Match Stick

July 25, 2007 – 8:27 pm

It is a means for generate flame under desired circumstances. It is controllable because a very undersized flame is produced at the strike of matchstick which is effective start a blaze but still controllable. Matchsticks are usually sold in small boxes and always in a stack. They are never sold individually.
A matchstick is a wooden stick coated with a mixture containing phosphorous on one end. It is ignited whenever stroked with any rough surface or sides of the matchbox, which is purposely made rough.

Different kinds of Matchsticks
There are numerous kinds of matchsticks available in the market. Foremost are the Friction matches, which were invented in the year 1827 by English chemist John Walker. The mixture of antimony sulfide, potassium chlorate, starch and gum was coated over the head of the matchstick. This kind of matchstick could be easily ignited by just striking on the hard surface.
Then the safety matches were invented, which are only ignited if stroked at specific places. They were invented in the year 1844 by Swede Gustaf Erik Pasch and almost a decade later was improved by John Edvard Lundstrom. These are regarded as safety matches only for the cause that the white phosphorous was replaced by the red phosphorous making it a little less combustible and more safe to handle.
Another of the kind is a noiseless matchstick, which was invented in the year 1836 by chemistry student Hungarian Janos Irinyi. He replaced potassium chlorate from he combustible mixture with lead dioxide and successfully formed matchsticks, which did not produce any sound while lighting and burnt evenly throughout the stick.

Origin and history of matchstick
The first matches were developed by the Egyptians in the year 3500 BC with a small stick of pinewood coated with combustible mixture of sulfur.
Then in the year 1350-1400, the term match referred to a cord or a wire that was coated with combustible chemicals. When it was brought in contact with a small amount of heat it could produce flame and be easily used to ignite other things. Previously it was used to set off the huge canons and guns. It was even used to light fires and crackers during households and celebrations.
By the year of 1805 K.Chancel, an assistant to a professor Louis Jacques Thenard, Paris invented the modern matchstick. In his invention, the head of the match was coated with potassium chlorate, sugar, sulfur and rubber. The same were ignited by means of chemical energy produced by dipping the head of the match in sulfuric acid. Cost wise these matches were a bit expensive and its usage was a bit hazardous so these kinds of matches never gained esteem and were never produced on large scale. Rather the one we use daily gained popularity and is still date used by all.

Advancement in Matchstick
Technology has gone in so details of even small comforts of life that these days instead of plain matchsticks electric matches are available which need not depend on frictional force but can be ignited by electricity itself.

Accidents due to Matchstick
It is very common that fires have broken out due to accidents caused by matchsticks. At times due to the blunder of an individual, a light or half-lighted matchstick is exposed to any combustible substance. It provokes a flame and sometimes by circumstance, the small flame engulfs everything surrounding it. Thousands die and even their have been instance of whole factory burnt by the same process. Therefore, we can always say matchsticks are blessings in disguise.

Other utilizations of Match stick
With the manufacture of matchstick, it was almost impossible to sell them individually so it was packed and sealed in small boxes, which fit their size and purpose. Therefore, the boxes developed previously were plain and simple containing their date of manufacturing and their brand name. Then with time and pace in the market, few companies became reputed brands and they started making the boxes of the matches very attractive and colorful. This caught the eye of few people who started collecting different kinds of matchboxes. It almost developed into hobby for them and still date you can find such people looking for specific company or brand match boxes to finish their collection. Such people who collect matchboxes or match labels etc are called phillumeny. Although it is a very awkward hobby but still if minutely observed actually the matchboxes are very eye-catching.
Similarly, few people show their creativity by making small pieces of artwork from matchsticks. Many matchsticks when arranged together can form specific shapes and drawings. There have been many brain storming puzzles and quizzes developed on pieces of matchsticks. Small wall pieces or pen stand are carved out of an arrangement of matchsticks are easily available in any handicraft shop and considered very artistic. Hence the matchsticks are very small things but very important to all of us.

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  1. 4 Responses to “Match Stick”

  2. wow

    By erin on Mar 10, 2009

  3. fantastic information…
    i need little bit more information regarding, themes and pictures printed on matches boxes or books.
    if any body is having collection please, send me those to increase my coolection…
    contact me on my email id amityvet@gmail.com

    By dr amitkumar patil on Jul 8, 2009

  4. Fascinating and very informative…This answered our curosity…Thanx

    By patti on Jun 19, 2010

  5. it is very intresting. it was very useful for me.

    By pallavi on Jul 20, 2011

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