An eclectic mix

Exhibitor : Phil Stringer

From the early beginnings of the match industry the labels applied to boxes have depicted a wide variety of topics, those of a purely typographic design but many depicting pictorial images or interpretations of animal, vegetable and mineral subjects, in fact just about anything you can think of. However the match and its box have become iconic images of their own and can be found to be represented in many products both practical and whimsical. Here is a mere sample of some I have come across.

 

Fuel lighters
Fuel lighters

Fuel lighters:- From the top; a wooden match with plastic head, eighteen inches in length the head is removed to reveal a disposable lighter concealed inside. The “Big Match Lighter” thirteen and a half inches long seen below its box and to the left below that, are two gas lighters operated by electric switches, to the right another gas lighter worked by thumbing the head back (see inset). At the bottom of the page is the “Ever-Light” here the head unscrews to withdraw a petrol retaining tube with a steel plate designed to be drawn across the pyrite striker in the stem (see inset) this system is often found under the title of “The Permanent Match”.

Ceramic bar match, 335 mm long, stem 41 mm square
Ceramic bar match, 335 mm long, stem 41 mm square

Bar ware:- A large ceramic match measuring thirteen inches, inscribed “MADRIGAL STONEWARE MADE IN ENGLAND” on the base. These are generally described as match strikers where the matches would be sitting loose in the trough for customers to take and strike against the rough body of the piece.

 

Useful implements
Useful implements

Useful implements:- Top and below; plastic pens where the head is removed to reveal the ballpoint nib. Third down; similar to above but a pencil. Bottom; a box of matches where the heads are rubber erasers. Right; ball point pens in an oversized bookmatch cover.

 

Consumables
Consumables

Consumables:- Top left; a miniature whiskey bottle made for a matchbox sized container. Right; chilli samples from a modern range of different novelty food samples. Bottom; two different Bryant & May small size boxes with Ark labels produced for Maynards.

 

 

Whimsical and practical
Whimsical and practical

Whimsical and practical:- Top left; One from a series of plastic scenes made to be inserted into what are genuine England’s Glory boxes with a label added to the side panel (see inset). Below; a music box in a matchbox. Right; two plastic matchbox pencil sharpeners.

 

Miniature book, 58 x 41 x 20 mm
Miniature book, 58 x 41 x 20 mm

Miniature book:- An illustrated copy of Robinson Crusoe the size and design of a Bryant & May Ark box on the cover.

 

Trick box, 80 x 50 x 16 mm
Trick box, 80 x 50 x 16 mm

Trick box:- A box where the bottom side has a compartment where a coin could be concealed with a nice label that could pass for the genuine item.

 

Calculators
Calculators

Calculators:- Two diminutive pocket calculators one as a bookmatch and one as a matchbox.

 

Various
Various

Various:- A sponge, a tin, a patch, and a metal match that may have been given as a token to a couple.

 

 

Stationery
Stationery

Stationery:- Top left; notebook, below; plain paper pad, centre; and inset bookmatch style memo pad, right; matchbox label card set.

 

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Australian logo series

Black & White cigarettes, logo series covers
Black & White cigarettes, logo series covers

Exhibitor : Chris Hime

Vera Robertson, an esteemed late member of the Phillumeny Club of South Australia, got me interested in collecting these items. The series is defined as a skillet or bookmatch having a logo or symbol printed on a range of booklets on one panel of exact design with a business name on the other panel.

Another noted late member, Joe Dulf, encouraged me to turn a list I compiled to note the items I had in my collection into a full catalogue on these series. This turned into a daunting task as I never realised how many series there were. Interest was seeded by many members with lists being supplied to me.

The catalogue grew to over 150 series with over 15,000 items. Items are still being found today.

Here are a few pages from my album showing some of my Australian Logo Series, click on an image below to enlarge it.

