Fire was first discovered by Homo habilis around 2.3 million years ago but this tribe of early upright hominids mistook fire for a different kind of “water” and the entire race threw what they thought was going to be an awesome “pool” party—they all jumped into the bubbling volcanic crater at the same time and quickly discovered this red-orange “water” was really hot! Another 500,000 years later, Homo erectus showed up and found the bones of Homo habilis in the then cooled off crater with surprised expressions on their degraded fossilized skulls. Homo erectus looked up at the smoldering volcano close by and put two and two together—hence the first math problem was invented.
Homo erectus had had some close calls with fire themselves—once during a lunar eclipse, the alpha male Krunk drank too much fermented berry juice and ran around the camp like a wild man, which he was, during a lightning storm. Krunk was struck by a bolt of the “magic zigzag” as they called it back then. He may have survived the hit had he not been wearing a primitive tunic made from dried coconut husks coated with a sticky black substance left over from the dinosaurs, which they called “oil”. The good news was that Homo erectus learned how to cook meat that night. The bad news was that Krunk was the entrée. Incidentally, that’s where the term “Don’t drink and run around in a lightning storm wearing dried coconut husks coated with oil” originally came from.
Learning that fire was both good and bad, Homo erectus sought out ways to control it. Lightening proved too unpredictable after several members of the tribe volunteered to be lightening catchers—the successful ones being credited with the invention of “early retirement”. They also tried collecting molten lava in stone containers but the lava quickly cooled and the stone containers then became stone paperweights. Since paper would not be invented for several hundred thousand years, paperweights proved to be slightly impractical and had none of the benefits of fire.
Among Homo erectus there existed one particularly bright erecto, named Gonk. Since there were no written historical records at that time, the details start to get a little fuzzy, but through oral traditions we gather that Gonk was abducted by “big green headed dudes from the sky” (aliens) and given Fundamental Metallurgy and Geology For Dummies to read. When returned to Earth six months later, he invented the Magnesium Fire Starter (item #: 66560) which is still available today at Harbor Freight Tools. This pocket-sized fire starter can be a lifesaver when you’re outdoors. The serrated-edge blade quickly and easily makes magnesium shavings. The full-length flint when struck with the blade generates sparks—once ignited, the shavings burn at 5400° F, ideal for even wet or windy conditions. Another plus is that in block form, the magnesium is waterproof and fire resistant.
If you’re a backpacker, camper, survivalist or hominid looking to evolve, don’t let your knuckles drag—hurry on over to one of Harbor Freight Tools’ 500+ stores and get the Magnesium Fire Starter!
Magnesium Fire Starter