Safety Match (SAF)

A type of friction match where the match composition is in part contained in the match head and the other part coated on a special striking surface on the match container. This makes them “safe” because combustion can only occur when the two surfaces are rubbed together.

Saloon label

A label pasted on the side of a pillbox, usually in two pieces: one for the removable top part and one for the bottom part containing the matches. Sometimes the top of a pillbox needs to be turned in register to the bottom to create the overall design.  See pillbox label for a circular label on the top of a cylindrical box.

Why were they called saloon labels?  Let us know if you know?

Sending matches in the post

In the UK the Royal Mail puts restrictions on sending matches and flammable materials (solids, liquids and gases) in the post. The regulations specifically state that matches (including safety matches and windproof matches) are not allowed in the mail. Other countries have similar restrictions.

The Society reminds members of their obligation in respect of these regulations and does not support any member in breach of them.


Skillet (direct printed card outer)

Phillumenists use skillet to describe a pre-printed, pre-cut, pre-scored, piece of cardboard intended to be formed into an outerbox of a matchbox. However, the match industry uses skillet in a more general sense to mean any pre-cut piece of veneer or card that is a part of a matchbox. Therefore skillet can mean a pre-cut piece of flat card or wooden veneer that is folded into the outerbox of a matchbox whether or not it has been printed or whether or not it will have a label affixed. Skillet can also mean the single flat cut piece of card or pieces (rim and bottom) of veneer or card that an innerbox is made from.

It is not possible to unfold a skillet, for as soon as a skillet has been folded it can never revert to being a skillet. Therefore there can be no such thing as a flattened skillet.


Slide (to hold a matchbox)

Usually metal and designed as an external sleeve over the outerbox of a conventional matchbox whilst allowing normal operation of the innerbox and partially obscured strikers. Used to prolong the life of a fragile wooden matchbox or change its appearance. See also grip.


Springflap – complete matchbox
Springflap outer opened out flat

A type of matchbox where, when the innerbox is pulled from the outerbox with one open end, and a flap energised by an elastic band flips out such that the innerbox can be returned by flipping back the flap.

What should we call this type of matchbox when there is no elastic band fitted? A flap box?


Usually ornamental and designed for use on tables and shelves, it is shaped to allow an outerbox of a matchbox to fit on it vertically with the innerbox partially pushed up. The stand is usually heavy enough to take a match and strike it on the matchbox single handed.


A stick that has a matchhead applied.

Strike-anywhere match (SAW)

A type of friction match designed to ignite when struck (scraped) against almost any abrasive surface. Matchboxes which contain Strike-anywhere matches are usually provided with a course striking area such as “sand paper”.

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