On 7th November 2022 the Reuters news agency reported that Philip Morris has been successful in its bid to buy Swedish Match. Their declared intention is to take Swedish Match private.
Here is our Exhibition Catalogue. The Exhibits are listed in alphabetical order, click on a link below to access an Exhibit or read an Exhibitor’s biography. An asterisk indicates that the Exhibit is available in dual language.
Exhibitor : Jesús María Bollo García
Click here for Spanish language version
When a Phillumenist comes across a 19th century scrapbook album they have in their hands a real treasure chest for two reasons : on the one hand it contains many matchbox labels that are not usually found in the shops or in auctions, and, in addition, an opportunity to spend many hours enhancing their own collections while looking through the beautiful scrapbook.
The most elaborate scrapbook albums (and therefore the real treasures) feature covers either of leather or other materials with sewn and well-bound pages, like the one below.
Who made the scrapbook albums ?
In order to understand how and why these scrapbook albums appear we need to go back to the time when they were made : a world completely different from our current one, in which there was neither light, nor leisure, nor universal free education, nor a living wage, etc. etc.
We need to bear in mind that in the late 19th Century children and young people began working at a very early age and with schedules that would be considered completely unacceptable today (just look at the photos that exist, for example; of the workers of the Pascasio Lizarbe Factory, mostly young girls). A high percentage of the population was illiterate and families had few belongings, with little time to devote to leisure (in Spain the Sunday rest day wasn’t implemented until 3rd June 1904). The typical workday was 14 to 16 hours a day, which was logically not really a stimulus to devote time and money to creating a scrapbook album of matchbox labels.
My conclusion therefore is that the people who made these albums must have come from families of a medium or high status, because they needed money and they needed time for such a detailed artisan undertaking.
How were the albums made ?
There are many different examples of scrapbook albums, but they all start with large sheets of paper or card onto which the labels are glued. Sometimes the labels were laid out in order and sometimes just as they were acquired rows, like these :
But often the “Phillumenist” used their own imagination to enhance the collection by incorporating other items of common “ephemera” such as die-cut cards, prints, chocolate cards. And sometimes they would add their own pen-and-ink drawings :
The creativity, skill and attention to detail of the maker was almost limitless, as these examples show :
As you can see from the first to the last photo the treasure contained in any scrapbook album speaks for itself.
Good luck searching, and I hope you also find your own treasure.
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Exhibitor : Badrul Hisham Jaafar
This exhibit is dedicated to the match labels of a famous entrepreneur and industrialist who is one of the founding fathers of Pakistan: Sir Adamjee Haji Dawood (1880-1948).
Born in 1880 in Jetpur, Gujrat, British India of a Memon community, Sir Adamjee began his entrepreneurial venture very early in life when he was just a teenager. His real name is Adam Dawood Baig Mohammad. He was fondly called Adamjee by his mother where the suffix ‘jee’, sometimes spelled ‘ji’, denotes special affection in Gujarati family. He went to Burma (now Myanmar) in 1895 at a tender age of 15 to work as an apprentice. By the age of 18, he had begun operating his own business. In 1914, his company, Adamjee Dawood & Co was established and traded items such as rice, jute, and matches amongst others. In 1920 he built his own match factory in Rangoon which began match production by December of 1923.
This is a story of rags to riches, of mercantile to conglomerate, of a commoner to a national hero. Such a story deserves to be told and retold. As such, this exhibit intends to share part of his legacy by focusing on the match labels, a trade Sir Adamjee started off, amongst many of his joyous and arduous journey as an entrepreneur, a social visionary and philanthropist. Sir Adamjee was knighted in 1938 by the British Government due to his immense contribution to society such as his active involvement in flood relief activities and education related ventures amongst many others in British India.
The Trading Years, 1914 to 1924*
Imported brands of Adamjee’s matches from Japan.
Adamjee’s match factory
Adamjee’s match factory was reputed to be amongst the largest in Asia of its time, located in Pazundaung, Rangoon (Yangon) hired 1,400 employees mostly consist of Burmese women. His industrialization dream bears witness to a successful match manufacturing venture using German and Japan made machines. The business survived various episodes of hardship particularly the famous match trade war between Adamjee and the “match king” Ivar Kreuger of Swedish Match Company (SMC) who owned nearly 75 percent of world match trade at the time. It also survived the 1938 bloody riots of Burma and the 1942 Second World War. However, the factory was subsequently nationalized by the Burmese state in 1968.
