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John WALKER'S matches (1826-1829): myths and reality.

V.A. Radulgin, the Siberian phillumenist club, Novosibirsk,


1. In the following article there adduces history of appearing so-called striking matches as well as match graphic - the labels for boxes in which the matches were being stored until their ending. The stated information is known, being taken from the public press, after all it should be noted, it have already passed 176 years since the invitation of the matches being striked of a hard surface! The match ancestor used to be dippie that could be lit on dipping into the concentrated sulphuric acid. The matches-dippies and its using (before 1827) are described in A.S. Semenovs monograph The match and its ancestors M-L, 1927, pp. 20-22 , The main used literature references 1-3 see below,

2. As for the way of word writing phillumeny, the author of the article does not accept its trimmed writing philumeny and uses it in the way as it have been written since 1957 amongst domestic collectors (see reference 7). Its a substitution for philumeny in 70s is an example of a rough administration against a background of the whole falling off of the match label collector level.
3. It was mentioned in the Moskovsky phillumenist magazine 4 p.15, 2000 y. that there have been passing a corrupt information about the John Wolkers label amongst the Russian phillumenists.The publication of the matter serves to correct the situation.
4. The references for the literal source are noted parenthetically, its list follows in the article end.

 Walker portraitThe John WALKERS friction matches. The English chemist John Walker who lived on the 59th High Street at town Stockton-on-Tees. He who the first produce a match in 1826 having dipped a wood stick into paste that was prepared of water, antimony sulphide, berthollet salt and gum-arabic as the viscous, after that he dried it out in the air. When moving friction such a match on a emery paper the matchs head flashed out and lit with sparkles and caustic smoke ejectionin this way lighting the match itself. These matches were a great progress in comparing with dippies which demanded the concentrated sulphuric acid capacity on oneself, the extremely dangerous thing[1]. The matches inventor kept diary in which he fixed the financial operations of his firm, it has been kept till now days in The Kensington Museum of Science in London, ( internet address of the museum www.sciencemuseum.org.uk ). He wrote in it that he sold a local barrister Mr. Hickstone a consignment of matches. The matches were named by Walker as Friction Lights in the note. Perhaps, Walker began making them as far as in the end 1826[1, p.29] but it is usually regarded that the matches birthday is 1827 indeed in connection with the fixed fact of selling to a common customer. The word to strike, apparently, got using far later when the match head chemistry became entirely another (since 1833 white, after that red phosphorus) but it is another story. The matches were stored into a

pic 1. Matchbox tin case with a tin lid in quantity of 100 pieces, far from it a case label was absent itself! (see pic.1, it is taken from [1] p. 27). Those who wish can fly over to London at once, if they like, and see the case container in the museum exposition; on the11th of December I received the confirmation by e- mail from an officer of the museum Mr. Dave Woodcock the museum number of the exhibit, called Walker tin, 1937-682 Pt.

1. About the Walkers label. As it Richard Hallton had, we deal with curious fact the first match label was released by non-inventor of the matches as the Walkers cases were without labels! The Luckers encyclopaedia runs that the first Walkers label as if had the dimension of 60 40 and there was an inscription on it:

100 matches

Pic 2. Label 1834? However, there isnt such a label and there are no data that it has ever been before! It is the only Walkers label, that is well known, see pic. 2, but there is a phrase As used in the household of his Majesty King William IV after the words Price ONE SHILLING on it. On the one hand, it is well known that King William IV acceded to the throne in the latter half of 1830 after death of King George IV, therefore the label could be issued not earlier than the coronation of King William IV that isnt earlier than 1830! On the other hand, the last matches selling was fixed by him in the Walkers diary in 1829! In the connection, the Walkers label is just a forgery. Interesting, the Walkers label is firstly mentioned in the book [1, p.106], as a museum rarity and the article[2] running as follows it is known even in duplicate at that both of them have been keeping in the British collections. In 2001, a British Phillumenist Mr. Artur Alderton told me that he had got the Walkers label in his collection and he knew at list a few collectors who had got one too! That just confirms its artificial origin! Let Walker alone

Pic 3. Label 1829 2.Samual Jones: the oldest match label. The oldest has been the Samual Joness label now that together with the box were being kept in the Bryant&May firm collection (Pic.3, of [1], description of [2]) As pointed in [2], the label, to be accurate the box with the label on it, is known as the only copy! It dates about 1829 [2]. The text on the box as:

S. Jones's
Lucifer Matches,
That ignite by the friction produced by drawing
the match hriskly through a piece of sand paper, and are
warranted never to impair by keeping.
Inventor of
the prometeans, self-acting Coffee pot,
Etnas, etc.
Light-House, 201, Strand, London

Pic 4. Label 1840sOne of the latest labels of the same producer is shown on pic. 4. To be mentioned, John Walker as well as Samual Jones as the others chemists were handicraft producers of matches that time. Manufacturing beginning was based by Richard Bell in 1832 [2, p31] whose firm has been worked under different name till now! .

The used literature list :

1. Book A. J. Cruse, Match-Box Labels of the World, Robert Ross &Co., Ltd., London, 1946, 127 p.
2. Article A History of British Labels, author Richard Holton, magazine The Matchbox Label, v.1, 1, 1958, p. 2.
3. J.H.Luker, The Matchbox Label Collectors Encyclopaedia, the Third edition, 1984, p. 4.
4. .., - , - , M, . 85-99, 1963 .
5. .., : ? 3, - ", , .125-132, 1965 .
6. .., C , - , , 1970 .
7. 1-104 (1957-1968 ) ( ).
8. "Wiadomosci Filumenistyczne" 3/76, .24, 1989
Mattes [1-2, 4-7] keep at the author, [3] (part) have been received in jpg-files from Hans Everink (the Netherlands), what the author thanks sincerely for.


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