There is something undeniably special about the fire. It has been a component of human life for aeons, and fire is essential to our existence. But what is it about a fire that makes it so captivating? And why are fires so romantic? This article will explore the science of fire and answer these questions.
We will also look at the history of the discovery of fire by early humans and its role in modern society. So hang back, unwind, and get open to learning about the mysterious world of fire!
Why Is Fire Important To Humans?
You would probably not read this post if it was not for fire. That’s because the discovery of fire was one of the main driving forces behind human evolution. Primarily, the gorgeous flames have surrounded us with warmth and refuge. Then the altering our anatomy gives more fuel to the brain to developing and fine motor skills to work with tools; fire has been behind everything.
And after that initial period, fire found its use in the industrial revolution. Train engines shortened the distances we travel. And the factories mass-produced all the goods we need. All of this happened because human beings mastered the power of fire.
So, if you think about it like that, fire is a significant reason for the routine you go through every day. Because the discovery of fire and, consequently, the industrial revolution brought society to its present form and gave us jobs to go to. We might still be hunting in the woods or gathering fruits if it wasn’t for fire.
Fire Altered Our Slumber.
After early humans discovered fire, they had the chance to spend more waking hours even after sunset. Except for the nocturnal species, almost all mammals cease all activities after dark. But humans overcame this limitation. In other words, the discovery of fire gave us control over light.
And if it was not for the waking hours of the night, how would the thinkers and scholars write their books? Fire gave them light and kept them awake at the deepest hour to produce the works which moulded our civilization.
Fire reshaped our cognition and enabled primitive hominids to cook.
Perhaps an essential role of fire in human development is how it shapes our brain. Firstly, it helped early humans to cook their food. And as you know, cooked food is more accessible to chew than raw food. As a result, our teeth and jaw structures became minimized. And that provided more room for the brain to grow.
But how did the brain find the extra energy for growth? Well, the credit again goes to fire and cooked food. Eating cooked food releases more calories inside your body than raw forms when you eat cooked food. Meanwhile, you have to spend less energy chewing and digesting cooked food. Therefore, more calories for brain growth.
Moreover, it is one of the chief factors why living beings are so enamoured with the flame. Why? Because it is the driving force behind culinary art’s rise to prominence. Fire and cooking allow us to eat so many various kinds of food. There wouldn’t be any steak, burger, fries, pizza, kebab, sauteed vegetables. It would be just raw meats and fruits.
Another aspect of the human brain that gave us an upper hand over other species is forming long-term memories and working with tools. Both of these we owe to the discovery of fire.
Comfort and Protection.
Because when humans discovered fire and kept it on the outside of their caves at night, they were able to get undisturbed and better, more profound sleep. The reason behind this is fire drove the wild animals away. And as a result, we developed REM sleep. This is the deepest sleep state in which we experience full dreams.
This kind of sleep provided the brain with proper rest and time to heal and develop. As a result, we could create long-term memories and remember what we had learned earlier in the day. Consequently, we could save our skills and effectively work with tools.
So, you see, fire made the humans we are today. Now let’s look deeper into the history of mankind’s most significant discovery.
A Short History Of Fire – Discovery Of Fire Early Humans
According to Darwin, fire is the most significant discovery by human beings other than language. Language and fire have set us apart from all the other animals. In the world and put us on the path towards civilization.
And although some animals might have some form of language between them, no species can ignite and control fire like us.
There is much debate regarding the discovery of fire by early humans. And there is no way to be sure how humans learned its use. That’s because people had discovered fire way before they learned to write and record things. So, there are multiple theories in circulation about the emergence of fire.
One of the most popular opinions is that fire was a natural discovery. Natural forces such as lightning storms might have ignited a fire in the woods or on a tree. And humans came upon it. After that, they had become interested in it from their natural human curiosity and subsequently learned its many uses.
On the other hand, humans might have accidentally ignited a fire themselves while striking flint stones together. This is also a strong possibility because the use of flint stones to ignite the fire is found in the earliest record of human history.
Both of these can be true at the same time. Maybe, different parts and communities learned to use fire in their separate ways. Whatever the means of discovery was, what’s essential is the incidents that followed it. Because these led early humans to nurture and develop the many various uses of fire.
After discovering fire, humans noticed that it could keep them warm at night. It also gave them light to win over the darkness. This might be the primary reason why early humans chose to keep the practice of making a fire ongoing.
