Match Box

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two wall match holders

Two wall mounted match Holders

Vintage Match Stick Holder or collecting Match Boxes  is one of those upcoming fads for new collectors. As in a reference book,(address at the bottom)  there are something like 4000 different varieties of match holders of sorts.

Match holders have always been around. they are sitting there,  all by themselves, lonely on some old shelf at your friendly antique shop or flea market.  Hell, you will even find them at any Good Will or used clothing outlet.

match safe

gas filled lighter and a match holder

We have all seen them, but paid little or no attention to them.  Then when you spot one, you say to yourself “WHAT IS THAT THING?” They are small, don’t take up a lot of room, and they’re different. Some look like an old fluid style Zippo lighter but without the lighter inside. “Someone stole the lighter” and left the case! No, now they call it a match box/holder. They would even make a good conversation piece!

Match Boxes are just fun to collect and could be a lucrative hobby.

What is a Match Holder you say?  WELL let me tell you. First you have to understand their purpose and their use. First off, here is some pictures. Now you’re going to say,  “yeah”  I’ve seen hundreds” and yes, you have. They are overlooked by most of  the general public. These little match holders, which some just call match safes, were made to store friction matches. (ordinary match sticks)

The match revolutionized the way people started fires in the mid 18oos

We all have read stories of inventions that changed the world, but you will not find matches on that list.  You should have! Penicillin changed the lives “saved lives” as we knew it and I hate to say it, the silly old simple match stick/holders should be at least in the top 10, “Somewhere”.

In and around the year 1830 a chemist named John Walker from England mistakenly invented the match tip or matches. Hard to believe but in the earlier days before the match and match holders, you basically had to rub two sticks together, or just keep the fire burning.

The silliest part of the match stick story is the match holder was not debued until the 1850s, 20 years later.

But the invention of a silly friction match did change the way we lived. And having said all that,three figurine match holders people needed someplace to safely store their matches. Sure when you buy them they come in small cardboard boxes, and in most part that’s all you needed. Some people would just throw a couple of match sticks in their pocket and when needed, they just pulled them out, struck it on something abrasive and you’re in business.

The ingredient of the match stick was so flammable in their first stages of invention, they would just light up from the friction of movement in your pocket. They were very unpredictable at best and probably, burnt more houses down from premature combustion.

Which brings us up to the MATCH HOLDERS.

To clarify what the difference is, match box or a match safe, I would like to think of as a match box, just an open container that you put your matches in.

Maybe a match holder with a lid (simple right) I would also consider a match safe as being a closed container of sorts, as per pictures. And that would make more sense around an open flame, or wood stoves.

To throw another curve, England sometimes called match holders, match boxes and match safes, “Vesta Boxes”   Only the English language can have 4 completely different words, meaning the same thing.

“England uses proper English” so we’re all pronouncing match boxes, “WRONG”. . . Eh!

MATCH BOX . . . MATCH SAFE . . . VESTA BOX . . . MATCH HOLDERS

Now we know that the match box was made for the storage of flammable match sticks. Just to store your matches safely! A common place most people kept their match sticks was near the old wood stove,  for easy access to start the fire. So on its own, match boxes were a welcoming invention.

Match holders come in a variety of styles to choose from. There are ceramic ones, just ordinary stamped tin ones and there are fancy decorative ones for the rich and famous. My all time favorites are just the old rustic looking cast iron ones. They had a small pocket on the one side for your matches and would hold 10 or so matches.

NOT  a lot of information out there.

Sorry to say, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of information on match boxes, but these feverish, die hard collectors they know what they’re looking for.  You should be learning, research more and help these serious collectors out. Hunt them down, There out there or maybe just for save them for yourself. Eh

Hope I helped you out some.

I hope I helped you, armed you with a little information on, as the English would say. . . “Vesta Boxes” “MATCH BOXES to the  ORDINARY GUY” So next time you’re at one of these used antique shops, look down on the selves, look up, they’re there, just waiting for you.  Eh!

Just remember, this would be an excellent hobby to start and in most cases, like any collecting “IT’S THE FUN OF THE HUNT!”   Eh!

Note, People use –

Vintage Decorative Match Holders for, “Toothpicks”

Please check out more fascinating stories and history of Match Holders. I recommend this excellent reference book with hundreds of images,  “Match Holders by Denis B Alsford” 

Reference ∞ 

◊   https://www.schifferbooks.com/search/results.html?search_in_description=1&search-option=&keyword=DENIS+B+ALSFORD&x=0&y=0

  https://www.collectorsweekly.com/tobacciana/match-holders

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This is part 7 of

“THE LEAST YOU SHOULD KNOW” 50 Series.

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