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  • The Fire Charmer

Where’s the lighter?


Anytime you get more than two fire performers together - this is the get ready question. Where’s the lighter? Who has a lighter? It’s shouted out through the back of the stage, bathrooms, patios, etc. Everyone checking their pockets, gear, backpacks, significant others, all for the precious Item that will make or break the show. Most performers will have a flame (candle or torch) that will burn for the length of the set, but it will still need to be lit. Sooner or later someone will come up with THE lighter.


More than likely, as a performer you’ll track down a disposable lighter. Always, have disposable lighters in your fire kit and on your person. At the minimum keep two because one will walk away. Buy them in brightly colored cases, to see them in the dark. Bringing you family heirloom lighter or a special lighter that your best friend got you as a gift is not a good idea. Try to put them back in the same place. The hectic pace of backstage has caused me to lose many lighter


The first opportunity for me to use a lighter happened when our kerosene heater’s firing element stopped working. I was 8/9 years old and had to get the wick soaked and then light a piece of paper and stick it into the chamber and light the wick. As with my start in fire performing this was and is unsafe. It took me sometime to get the right rhythm to flip the wheel to strike the flint on the metal to create a spark. Eventually, I got the hang of it and a callus on my thumb.


Wiki History:The first lighters were actually converted pistols that used gun powder. Another type was invented by the German chemist named Johann Wolfgang Döbereiner in 1823 and was often called Döbereiner's lamp. Ferrocerium which was often misidentified as flint was patented by Carl Auer von Welsbach in 1903 has made modern lighters possible. Ronson were able to develop practical and easy to use lighters using Welsbach’s Flint. In 1910, Ronson released the first Pist-O-Liter, and in 1913, the company developed its first lighter, called the "Wonderlite" During WWl soldiers started to create lighters of empty cartridge cases. During that time one of the soldiers came up with a means to insert a chimney cap with holes in it to make it more windproof.


The Zippo lighter and company were invented and founded by George Grant Blaisdell in 1932. Most early Zippos used naphtha as a fuel source. In the 1950s, there was a switch in the fuel of choice from naphtha to butane, for a controllable flame and has less odour. Today, most of the world's lighters are produced in France, the United States, China and Thailand.


When performing, I light a candle to burn during my performance in case my fire tool’s flame gets extinguished with a gust of air. Some prefer small citronella lamps. Others will light directly from a lighter. It’s a personal choice. Even though lighters are small, the potential to cause damage in the wrong hands is possible. Always take care of your equipment and properly extinguish flames from any flame source.


Burn Brightly,

Aneaj



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