Match

Match

Overview


A match is a tool
Tool
A tool is a device that can be used to produce an item or achieve a task, but that is not consumed in the process. Informally the word is also used to describe a procedure or process with a specific purpose. Tools that are used in particular fields or activities may have different designations such...

 for starting a fire
Fire
Fire is the rapid oxidation of a material in the chemical process of combustion, releasing heat, light, and various reaction products. Slower oxidative processes like rusting or digestion are not included by this definition....

 under controlled conditions. A typical modern match is made of a small wood
Wood
Wood is a hard, fibrous tissue found in many trees. It has been used for hundreds of thousands of years for both fuel and as a construction material. It is an organic material, a natural composite of cellulose fibers embedded in a matrix of lignin which resists compression...

en stick or stiff paper
Paper
Paper is a thin material mainly used for writing upon, printing upon, drawing or for packaging. It is produced by pressing together moist fibers, typically cellulose pulp derived from wood, rags or grasses, and drying them into flexible sheets....

. One end is coated with a material that can be ignited by friction
Friction
Friction is the force resisting the relative motion of solid surfaces, fluid layers, and/or material elements sliding against each other. There are several types of friction:...

al heat generated by striking the match against a suitable surface. Matches are usually sold in quantity; wooden ones are packaged in boxes, and paper matches are clustered in rows stapled into matchbook
Matchbook
A matchbook is a small paperboard folder enclosing a quantity of matches and having a coarse striking surface on the exterior...

s.
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Encyclopedia


A match is a tool
Tool
A tool is a device that can be used to produce an item or achieve a task, but that is not consumed in the process. Informally the word is also used to describe a procedure or process with a specific purpose. Tools that are used in particular fields or activities may have different designations such...

 for starting a fire
Fire
Fire is the rapid oxidation of a material in the chemical process of combustion, releasing heat, light, and various reaction products. Slower oxidative processes like rusting or digestion are not included by this definition....

 under controlled conditions. A typical modern match is made of a small wood
Wood
Wood is a hard, fibrous tissue found in many trees. It has been used for hundreds of thousands of years for both fuel and as a construction material. It is an organic material, a natural composite of cellulose fibers embedded in a matrix of lignin which resists compression...

en stick or stiff paper
Paper
Paper is a thin material mainly used for writing upon, printing upon, drawing or for packaging. It is produced by pressing together moist fibers, typically cellulose pulp derived from wood, rags or grasses, and drying them into flexible sheets....

. One end is coated with a material that can be ignited by friction
Friction
Friction is the force resisting the relative motion of solid surfaces, fluid layers, and/or material elements sliding against each other. There are several types of friction:...

al heat generated by striking the match against a suitable surface. Matches are usually sold in quantity; wooden ones are packaged in boxes, and paper matches are clustered in rows stapled into matchbook
Matchbook
A matchbook is a small paperboard folder enclosing a quantity of matches and having a coarse striking surface on the exterior...

s. They are commonly sold by tobacconist
Tobacconist
A tobacconist is an expert dealer in tobacco in various forms and the related accoutrements .Such accoutrements include pipes, lighters, matches, pipe cleaners, pipe tampers, ashtrays, humidification devices, hygrometers, humidors, cigar cutters, and more. Books and magazines, especially ones...

s and many other kinds of shops. The coated end of a match, known as the match "head," contains either phosphorus
Phosphorus
Phosphorus is the chemical element that has the symbol P and atomic number 15. A multivalent nonmetal of the nitrogen group, phosphorus as a mineral is almost always present in its maximally oxidized state, as inorganic phosphate rocks...

 or phosphorus sesquisulfide
Phosphorus sesquisulfide
Phosphorus sesquisulfide is the inorganic compound with the formula 43. This yellow solid is one of two commercially produced phosphorus sulfides. It is a component of "strike anywhere" matches....

 as the active ingredient and gelatin
Gelatin
Gelatin is a translucent, colorless, brittle , flavorless solid substance, derived from the collagen inside animals' skin and bones. It is commonly used as a gelling agent in food, pharmaceuticals, photography, and cosmetic manufacturing. Substances containing gelatin or functioning in a similar...

 as a binder. There are two main types of matches: safety matches, which can be struck only against a specially prepared surface, and strike-anywhere matches, for which any suitably frictional surface can be used. Matches in former times were often unsafe due to the use of acid and poisonous chemicals. Some match-like compositions, known as electric match
Electric match
An electric match is a device that uses an externally applied electric current to ignite a combustible compound.-Use:Electric matches can be used in any application where source of heat is needed at a precisely controlled point in time, typically to ignite a propellant or explosive...

es, are ignited electrically and do not make use of heat from friction.

Etymology



Historically, the term match referred to lengths of cord
Rope
A rope is a length of fibres, twisted or braided together to improve strength for pulling and connecting. It has tensile strength but is too flexible to provide compressive strength...

