A matchstick would simply be defined as a wooden stick containing a coat of phosphorus mixture at one end, which is ignited at the rough surface of the matchbox to produce a flame. A very small thing, but it is so very important to all of us! Apart from the basic use of igniting things, the matchsticks are often used in different artworks, such as forming specific shapes and drawings, developing brainstorming puzzles and quizzes and creating wall pieces and stands. Ever wondered how the most useful element of many a homes came to be developed! The initial matchsticks never looked like the ones that we presently utilize in our daily life. Rather, they were very different from the ones we see today. To find out more on the history of matchsticks, do read on further.
Interesting & Amazing Information On Origin & Background Of Matchsticks
The origin of matchsticks can well be dated back to the 3500 BC. The Egyptians developed a small pinewood stick with a coating of combustible mixture of sulfur. In the years ahead, say around 1350-1400, the matchstick took a new look. A cord or a wire coated with combustible chemicals was created. When brought in contact with heat, the match produced a flame and was then, used to ignite other things. It was used in lighting fire and crackers in households and during celebrations. Also, it was utilized in setting off canons and guns.
The modern matchstick was invented by K. Chanel, an assistant to Professor Louis Jacques Thenard in Paris in the year 1805. His invention proved to be expensive, as he used potassium chlorate, sugar, sulfur and rubber in coating the head of the match. To ignite the match, the head was dipped in sulfuric acid to produce chemical energy. This invention also turned out to be quite hazardous and the matchsticks did not gain popularity. Hence, these matchsticks were never produced on a large scale. Still, the basic idea had been born.
In the year 1827, Friction matchsticks (the most common matchsticks even today) were invented by an English chemist, John Walker. The match head contained a mixture of antimony sulfide, potassium chlorate, starch and gum. The safety matches come in the next. Invented by Swede Gustaf Erik Pasch in 1844 and improved by John Edvard Lundstrom a decade later, these matchsticks ignited when stroked at a specific place only. These were considered safe as they contained white phosphorus, which is much less combustible and safer to handle, as compared to the initial red phosphorus.
The noiseless matchstick was invented by chemistry student, Hungarian Janos Irinyi in 1836. In this matchstick, the potassium chlorate was replaced by lead dioxide. These matchsticks did not produce any sound on lighting and also tend to burn evenly throughout the stick. Since it was difficult selling matchsticks individually, matchboxes took the next level of invention. Boxes were manufactured according to the size and purpose of the matches that were to be packed and sealed in them.
The initial boxes that developed were plain and simple and contained only the date of manufacturing of the matches and their brand name. With time, many companies started manufacturing attractive and colorful matchboxes and became reputed brands in the market. These boxes attracted people who took up the hobby of collecting different kinds of matchboxes. At present also, people look for a specific brand or company to complete their collection. The hobby seems to be awkward, but when observed carefully, the matchboxes are actually very eye-catching.