900 the ‘striker’ is invented, the early phase of the lighter, soon followed by the benzin lighter. When the flint lighter is well developed, the number and choice in shapes gets endless, from just functional to streamline or even figurative.
All these modern ways of producing fire makes an end to the old custom to use a brazier, a kind of ash-pan to hold small pieces of charcoal, used commonly since the 17th century. The ashtray is the new functional item for cigar and cigarette smokers.
Amsterdam Pipe Shop is specialized in collectors items on pipes