Flint striking - Natural
Flint owes its name to the fact that you can start a fire with its help. When flint and metals or ferruginous pyrite or marcasite are struck against each other at the appropriate angle, sparks are created that can be used to make fire. This fact was already known to our ancestors in the Stone Age. However, this was by far not the only or most important purpose for which it was used.
"Stone Age lighter"
Until the advent of matches in the 19th century, steel and stone were used as lighters. Such a "Stone Age lighter" consisted of a flint, easily combustible powder or easily ignited fibrous material, usually tinder, and pyrite or marcasite. The actual fire producing stone was the pyrite or marcasite or later the steel.
- real hammered flint
- per stone
Versatile use through the ages
Flint was used as early as the Stone Age to make cutting tools and weapons. Then, from the 16th to the 19th century, it was used as a firing aid in flintlock rifles. The stone was struck at high speed on a piece of iron. The sparks created by this process ignited the black powder.
Today it is used as a polishing and abrasive material, but also for making very special blades for surgical scalpels.
Stone Age people were masters at making cutting and other sharp tools from the easily cleavable and malleable rock, and over the millennia they perfected their percussive techniques for working this important raw material. Flint was, in a sense, the precursor to steel.
It began in the Paleolithic Age, initially with coarse scrapers or hand wedges made from this raw material. These did not yet have handles, but were grasped and guided with the whole hand. In the Neolithic period, knives, drills and axes were already known, which were embedded in wooden handles. For the processing one used different impact techniques - depending upon, which one wanted to manufacture from it. The stone-age craftsmen mastered these different techniques perfectly and reached in many places in the Neolithic an extraordinarily high degree of skill in the processing of this material.
Flint was already mined with the simplest of means in Stone Age mines, in some cases even underground. In Europe, about a hundred such stone mines are known. Traders then brought it to areas where there were no natural deposits. On the basis of flint finds, archaeologists are able to reconstruct Stone Age trade routes, since objects made of this rock are preserved almost for eternity.
Chemically, flint consists mainly of silicon dioxide and water. Its color when fresh is usually light gray to black, but it can also be gray, brown or greenish or, very rarely, red. When weathered, it becomes milky. It often has an onion-like structure.
Weathered silicate rock, but also organic components like coccolithophores, diatoms and radiolarians, were the source material of this rock.
Occurrence of the flint
Flint is mostly found near the coast, but can also be found as relics of the ice age, due to transport in glacial ice, in sedimentary rocks inland.
Try to start a fire with our chipping iron and a flint from our store like our ancestors did in the Stone Age and in the century before last!
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