This late 18th century metal tobacco-box has a clever surprise gadget ~ a hinged 'burning-glass' which folds inside the lid. Opened out, as in the photograph, you used the glass to focus sunlight onto your pipe-bowl and light your tobacco.
It was a technology that worked (as long as it was sunny) and meant you didn't have to carry other forms of combustion (such as a tinderbox) and it could be used outdoors. The handy instructions are painted onto the lid - "The Beams of Sol extract thro' this - to your pipe it will not miss" - it does what it says on the tin !
This is part of a number of early lighting, fire-making and smoking items in the Harrison collection.
Harrison Collection/ Ryedale Folk Museum - The Ryedale Folk Museum in North Yorkshire is currently raising funds to house this nationally important collection. You can give money to help the project at thebiggive.org.uk - http://new.thebiggive.org.uk/projects/view/10778