Carrying slowmatch

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Dave B
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Carrying slowmatch

Post by Dave B »

I came accross a reference to medieval gunners on the march carrying lit slowmatch in some sort of a tube hung from the belt, both to light the guns and for firestarting.

THis seems feasable as match can be made which will stay alight and burn at maybe 2" an hour out of the wind, and once blown on you could light stuff with it. maytbe you could carry a 6" length and light another peice when stopped for a break every couple of hours?

I'm perhaps picturing something like an oversized brass needle holder of the tubular type where the carrying thong holds the lid on, like this pewter one which is a repro but I understand is based on a museum of london orgional

Image

The thing is something like this would be jolly usefull for a gunner, saves all that hiding the zippo stuff at gunnery demos. However I don't just want to make up a design and create another re-enactment myth, so has anyone any sources for a 'real' one.
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Post by Phil the Grips »

Keith Piggot (man of many, many bangstick toys) uses one on his belt- a 4" long, wooden, open ended, "thimble" with small holes drilled through the sides to allow a breeze to keep the match going yet not blow it out.

Every now and again he pushes it through as it burns away and seemed to keep him going for a good while.

When he needed it he just pushed the glowing tip out, blew on it a bit and used it.

However I remember him saying that this little bit of saucy kit was C17th.
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Post by Dave B »

Does anyone know if Slowmatch requires air or not? I guess from the cheimistry it is theoretically possible with enough saltpeter it wouldn't?

Of course this as a real lazy post as theres slowmatch in the gunners box under the stairs and jamjars in the kitchen
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Post by Dave B »

Dave B wrote:slowmatch in the gunners box under the stairs and jamjars in the kitchen


It goes out right away. You could have told me that couldn't you!
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Post by mally ley »

Careful everyone - he's talking to himself. Should he be allowed near black powder :shock:

On a practical level, I'm fascinated by the idea of the wooden thimble. Years ago I had a bit of slow match in a basket, took light from a spark from a nearby fire and by the time I found it (basket behind me, talking to kids about making candles, kids starting to get agitated - took ages for them to pluck up the courage to tell me the basket was on fire!) it had started to eat it's way into the withies/canes/whatever the basket was made of (only other damage small hole in spare shift).
Intrigued to know how the match didn't slowly eat away at the thimble and how he carried it so the match didn't scorch his clothes (I know, occupational hazard for a gunner ...)

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Post by Phil the Grips »

There was about a 12" length of match with the burning end tucked inside the thimble and the other end tucked into his belt to stop it falling through/keep it out of the way. The thimble hung from his belt on a thong and it protected his clothes.

I can only assume that some degree of "disposability" was expected of the thimble after a while but it seemed sturdy enough to do the job, if a little charred at the bottom edge.
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Post by John Waller »

There is a match case illustrated in Adminadversions of Warre by Robert Ward pub 1639. Basically a foot-long tin tube 'the hollownesse of it was of sufficient bigness to hold the match within it; it had also divers holes on either side, like the holes of a flute.....'. Ward credits the invention to the Prince of Orange and says it was to prevent discovery during night attacks.
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Post by Alan_F »

Dave B wrote:Does anyone know if Slowmatch requires air or not? I guess from the cheimistry it is theoretically possible with enough saltpeter it wouldn't?


Dave, it's burning, and one of the three things fire needs is oxygen. If you drop me a pm, I can send you details of how I got it going and ways to keep it going - it can actually stop burning

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Post by John Waller »

If anyone needs saltpetre for making match I can supply at £5.00 a kilo. Delivery in person only.
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Post by Dave B »

Alan_F wrote:
Dave, it's burning, and one of the three things fire needs is oxygen.


True, but blackmatch burns quicker without oxygen, which is why quickmatch is blackmatch wrapped to keep out air. and my chemistry sucks

John Waller wrote:If anyone needs saltpetre for making match I can supply at £5.00 a kilo. Delivery in person only.


Also very usefull for making serous smoke effects!

I just use bought in match so far, it's so cheap and good quality it hardly seems worth the trouble.
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Post by John Waller »

[quote="Dave B
I just use bought in match so far, it's so cheap and good quality it hardly seems worth the trouble.[/quote]

Not as cheap as making your own particularly when you are making a couple of hundred metres at a time as I do!

If you are buying match, chances are that it is made with my saltpetre as I sell to a number of suppliers.

Agree ref smoke effects.

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Post by Nigel »

Gon forward a lot have alooka t Malburain match cases as issued to grenadiers

similar principal
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Post by Neibelungen »

I've a number of patterns of 18th C Matchcases, from Ligonier, and canadian forts. plus a single example from 1800. All were brass with airholes drilled in them.

Seems they were made from about at least 18g sheet, about 1.2mm and in one case 2mm, which is pretty substantial, but then it would help dissapate any heat better than something thinner. Used, wooden, iron or brass stoppers which pinched the cord as it passed through them to stop it falling out.

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