 (later, cambric
Cambric
Cambric, pronounced , "one of the finest and most dense species of the cloth manufacture", is a lightweight plain weave cloth, originally from Cambrai, woven in greige, then bleached and piece-dyed, often glazed or calendered. Initially made from flax, then cotton in the 19th century, it is also...

) impregnated with chemicals, and allowed to burn continuously. These were used to light fires and fire gun
Gun
A gun is a muzzle or breech-loaded projectile-firing weapon. There are various definitions depending on the nation and branch of service. A "gun" may be distinguished from other firearms in being a crew-served weapon such as a howitzer or mortar, as opposed to a small arm like a rifle or pistol,...

s (see matchlock
Matchlock
The matchlock was the first mechanism, or "lock" invented to facilitate the firing of a hand-held firearm. This design removed the need to lower by hand a lit match into the weapon's flash pan and made it possible to have both hands free to keep a firm grip on the weapon at the moment of firing,...

) and cannon
Cannon
A cannon is any piece of artillery that uses gunpowder or other usually explosive-based propellents to launch a projectile. Cannon vary in caliber, range, mobility, rate of fire, angle of fire, and firepower; different forms of cannon combine and balance these attributes in varying degrees,...

s (see linstock
Linstock
A linstock is a staff with a fork at one end to hold a lighted slow match. The name was adapted from the Dutch lontstok, "match stick"...

). Such matches were characterised by their burning speed i.e. quick match and slow match
Slow match
Slow match or match cord is the very slow burning cord or twine fuse used by early gunpowder musketeers, artillerymen, and soldiers to ignite matchlock muskets, cannons, and petards...

. Depending on formulation, a slow match burns at a rate of around 30 cm (1 ft) per hour and a quick match at 4 to 60 cm (1.6 to 23.6 in) per minute. The modern equivalent of this sort of match is the simple fuse
Fuse (explosives)
In an explosive, pyrotechnic device or military munition, a fuse is the part of the device that initiates function. In common usage, the word fuse is used indiscriminately...

, still used in pyrotechnics
Pyrotechnics
Pyrotechnics is the science of using materials capable of undergoing self-contained and self-sustained exothermic chemical reactions for the production of heat, light, gas, smoke and/or sound...

 to obtain a controlled time delay before ignition. The original meaning of the word still persists in some pyrotechnics terms, such as black match
Black match
In pyrotechnics, black match is a type of crude fuse, constructed of cotton string fibers intimately coated with a dried black powder slurry....

(a black powder-impregnated fuse) and Bengal match (a firework akin to sparkler
Sparkler
A sparkler is a type of hand-held firework that burns slowly while emitting colored flames, sparks, and other effects.In the United Kingdom, a sparkler is often used by children at bonfire and fireworks displays on Guy Fawkes Night, the fifth of November, and in the United States on Independence...

s producing a relatively long-burning, coloured flame). But, when friction matches became commonplace, they became the main object meant by the term.

The word "match" derives from Old French "mèche" referring to the wick
Wick
Wick may refer to:* David Wicks, fictional character from a British soap opera. Not to be confused with David Wicks, American comedian/actor.* Candle wick, the cord used in a candle or oil lamp...

 of a candle.

Early matches


A predecessor of the modern match, small sticks of pinewood impregnated with sulfur
Sulfur
Sulfur or sulphur is the chemical element with atomic number 16. In the periodic table it is represented by the symbol S. It is an abundant, multivalent non-metal. Under normal conditions, sulfur atoms form cyclic octatomic molecules with chemical formula S8. Elemental sulfur is a bright yellow...

 were used in China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 in AD 577. Besieged by military forces of Northern Zhou
Northern Zhou
The Northern Zhou Dynasty followed the Western Wei, and ruled northern China from 557 to 581. It was overthrown by the Sui Dynasty.Northern Zhou's basis of power was established by Yuwen Tai, who was paramount general of Western Wei, following the split of Northern Wei into Western Wei and...

 and Chen
Chen Dynasty
The Chen Dynasty , also known as the Southern Chen Dynasty, was the fourth and last of the Southern dynasties in China, eventually destroyed by the Sui Dynasty....

, Northern Qi
Northern Qi
The Northern Qi Dynasty was one of the Northern dynasties of Chinese history and ruled northern China from 550 to 577.-History:The Chinese state of Northern Qi was the successor state of the Chinese/Xianbei state of Eastern Wei and was founded by Emperor Wenxuan...

 court ladies were out of tinder and desperate for a means to start fires for cooking and heating. During the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms (AD 907–960), a book called the Records of the Unworldly and the Strange written by Chinese author Tao Gu in about 950 stated:

If there occurs an emergency at night it may take some time to make a light to light a lamp. But an ingenious man devised the system of impregnating little sticks of pinewood with sulfur and storing them ready for use. At the slightest touch of fire they burst into flame. One gets a little flame like an ear of corn. This marvellous thing was formerly called a "light-bringing slave", but afterwards when it became an article of commerce its name was changed to 'fire inch-stick'.。


