Stephane Pinaud (France)

Exhibit : French matchbox labels (1830s – 1870s)

Matchboxes caught my attention when I was 11 years old. I started the collection imitating a cousin. At first it was a game and an excuse to escape from the family farm to explore the shops and tobacco shop.

Casque d'or label, 50 x 35 mm
Casque d’or label, 50 x 35 mm

Exploring the attics didn’t turn out, but I found “Casque d’or” box, dated mid-1920s, in a drawer at my grandparents’ house, a treasure for me at this time !

The virus for good infected me in 1994, at random from a newsstand, when I discovered the existence of L’Association Vitolphilique et Philumenique Francaise (AVPF) through a classified ad from a collector in a specialized newspaper. I was then 22 years old and began to search for old boxes.

I immediately made the choice to limit my collection to complete French boxes and to go back as closely as possible to the origins of this everyday object. My oldest box is from the end of the 1830s.


From before 1950 I have about 3500 complete boxes including 1000 from before the monopoly established in 1872. Over time I have also collected labels, especially for advertising boxes from the 1920s / 1930s some of which are very rare. Since 2008 I have been in charge of writing the magazine of AVPF and since 2011 chairman of the AVPF.

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Phil Stringer (UK)

Exhibit : Extraordinary Matches 

I collect many things but matchbox labels and related items hold my strongest interest. Having been involved in the hobby for more than fifty years I find myself particularly interested in the weird and wonderful and in this respect phillumeny doesn’t disappoint, I still find things that I would never even imagined could exist. 

T B Industries type holder (140 x 50 x 50 mm)


Over the years I’ve amassed collections from an eclectic range of subjects including postage stamps, revenue stamps, fiscal documents, embossed crests and monograms, post cards, cigarette cards, beer mats, dice, coins, bank notes, bullets, Magazine of Art Annuals, Majolica green leaf plates, Portmeirion Totem ware, Irish wade ceramics, Holkham Pottery mugs, custard cups, bottles, fossils, rocks and crystals, shells, exotic seed heads, taxidermy, carved ebony elephants, Japanese lacquer ware, plus many sundry items that draw my attention but are insufficient in number to be described as collections.



Bryant & May matchbox dispensers (530 x 65 x 60 mm and 530 x 95 x 60 mm)
Some curious striking tubes (58 x 38 x 25 mm)
A match striker (150 x 80 x 110 mm)



Top of the list as my main and most extensive collectable interest is matchbox labels and other match related items especially the obscure and unusual.





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Joel Viana de Lemos (Portugal)

Exhibit : The Portuguese presence in India

I have residency in Lisbon, Portugal but I am currently living in Växjo, Sweden.

I was born in 1955 and started collecting matchbox labels and matchbooks when I was about 4 years old. Knowing about my interest in the hobby some of the phillumenists in the city of Porto encouraged me with some interesting offers. The publication in 1962 of the first catalogue of matchbox labels in Portugal allowed me to properly organize my collection. The 2nd edition of the catalogue published in 1965 and the monthly edition of the magazine “Filumenismo” gave a great boost to my development as a phillumenist. 

I went on to specialise in all the material related to Portugal or that circulated in the Portuguese market and its colonies, namely Macau. My collection of Italian matchboxes/panels that circulated in Portugal in the 19th Century is very significant and formed the basis of my Exhibit in 2021.

I am a founding partner of the APF – “Associação Portuguesa de Filumenismo” (founded in 1972), and currently its President.

I have published the following phillumenistic works, which can be purchased from APF :

  • Catalogue of Portuguese Matchbox Labels. Edition 1992 (co-author, text in Portuguese):
  • Catalogue of Matchbox Labels – Companhia Portugueza de Phosphoros – Series – 1895-1926. 1st edition 2003; 2nd edition 2008; 3rd edition 2020
  • Catalogue of Matchbox Labels – Portugal – XIX century. 1st edition 2011; 2nd edition 2014; 3rd edition 2022
  • Catalogue of Italian Matchboxes imported by Portugal – XIX century. 1st edition 2013; under publication 2nd edition
  • Addendum to the Catalogue of Matchbox Labels – Macau – 2016 edition (co-author, text in Portuguese)
  • Advertising Skillets and Bookmatches List – Macau – 2016 (co-author, text in Portuguese)
  • Phillumeny records – Portuguese Phillumeny Exhibitions – 2022
  • Phillumeny records – Portuguese Phillumeny Catalogues and publications – 2022
  • Phillumeny records – Matchbox labels produced abroad to Portuguese speaking territories – 2023
  • Phillumeny records – Postcard in Phillumeny – 2023
  • Portuguese matchbook holders records – 2023
  • Matchbox holders (grips – slides – match safes) records – Portugal – 2023

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The Portuguese presence in India

19th Century Spanish all-round-the-box label

Exhibitor : Joel Viana de Lemos

Click here for Portuguese language version


On July 8th, 1497, a fleet of three sailing ships left Lisbon – the S. Gabriel, the S. Rafael and the Bérrio – and a small ship with supplies. The fleet was commanded by the Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama and aimed to discover the maritime route from Europe to India.

Map showing the outward and return routes taken by Vasco de Gama on the very first sea voyage between Europe and India


On May 17th, 1498, the fleet reached Kappakadavu, near Calicut, in the present Indian state of Kerala.


A model of the sailing ship S. Gabriel made from matchsticks


In addition to the important trade relationships it established, Portugal maintained a permanent presence in the state of Goa for around 450 years, until 1961.



Match industry in Goa

A postcard showing the COMPANHIA FOSFOREIRA DE GOA , LTDA (Ponda – Goa)


The most important match factory in Goa was the Companhia Fosforeira de Goa, LDA




Some of the matchboxes produced by this factory can be seen below.

Note: On each label and matchbox are indicated the references of the “Catálogo das etiquetas de caixas de fósforos – Portugal / Catalogue of Portuguese Matchbox labels” published in 1996 and 2013 and on the last four labels the references of the Swedish catalogue “Katalog över Svenska Tändsticksetiketter” published by Arne Tejder in 1963. Measurements refer to the printed area and are in millimetres.

A few labels are also known from other factories in Goa.

  1. Goa Match Works
  2. B&C Industrial Factory – St Cruz, Goa
  3. Bragança Y Ca – Nova Goa

The Gallery below shows all the known matchbox labels produced in Goa. Click on an image to enlarge it.

The following packet labels are from Companhia Fosforeira de Goa:

The Gallery below shows two matchbox labels and their respective packet labels, made for matchboxes which were exported to Goa by the Swedish factory Jönköpings Westra Tändstickfabrik.

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French matchbox labels (1830s – 1870s)

1848 cut-panel from Roche & Co (70 x 32 mm)

Exhibitor : Stephane Pinaud

Click here for French language version


The French production in the 19th century is known for very beautiful lithographed boxes and very varied shapes. These pictorial attractions have meant that they have been preserved (completed or cut-panel) and, in fact, we know many of them.


Early manufacturers used much cruder labels and boxes that are much harder to find. What could encourage a person to keep such boxes and labels ? Almost nothing, and I find incredible that such objects have reached us.

So here are some rudimentary labels and boxes from the 1830s to the early 1870s and the establishment of the monopoly. Some manufacturers have chosen to use these boxes and labels until the establishment of the monopoly, probably for cost reasons.

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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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