Different ways of making fire are examined, from rubbing sticks to lighting matches.
Begins with a great Gothic type intertitle "In the Beginning" which has flames lapping at the bottom of it.
C/U of some rocks with plants growing amongst them. An animated bolt of lightening suddenly strikes one of the plants and it bursts into flames. "Back in the dim ages, fire, thus "sent forth from the Heavens" was guarded as befitted a gift of the Gods" A woman (difficult to see as print is rather dark) stands holding a spear as a flame licks the bottom of the picture. "Later, primitive man made fire by friction, and even today the method is still used by savage tribes." M/S of a black man sitting on the ground in a loin cloth rubbing a stick to make fire. Smoke begins to emerge from the small bundle of straw at the bottom of his stick. He picks up the bundle of straw then waves it backwards and forwards in the air. Smoke emerges from his hand.
"Fire and flame can be made in several ways. We all know this method." C/U of Joe Noble in a large hat attempting to light his cigarette with a lighter. The lighter appears not to be working. A man who is standing off-screen hands him a packet of matches. He lights his cigarette with a match. He begins to read a newspaper. The off-screen man indicates that he wants his matches back (Joe has put them in his pocket.) "But, the scientifically inclined can produce fire in other ways. A little lead-pyrophorus..." M/S of a man in a white coat pouring something into Joe's outstretched hands. "Friction with the atmosphere causes it to burst into flame." Joe throws it up into the air and it bursts into flame. "Housewives! Here's a new labour-saver...the self-lighting fire. Carbon Disulphide, plus a little phosphorus." C/U of a saucer with white paper like substance on top. Contents of a test tube are poured over it and it suddenly bursts into flames.
"This is a substance the chemist calls "K". If you wet it, you light it. It's funny that way!" C/U of substance being dropped into a container of water, flames spring up and seem to travel around the surface of the water. "And again - calcium phosphide..." C/U of piece of calcium phosphide being covered in paper then lowered into a flask of water. It burns underwater and smoke rings emerge from the flask. "It lights when submerged. The funnel is merely to keep it down."
Weird and amazing footage of smoke rings coming out of the flask. "Fire creates, as well as destroys. Sulphur cyanide of mercury - but small boys call it "Pharo's Serpent." C/U of black powder being poured onto a plate. The powder is lit and a snake-like thing appears - the kind you get in a set of indoor fireworks.
Was an item in Pathe Pictorial issue number 690.
Safety print only.
Note: although paper records state "Noble Cartoon" - there is no animation in the film (apart from the bolt of lightning. I think that Joe Noble the cartoonist appears in the film so this is probably the cause of the confusion.