what is the relative popularity of matches, lighters and any other fire making tools?

does it differ between urban areas and 3rd world rural areas? Is there any particular method that is significantly cheaper than others, for the “$1 a day” type of people?

For me fire starts automagically whenever I turn on gas in the stove, but I am guessing that that is not how the bulk of the world works.

Not sure exactly what you are looking for, but since you mentioned turning on the stove…

The first time I visited my in-laws in a suburb of Rio de Janeiro, I was surprised to see many things that were quite unusual to me. The electric shower heads, for example.

One little gadget surprised me with its simplicity: the sparker that my mother-in-law used to start the stove.
It was a little pistol-grip thing that had two bits of metal at the tip: one small mushroom bit that could move in and out of the “barrel” of the device, with a small U-shaped piece that held the first piece captive.

It was made out of the cheapest plastic I have ever seen.

And you plugged it into the wall. To start the fire, you simply pulled the trigger on this little pistol, and the line current would course through the two bits of metal at the tip. Great sparks would pop and hiss, with the little mushroom piece dancing in and out of the barrel.

My father-in-law saw that I got a kick out of it, so the day before we left he gave me a brand new one.

And the stove wasn’t anything like ours. It looked like something you might put in an RV, and ran on a “botijão” of gas (a propane cylinder), delivered by a young boy on a bicycle.

They make fire easy. Is it that hard to figure out?

:smack: if there is FTW, surely there must also be FTL - and I don’t mean “faster than light” here. Unless maybe it was some real dim light.

He’s asking how do lighters, matches and other methods of fire-starting rank around the world. Do more people use matches than lighters? Do some places use neither?

Matches are usually cheaper than lighters, but cheap matches break easily. I wonder if very poor people still use flintlock and steel?

Paging even sven and others.