S/2071 Antique Treen 18th Century Oak Tinder Box
A good mid 18th century solid oak tinder box, having a sliding lid and two compartments to the interior, one for dried tinder and the other smaller and carbonised from lighting the fire. The whole has a good rich dark colour and fine patination.
Tinder boxes were used to store steel, flint and dried tinder, these were needed to start a fire. The steel was held in one hand and was struck by a piece of flint, the sparks that resulted were directed onto a dry tinder, which would then create flames. Wooden tinder boxes therefore were not the first choice of material due to the box itself having the potential to catch fire. A few antique wooden tinder boxes were made and were usually rectangular in shape, initially dug out from a piece of wood with a sliding lid, slightly later boxes were wall hanging and divided into two unequal sized compartments as in this instance. 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.
5½ in. (14 cm.) Wide
3¼ in. (8.5 cm.) Deep
12¼ in. (31 cm.) High
English Circa 1750