Archival gear – WWII Australian Jungle Map Case

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WWII Jungle map case all closed up. Mk. III prismatic compass for scale and historical context.

As with much of the old-timey gear which actually gets taken out bush, this map case is an item of army surplus.

It was manufactured in Australia in 1945 and was officially designated the “Map Case, Special, No. 1”, but to all and sundry was known as a jungle map case.

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Make Your Own Archival Gear – Pocket Strike-a-Light Outfit

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Back in the olden days, when matches were scarce in the outlying areas, many bushmen went back to their ancestral roots and used flint and steel instead. I’m not talking about the spark-showering ferrocerium rods sold today as “firesteels”, ferrocerium wasn’t even invented until the early 20th Century. No, what I’m talking about is a lump of steel (high carbon is best) struck against a lump of rock (flint or quartz, etc.) with the resulting spark caught by some form of tinder (charred cloth or dried fungus) and then coaxed into a flame with the addition of some bullswool (such as a bundle of dry grass or shredded stringybark). That’s a crash course in the use of the traditional flint and steel. The good news is that the use of a traditional flint and steel becomes much easier with practice. Continue reading

Archival Gear – Schmacalder Prismatic Compass by Ross Ltd. circa 1897-1907

Well, I’m back.

My dalliance with that other site wasn’t as successful as I’d have liked, so I’m transferring the more interesting of my posts over here to where they are more suited.

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The pocket-sized Schmalcalder prismatic compass ready to use, with lid removed, front sight vane in position and prism flipped up.

The first is a good look at an unusual compass from the late 19th Century. One of the first prismatic marching compasses, it’s the sort of thing Baden-Powell or Burnham may have carried during the Matabele Campaign.

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