Steel striker – it’s time for fire starting!

Steel Striker Fire Starting

We all cherish in our hearts the childhood memories of springtime trips to the countryside with our parents, when the only way to return to civilization involved a lengthy journey by car. That's why every trip you took to the countryside became a really big and exciting adventure, filled with hot, sweet tea from a Thermos flask and sandwiches that were somehow extra tasty when enjoyed alongside the beauty of nature. Such trips were always real holidays, as children would often get away with a lot more than they would if they were in the city. You might have played baseball or with a flying disc, or even pretended to have been Native Americans waging war against hostile tribes and hiding in the trees from your parents, or perhaps you used to build a den from dry spring sticks and twigs... But, your camping trip simply wouldn't be complete without the opportunity to use a steel striker fire starting kit to make a real, primitive campfire. "Matches are not a children's toy!" became a popular saying sometime during the 20th century, but when in the countryside, parents can supervise their children as they safely learn how to use a steel striker and a fire starting kit to make a campfire. Way back when, lighters were not particularly commonly found, and not everyone even owned a car. At this time, being able to start a fire using a single match was a source of immense pride for children just beginning to learn about all the different camping skills required when out in the country.

Since then, much has changed. Cars are no longer a luxury. You'd think that the countryside ought to have become more accessible and thus more frequently visited by families out on picnic trips but, for some reason, this didn't happen. The current generation of kids are no longer encouraged to make foam boats with matchstick masts and paper sails to race on the stormy waters of springtime. Nor will you see kids rushing into a lake to swim anymore. These boats, as well as other such toys that we might have invented and played with as children, have become supplanted by tablet computers, cartoons and computer games.

Primitive fire starting with a steel striker

It's not all doom and gloom, however, as one thing remains that continues to fascinate children and adults alike. This one thing is something that has been passed down to us through the depths of the ages - the ancient tool known as the steel striker. Despite the great importance of steel strikers when out on a camping trip or during a outdoor survival situation, very few people have even an inkling of a real steel striker actually is. Even fewer know what one looks like or what makes it an essential component of any fire starting kit.

It wouldn't be a mistake to say that steel strikers are truly ancient. In times long since past, they were considered magical in all the senses of the word, for they were the only reliable tool for primitive fire starting and were used as talismans to ward off impure forces. Steel strikers were carried on one's person at all times, and all efforts were made to look after them. Losing your steel striker would have been a tragedy. As if to give thanks for their gentle and reverent attitude, a steel striker would serve its master regularly for years, perhaps even decades. They were even passed down from generation to generation. Many different steel strikers have been found on the sites of medieval settlements dating back to the 14th to 15th centuries. Those steel strikers that we've been lucky enough to hold in our hands have proven to be still useful for fire starting, producing sparks even though the last fire they were used to start would have been extinguished long, long ago.

Forged steel striker

So, what did a typical steel striker also referred to as firesteel look like? It would have been forged by a blacksmith and more than likely would have consisted of a 6-12 centimeter-long metal plate with beautifully twisted edges. Upon striking the sharp edge of a stone (typically flint) with such a steel striker, a burst of sparks would have been produced. It is these sparks that hold the secret to starting a fire. They are hot enough to cause tinder to smoulder. Such tinder often would have been made from birch tinder fungus, which could easily be used to catch a spark. A smouldering piece of tinder could be fanned in order to produce an ember, which would provide a source of heat to dry kindling, such as bark, dry grass or moss. Thus, the dry kindling would catch ablaze. This event was considered nothing short of wondrous, and the miracle of fire starting with a steel striker is something that strikes awe into our hearts even today.

You might be wondering whether steel strikers still exist to this day. The answer is both yes and no. At the beginning of the 20th century, steel strikers began to disappear, leaving in their wake only the kinds used in the military. Even these began to fall out of widespread use in the postwar years as first petrol- and then gas-fuelled lighters were used instead. The steel striker in its original form ceased to exist.

Much of what has been consigned to oblivion, for whatever reason, is now being resurrected. Artists are preparing oil paints according to old recipes, and musical instruments are being reconstructed according to drawings and descriptions to once again take their place on the musical stave and play long-forgotten medieval melodies. Fortunately, we can say the same thing for ancient steel strikers, which are still being forged by blacksmiths throughout Europe.

Can we still start a fire using a forged steel striker nowadays? Of course we can! Even though it seems as if the magic of primitive fire starting lies in the past, has the tool that so faithfully served our forefathers lost its arcane power? Of course not! Adults and children alike can easily learn how to start a fire with a steel striker. All it takes is a little practice.

It's best to practise in the countryside, and if you're not already in the middle of planning your next picnic trip, you'd better get started! You should definitely gather together all of your friends and family, and don't forget to take a fire starting kit with you. Make sure that your kit contains a forged steel striker, a piece of flint, some tinder, a bundle of dry kindling and . Make sure you look into public transportation as well, just in case you end up with so many guests that they don't fit into your car! Your trip will undoubtedly turn out to be an unforgettable, memorable and exciting countryside adventure. Perhaps it'll be the beginning of a wonderful new family tradition!

Steel Strikers for Sale

Steel Striker Fire Starting Kits for Sale

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