Pyrography is the process of burning wood, leather, etc. with a controlled heated tool. Before man could read and write, drawing was the most effective form of communication. It is thought that early man used charred remains left from fires, to create stories and patterns on walls. Most of these early drawings have weathered away, but Roucadour Cave (located in France) is still home to some of these ancient depictions.
Approaching Medieval and the Victorian eras, pyrography was mostly practiced as an art-form. At this time, the term pyrography was not used. Instead pyrography was known as "Pokerwork" or "Woodburning." The tools used at this time were metal pokers, needles, and knives of varying sizes, heated with a kettle, stove or open flame. In 1877, Frenchman, Claude Paquelin patented a self-heating cauterizing device, designed for physicians.
This device could hook onto the physicians belt. It worked by pumping fuel ( alcohol was commonly used for fuel ) into a platinum pen. Johannes Anderson invented the Pyrographic-Pencil Exciter in 1904. In the sense of fuel consumption, Anderson's design was more efficient than the Paquelin cauterizer. Early in the 20th century, electric pyrography tools were invented. More modern pyrography tool designs include lasers, and others resembling soldering irons are still commonly used.