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Tree sponge (Fomitopsis pinicola)
Tree sponge (Fomitopsis pinicola)

The production of tinder


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In the Black Forest, tinder or fire sponge manufacture went hand in hand with the brush industry in the days when no one knew anything about matches. At that time, a linen rag soaked in oil was used to make a fire, and it was lying in a tin can. Over the can, a flint was held and sparks were struck with steel. The tinder then took the place of the linen cloth.

The tinder was also used as a hemostatic agent. Due to its softness and lightness, it was also suitable for making hats, which were often worn in the country. A gown for the bishop of Freiburg was even made from a particularly large tinder. The tinder comes from the mushroom fungus (Polyporus fomentarius) or the willow sponge (Polyporus ignarius), which parasitizes on beeches, oaks, linden, willow, ash and other trees and was often found in the Black Forest and the Eifel in the past. When these areas were no longer productive, this raw material was allowed to come from Hungary, Transylvania and southern Slavia in bales of four hundredweight each. The sponge resulted in pieces the size of a fist, even quite sizeable plates.

In the years 1811 to 1814 there were 4 to 6 “Zundelmakers” in Todtnau, but this branch of industry was only operated later. Two of the three tinder factories in Baden were in Todtnau. One was founded by Franz Josef Faller in 1827, the other by Konrad Kirner in 1834. They did lively business and gave many residents a decent income. With great fear they guarded the secret of the preparation. The dry, hard, solid mass was made smooth by long boiling in a lye and then boiled in hydrochloric acid. The pieces intended for hemostasis were not soaked. The tinder was colored darker according to desire and taste. A piece worked in this way was then often enlarged tenfold by tapping it, which gave it a spongy appearance, was dried in the sun or in the oven and then kneaded by hand and then pulled. Depending on requirements, the pieces were cut into thin strips or made into caps or hats without a seam. The value of the piece was determined by its size, sponginess, softness and shape. The Kirner tinder factory was run by the sons Konrad, Sebastian and Michael Kirner, the Fallersche existed until the death of Franz Josef Faller. One of the Todtnau tinder factories was still producing 1871 quintals of tinder in 750. Then matchmaking put the tinder on the extinction list. Around 1895 there were no more tinder factories in Todtnau ”.

To commemorate the tindermaking, the fool clique of the "Todtnauer Zundelmacher”Founded.

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Unfortunately, the beginnings of watchmaking in the Black Forest are not known. However, the first wooden watches could have been made as early as the second half of the seventeenth century