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Gun Flints 

Although any quartz bearing material can be used to strike a spark from hardened steel, only flint or other, similar micro-crystalline quartzose material was strong enough to hold a sharp edge for reliable, and  continued use.  The ideal flint is tabular in shape with a sharp sloping front face.  The knapping of gunflints has been an industry since the introduction of the flintlock in the early 1600's.  Huge quantities of gunflints were  produced during the 1700's and early part of the 1800's and the flint knapping industries of France and England developed a sophisticated product of nearly perfect shape.  English flints are dark grey to black whereas the French flints are easily distinguished by their honey-yellow or blonde color.  Large quantities of gun flints were shipped to the mountains every year for Rendezvous because they were equally useful for starting fire with fire steels, as well as part of the ignition mechanism for guns and rifles.

 

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