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Australian match industry

Two modern Australian labels
Two modern Australian labels

Exhibitor David Figg

Like most countries, Australia was home to numerous match factories with four of the mainland states laying claim to at least one factory. The State of Victoria had the most factories and was the seat of our first Federal Parliament in 1901 until it moved to Canberra in 1927. Unfortunately, today there are no match factories in Australia but our iconic Miss Redheads, born in 1946, still lives on but in Sweden.

This exhibit takes a very brief look at each of the major manufacturers and their subsidiaries including name changes and mergers showing a selection of their brands. Matchbox labels, pillbox tops, bookmatches and skillets were all produced at some stage in Australia.

Further details can be found on the first page of the display, click on an image to enlarge it.

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Beating the breeze

Exhibitor : Phil Stringer

In the past the habit of smoking was not a practice that was generally conducted indoors, smokers had to brave the elements, over the years there have been many types of windproof match designed to combat windy conditions. While the match companies provided chemical solutions to deal with this and other situations, the makers of match hardware were using their ingenuity to create designs intended specifically to help the windswept smoker.

"Stay-lit" matchbox holder, 57 x 36 x 16 mm
“Stay-lit” matchbox holder, 57 x 36 x 16 mm

 

The “Stay-litmatchbox holder employed a mechanical system that held a match clamped within the case, when the internal slide was drawn out [1a] the match would be angled down to engage the striker of the small size box held within, the motion of the box’s striker being drawn along the match head would ignite it and allow a protected flame to emerge from the eight holes located above.

 

Anti-Storm Pocket-Slide, 64 x 43 x 25 mm
Anti-Storm Pocket-Slide, 64 x 43 x 25 mm

 

The “Anti-Storm Pocket-Slide” was designed to take a regular sized matchbox, an ingenious design but the execution of lighting a cigarette was a rather convoluted process.

Inner slide
Inner slide

First an inner slide that held the matchbox was drawn out sideways to allow the drawer of the matchbox to be opened and a match retrieved [2b].

With the box now safely closed the match would be inserted into a hole on the side of the case which had a sliding mechanism running lengthways and allowed the match to be struck on the box striker.

 

With the flame protected from wind and rain the cigarette could be inserted through the hole and ignited. When fully closed up the drawer of the match box was secured and could not come open [2a]. The design was patented in 1901 by Robert Schules and C Fladerer from Bohemia (Czechoslovakia).

 

Edward VII coronation tin, 61 x 41 x 18 mm
Edward VII coronation tin, 61 x 41 x 18 mm

The Edward VII 7th coronation tin initially looks like a regular matchbox slide but is technically a vesta case as it holds the matches within its own metal drawer and has a ribbed surface on one side of the tin for striking.

The Surelight
The Surelight

When it was given to me it was described as a trick box however named on the drawer as “The Surelight” [3a] and having no obvious trick function I believe it to be another piece designed to combat windy conditions. The outer case is a typical slide with small folds over one end so that the drawer can only open in one direction.

[3b] The drawer is a double skinned affair the outer section having a cut out that allows the inner drawer to be pushed shut protecting the unused matches, this leaves the outer section open providing a wind shield for the ignited match which would be placed in the slot at the end of the drawer.

 

Bryant & May matchbox cover, 64 x 42 x 22 mm
Bryant & May matchbox cover, 64 x 42 x 22 mm

 

I wonder if the Bryant & May matchbox covers made for the soldiers in the first world war might have been used by the troops in the same manner, they may have even hid the flame from night time snipers – three cigarettes on a match anyone?

 

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Bengal matches – a colourful story

Some complete Bengal matchboxes
Some complete Bengal matchboxes

Exhibitor : Barry Sturman

This exhibit shows part of my collection of Bengal matchbox labels.  I am particularly interested in Bengal matches as they combine two of my main interests: match paraphernalia and fireworks.

Indian box with Bengal Match
Indian box with Bengal Match

Bengal Matches are a special type of pyrotechnic match that generally burn for a longer time than ordinary matches and give off a brightly coloured flame when burning. They have a wooden splint and two composition parts : one at the tip to initiate combustion, and the other adjoining the head along a long length of the splint. Bengal matches are still manufactured today that flare either green, red or silver, and most are made in India.