At the same time, another use of fire became evident. Which is it can keep you and your children safe at night by driving away wild animals. This is when humans discovered the potential of fire as a weapon and to provide protection.
Later on, a human went on to use fire for cooking. Which, as mentioned before, had a significant influence on our evolutionary process. Then as time went on, humans gradually learned the use of fire to forge tools from metal and other benefits.
The definite proof of fire use by early humans dates back to one-and-a-half to two million years ago. So, we can safely say that early humans had started effective use of fire during the final part of the Mesozoic era.
Whereas mastering control over a fire started roughly a million years ago, the evidence for this lies in discovering very minute traces of ‘wood ash’. And due to this, almost all scholars agree on this time length.
In Morocco, people discovered used flint blades. These stones were approximately three thousand years old. And the fossils found near them were not exactly that of modern humans.
Use of fire to develop tools started around a hundred and sixty-four thousand years ago. The evidence is heat-treated Silcrete stones that scientists found in South Africa. However, modern humans’ regular everyday use of fire for daily tasks started only a hundred and twenty-five thousand years ago.
What Is Fire And Why Is It So Powerful?
From the former discussions, you might have found a new way to look at the importance of fire. But what is fire exactly? And why is fire so powerful. Well, this calls for a bit of science lesson.
Fire is a visible manifestation of a chemical reaction. This reaction is known as combustion. The reaction requires oxygen and some fuel or a flammable object that will burn. Therefore, if there is no oxygen, there is no fire.
All the fuels or flammable objects have different ignition points. For a fire to happen, you must ignite the fuel or flammable object to that specific point in the presence of oxygen. After that, the fire will persist as long as there is oxygen, heat, and fuel.
However, not all combustion can give you a flame of fire. It happens when the burst is swift. And how fast combustion will occur depends on the amount of oxygen in the environment.
When combustion occurs, fuel reacts with oxygen. This helps release energy and radiation, which we can comprehend as heat and light. Keep in mind that, although combustion seemingly results from the reaction between oxygen and solid or liquid fuel, in reality, only gases can participate in this chemical reaction.
So, when you see a plank of wood or paper burning in flames, what is happening is that the wood or paper is heated to the point that makes it release gas from its surface. And that gas reacts with the oxygen in the air to make the fire happen.
Hopefully, you now understand what fire is. But why is fire so powerful? The answer to that is in the nature of the chemical reaction.
You see, when gases take part in combustion, their former molecular structures break and form new structures. Which are the products of the combustion reaction- water and Carbon-Di-Oxide.
Now, molecular structures are one of the strongest bonds in the universe. So, when they break, they require and release a lot of energy. And that is what makes fire so powerful.
Plus, as already mentioned, so long there is an abundance of heat, oxygen, and flammable material, there isn’t any reason for the fire to stop. This is another fact that gives the fire its immense destructive power.
Because the world we live in is abundant in oxygen and flammable materials like leaves, trees, and such. Plus, once a fire ignites, it becomes sufficient to provide the necessary heat to keep the reaction ongoing.
As a result, fire can spread quickly and grow huge when given suitable conditions. And this led to the invention of steam and coal engines and factory machines. Meanwhile, the very nature of the fire is also the reason for many accidents, destruction, and calamities.
Why Are Fires Romantic?
As you can see, fires were and still is very important for our development. Moreover, they are powerful, destructive, and dangerous. And still, humans are drawn to it nevertheless. Can you imagine a party at the campsite in your backyard without a decent size fire burning? Probably not.
So, why are we drawn to this dangerous thing even when we are not cooking or working with it? And why are fires romantic? It is almost like there is a hypnotic quality to it. So to rephrase, why is fire hypnotic?
First of all, let’s look at the general reasons. Fire has provided humans with heat and light in the unsafe environments of the night for over a million years. This has embedded something deep within us. As a result, we always look up to fire as a source of protection, making us fall in love with it.
Secondly, dancing flames are pretty, pleasantly colourful, and unpredictable. This is why you can spend hours looking at them without getting bored. Plus, you know that fire is not something you can touch or play with from your childhood. And thus, being forbidden makes fire all the more attractive.
This brings us to the more scientific cause of attraction towards the fire. Evolutionary anthropologists at the University of California have found that adults are drawn to fire because they couldn’t master it as a child. And wanting to master fire is an inherited human quality because fire has been crucial to our survival for millions of years.