Prior to the use of matches, fires were obtained using a burning glass (a lens) to focus the sun on tinder, a method that could only work on sunny days, or by igniting tinder with sparks produced by striking flint and steel. Early work had been done by alchemist Hennig Brandt who discovered the inflammable nature of phosphorus in 1669. Others like Robert Boyle
Robert Boyle
Robert Boyle FRS was a 17th century natural philosopher, chemist, physicist, and inventor, also noted for his writings in theology. He has been variously described as English, Irish, or Anglo-Irish, his father having come to Ireland from England during the time of the English plantations of...

 and his assistant, Godfrey Haukweicz continued these experiments in the 1680s with phosphorus and sulfur, but their efforts did not produce practical and inexpensive methods for generating fires. Matches of various kinds began to appear in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 by about 1530. But the first modern, self-igniting match was invented in 1805 by Jean Chancel, assistant to Professor Louis Jacques Thénard
Louis Jacques Thénard
Louis Jacques Thénard , was a French chemist.His father, a poor peasant, managed to have him educated at the academy of Sens, and sent him at the age of sixteen to study pharmacy in Paris. There he attended the lectures of Antoine François Fourcroy and Louis Nicolas Vauquelin...

 of Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

. The head of the match consisted of a mixture of potassium chlorate
Potassium chlorate
Potassium chlorate is a compound containing potassium, chlorine and oxygen atoms, with the molecular formula KClO3. In its pure form, it is a white crystalline substance. It is the most common chlorate in industrial use...

, sulfur
Sulfur
Sulfur or sulphur is the chemical element with atomic number 16. In the periodic table it is represented by the symbol S. It is an abundant, multivalent non-metal. Under normal conditions, sulfur atoms form cyclic octatomic molecules with chemical formula S8. Elemental sulfur is a bright yellow...

, sugar
Sugar
Sugar is a class of edible crystalline carbohydrates, mainly sucrose, lactose, and fructose, characterized by a sweet flavor.Sucrose in its refined form primarily comes from sugar cane and sugar beet...

, and rubber
Rubber
Natural rubber, also called India rubber or caoutchouc, is an elastomer that was originally derived from latex, a milky colloid produced by some plants. The plants would be ‘tapped’, that is, an incision made into the bark of the tree and the sticky, milk colored latex sap collected and refined...

. The match was ignited by dipping its tip in a small asbestos
Asbestos
Asbestos is a set of six naturally occurring silicate minerals used commercially for their desirable physical properties. They all have in common their eponymous, asbestiform habit: long, thin fibrous crystals...

 bottle filled with sulfuric acid
Sulfuric acid
Sulfuric acid is a strong mineral acid with the molecular formula . Its historical name is oil of vitriol. Pure sulfuric acid is a highly corrosive, colorless, viscous liquid. The salts of sulfuric acid are called sulfates...

. This kind of match was quite expensive and its usage was dangerous, so Chancel's matches never gained much popularity. In London, matches meant for lighting cigars were introduced in 1849 by Heurtner who had a shop called the Lighthouse in the Strand. One version that he sold was called "Euperion" (sometimes "Empyrion") which was popular for kitchen use and nick-named as "Hugh Perry" while another meant for outdoor use was called a "Vesuvian" (a similar version of which was patented by Samuel Jones in 1828 as a "Promethean"). The Vesuvians or "flamers" were designed to work out of doors. The head was large and contained niter, charcoal and wood dust and was tipped with phosphorus. The handle was large and made of hardwood so as to burn vigorously and last for a while. Some even had glass stems. Vesuvians and Prometheans had a bulb of sulfuric acid at the tip which had to be broken with pliers to start the reaction. Samuel Jones introduced fuzees for lighting cigars and pipes in 1832. A similar invention was patented in 1839 by John Stevens in America. In 1832, William Newton patented the "wax vesta", a wax stem that embedded cotton threads and had a tip of phosphorus. Variants known as "candle matches" were made by Savaresse and Merckel in 1836.

Friction matches



The first "friction match" was invented by English chemist John Walker
John Walker (inventor)
John Walker was an English chemist who invented the friction match.-Life and work:Walker was born in Stockton-on-Tees in 1781. He went to the local grammar school and was afterwards apprenticed to Watson Alcock, the principal surgeon of the town serving him as an assistant-surgeon...

 in 1826. Walker was a chemist and druggist from Stockton-on-Tees and he began to experiment with "percussion powders" made up mainly of potassium chlorate. His early experiments led to a match that was made of wood splints dipped in a paste of sulfur, gum
Natural gum
Natural gums are polysaccharides of natural origin, capable of causing a large viscosity increase in solution, even at small concentrations. In the food industry they are used as thickening agents, gelling agents, emulsifying agents, and stabilizers...

