The Harlequin match is essentially an ordinary wood splint friction match, where the match head is made in various colours and packed in decorative containers. These containers and matches give a visual multi-coloured impact. Although mostly associated with Bryant & May, similar matches and containers were first produced in Germany.
In 1927 Bryant & May started to produce what became an extensive range, sold in decorative card containers, and registered the ‘Harlequin’ as a Trademark in 1928. In 1956 Bryant & May launched Harlequin matches in Plastic containers, of round and square shape with fitted lids. In 1969 their Harlequin matches were sold in flip top rectangular plastic containers.