Stone Tool Stories: Other hafted tools

Stone tools persisted long after the appearance of metal, and metals have been used to provide hafts to stone elements.  One relatively common stone/metal composite tool was the strike-a-light, dating to Roman times and persisting through the 19th Century:  the stone part of the fire-making kit was encased in soft lead to protect the fingers during use.  The lead was sometimes decorated with gemstones.  Gunflints were the essential element of flintlock muskets and rifles in the 18th and early 19th Century.  Gunflints were fastened into the lock mechanisms with screw-driven jaws.  The gunflint was wrapped with a sleeve of leather to ensure a secure purchase within the jaws.  

Strike-a-light Albania 1


Gunflint in lock

Gunflint in Lock

Stones are hafted in a variety of ways in our modern society.  A tiny flint in a cigarette lighter provides a spark when abraded by a steel wheel.  More recent lighters are made using a crystal that, when compressed by pushing a button, creates an electric spark via the piezoelectric effect.

Tiny fragments of diamond or corundum (ruby and sapphire) are fastened to metal disks or drills to serve as cutting abrasives, a practice dating to the Sumerians.  Jewellery is made by hafting carefully-shaped gemstones to precious-metal clamps or sockets, a tradition of great antiquity.  Rubies or sapphires are hafted as bearings in designer watch movements, and the number of these tiny stone tools is an index of quality and precision.  Quartz crystals are hafted for use in highly accurate timepieces because they resonate at a specific frequency when flexed by an electric charge.