A couple of years ago I posted an article on tinder boxes showing images of a heart shaped one. Recently I found a wall hanging oak Tinder Box I thought I would share some images of it. It's early 1800's example made from oak, with the sides made from a lovely curly/burr oak and front with an inlaid pannel. Note the divided interior.
Tinder boxes was used to store steel,flint and dried tinder, these were needed to start a fire. Steel was held in one hand and was struck by a piece of flint, the sparks that resulted were directed onto dry tinder, which would then hopefully create flames. Wooden tinder boxes hence were not the first choice of material due to the box itself having the potential to catch fire.
Only a few antique treen/wooden tinder boxes were made they were usually rectangular in shape initially dug out from a piece of wood with a sliding lid, slightly later boxes were wall hanging, divided into two unequal sizes compartments. In the larger compartment flint, steel, tinder and sulphur matches were stored and in the smaller compartment known as the hearth the spark was kindled. Sometimes there is a small lid for the hearth which was used to put out any glowing tinder,. They were often stored near the kitchen hearth to keep the contents dry, many are found scorched from the fire or from spark production. Look out for signs of carbonisation on the interior of the boxes. Finding a wooden tinder box is not common preferred materials were metal and the metal canister type were popular in the 18th century. these canisters had a candle socket on the lid and storage of the flint, steel etc inside.