The labels in this exhibit are only a fraction of my Bengal match collection, which also includes skillets and empty boxes. Click on an image below to enlarge it.

Further details can be found on the first page of the display, click on an image to enlarge it.

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British railways – part 1

Exhibitor Tom Gibbard

This is the story of the railways in Britain, told through bookmatches and matchboxes. It is in two parts :

  1. Part 1 describes the period from 1900 until the railways were nationalised in 1948
  2. Part 2 about the post-nationalisation period can be found here

The story of the development of the railways up to 1948 is described on the pages in the gallery below, click on an image to enlarge it.

Click here to read about the post-nationalisation period of British railways.

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British railways – part 2

Exhibitor Tom Gibbard

This is the story of the railways in Britain, told through bookmatches and matchboxes. It is in two parts :

  1. Part 1 describes the pre-nationalisation period and can be found here
  2. Part 2 describes the period after nationalisation in 1948

The story of the development of the railways after nationalisation is described on the pages in the gallery below, click on an image to enlarge it.

Click here to read about the pre-nationalisation period of British railways. 

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Camera quality matchboxes

Exhibitor Alan Downer

A. Dellacha box (view showing the front of the matchbox)
A. Dellacha box (view showing the front of the matchbox)

This exhibit explores two interesting and rare Italian matchboxes presenting beautiful decorations on all sides. Each shows us their respective match factory on the back panel. We see the factory of A. Dellacha at Moncalieri near Turin (Northern Italy) on one box [Fig 1 – Fig 6], and L. Baschiera of Venice on the other [Fig 7 – Fig 13]. Each measures the same size 117x52x28mm approximately.

These are large boxes for use in the home, not in the pocket. The intricate artistic designs show us how fine the work of the artist was in the late 19th century, when these boxes were made, sometime after 1876 and most likely within about five years of this date.

A. Dellacha box (view showing the underside of the matchbox)
A. Dellacha box (view showing the underside of the matchbox)

We can see by the illustrations of the match factory that these were big factories. Baschiera has marked the box with the model reference “No.8” on one of the long side panel’s, and Dellacha has marked his box; “No.18”. Both boxes are also marked with the word; “Camera“, this is a reference to this style or model of box design.

 

The sliding match tray is furnished with a tab, for pulling out the match tray, cleverly punched and integral to the plain card used to make the match tray. We can see this most clearly in the photograph that shows the end of the match tray view on the Dellacha box. The end would have had a separate label pasted to it, which has gone missing from this box, but which we can see how it would have been fitted by looking at the Baschiera example. The match tray label measures 50mm wide and 26mm vertically. It folds over the top edge of the tray and then folds down into the inside of the tray end by 12mm.

A. Dellacha box (view showing a side elevation of the matchbox)
A. Dellacha box (view showing a side elevation of the matchbox)

These matchboxes are known to have been made by printing the design onto large paper sheets with multiple designs, which were then laminated onto a card backing, and lacquered (glassed) over the picture design. (Two Printer sheets, or more correctly part of two printer sheets, are also shown in this exhibit) They were then cut out, folded and pasted to form the finished matchbox outer, approximately 0.4mm thick. These outer boxes are made from two pieces, which fabricate together to make the matchbox outer.

The inner (match tray), made in one piece, was cut, folded and pasted from plain card boards approximately 0.3mm thick.

The printing technique or method used to print these matchboxes was chromolithography. Chromo means colour and the lithographic process is made up of lots of dots which can merge together to form stippling or blotchy patches in some spots.