, potassium chlorate
Potassium chlorate
Potassium chlorate is a compound containing potassium, chlorine and oxygen atoms, with the molecular formula KClO3. In its pure form, it is a white crystalline substance. It is the most common chlorate in industrial use...

, sugar and antimony trisulfide
Stibnite
Stibnite, sometimes called antimonite, is a sulfide mineral with the formula Sb2S3. This soft grey material crystallizes in an orthorhombic space group. It is the most important source for the metalloid antimony...

. The match was drawn between a fold of sandpaper to ignite it. Between 1827 and 1829, Walker made about 168 sales of his matches. It was however dangerous and flaming balls sometimes fell to the floor burning carpets and dresses, leading to their being banned in France and Germany. Walker either did not consider his invention important enough to patent or neglected it. In order for the splint to catch fire, they were often treated with sulfur and the odor was improved by the addition of camphor. A version of Walker's match was patented by Samuel Jones and these were sold as lucifer
Lucifer
Traditionally, Lucifer is a name that in English generally refers to the devil or Satan before being cast from Heaven, although this is not the original meaning of the term. In Latin, from which the English word is derived, Lucifer means "light-bearer"...

 matches
. These early matches had a number of problems- an initial violent reaction, an unsteady flame and unpleasant odor and fumes. Lucifers could ignite explosively, sometimes throwing sparks a considerable distance. Lucifers were manufactured in the United States by Ezekial Byam. The term "lucifer" persisted as slang
Slang
Slang is the use of informal words and expressions that are not considered standard in the speaker's language or dialect but are considered more acceptable when used socially. Slang is often to be found in areas of the lexicon that refer to things considered taboo...

 in the 20th century (for example in the First World War song Pack Up Your Troubles
Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit-Bag
"Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit-Bag, and Smile, Smile, Smile" is the full name of a World War I marching song, published in 1915 in London. It was written by George Henry Powell under the pseudonym of "George Asaf", and set to music by his brother Felix Powell...

) and in the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 and Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

 today matches are still called lucifers.

Lucifers were however quickly replaced after the discovery in 1830 by Frenchman
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 Charles Sauria
Charles Sauria
Marc Charles Sauria was a French chemist credited for inventing phosphorus-based matches in 1830–1831.Several events are believed to have led Sauria to his discovery, including the hydrogen lighter introduced in 1827 by Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac and the demonstration by his chemistry professor...

 who substituted the antimony sulfide with white phosphorus. These new phosphorus matches had to be kept in airtight metal boxes but became popular. In England, these phosphorus matches were called "Congreves" after Sir William Congreve (1772–1828) while they went by the name of "loco foco" in the United States. The earliest American patent for the phosphorus friction match was granted in 1836 to Alonzo Dwight Phillips of Springfield, Massachusetts. From 1830 to 1890 the composition of these matches remained largely unchanged although some improvements were made. In 1843 William Ashgard replaced the sulfur used to treat splints with beeswax, reducing the pungency of the fumes. This was replaced by Paraffin wax in 1862 by Charles W. Smith, resulting in what were called "parlor matches". From 1870 the end of the splint was fireproofed by impregnation with fire-retardant chemicals such as alum, sodium silicate and other salts resulting in what were commonly called as a "drunkard's match" and prevented the accidental burning of the user's fingers. Other advances were made for the mass manufacture of matches. Early matches were made from blocks of woods with cuts separating the splints but leaving their bases attached. Later versions were made in the form of thin combs. The splints would be broken away from the comb when required. A noiseless match was invented in 1836 by the Hungarian János Irinyi
János Irinyi
János Irinyi ; , sometimes also spelled János Irínyi)was a Hungarian chemist and inventor of the noiseless and non-explosive match. He achieved this by mixing the phosphorus with lead dioxide instead of the potassium chlorate used previously.Irinyi also took part in the Hungarian Revolution of...

, who was a student of chemistry
Chemistry
Chemistry is the science of matter, especially its chemical reactions, but also its composition, structure and properties. Chemistry is concerned with atoms and their interactions with other atoms, and particularly with the properties of chemical bonds....

. An unsuccessful experiment by his professor, Meissner, gave Irinyi the idea to replace potassium chlorate with lead dioxide in the head of the phosphorus match. He liquefied phosphorus in warm water and shook it in a glass foil, until it became granulated
Granular material
A granular material is a conglomeration of discrete solid, macroscopic particles characterized by a loss of energy whenever the particles interact . The constituents that compose granular material must be large enough such that they are not subject to thermal motion fluctuations...

. He mixed the phosphorus with lead
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

 and gum arabic
Gum arabic
220px|thumb|right|Acacia gumGum arabic, also known as acacia gum, chaar gund, char goond, or meska, is a natural gum made of hardened sap taken from two species of the acacia tree; Acacia senegal and Acacia seyal...

