Spring loaded

Self Extinguishing Safety Match, box and spring-loaded matches, 57 x 36 x 18 mm
Self Extinguishing Safety Match, box and spring-loaded matches, 57 x 36 x 18 mm

Exhibitor : Phil Stringer

The “Self Extinguishing Safety Match” is an interesting non starter, patented 6th February 1912 by J F Hendrickson & Son of Wollaston, Massachusetts, USA.

The idea was intended as a safety feature designed to make sure that if a still burning match was discarded the spring would flick back and put the flame out. The pictorial image on the label (right) shows how to hold the spring back to strike the match, in practice this proves to be a rather difficult procedure to execute making the simple job of lighting it a clumsy affair.

The label looks to be a fully finished design but it can clearly be seen to have been mounted on top of a Swedish Vulcan label, so was this a prototype example designed to demonstrate the idea, or was the production intended to be retro fitted to existing matchbox stock? It would appear to have been a labour intensive process if not mechanised and expensive. Either way with the added cost of the springs I can’t imagine it would have ever found a market.

In later times this safety problem was addressed with a portion of the stick being infused with a flame retardant chemical.

So how would potential backers of this idea have responded ? I expect they would have said “just blow it out mate!”

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