Documenting Charcloth

Posted in Documentation at 6:21 am by jtsblog

Steve M_ emailed me asking if we had run across documentation for charred cloth being used as tinder in the 18th century.
I have to admit he had me stumped for a bit. Charred linen is a given as tinder and can be a bit of difficult to find reference to: as most things just say tinder and don’t bother to explain it unless it is unusual and not make of charred cloth.

But with a bit of digging I found this. It is early but at least gives us something to work with.

Oxford English Dictionary 1971 edition.

Tinder (many alternate spellings one of which is tendre)
Any inflammable substance that readily take fire from spark and burns or moulders; esp. that prepared from partially charred linen and from species of Polyporus or corkwood fungus…..

( I thought it interesting that charred linen was specifically mentioned in the definition.)
(Of course, the best part is that the OED has word etymologies.)

tendre 1541 R. Copland GUYDON’S QUEST “They be made of softe tendre as of olde lynen cloth.”

It contains lots of other interesting references including early references to fungus used as tinder. Even fungus being called “German Tinder”.
If you have documentation for charred linen used as tinder in the 18th century speak up.

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