Fire-piston contained in a walking stick

PART OF:
Bryant and May collection of fire-making appliances.
Made:
Bow
Fire-piston contained in a walking stick (fire-piston)

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Fire-piston (or "fire-syringe") contained in a walking-stick of dark-red mahogany or rosewood, turned to represent a cane; length 2 ft. 5 1/2 in (but reduced from about 2 ft 10 ins by burning, through use by a former owner as a fire-poker); diam of knob 1 1/2 in, tapering (formerly) to about 1/2 in at lower end; knob unscrews, disclosing a compartment for holding a store of tinder (amadou), with a winged thumb-screw of brass for holding the tinder in position; the uppermost 2 1/2 ins forming the handle, is provided with a projecting tube or cylinder of brass (length 3 ins, diam 1/2 in) whch draws out of the centre of the cane; this tube covers a projection having a perforated screw-on cap intended, apparently, to hold a small fragment of amadou; the walking-stick represents Lorentz's English patent no. 3008 of 1807, but with variations (doubtless improvements suggested by experience); it is operated by inserting a small piece of amadou beneath the screw-on cap, drawing out the tube to almost its full length, then driving it in again sharply by a sudden blow of the point on the ground, and instantly withdrawing it completely, when the tinder is found to be aglow; this stick belonged formerly to Mr. John Walter (1775-1848), a prominent townsman of Bromley, Kent, and afterwards to his son, Mr. James Birch Walter (1805-1891), also a prominent townsman of Bromley, who could remember seeing his father use it to light his "Churchwarden" pipe; given by the latter to Mr. William Baxter, also of Bromley, from whom it was acquired in 1927; specimen probably unique. England.

Details

Category:
Firemaking
Object Number:
1937-682/1232
Materials:
mahogany (wood), brass (copper, zinc alloy) and rosewood
type:
fire-piston
credit:
Wilkinson Sword Ltd.