After looking at the literature on glass Kimberley Points I feel very excited about this little project. Because they were made within the historic period it should be possible to follow quite closely the methods used. Kim Akerman (via Academia.edu) kindly directed me to a paper he produced discussing just these production methods (Akerman, K., 1979. Flaking stone with wooden tools. The Artefact, 4(3), pp.79-80.). In relation to glass points he states that “Invariably the tool [of manufacture] from start to finish is a piece of no.8 fencing wire or a similar piece of thin soft iron. This varies between 12 and 20 cms. in length and has a flattened oval working tip with flattened edges” (Akerman 1979: 79). As I am not familiar with wire sizes, or where to get it in urban Manchester I turned to Google. Surprisingly, Wikipedia has a page for number 8 wire (originally 0.016″, now 4mm gauge). Apparently widely used within sheep farming it became synonymous (in New Zealand) with improvised problem solving, a little bit like Gaffer Tape in the UK. Interesting, and now I had the measurements but still left with the problem of obtaining some. I read that paper yesterday and then took the dog out for a walk this morning.
We went to Chorlton Ees, an expansive area of green space relatively near to our home. Ees is an old English word for an area of land likely to flood, and parts of this same floodplain area has been used a rubbish tip for many decades. Whilst mooching around looking for interesting bits of glass and ceramic I came across this disused fence post, with wire! I didn’t have either wire cutters or calipers with me, but it was surprisingly easy to repeatedly bend the wire until it snapped. Obviously, the length of the wire obtained depends upon the circumference of the post and where it was attached. I came home with three pieces of wire, the shortest being ~14cm and the longest ~35cm. But how thick? I got the calipers out when I got home, and lo and behold, 4mm.
These glass Kimberley Points seem to want to get made. Let’s see how that goes!