How did medieval people light fires?

The simple answer to this question is by striking flint and steel. Lighting a fire was a big deal in the middle ages–both incredibly common place and sometimes not that easy to do if the conditions weren’t right. Fires were kept lit in houses all the time and woe to the child who was supposed to be watching it and it went out 🙂 Lots about medieval fire lighting here:  http://www.sthubertsrangers.org/making_fire.htm Even more here:  “Since matches did not become available until the mid-1800’s, prior to that time people had to make fires in other ways. The two most common methods of fire-making before the advent of matches were friction and percussion.”  http://www.vikinganswerlady.com/fire.shtml “A fire striker (or fire steel) is a piece of high carbon or alloyed steel from which sparks are struck by the sharp edge of chert or similar Read more…

The Invention of the Chimney

Maybe this seems like a strange topic for a blog post, but I’m sitting here by my nice warm fire, typing into my laptop, while it’s about 15 degrees outside (F).  I am not a medieval person, but I hate being cold and get grumpy if my house is below 68 degrees (and with the fire, I can get it a lot warmer than that). Round huts in which many early peoples lived did not have chimneys. They had fire pits in the center of the room, with or without a hole in the roof for the smoke to leave. According to the re-enactors at the National Museum of Wales, not having a hole wasn’t as bad as it sounds. The smoke did gradually filter through the thatch, and in so doing, had multiple benefits for the inhabitants of the Read more…