A mystery solved – Tinder tube

April 5, 2012

For years, I’ve been puzzling over a picture in the book, “Ancient Hungarians” as it is literally the only picture in the entire book that shows textile fragments.  In the picture, there is a strange metal object; a tube.  It looks unlike any textile tool I’ve ever seen.  Clearly, the authors were as stumped as I for the description of the object is as follows:

“Bronze tube bent of sheet metal.  One end tapers slightly, while the other is hammered flat with a cicular projection and a performation.  The remains of twisted threads were found in its interior.  its function eludes interpretation.”

This past week I had the opportunity to spend time with wonderful friends who are also European viking reenactors and merchants.  My friend had a very similar hand-crafted tube for sale in his merchant booth and explained its use to me.  It is a tinder tube, used with a fire striker to hold an ember for fire starting.    If you google tinder tube or char rope, you’ll come across all kinds of survivalist sites and youtube videos demonstrating how to make and use a tinder tube.

I think this Hungarian tinder tube was suspended from the belt with a leather thong along with a fire striker and perhaps a small leather pouch containing the flint.

 

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