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Match Safe

From the Collection of Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village 89 Merri Street Warrnambool Victoria

Brass Match Safe internal screw top lid, has a ribbed match striker on the base of the object
7.5 cm long x 3.5 cm dia
Object Registration
match container, match safe, matches
Historical information
Pocket match safes or match safes were small portable boxes, made in a great variety of forms/shapes, each with snap-shut covers to contain matches and retain their quality.

Matches came into use around the 1830s and were produced extensively between the years 1890 and 1920. During this period everyone carried strike anywhere matches, so they could ignite stoves, lanterns and other devices. Early matches were unreliable and prone to ignite from rubbing on one another or spontaneously. Accordingly, most people carried a match safe to house their matches. Wealthy people had ‘match safes made of gold or silver, while common folk had ones made of tin or brass.

They were made throughout the world including the United Kingdom, in the U.S.A., continental Europe and Australia. Significant English makers of cases were, Sampson Mordan and Asprey & Co. Significant American manufacturers of match safes include Wm. B. Kerr, Gorham, Unger Brothers, Battin, Blackington, Whiting, George Scheibler and Shreve & Co. Different patterns and types run into thousands as well as plain and decorative examples.
They were also made in a wide range of materials, including pressed brass, pressed tin, gunmetal, nickel silver, gold, bone, ivory, the wood of varying types, early plastics like tortoiseshell and Bakelite, and ceramics. A distinguishing characteristic of match safes is that they have a ribbed surface, usually on the bottom, for lighting the matches.
When Made
The item gives a snapshot into the social development through it's application in every day use match safes were used at a time when there were no safety matches and the early use of matches was a dangerous affair given they were easily combustive if rubbed together in a pocket for example.
Inscriptions & Markings
Last updated
10 Dec 2019 at 1:32PM