When I was at primary school I can clearly remember the teacher writing a short passage on the blackboard (yes, that shows how old I am) regarding cave men. It was time that we began to learn about the development of early humans. The only thing I can recall from that lesson is the following sentence “Fire was discovered by accident” I assumed that that was a real person. Somebody called accident came along and discovered fire. “Ere’ come and have a look at what old accident has discovered!” “Oh, it’s all warm, makes me feel a lot better, lets give it a hug”, “I don’t know, next thing we’ll be needing Boiler Repair Gloucester types and inventing the internet and going on to http://www.hprservicesltd.com/gloucester-boilers/boiler-repair-gloucester/ to find them”.
Fire was a gift to our ancestors. They soon learnt of it’s benefits. It could provide warmth and a sense of community, if you put meat in it, it became easy to get your teeth round and it tasted a lot better. It was useful for keeping animals at bay and more importantly lighting up the night and the caves they lived in. It’s not possible to know where and when the first insistence of the use of fire occurred. The main theory is that they found it after lightning strikes and theorised that hitting things like a rock together might work. The lighting of a fire was art work. The skill required to strike the iron pyrite to produce a spark and the rubbing of sticks to create a friction fire became a much-needed skill. It’s not known if any of them were called accident. All of the ways were based on the use of friction to create a spark of energy that could when it fell of dry wood or leaves spark to life. One can only imagine the joy of our ancestors when this finally worked. To them it could be the difference between life and death.
The other theory is a bit more colourful. It’s an old Greek myth and it goes along the lines of Prometheus was a trickster and gambler. He knew full well that the secret of fire was being kept from humans by the Gods and he wasn’t going to stand for it. So, in a raid of cunning and daring, he stole the fire from the Gods and gave it as a gift to mankind. There’s a lot of metaphor here. Zeus is holding fire back as he and the other Gods are worried that once humans get it, it will set them on a path that will lead them to exceed the Gods and no long need them. The other is that the fire is like a parent handing over the reins of power to their children and letting them go of on their own. Either way poor Prometheus got chained to a rock and had his liver pecked out by an eagle at some point in the day for all eternity as a punishment. Some people really do need to move on.