PYROGRAPHY : This is a rather unfortunate word. Often confused with fireworks and acts of arson. The term was originally coined by the Victorians from the Greek words pur, meaning fire and graphos meaning write to make the old and ancient art of "Pokerwork" sound more arty than perhaps it was
Strangely enough the thing that most people do the first time they pick up a pyrographic pen is to write their name. One is given to wonder what the first caveman wrote when he discovered that a heated stone in his fire could burn a mark in wood.
Pyrography has certainly been practised in one form or another since the discovery of fire itself. During the 17th century it was used principally for decorating small items of woodware. Much of the work being similar in style to the designs used in the engraving of silverware.
Later it became fashionable to decorate furniture with pyrographic panels. During the 19th century, pyrographers achieved a very high standard of craftsmanship. However it remained no more than a pastime for them probably because the basic nature of their tools prevented them from working at a commercially viable speed. Was this the origin or the phrase "too many irons in the fire"? When you stop to consider the primitive means at their disposal to control the heat of their irons, it is remarkable that the standard of so much of the work was so high.
I can just hear someone saying right at this point, "Why all the fuss about making a brown drawing on a piece of wood. There we come to the very crux of the matter, its quite true that if a brown drawing was all that was required there are lots of better ways of going about the job.
Much of the pyrographer's work is akin ( if not to carving ) at least to engraving where the depth of the intrusion into the work piece gives a degree of third dimension that may not be obtained in a drawing The tools at hand in this day are many and varied, most of which are heated electrically with a control over the degree of heat offered at the point of working. Although the best results are probably obtained with a wire tipped pen , most any type of soldering iron will give some kind of result, quite often pleasing enough to coax the operator to consider purchasing or make a hot wire device.