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WikiProject Invention (Rated C-class, Top-importance)
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Ear of Corn?[edit]

The article quotes a Chinese source from 950 CE comparing the flame of a proto-match to "an ear of corn." How would a tenth-century Chinese writer know what an ear of corn looks like? The crop was unknown outside of the Americas before the 16th Century.-- (talk) 20:43, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

This is probably due to a common confusion in modern English. "Corn" means maize almost always in modern American English, and is now common in British English, too (but usually in the form "sweet corn", to minimise confusion.) However formerly, and until just a few decades ago in British English, "corn" meant any cereal grain crop -- most commonly wheat, but also barley, oats, rye, etc. I don't know what it would mean in 10th century China; rice, wheat and millet are all possible. But as you say, it is certainly not maize, which was introduced to China by European traders only in the sixteenth century. -- (talk) 23:39, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

Fails to mention pre-friction match. -- 15:57, 16 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Actually, it fails to mention matches period. This article is about match*STICKS* waa jadhg jh fahdfjh alikahfdl iuaghl h dfnhich were named after matches.
~ender 2005-06-26 16:46:MST

What about strike-anywhere matches?

See below Pyrotec 12:41, 2 April 2006 (UTC)

What chemicals are produced when a match strikes and burns? Are they safe? What about the practice of lighting a match to cover odors in the bathroom? Why does that work? Is it that the smell of the resulting chemicals overwhelm others, or is it that the resulting chemicals (hydrogen sulfide?) numbs our sense of smell?

See below, but it could be H2S aljk hadlfjh Matches to Reformulation to remove white phophorus, as this section really deals with improving the safety of matches by removal of white phosphorus (and complying with laws banning the use of white phosphorus in matches). (2) In fact this section needs Copyediting as it discusses both safety matches and strike anywhere matches without distinction between the two; and, therefore, it was not about safety matches per se.

You are correct it does not deal with the fumes produced by burning matches; I may add it when I have some time. It also does not deal with Bengal matches or Swan matches. Pyrotec 12:41, 2 April 2006 (UTC)

Contradiction of US Law[edit]

One sentence (under "Reformulation...") claims "The USA did not pass a law, but instead placed a punitive tax on white-phosphorus based matches in 1913", and (under "Strike-anywhere matches") another states "The Niagara Falls plant stopped making it until 1910, when the US government made the use of white phosphorus matches illegal and cancelled the US patent on phosphorus sesquisulfide based safety matches." Which of these (if either) is correct? The Jade Knight 01:27, 26 July 2006 (UTC)

I agree with your comment about the inconsistency over the punitive tax and no law banning white phosphorus based matches versus a law banning the use of white phosphorus. At the present I don't have the answer. I do have an update on phosphorus sesquisulfide so I'm doing this part now. Pyrotec 21:27, 26 July 2006 (UTC)

matchstick chewing[edit]

does anyone know if chewing modern matchsticks is safe? maybe the wood might be treated, or small traces of the match head getting in the mouth could be harmful? JoeSmack Talk 05:14, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

Other matches[edit]

The term "match" as used for a means of providing ignition is not limited to matchsticks, and this article already says as much by referring to fuses. Why is it such a big problem to include a single sentence mentioning matches fired by electricity rather than friction? Night Gyr (talk/Oy) 16:26, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

The original edit caused several difficulties. Primarily, it overlooked the first paragraph in Match that states that matches are typically a wooden or stiff paper stick. The edit re-defined non-electric matches as being wooden, thereby discounting waxed card (Vesta) matches. Secondly it conveniently overlooked, as did Talk:Match, the first paragraph in Match that matches are ignited from heat of friction when struck. Fuses are discussed in the article, I added them, but the view point is fuses ignited by striking; whereas electric fuses are electrically initiated - not initated by heat of friction. