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STRIKING A LIGHT.
In the new edition of Mason’s “Burma” we read that among other uses to which the bamboo is applied, not the least useful is that of producing fire by friction. For this purpose a joint of thoroughly dry bamboo is selected, about 11/2 inches in diameter, and this joint is then split in halves. A ball is now prepared by scraping off shavings from a perfectly dry bamboo, and this ball being placed on some firm support, as a fallen log or piece of rock, one of the above halves is held by its ends firmly down on it, so that the ball of soft fiber is pressed with some force against its inner or concave surface. Another man now takes a piece of bamboo a foot long or less, and shaped with a blunt edge, something like a paper knife, and commences a sawing motion backward and forward across the horizontal piece of bamboo, and just over the spot where the ball of soft fiber is held. The motion is slow at first, and by degrees a groove is formed, which soon deepens as the motion increases in quickness. Soon smoke arises, and the motion is now made as rapid as possible, and by the time the bamboo is cut through not only smoke but sparks are seen, which soon ignite the materials of which the ball beneath is composed. The first tender spark is now carefully blown, and when well alight the ball is withdrawn, and leaves and other inflammable materials heaped over it, and a fire secured. This is the only method that I am aware of for procuring fire by friction in Burma, but on the hills and out of the way parts, that philosophical toy, the “pyrophorus,” is still in use. This consists of a short joint of a thick woody bamboo, neatly cut, which forms a cylinder. At the bottom of this a bit of tinder is placed, and a tightly-fitting piston inserted composed of some hard wood. The tube being now held in one hand, or firmly supported, the piston is driven violently down on the tinder by a smart blow from the hand, with the result of igniting the tinder beneath.