The Hudson Bay Tobacco Tin.

Le Loup

Rüdiger Nehberg
Apr 29, 2011
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New England NSW
Reading Glass Fire Lighting & The Hudson Bay Tobacco Tin.

Making fire with a burning glass or reading glass is easy when using tinder. Plant tinders don't even have to be charred first. But using the Hudson Bay tobacco tin as a tinderbox because it has a burning glass in the lid is not recommended, not by me anyway.
The tinderbox is used to prepare plant tinders. Tinder material is charred directly in the fire & then placed in the tinderbox to smother it. When you want to make fire you simply strike sparks into the tinderbox, hold some dry grass kindling against the smouldering tinder & blow into flame.
If you do this with the Hudson Bay tobacco tin, you will smoke up the burning glass in the lid, & in winter it may crack from the heat of the smouldering tinder. Better I think to carry a separate reading glass or use spectacles if you wear them.


Never Alone In The Bush
Staff member
Jun 16, 2011
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Melbourne, Victoria
You're 100% correct. A magnifier is not a good idea in a tinderbox.
Personally I prefer the ided of a traditional tinderbox, so the HB Tobacco Tin is not for me !
I have an old tin, and an old glass out a magnifier (the handle broke ages ago so I want to make a leather pouch for it …. when I get a chance)

However, most people who buy the HB Tobacco Tin probably aren't trying to be period correct, or use the "Tobacco Tin" as a tinderbox.

Wave Man

Jun 22, 2011
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Brisbane, QLD
I use my Hudson Bay Tobacco tin as intended (sort of) and only for char cloth, it only stores said char cloth and I use the magnifying glass to ember the char cloth. I neither use it to store flint and steel nor tinder other than char cloth. I do not smoke so I think this is a good compromise.

The inherent weakness of the Hudson Bay Tobacco tin is the magnifying glass (from the inside) and when you store hard items in there you stand a good chance of scratching the glass IF you do not put a piece of cloth or thin piece of leather over the contents to protect the glass for getting scratched.

These days most people do not use their tins in that way Keith. As in the period correct way of the traditional tinder box. The nice brass boxes are for carriage of their flint and steel sets and they carry a second generic tin (that are usually made of tin or other lesser metal alloys and have far more less sentimental value to them) are used as their tinder tins. I know that's what I do, but I am not trying to be period correct.