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Wednesday 21 September 2011

The Sulphur match

We went out recently and had a go at making some sulphur matches, not that we intend to use them very often but we like the historical/pioneer type ideology that allows us to light fires. It takes us back not to primitive ways which quite often can be conjecture but to historical time periods when fact is more definable, anyway,

Firstly melt some sulphur on the fire ashes, don't let naked flame near this and don't breathe in the fumes ( this was a common way of poaching pheasants in years gone by!)

When the sulphur has melted dip a small stick in the liquid and allow to dry, ( probably best not to use both ends like we did)

Once it's dry a sulpur match will need to have a significant heat source to ignite it, unless you tip it with Phosphorus (a la 19th century match girls with no teeth!) the traditional way was with a slow match

The sulphur will blacken, bubble ..

..then ignite, not always a practical solution to fire starting but to those interested in historical techniques it's nice to play around with..


  1. Great insight... I repeat myself, for I posted a similar reply on some minute ago... all about fire making is highly welcome to me, for I am an absolute beginner in that! Thanks a lot!

  2. In the 18th century these were called spunks. They were mostly used in town houses to take fire from smouldering tinder in a tinderlighter or from a tinderbox to light fires & candles.

    Be careful not to use too much sulphur on the splint, because they can drip fire!

    Good post.

  3. Very interesting post Le Loup, thanks for that.