, poured the paste-like mass into a jar, and dipped the pine sticks into the mixture and let them dry. When he tried them that evening, all of them lit evenly. Irinyi thus invented the noiseless match. He sold the invention to István Rómer, a match manufacturer. Rómer, a Hungarian pharmacist living in Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

, bought the invention and production rights from Irinyi for 60 forints. István Rómer became rich and Irinyi himself went on to publish articles and a textbook on chemistry and founded several match factories.

The replacement of white phosphorus


Unfortunately, those involved in the manufacture of the new phosphorus matches were afflicted with phossy jaw
Phossy jaw
Phossy jaw, formally phosphorus necrosis of the jaw, is an occupational disease of those who work with white phosphorus, also known as yellow phosphorus, without proper safeguards. It was most commonly seen in workers in the match industry in the 19th and early 20th century...

and other bone disorders, and there was enough white phosphorus in one pack to kill a person. Deaths and suicides from eating the heads of matches became frequent. The earliest report of phosphorus necrosis was made in 1845 by Lorinser in Vienna and a New York surgeon published a pamphlet with notes on nine cases.
Attempts were made to reduce the ill-effects on workers through the introduction of inspections and regulations. Anton Schrötter
Anton Schrötter von Kristelli
Anton Schrötter von Kristelli was an Austrian chemist and mineralogist born in Olomouc, Moravia. His son Leopold Schrötter Ritter von Kristelli was a noted laryngologist.Antons father was an apothecary...

 discovered in 1850 that heating white-phosphorus at 250° C in an inert atmosphere produced a red allotropic form. This form did not fume in contact with air and it was suggested that this would make it a suitable substitute in match manufacture although it was slightly more expensive. Two French chemists, Henri Savene and Emile David Cahen, developed a safe match using phosphorus sesquisulfide
Phosphorus sesquisulfide
Phosphorus sesquisulfide is the inorganic compound with the formula 43. This yellow solid is one of two commercially produced phosphorus sulfides. It is a component of "strike anywhere" matches....

 that was patented in 1898. They proved that the substance was not poisonous, that it could be used in a "strike-anywhere" match, and that the match heads were not explosive. They patented a safety match composition in 1898 based on phosphorus sesquisulfide and potassium chlorate
Potassium chlorate
Potassium chlorate is a compound containing potassium, chlorine and oxygen atoms, with the molecular formula KClO3. In its pure form, it is a white crystalline substance. It is the most common chlorate in industrial use...

. Albright and Wilson
Albright and Wilson
Albright and Wilson was founded in 1856 as a United Kingdom manufacturer of potassium chlorate and white phosphorus for the match industry. For much of its first 100 years of existence, phosphorus-derived chemicals formed the majority of its products....

 developed a safe means of making commercial quantities of phosphorus sesquisulfide in the United Kingdom in 1899 and started selling it to match makers. White phosphorus however continued to be used and the serious effects it had led to legislations in many countries to ban its use. Finland introduced laws to prohibit the use of white phosphorus in 1872 followed by Denmark in 1874, France in 1897, Switzerland in 1898 and Holland in 1901. An agreement, the Berne Convention
Berne Convention (1906)
The Berne Convention of 1906 is an international treaty negotiated in Bern in Switzerland which prohibits the use of white phosphorus in the manufacture of matches. The treaty also prohibits the import and sale of such matches....

,
was reached at Bern, Switzerland, on September 1906 to prohibit the use of white phosphorus in matches. This required each country to pass laws prohibiting the use of white phosphorus in matches. Great Britain
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

 passed a law in 1908 prohibiting its use in matches after 31 December 1910. The United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 did not pass a law, but instead placed a "punitive tax" on white phosphorus-based matches, one so high as to render their manufacture financially impractical, in 1913. India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 and Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 banned them in 1919; and China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 in 1925.

In the United States, the Diamond Match Company obtained the patent for sesquisulfide manufacture in 1900 for a sum of $100,000. In 1901 Albright and Wilson started making phosphorus sesquisulfide at their Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls, New York
Niagara Falls is a city in Niagara County, New York, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 50,193, down from the 55,593 recorded in the 2000 census. It is across the Niagara River from Niagara Falls, Ontario , both named after the famed Niagara Falls which they...

 plant for the U.S. market, but American manufacturers continued to use white phosphorus based matches. The Niagara Falls plant stopped making it until 1910, when the United States Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 forbade the shipment of white phosphorus matches in interstate commerce. At the same time the largest producer of matches in the USA granted free use, in the USA, of its phosphorus sesquisulfide safety match patents. President William Howard Taft
William Howard Taft
William Howard Taft was the 27th President of the United States and later the tenth Chief Justice of the United States...

 of the US then wrote publicly to the Diamond Match Company asking them to release the patent for the good of mankind, an event that happened in 1911. In 1913 Albright and Wilson also started making red phosphorus at Niagara Falls.

