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.

Traditional fire steel of hardened iron found as archaeologial object near Amsterdam, 1650-1700. Fire steel with the usual historic shape, along the side some printed motives. The Netherlands, 1750-1850.
Fire steel with straight steel to strike the fire, the ends traditionally bent backwards. The Netherlands, 1750-1850.
Simple fire steel in hardened iron, a shape to fit in the tinder box. The Netherlands, 1750-1850.
Large fire steel of the traditional type meant to be used at home. The Netherlands, 1750-1850.
A modern fire steel and not resembling the traditional Burgundy types. Belgium, 1800-1850.
Cover to make fire containing a small fire steel on a chain, a piece of flint and a piece of cloth. France, 1800-1900.
Fire steel from a type that is more Asian than European, along the rim a carved decoration is made before the ironis hardened. Afganistan?, 1850-1920.
Rectangular flint stones used in the rifles to make fire. The Netherlands, 1650-1700.
An early tinder box in wood with brass bands, archaeological find from Amsterdam, 1750-1800.
A typical Dutch tinder box in wood decorated with brass parts and mother of pearl inlays. The Netherlands, dated 1794.
A simple cilindrical tinder box in brass with lids on both ends. The Netherlands, 1800-1850.
A beautiful and luxourious match box in agate mounted in pomponne with engraved rims, the bottom roughened to strike the match. France, 1870-1900.
Two Dutch brass tinder boxes of the most common type, the chain served to hang them on the wall. The Netherlands, 1860-1900.
Match box of embossed silver with a cartouche showing a monogramme, a spring in the lid and the bottom roughened to strike the match. France, 1880-1900.
Match box shaped like a cigar case but smaller, the bottom in roughened to strike the match, the lid opens with a spring. France, 1860-1890.
A so called striker, a box containing lightning cloth in benzin that starts burning when the metal is scratched against the side of the instrument. England, 1900-1915.
Benzin lighter placed in a moulded metal holder shaped like a Chinese man. China, 1930-1950. Another amusing lighter showing a Chinese person holding the benzin lighter. China, 1930-1950.
Pirmitive lighter consisting of a fuse that is knotted and a flint on the top in the metal holder. Germany, 1900-1940.
A match stand shaped like a fidibus holder in blue ceramic, the base is roughened to strike a match. England, 1840-1870.
A match holder in porcelain with a transferprint in encre-de-chine style of the stock exchange by Zocher on Dam square in Amsterdam. Germany, 1870-1890.
Fidibus holder meant for the folded papers to light a cigar or a pipe. Germany for the Dutch market, 1840-1850.
Porcelain match stand shaped like a Dutch extinguisher on three claw feet, painted with flowers againtst a black surface. Germany, 1870-1900. Square match stand on four ball feet, against a light blue field leaves and flowers in Autumn colors. Germany, Bohemia, 1880-1910.
A beautiful match stand in opaline glass with painting in blue and gold of a flower in an ornamental frame. France, 1860-1890.
A gift box with a mosaic of matches, packed in a card board box covered with art deco styled printed paper. France, 1915-1930.
The earlierst type of brazier of red-brown unglazed ceramic on three feet and with a small stem as handle. The Netherlands, 1620-1650.
A silver pipe brazier with sawwork along the border and on a blackened wooden stand. Zutphen, Roessingh, 1790-1800. Beautiful silver pipe brazier navicular shaped and decorated, the four slim feet end on a wooden tray. The Netherlands, 1835-1845. Rectangular silver pipe brazier with red copper inner bowl on a rectangular foot in rose wood. The Netherlands, Schoonhoven, 1860-1870.
A miniature pipe brazier with copper inner bowl and wooden foot. The Netherlands, Schoonhoven, 1880-1900.
Brazier for a pipe smoker in brass and copper on a wooden stand with three ball feet. The Netherlands, 1780-1830.
Characteristic biedermeier brazier with an oval shape, the top border with pierced decoration, standing on three wooden feet. The Netherlands, 1830-1850.
A travel brazier with three handles, the coal burns on a dish, the ashes fall through the holes. Southern-Netherlands, 1860-1900.
Brazier in black painted tin with a copper inner bowl, some decorations in gold and bronze colors along the rims and in the corners. The Netherlands, 1830-1850.
A heavy and luxourious Biedermeier brazier in brass and copper, the base in wood with three feet. The Netherlands, 1840-1880. Brazier in brass on wooden foot with three feet as could be found in every Dutch househokld. The Netherlands, 1860-1900.

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