If you have a fireplace in your home, chances are you have a gas line that helps you get it going. If you don't, you probably have some nifty long matches, a lighter and a stack of newspaper on the hearth. But what if you got lost in the wintry woods without a match or lighter? What if you washed ashore on a deserted island, soaked to the bone? You may not think so, but it could happen to you -- just ask Tom Hanks. His movie character used wits and determination to survive in
There are many methods you can use to start a fire without a match. Some are easier than others, and they all require a bit of practice. If you're an outdoor enthusiast, it's a good idea to practice some of these techniques when you go camping. It can help build your confidence in the great outdoors -- and it's a lot of fun.
A match is a combustible tool for lighting a fire in controlled circumstances. They are commonly sold by tobacconists and many other kinds of shops. Matches are usually sold in quantity, packaged in match boxes or matchbooks. A match is typically a wooden stick (typical in the case of match boxes) or stiff paper stick (in the case of matchbooks) coated at one end with a material which will ignite from the heat of friction if struck against a suitable surface. The lighting end of a match is known as the match head and, depending on type, either contains phosphorus or phosphorus sesquisulfide as the active ingredient and gelatin as a binder. There are two main types of matches: safety matches, which can be struck only against a specially prepared surface; and strike-anywhere matches, for which any suitably frictional surface can be used.
Historically, the term match referred to lengths of cord (later, cambric) impregnated with chemicals, and allowed to burn continuously. These were used to light fires and fire guns (see Matchlock) and cannons (see Linstock). Such matches were characterised by their burning speed i.e. quick match and slow match. Depending on formulation, slow match burns at a rate of around 30 cm (1 ft) per hour and quick match at 4 to 60 centimetres (1.6 to 24 in) per minute.