Wheel-lock tinder boxes, 16th and 17th century.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The wheel-lock tinder box applies the principle of guns and pistols of the 15th century to a mechanism which could light tinder wood. As in firearms, when the tinder box is triggered, a piece of flint springs against steel to create a spark which ignites a charge of gunpowder. This in turn enables a piece of tinder to be set alight. The object above is a 17th century example of a wheel-lock tinder box from England, the more ornate steel and gilded bras tinder box is 16th century German. From the Bryant and May collection of firemaking at the Science Museum, London.