The strike-anywhere match


Early friction matches made with white phosphorus as well as those made from phosphorus sesquisulfide could be struck on any suitable surface. They were particularly popular in the United States even when safety matches had become common in Europe. Strike-anywhere matches are classified as dangerous goods
Dangerous goods
Dangerous goods are solids, liquids, or gases that can harm people, other living organisms, property, or the environment. They are often subject to chemical regulations. "HazMat teams" are personnel specially trained to handle dangerous goods...

, "U.N. 1331, Matches, strike-anywhere;" and their carriage is illegal on both passenger aircraft and cargo-only aircraft.

The safety match



The dangers of white phosphorus in the manufacture of matches led to the development of the "hygienic" or safety match. The major innovation in its development was the use of red phosphorus, not on the head of the match but instead on a specially designed striking surface. The idea was developed in 1844 by the Swede
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

 Gustaf Erik Pasch
Gustaf Erik Pasch
Gustaf Erik Pasch was a Swedish inventor and professor of chemistry at Karolinska institute in Stockholm and inventor of the safety match. He was born in Norrköping, the son of a carpenter. He enrolled at Uppsala University in 1806 and graduated with a masters degree in 1821...

 (1788–1862) and was improved by Johan Edvard Lundström
John Edvard Lundström
Johan Edvard Lundström was a Swedish industrialist and inventor who pioneered the production of safety matches. Johan is spelt John outside Scandinavia.- Biography :...

 (1815–1888). Pasch patented the use of red phosphorus in the striking surface. He found that this could ignite heads that did not need to contain white phosphorus. Johan Edvard and his younger brother Carl Frans Lundström (1823–1917) started a large scale match industry in Jönköping around 1847, but the improved safety match was not introduced until around 1850–55. The Lundström brothers had obtained a sample of red phosphorus from Arthur Albright
Albright and Wilson
Albright and Wilson was founded in 1856 as a United Kingdom manufacturer of potassium chlorate and white phosphorus for the match industry. For much of its first 100 years of existence, phosphorus-derived chemicals formed the majority of its products....

 at The Great Exhibition
The Great Exhibition
The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations or The Great Exhibition, sometimes referred to as the Crystal Palace Exhibition in reference to the temporary structure in which it was held, was an international exhibition that took place in Hyde Park, London, from 1 May to 15 October...

, held at The Crystal Palace
The Crystal Palace
The Crystal Palace was a cast-iron and glass building originally erected in Hyde Park, London, England, to house the Great Exhibition of 1851. More than 14,000 exhibitors from around the world gathered in the Palace's of exhibition space to display examples of the latest technology developed in...

 in 1851 but had misplaced them and did not try the matches until just before the Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 Exhibition of 1855 when they found that they were still usable. In 1858 their company produced around 12 million match boxes.

The safety of true "safety matches" is derived from the separation of the reactive ingredients between a match head on the end of a paraffin-impregnated splint and the special striking surface apart from the replacement of white phosphorus with red phosphorus. The idea for separating the chemicals had already been introduced in 1859 in the form of two-headed matches known in France as Alumettes Androgynes. There was however a risk of the heads rubbing each other accidentally in their box. These were sticks with one end made of potassium chlorate and the other of red phosphorus had to be broken and the heads rubbed together. Such dangers were removed when the striking surface was moved to the outside of the box. The striking surface on modern matchboxes is typically composed of 25% powdered glass
Glass
Glass is an amorphous solid material. Glasses are typically brittle and optically transparent.The most familiar type of glass, used for centuries in windows and drinking vessels, is soda-lime glass, composed of about 75% silica plus Na2O, CaO, and several minor additives...

 or other abrasive material, 50% red phosphorus, 5% neutralizer, 4% carbon black
Carbon black
Carbon black is a material produced by the incomplete combustion of heavy petroleum products such as FCC tar, coal tar, ethylene cracking tar, and a small amount from vegetable oil. Carbon black is a form of amorphous carbon that has a high surface-area-to-volume ratio, although its...

 and 16% binder; and the match head is typically composed of 45–55% potassium chlorate
Potassium chlorate
Potassium chlorate is a compound containing potassium, chlorine and oxygen atoms, with the molecular formula KClO3. In its pure form, it is a white crystalline substance. It is the most common chlorate in industrial use...

, with a little sulfur and starch, a neutralizer (ZnO or ), 20–40% of siliceous filler, diatomite and glue. Some heads contain antimony(III) sulfide so that they burn more vigorously. Safety matches ignite due to the extreme reactivity of phosphorus with the potassium chlorate in the match head. When the match is struck the phosphorus and chlorate mix in a small amount forming something similar to the explosive Armstrong's mixture
Armstrong's mixture
Armstrong's mixture is a highly sensitive primary explosive. Its primary ingredients are red phosphorus and strong oxidizer, such as potassium chlorate and potassium perchlorate. Sulfur and calcium carbonate might be present in small amounts, though other additives are also used. Commercially,...

 which ignites due to the friction.

