The manner of starting a fire in the earlier times was to strike flint on steel, either mechanically or by hand. Both home and traveler usually had a tinderbox containing a steel striker, piece of flint and charred cloth or tow (tinder) to catch the sparks and burn. This steel canister-style tinderbox was stated to have an American (New England) origin. Inside are two attractively wrought strikers and a small flint. These would have enabled a flame from the burning tinder so that a taper or candle could have been lit. The box itself has a circular carrying handle at the side and a fine small ring on the top of the lid. It has staining and very slight rust consistent with age and use and the lid is a tight fit. This would be an interesting item to use for a re-enactment or to add to a collection of fire and light antiques. Diameter approximately 4.5 ins (11cm) x height 2 ins (5cm). Weight 196 grams.
This item appears in my book, “Antique Boxes, Inside and Out” on page 75.
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