First Fire

10 04 2012

Written by Damian

Fire. The energy of life has been part of human life for a very long time, and I for one cannot imagine life without it. I was curious about how long ago humans began to use fire, and I found some recent discoveries concerning this point.

Archeologists have thought that Neanderthals were the first to use fire regularly, but they had no idea when that started. Recent discoveries however show that fire was in use a million years ago by the Homo erectus, far before Neanderthals. The discovery was made in Wonderwerk Cave in South Africa, showing burnt grasses, and bones, strewn around a crude fire pit. This is a fascinating discovery because this dates the use of fire back, thousands of years, making fire an even older asset than previously thought.

On a side note, I remember seeing the movie Cast Away, and wondering what other methods could have been used to start a fire, and what methods would be easiest. My reaserch shows the following:

  1. Friction Based Fire Method: where you have two sticks, spin one and use friction to create heat. This is a particularly grueling method, as it takes time and skin to reach the goal.
  2. Second Friction Based Fire Method: this time you have two sticks, but rather than spinning one, you move one stick up and down a grove cut into the other. This is a bit easier on the hands, but may take longer than spinning, as there is more area covered.
  3. String Spun Based Fire Method: this takes a the customary two sticks, as well as a string and curved stick. Set up like the first method, but then tie the string around the spinning log once so that when you pull on one side the stick spins. Tie each end to the curved stick and bow back and forth spinning the stick, thus creating fire.
  4. Flint and Steel Based Fire Method: take a good old piece of steel and use it to strike a piece of flint creating sparks. It may take a few hits to get the aim right, but soon you should have a fire blazing.
  5. The lens …etc… Method: Use a piece of glass, water filled balloon, piece of ice, or any other such lens like material, catch the sun’s rays and heat some kindling.
  6. Mirror Based Fire Method: get a parabolic mirror, the bottom of a pop can would work, and aim it at the sun. Put your tinder however far to get the focal point, and you should have fire.
  7. The wool Based Fire Method:  Grab a battery and some steel wool, put the two together and you should see fire within seconds.

The other method is to grab some matches, a lighter, a blowtorch, or some such fire making contraption and use that.

I hope this has been an enlightening read, getting the ol’ brain fired up again.




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