Two Chuckmucks
Two Chuckmucks

Exhibitor : Pat Stevens

I hope that fellow phillumenists will excuse my wide interpretation of phillumeny (literal definition – lover of light) to include the ancient fire lighting devices known as Chuckmucks.

Chuckmucks come from the Himalayan region, Tibet, Mongolia and Northern China. They usually consist of an approximately rectangular leather pouch closed at the top by a flap, with a ring in the fold to suspend from a belt and a long steel with a curved edge fixed to the bottom.

Chuckmucks are used to carry the means to start a fire, using a flint and some tinder carried inside the pouch, and would be utilised either at home or as part of a nomadic life.

It has been difficult to find a date at which they started being used but following a literature search I believe they have been in use in their basic form for at least 3 centuries.

For decoration engraved plates of brass, iron or very occasionally precious metals are rivetted to the front and sometimes back of the pouch.

Below are some more images of Chuckmucks, with a ruler alongside to show their actual size. Click on an image to enlarge it. The final image is of two extremely well used examples that must have been used many thousands of times – if only they could tell their story !

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