The one person I know who has made pull wire fuse lighters began with a small
(1/4" o.d.) cup type end plug. A small hole was punched in the center of this
cup and a wire threaded through it. The cup was filled with a 2:1 mixture of
potassium chlorate and antimony sulphide made into a thick slurry with gum
arabic solution. After this dried, about 1" of the length of wire protruding
through the cup was dipped into a slurry of emery powder, red phosphorus,
shellac and alcohol. The cup-and-wire assembly was then crimped into one end of
a longer tube with the uncoated end of wire passing through the crimp. This end
of the wire was then twisted around a ring.
My awareness of how this fellow made his igniters came about because we had a
conversation about his problems with them. It appeared that the composition
ignited nicely from the wire being pulled through it, but it it burnt too
violently with the result that the igniter was sometimes blown off the end of
the fuse without lighting it. My small contribution was to suggest that he tone
the chlorate/antimony mixture down by substituting barium nitrate for some of
the potassium chlorate. As I recall he ended up using something like 1.5
potassium chlorate, 0.5 barium nitrate, 1 antimony sulphide, and this answered
nicely, burning gently enough not to pop off the fuse and giving plenty of
Post by Leo Post by email@example.com
As many of you have probably seen, Firefox sells a kit for
making a pull string ignition system. It says nothing more about how it
works than that it needs potassium chlorate. How is this system
possible to make without buying the kit? Here is the link for a picture
of all the kit contains http://www.firefox-fx.com/images/dscn1944.jpg .
I had a simple idea that was based off someone else's idea, where a
fuse is dipped into a slurry of some sensitive mixture, when dry a
clothespin is placed on it and when one wants to light it they pull the
clothespin off. Also, I know that this isn't possible without using
sensitive mixtures, but what would one recommend for this use. Thanks.
Phil and Flo Sieglund (SP?) who I recall from several of the PGI
conventions, were I believe the only US manufacturers of pull igniters
for civil war recreations. In fact they ended up buying a wire-cutting
machine for that purpose, which I had donated to one of the PGI
auctions. I actually figured somebody was going to buy it for cutting
short lengths af Visco!
From what I recall they said their igniter design was basically just a
wire bent in a zig-zag shape and embedded in a sensitive chlorate-based
composition pressed into a small piece of tubing like a .22 shell.
Obviously those were NOT a hand-held design and were used for igniting
the black powder directly in cannons.
In any case, the friction of pulling the wire out ignites the comp. I
don't know if you may also need to roughen the wire for extra friction?
I expect a Chlorate and sulfur comp would work, or chlorate and
antimony trisulfide. You may actually want to tone it down with
additives though, since your object isn't to burst the tube. If you're
expecting to use your pull-igniters to light fuses, then the end of the
fuse should be primed and somehow held near to the chlorate comp without
actually contacting it.
I really would not want to be holding one of those in my hand when
igniting it unless my design was VERY well tested first. Actually
making the tube long enough so you didn't have to hold it near the comp
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