The Swedes long held a virtual worldwide monopoly
Monopoly
A monopoly exists when a specific person or enterprise is the only supplier of a particular commodity...

 on safety matches, with the industry mainly situated in Jönköping
Jönköping
-Notable people:*Lillian Asplund, RMS Titanic survivor*John Bauer, illustrator, painter*Amy Diamond, singer*Agnetha Fältskog, ABBA*Carl Henrik Fredriksson, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Eurozine*Anders Gustafsson, kayaker, Olympian...

, in 1903 called Jönköpings & Vulcans Tändsticksfabriks AB. In France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, they sold the rights to their safety match patent
Patent
A patent is a form of intellectual property. It consists of a set of exclusive rights granted by a sovereign state to an inventor or their assignee for a limited period of time in exchange for the public disclosure of an invention....

 to Coigent Père & Fils of Lyon
Lyon
Lyon , is a city in east-central France in the Rhône-Alpes region, situated between Paris and Marseille. Lyon is located at from Paris, from Marseille, from Geneva, from Turin, and from Barcelona. The residents of the city are called Lyonnais....

, but Coigent contested the payment in the French courts, on the basis that the invention was known in Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

 before the Lundström brothers patented it. The British match manufacturer Bryant and May
Bryant and May
For the Bryant and May series of crime mystery books, see the author Christopher Fowler.Bryant and May was a United Kingdom company created in the mid-nineteenth century specifically to make matches. Their original Bryant and May Factory was located in Bow, London...

 visited Jönköping in 1858 to try to obtain a supply of safety matches, but it was unsuccessful. In 1862 it established its own factory and bought the rights for the British safety match patent from the Lundström brothers.

Safety matches are classified as dangerous goods
Dangerous goods
Dangerous goods are solids, liquids, or gases that can harm people, other living organisms, property, or the environment. They are often subject to chemical regulations. "HazMat teams" are personnel specially trained to handle dangerous goods...

, "U.N. 1944, Matches, safety," and they are not universally forbidden on aircraft
Aircraft
An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to fly by gaining support from the air, or, in general, the atmosphere of a planet. An aircraft counters the force of gravity by using either static lift or by using the dynamic lift of an airfoil, or in a few cases the downward thrust from jet engines.Although...

; however, they must be declared as dangerous goods and individual airlines and/or countries may impose tighter restrictions.

Special-purpose matches



Storm matches, also known as lifeboat
Lifeboat (shipboard)
A lifeboat is a small, rigid or inflatable watercraft carried for emergency evacuation in the event of a disaster aboard ship. In the military, a lifeboat may be referred to as a whaleboat, dinghy, or gig. The ship's tenders of cruise ships often double as lifeboats. Recreational sailors sometimes...

 matches or flare matches, have an easy to strike tip like a normal match, but much of the stick is coated with a combustible compound which will keep burning even in a strong wind. They have a wax
Wax
thumb|right|[[Cetyl palmitate]], a typical wax ester.Wax refers to a class of chemical compounds that are plastic near ambient temperatures. Characteristically, they melt above 45 °C to give a low viscosity liquid. Waxes are insoluble in water but soluble in organic, nonpolar solvents...

 coating to make them waterproof, making them a component of many survival kit
Survival kit
A survival kit is a package of basic tools and supplies prepared in advance as an aid to survival in an emergency. Military aircraft, lifeboats, and spacecraft are equipped with survival kits....

s. This particular match was used in the first mass-produced Molotov cocktail
Molotov cocktail
The Molotov cocktail, also known as the petrol bomb, gasoline bomb, Molotov bomb, fire bottle, fire bomb, or simply Molotov, is a generic name used for a variety of improvised incendiary weapons...

s.

Matchbooks and matchboxes



The development of a specialized "matchbook
Matchbook
A matchbook is a small paperboard folder enclosing a quantity of matches and having a coarse striking surface on the exterior...

" with both matches and a striking surface did not occur until the 1890s with the American Joshua Pusey
Joshua Pusey
Joshua Pusey , was an American inventor and an attorney.In 1827, an English pharmacist named John Walker produced his "sulphuretted peroxide strikables," gigantic, yard-long sticks that can be considered the real precursor of today’s match. Small phosphorus matches were first marketed in Germany...

, who later sold his patent to the Diamond Match Company
Diamond Match Company
The Diamond Match Company was the largest manufacturer of matches in the United States in the late nineteenth century. Jarden is the current owner of the Diamond brand.-History:...

. The Diamond Match Company was later bought by Bryant and May
Bryant and May
For the Bryant and May series of crime mystery books, see the author Christopher Fowler.Bryant and May was a United Kingdom company created in the mid-nineteenth century specifically to make matches. Their original Bryant and May Factory was located in Bow, London...

.

The hobby of collecting match-related items, such as matchcovers and matchbox labels, is known as phillumeny.