The Manufacturing Years, 1923 to 1968*
Manufactured brands of Adamjee’s match labels from Burma (Myanmar). It was reported that Adamjee had over 2 dozen match label brand names manufactured out of his factory in Rangoon.
Please note that this is non-exhaustive of all brands traded and manufactured by Adamjee. It has taken me several years to accumulate these prized labels from all over the world and the hunt for other Adamjee’s match labels continues. Amongst those not available in this collection include Adamjee’s tiger, monkey, key, automobile, bullock cart brands and various varieties to name a few.
These labels now bear witness to the legacy of a business conglomerate, the Adamjee Group and the man himself for his contribution in the early formative days of Pakistan as a country. A successful entrepreneur extraordinaire, Sir Adamjee is remembered as a person who helped fund the newly created Pakistan by providing “a blank cheque” secured by his personal assets during Pakistan’s critical formative years.
This is a tribute towards a personality who not only made a name in match trading and match manufacturing in Asia but also towards humanity, industrialization and social development. Sir Adamjee, a commoner turned national hero born out of a match industry.
Notes & References:
* denotes estimated years.
All information is duly obtained from exhibitor’s personal reading of related information referred to and obtained from :
I) “Colonial Burma, history and phillumeny” by Andrew Selth, 24thMay, 2016 published in the New Mandala, (www.mandala.org)
ii) “The Merchant Knight – Adamjee Haji Dawood”, by Daleara Jamasji-Hirjikaka & Yasmin Qureshi, Adamjee Foundation, 2004.
iii) “Adamjee Haji Dawood” on wikipedia.com
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Exhibitor : Anthony Harris
Welcome to my Matchstick garage (Bryant & May Woodcraft kit, distributed in the 1980’s, but put together more recently). To give you an idea of the size of my garage the double doors are 4.5cms high.
It is Friday today and it will be a busy day. Please join me for this day in my life.
I am the garage proprietor and I have three employees :
- Bradley (or Wiggo to those who know him well) who cycles into work, sometimes on a penny farthing), sometimes on his Tour de France racer. He has been with me the longest
- Next is Phillip (we call him Prince), who commutes to the garage in his carriage
- And then there is the new apprentice Chip (Chocolate Chip for his full name), who is dropped off this morning by his ‘Mother’ in her Cookies van
As I mentioned we all have a busy day ahead.
The four of us are in the garage this morning and then off to a racing circuit this afternoon and then the rest of the weekend providing mechanic support.
I need to get a motor on and ensure I and the team perform in all conditions.
I wish to show you some of the jobs which I and the team need to be complete at the garage this morning.
They are unusual quirky matchbook shaped items that appeal to me :
- A traction engine which is only depicted on the front. On the back it advises it belongs to Poldark Mining Ltd, Wendron Tin Mine, Helston, Cornwall. This engine manufactured by the Cornish Match Co Ltd Japan, with a surprisingly low carrying load of only 6 Matches. – The traction engine requires a timing chain adjustment. Measures 17cm’s to the top of the chimney.
- A vintage Opel (double sided)- the German owner has asked for ABS to be fitted! “Unser neuer opel Betrieb Manfred Petsche Ganserndorf Wiener Strasser” – this car comes from the new Opel Company that has opened in Wiener Street, Ganserndorf. Contains 10 matches.
- A Lucky Strike Motorcycle (again double-sided) which needs a full service ahead of being collected later in the morning. Contains 20 matches and is unmarked.
- A Mercedes Benz Unimog UX 100 which a smiling Chip is recharging the air conditioning on. Empty of contents and no other marks. Chip is standing and is 8.2cm’s tall
- A Family car needing an MOT. Completely empty and un-marked.
- A Motorhome which is 9.3cm’s long needs new tyres. It Contains 10 matches and again is un-marked.
- And lastly a Hillman Super Imp. It advises on its boot that it is “Britains brightest light car, on the inside it suggests it is “a striking success” and contains 20 black matches. The Imp requires a new radiator and some antifreeze.
Two Trucks (which are match book containers) have arrived in time with the parts and accessories that we need to complete this morning’s jobs.
- The 10-wheeler Megatruck Ruan has an articulated cab. The trailer has a match book door back and front. Overall length is 23 cm’s and at 7.5cm’s height it only just went under the local bridge. Manufactured by Universal Match, St Louis.
