an art that survived

The History of Pyrography
The Ancient Art of Woodburning

The history of pyrography is of an art that originated in pre-history.

History of Pyrography

The Story of Pyrography

History of Pyrography

Early man documented their life in pictures – as has man throughout the ages.

Drawing was the first method that man used to tell stories and communicate. And after the important discovery of fire, the early form of “wood burning” was invented.

Follow us through the remarkable history and development of this art and the tools over the ages. That this art form has stood the test of time, is a testament to its durability and charm.

This ancient art form is very much alive today with beautiful and decorative products being created at home and on a commercial scale worldwide.

Early History of Pyrography

By using the charcoal that remained from their fires; early man discovered they could create patterns, designs, and drawings on their walls. The natural progression of man’s intuition aided their progression from using stone (or much later – metal). They discovered that scraping off the burnt black surface allowed the underlying natural wood to show through.

This inspired the creation of designs and patterns in a different form.

Unfortunately, this method did not create permanent works of art. Much later in mans evolution in technology – the employment of metal implements meant that basic pyrography tools were manufactured. When looking back into the history of pyrography, you will find more permanent artworks having been burnt onto leather, wood and even bone.

Using heated metal objects directly from the fire to burn their preferred medium, meant permanent art was created.

This very simple, but effective method was in use until Medieval times.

History Of Pyrography Tools: Pyrography Art As We Know It Today

The story of pyrography kept in step with man as he progressed throughout the ages, with wood burning techniques evolving too.

Interesting and beautiful artifacts have been found in Peru and Roman Britain dating back to before the 1st century.

The First Modern Wood Burning Tools

With the progression of time over the centuries, particularly the Medieval, Renaissance and Victorian eras, wood burning became a more and more popular pastime.

A wood burning toolkit during these eras consisted of a portable pot or stove. There were a number of holes made in the lid or stove top. These allowed pointed pokers of varying shaped “nibs” to be inserted and heated in the hot coals placed inside. The pokers or rods would tend to cool off quickly while they were being used, therefore several pokers were required in order to keep the momentum of work going.

This method of early wood burning was called “pokerwork”.

The progression of “pokerwork” from being a hobby or pastime of the wealthy and jobs for local craftsmen – to a commercial endeavor, happened with the invention of the first machine.

Recommended Reading

Amazon Reviews


“Very good book for the beginning pyrographer. Si explains woodburners, use of nibs, safety, unique projects, and so much more. If you are a beginning woodburner I suggest you buy this book. Very well written and instructional.” – Anne

“This book is well done and easy to understand. Many nice pictures. Am learning to woodburn on gourds and this helping a lot. Am just a beginner so every idea is great for me. Breaks down the machine and tips and provides step-by-step projects. A lot of simple patterns to use. Nice to keep around and refer to as you burn!” – Marlene

  • Ad - USA Only

The history of pyrography is a long one.
“The fact that it has survived through the ages and is still so popular today shows its versatility.

We hope you take enjoyment from creating using this craft.

Being creative is good for the soul – no matter which road you take.”

What Can You Burn On:

  • Wood
  • Leather
  • Gourds
  • Cotton
  • Bone

Copyright © The Pyrography Tool

Shopping Basket
Before you go ...Here is a book you may be interested in

Learn to Burn: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Started in Pyrography

Easily Create Beautiful Art & Gifts with 14 Step-by-Step Projects, How-to Photos, and 50 Bonus Patterns

Learn More