THROUGH the centuries there has been such an intimate connection of fire with
the cultural growth of humanity that whatever relates to the antiquity of fire is important in tracing- the history of early
progress.' And because all inventions make use of what has gone before, the steps, which lead up to the making of the first
stoves, are necessary in writing of their history.
Logically, of course, we may assume there was
once a time when man had no fire, but very early he must have become acquainted with fire derived from natural sources, and
made use of it; for no remains of man's art show him without fire as his companion. Much later in the scheme of things he
invented processes for making fire artificially.
Many of the legends or myths relating to the
origin of fire are vivid and dramatic, and while they vary in detail there appears to be a similarity in many of the episodes
that form the fire-origin story in all countries of the world.'
Stealing fire from the gods, one of the first
incidents, was made more or less exciting by the strategy employed in acquiring, it. Prometheus, for example, stole fire from
the heavens in a hollow tube, one of the feats which gave him the reputation of being a great benefactor of men.'
After the transportation of fire was
solved, it was occasionally borrowed, and while the meaning is lost, the phrase is still used when one says: "May
I borrow a light?