- The Inter-monde van has a back door through which 4 of the original 6 sovereign matchbooks are still loaded. Delivery depots are detailed on both sides and include 3 Belgium cities of Bruxelles, Anvers and Zaventem. Identical in size and shape to the Cookies van. Whilst not marked I suspect because of its identical shape to the Cookie van, it was also manufactured by Universal Match
The deliveries thankfully included the anti-freeze (or Ethylene Glycol) from Shell. The can is plastic capped, made in Holland and is 5.5 cm’s tall and a diameter of 3.8 cm’s. More than enough to fill the Super Imp. Now time for a brew, the biscuits are in this Ian Logan Associates Limited Queens Silver Jubilee 1977 bus tin (the tin was based on an original design of Huntley and Palmers produced in the early 1900’s.). Tea drunk and empty mugs placed on the tray ready for washing up. The tray shows Bryant & May advertising on the side of a tram and is otherwise unmarked with a diameter of 30.5 cm’s and depth of 2.5 cm’s.
U-Haul (also trade-marked as Mom’s Attic), claims to be the “Number one family mover” send their “Van that rides on air” to pick up the Lucky Strike Motorbike. The service has been completed in time.
Payment can be made through the slot in the roof now that all the U-Haul matchbooks have been removed. The back and the front both open. Manufactured by U Haul in 1988. 21 cm’s long.
It is now the end of the morning, and I am delighted that we have got all the work done.
Saturday, getting ready for race day
I have hooked up the caravan to my time travelling car (gripping stuff!) and we are all off to an American racing circuit where we are on duty as race mechanics for the Smokin’ Joe’s race team.
The Caravan came “with the compliments of Sprite Caravans, it contains 10 yellow headed matches and is marked as a Finnovision made in Finland. The car is marked on the spine “Safety Matches Smoke Stone Co Ltd Made in Japan”. On the reverse is the question “Will Your Car start Tomorrow?” I hope it does! Standard size 6 x 4 2 cm’s, but big enough to tow the caravan safely!
Smokin’ Joe’s is a US (Headquarters in New York) Tobacco and Cigar Brand that also operates trading posts and a chain of smoking stores. They have brought two vehicle transporters to the race circuit.
- The rectangular vehicle transporter pictured below carries a motorbike on the front side, two different racing cars and a dragster on the other sides. This container was made under 1994 copyright by the R J Reynolds Tobacco Co. Within the container is a VIP pass, a catalog of available Smokin’ Joe’s merchandise, information on the health risks of smoking and at the bottom of the picture a notification that there are 50 different match books to collect. The dimensions of the tin are 19 x 11.3 x 6 cm’s.
- The second Smokin’ Joe’s Road transporter is cylindrical shaped. It has an insert lid, then another proper lid. It measures 8.6 tall and has a diameter of 11.3 cm’s
The team has an unbelievable line-up of Drivers, Nascar’s (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing’s) finest, comprising (match books of) all the Winston Cup Winners from 1971 to 1994, and two of the greatest of all time, namely Dale Earnhardt senior and Richard Petty who each won the Winston Cup annual series 7 times. The tin has the same dimensions as the Smokin’ Joe’s rectangular transporter tin, 19 x 11.3 x 6 cm’s.
What a performance the drivers put on with some great qualifying lap times achieved, all going so well ahead of racing tomorrow, so time to celebrate with some bubbly and chocolate (lots to go around from this box which measures 7.3 x 6.2 x 1.8 cm’s)!
What a great day. Time to go to sleep in the caravan. Thank you for visiting the garage and joining me racing. I hope we can do it all again soon.
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Exhibit : Anthony’s Garage
I am Anthony Harris, age 21 and have been collecting Road Transport match related items for over 10 years. All the phillumenists I have met have been supportive and I am particularly grateful to the encouragement and ongoing ‘gifts’ toward my collection that I receive from Ray Gustard, Tom Gibbard and Paul Dearie and of course my dad Rupert.
I am passionate about bicycles, motor bikes and cars, in fact all transport that travels on the road. I am a fully qualified vehicle mechanic and own a track race car as well as a road car. I have gone to many of the national race circuits of the UK as a mechanic for a racing car team that has cars in the British Touring Car Championship. When not working for Audi, I am very often fixing friends cars on my dad’s drive. It often looks more like a garage than a drive.
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We are delighted to announce the Award winners from our 2022 On-line Phillumeny Exhibition :
- Members’ Award : Anthony’s Garage by Anthony Harris
- President’s Award : Sir Adamjee – From a Match Trader to a Nation Builder by Badrul Hisham Jaafar
- Committee’s Award : 19th Century scrapbook albums, 21st century treasure by Jesús María Bollo Garcia
These three Exhibits are now in the Permanent Gallery.
We will be holding another On-line Phillumeny Exhibition in October 2023.
If you have any questions about the Exhibition then please contact us at email@example.com