Extraordinary Matches

Cigar Lights

Exhibitor : Phil Stringer

Many companies produced “Cigar Lights” on a simple wooden splint. The example on the left in the photo is a Bryant and May light of standard size, with bigger examples, that on the far right would take a brave smoker to hold this while it burned.

Cigar Lights boxes

The need, or a perceived need, to protect against the burning head from dropping off, meant that various ideas were tried, one of the most popular was to incorporate wires along the stem held by cotton braids, the “Braided Cigar Light”.



Another way to ensure the head didn’t drop was a non-combustible stem, Glass, porcelain, Letchford even used bone as a solution. The steel stemmed examples are probably experimental pieces and would likely become too hot to hold.

Three “Motor Match” boxes

The Motor Match, basically four times the size of a regular windproof match, if blown out it would reignite. Sold in card packets of ten or larger tins of fifty, bespoke holders of metal or leather, as shown, were available.

Three Stars Gengas Match


Another match specifically designed for the motorist was the Three Stars Gengas Match. This was used in Sweden during WW2 to ignite the engine of a gas-powered car, developed to assuage petrol shortages.




Merx Fusee boxes

The Merx Fusee was used by the telegraph industry, designed to light a magnesium tablet for a portable soldering iron. The examples in the cylindrical tin had a metal tube with solder inside and a match type composition around the exterior, the two ends of a wire would be pushed into the tube and the outer lit by a supplied match.


Tandare Till Brannflasker


Tandare Till Brannflasker, translates to read as “Molotov Cocktail Match”. Dated to 1943 they were intended for use during WW2, attached to Tandare Till Brannflaskera petrol bomb the ignited match would inflame the contents when broken.


Pellet match boxes

Pellet matches, different means of igniting these were employed, Perry’s lights fitted into a metal device of two tubes either side of a central plunger, this when pushed down would ignite a single pellet. The Jon Wonder held the pellets in a case, a separate tweezer like device would grip a single pellet to be struck like a conventional match. The Continuous Match (facsimile box) worked on a similar principal to the perry with a container that would ignite each head in succession.

Drown & Co Ignition Rods


The Drown and Co Ignition Rod functioned in the same way as a conventional match except it could be blown out and reused until spent.

Center top a Swedish example the others experimental versions.


Candle wax vestas

The candle wax vesta was very similar in size and appearance to a birthday cake candle with a match head composition. The box was designed to hold the match to facilitate the melting of sealing wax.


Some Cigar Caps and Tips

Cigar Caps fitted over the cigar end, the tips were pushed in then the cigar itself struck like a match. The tips shown here are by Pollock and had cloth flowers to decorate the heads. The sharp end of the Dunlop was used to pierce the cigar but not left in as the tips were.



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