Fire Fingers. This was one of the first tools we were asked to re-imagine (rather than invent or replicate). At the time, there weren’t as many retailers and pretty much no way to get fire fingers online. Most people made their own or had a close friend make it for them.
So, we were asked to fix a few of the problems with the home recipes. Most of them included armature wire or some other flexible material. So during use, they’d tangle. Worse, they covered the entire finger from base to tip, eliminating a vast amount of mobility. The customer in question was learning traditional Hindu dancing and needed to express mudras.
So, we re-designed the finger attachment and replaced armature wire with L-shaped brass. The first version included fitted cuffs for each finger. So, when people ordered them, they had to measure around each finger. They were arduous to make and had to be labeled so that you could get each torch attached to the correct finger.
When we came up with the idea to make them adjustable, a lot of things needed to be taken into consideration. First, we tried padding the finger grips, but that compromised the rigidity. Plus, all the paddings we could find were vulnerable to petrol fuels. So, we settled on the current one-size-fits-all design. Literally: these things fit the smallest fingers, all the ay up to the ham hocks of yours truly.
But the real inspiration was in the struts. See, we had been making Countach fans for a while by then, and had all these spare pieces left over from their construction. Since it’s our policy not to throw things away if avoidable, they were starting to pile up. I took a good long look at them, and noticed they were evenly split between 9″ lengths and 12″ lengths. It was perfect, we had a new, more rigid strut for the 9″ fingers, and a new size: 12″ fingers.
With the fingers now outselling the fans, the backlog of spare pieces is long gone, and most fingers are cut from new tubes. And that’s where the 18″ lengths come from: half a tube. All of them designed to produce nearly no industrial waste, and the first tool to help us realize that goal.
They’re still the only design intended for the middle of the finger, the only one stable enough to avoid frequent wick crossings, the most secure and the most expressive. And, as always, Steampunk approved. :)