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Tinder pistol in egg-shaped case, Japanese, 1700-1850.

Richardson, Claire

Tinder pistol in egg-shaped case, Japanese, 1700-1850.
4 0 c m
actual image size: 23cm x 32cm


A tiny Japanese tinder pistol in an egg-shaped, fenestrated, pierced metal case with twin arms and twin steel. This device has been ingeniously adapted from a Japanese netsuke (a toggle used to fasten a Japanese kimono or pouch). Tinder pistols were used to make flame. As in contemporary firearms, when triggered a piece of flint sprang against steel to create a spark which ignited a charge of gunpowder. This in turn set fire to a piece of tinder. Tinder pistols were expensive and were owned only by a small and wealthy minority of households. They were often converted by a gunsmith from ordinary pistols.

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© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library

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