But modern people don’t need to master fire in their childhood like their ancestors. Modern children go to school instead of learning to hunt and make fires. Therefore, a suppressed need to master stays deep and manifests as an inexplicable attraction to fire. Or so these scientists think.
Well, that answers why fires are hypnotic? But why are fires romantic? Another anthropologist from the University of Alabama provided the answer to that. Their research and observation yield that, as people inherently feel safe and warm around fires, their blood pressure drops and puts them in a relaxed good mood.
As a result, they can more easily bond with each other. Plus, a fire at the campsite creates light and shadow scenery, which is beautiful and sets a romantic mood. And in that mysterious and almost magical setting, you can see your partner in a whole new light or from a further aspect. As a result, things get incredibly romantic.
The Emergence of Fire Pits
Fire pits are one of the further developments from the discovery of fire. The first fire pits were holes dug in the ground burning. The most well-known example is the Dakota Firepit. Later on, fire pits became more sophisticated and an essential part of backyard decoration.
History of Firepits
The first fire pits were dug with one thing in mind. That is not to let the fire spread around. In other words, people made fire pits to gain more control over fire. The first evidence of a fire pit used by humans dates back two thousand years. And the areas are Israel, South Africa, and some adjacent areas.
Since then, fire pits have been used for cooking and work purposes. However, indigenous also practised the religious and festive use of fire pits in those earlier times. Usually. Peruvians, Eastern Indian, and Polynesian Cultures found fire pits’ more positive and decorative benefits.
Types of fire pits
The modern fire pits aren’t holes in the grounds. They are more elaborate stone, brick, or metal structures, and some have complete systems to provide them with gas or fuel. Essentially there are three types of fire pits.
Wood Fire Pits
Wood Firepits burn wood to make fire; these are the most simple and primitive fire pits. They are mainly outdoor versions of indoor fireplaces. These fire pits are a basic drum or container made of inflammable materials with woods burning inside them.
If you want to, you can set up a grill on this fire pit and start a barbecue. Whatever you do, keep the hole a safe distance away from your home. And find the right kind of healthy wood. Otherwise, the smoke might become uncomfortable.
Propane Fire Pits
Propane fire pits are easily portable. And many of them have wheels for this reason. These fire pits are preferable to most homeowners because you don’t have to go through the trouble of finding and burning the right kind of woods. Instead, you will be using propane to make your fire and keep it going.
Usually, the standard propane fire pits are large and powerful copper bowls with wheels. Meanwhile, there are also table fire pits that let you dine by the side of your fire.
Natural Gas Firepits
These are essentially gas stoves with a unique design. They might be in the shape of a bowl or some other form. No matter what your plans are, all-natural gas fire pits need a connection to a source of natural gas. This might be the gas line of your house. Or it might be a portable gas tank.
Fake woods, imitation coals, and other materials can hide the stove for decorative purposes. Plus, it also makes the pit look more classical.
ECO Fire Pit
There is no hundred percent Eco-friendly fire pit. Fire means combustion. Therefore, all fire pits release some carbon dioxide into the environment.
However, you can use eco-friendly logs, coffee ground logs, or eco-friendly wood pellets dipped in wax to reduce the amount of impact your fire pit has on the environment.
The Firepit Marketplace Is Growing
Currently, the market for fire pits is booming worldwide. In the year 2021, the net value of the market was above 400 million US dollars. Since then, it has been growing. The compound annual rate of this growth is close to 10 percent. It will likely continue like this for at least another decade.
Learn how to make a fire pit all by yourself!
Fire is indispensable to humans because of Fires, its comfort, warmth, practicality and the entrancing effects of the majestic, gorgeous sparkles from embers. It is easy to see why fire is so pertinent to us with the information afforded above. I sincerely hope that this post rekindled that fire and passion so that we can safely enjoy this treasure we call fire.
Fire Pit Market is Booming Right Now; let’s Understand Market Size, Share and Forecast till 2028. (2022, February 3). MarketWatch. Retrieved February 23, 2022, from https://www.marketwatch.com
VALET. STAFF. (2018, February 13). There’s a Reason Why Fire Is So Romantic. Valet. Retrieved February 23, 2022, from http://www.valetmag.com/living/sex-relationships/2018/why-fire-is-so-romantic
Wolchover, N. (2012, April 23). Why We Are Drawn to Fire. Livescience.Com. Retrieved February 23, 2022, from https://www.livescience.com/19853-fire-fascination.html