Fires due to lit matches


  • The Cocoanut Grove fire
    Cocoanut Grove fire
    The Cocoanut Grove was Boston's premier nightclub during the post-Prohibition 1930s and 40s. On November 28, 1942, occurred the scene of what remains the deadliest nightclub fire, killing 492 people and injuring hundreds more...

     of 1942, the deadliest nightclub fire in U.S. history, was started when an artificial palm tree
    Artificial flower
    Artificial flowers are imitations of natural flowering plants, used for commercial or residential decoration. They are sometimes made for scientific purposes .Materials used in their manufacture have included painted linen and shavings of stained horn in Egypt, gold and...

     caught fire as a busboy struck a match for illumination while changing a light bulb
    Incandescent light bulb
    The incandescent light bulb, incandescent lamp or incandescent light globe makes light by heating a metal filament wire to a high temperature until it glows. The hot filament is protected from air by a glass bulb that is filled with inert gas or evacuated. In a halogen lamp, a chemical process...

    .
  • The King's Cross fire
    King's Cross fire
    The King's Cross St. Pancras tube station fire was a fatal fire on the London Underground. It broke out at approximately 19:30 on 18 November 1987, and killed 31 people....

     was a devastating underground fire in London
    London
    London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

     on 18 November 1987 which killed 31 people. Evidence considered at the Public Enquiry into the fire concluded that it was initiated by rubbish and grease
    Petroleum
    Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

     beneath wooden escalator
    Escalator
    An escalator is a moving staircase – a conveyor transport device for carrying people between floors of a building. The device consists of a motor-driven chain of individual, linked steps that move up or down on tracks, allowing the step treads to remain horizontal.Escalators are used around the...

    s being ignited, and that this was likely caused by a lighted match being dropped. Smoking was banned on the Underground; there had been 48 previous escalator fires between 1955 and 1988, 31 of which were caused by smoking materials, and tests had shown that a lit match, but not a cigarette, could ignite the grease.
  • A 10-year-old boy playing with matches started the Buckweed Fire, of the October 2007 California wildfires
    October 2007 California wildfires
    The October 2007 California wildfires were a series of wildfires that began burning across Southern California on October 20. At least 1,500 homes were destroyed and over 500,000 acres of land burned from Santa Barbara County to the U.S.–Mexico border...

    . With a series of wildfires blazing across the southern part of the state, Buckweed burned over 38000 acres (153.8 km²) of land and 63 structures.

See also


  • Hendrick Lucifer
    Hendrick Lucifer
    Hendrick Jacobszoon Lucifer was a Dutch-born pirate and brute.Hendrick's last name, Lucifer, referred not to a lighting stick, but to the fallen angel Lucifer, and was most likely used as a nickname due to his use of fire and smoke to surprise enemies.- Greatest success and death :In 1627,...

  • Ivar Kreuger
    Ivar Kreuger
    Ivar Kreuger was a Swedish civil engineer, financier, entrepreneur and industrialist. In 1908 Kreuger co-founded the construction company Kreuger & Toll Byggnads AB which specialized in new building techniques. By aggressive investments and innovative financial instruments he built a global match...

  • John Leonard Orr
  • Lighter
    Lighter
    A lighter is a portable device used to generate a flame. It consists of a metal or plastic container filled with a flammable fluid or pressurized liquid gas, a means of ignition, and some provision for extinguishing the flame.- History :...

  • London matchgirls strike of 1888
    London matchgirls strike of 1888
    The London match-girls’ strike of 1888 was a strike of the women and teenage girls working at the Bryant and May Factory in Bow, London.-The strike:...

  • Permanent Match
  • Phillumeny
  • Swedish Match
    Swedish Match
    Swedish Match is a Swedish company based in Stockholm that makes snus, tobacco, cigars , Red Man Chewing Tobacco, dipping tobacco, matches and lighters. It was founded as Svenska Tändsticksaktiebolaget by Ivar Kreuger in 1917 in Jönköping...

  • The Little Match Girl
    The Little Match Girl
    The Little Match Girl is a short story by Danish poet and author Hans Christian Andersen. The story is about a dying child's dreams and hope, and was first published in 1845. It has been adapted to various media including animated film, and a television musical.-Plot summary:On a cold New Year’s...

  • Vesta case
    Vesta case
    Vesta cases, vesta boxes, or pocket match safes or matchsafes were small portable boxes made in a great variety of forms with snapshut covers to contain vestas and keep them dry....



Further reading

  • Beaver, Patrick, (1985). The Match Makers: The Story of Bryant & May. London: Henry Melland Limited. ISBN 0-907929-11-7.
  • Emsley, John, (2000). The Shocking History of Phosphorus: A Biography of the Devil's Element. Basingstoke: Macmillan Publishing. ISBN 0-333-76638-5.
  • Steele, H. Thomas (1987). Close Cover Before Striking: The Golden Age of Matchbook Art. Abeville Press.

External links