The match label designs and the match tray end labels would have been printed on the same Printer’s sheet. The closed end of these matchboxes carried the match striking surface. On both of these boxes shown here is a small number printed in red ink, “157” on the Baschiera box and “168” on the Dellacha box. This is the print design reference. Below the view of the factory on the Baschiera box is printed; ‘Premiata fabbrica fiammiferi d’ogni qualita’ (Leading factory producing matches of all quality) and below this ‘Torino, Lit. Doyen.’ This is the mark of the lithographic Printer; Doyen of Turin. This panel, printed in black and red, forms the bottom part of the box. The beautiful colourful top and side panels were printed by another Printer. We know this because the top design has printed ‘LIT • ARMANINO • GENOVA’. This is the mark of the lithographic Printer, Armanino of Genova, which is the capital of Liguria and the sixth largest city in Italy today. The Dellacha box has printed below the view of the match factory; ‘STABILIMENTO DI AMBio DELLACHA IN MONCALIERI’ (Establishment of Ambrogio Dellacha in Moncalieri). The panel showing the factory view is printed in blue and does not show the name of the Printer. The beautiful colourful top and side panels again have the mark of Armanino. This mark is on the top main panel and is presented as; ‘GENOVA • LIT • ARMANINO •’. Also on the main top panel, below the picture of a woman washing a small naked boy in a water fountain, is the text; ‘UN BAGNO PER FORZA’ (A bath by force). The side panel with the mark of ‘A. DELLACHA’ illustrate two prize medals gained in ‘FILADELFIA’ (Philadelphia, U.S.A.) in 1876 and ‘VIENNA’ (Austria) in 1873.

Dellacha obtained another medal in “Milano in 1881” (Milan, Italy), and as this medal is not shown on this matchbox, it is more likely that the box was printed before that year.

Also included in the images is a plain paper mock-up of the two outer-box pieces, that illustrate the construction of the outer-box when fitted together.

Here are the images of the two Camera Quality boxes described in the text [Dellacha box Fig 1 – Fig 6] and [Baschiera box Fig 7 – Fig 13], the mock-up of the outer-box pieces [Fig 14], and two Printers sheets [Fig 15 and Fig 16]. click on an image to enlarge it.

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Cheapies

Aussie Match Company skillet and packet, 1987
Aussie Match Company skillet and packet, 1987

Exhibitor : Chris Hime

These matches started to appear in Australia in the late 1970s, undercutting the locally made Redheads matches in price but not quality, and were given the name “Cheapies“. There was also a similar range of labels and skillets issued in New Zealand. Manufactured overseas, some brands were subject to complaints and the odd recall was implemented. They were sold by smaller supermarket chains, tobacconists and discount variety stores. Not all were sold in all the states of Australia with them being mainly for sale in the Eastern states like New South Wales and Victoria.

They were issued as a single label or skillet and in sets featuring Coats of Arms of Australian cities, flowers, Australian animals, Americas Cup, cars and pictures of world cities. Some series were on sale for a longer period than others. Indonesia was a country of manufacture for most with Korea, China, Sweden and France adding to the mix.

Here are the pages from my album showing some Cheapies, click on an image below to enlarge it.

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Chuckmucks

Two Chuckmucks
Two Chuckmucks

Exhibitor : Pat Stevens

I hope that fellow phillumenists will excuse my wide interpretation of phillumeny (literal definition – lover of light) to include the ancient fire lighting devices known as Chuckmucks.

Chuckmucks come from the Himalayan region, Tibet, Mongolia and Northern China. They usually consist of an approximately rectangular leather pouch closed at the top by a flap, with a ring in the fold to suspend from a belt and a long steel with a curved edge fixed to the bottom.

Chuckmucks are used to carry the means to start a fire, using a flint and some tinder carried inside the pouch, and would be utilised either at home or as part of a nomadic life.

It has been difficult to find a date at which they started being used but following a literature search I believe they have been in use in their basic form for at least 3 centuries.

For decoration engraved plates of brass, iron or very occasionally precious metals are rivetted to the front and sometimes back of the pouch.

Below are some more images of Chuckmucks, with a ruler alongside to show their actual size. Click on an image to enlarge it. The final image is of two extremely well used examples that must have been used many thousands of times – if only they could tell their story !

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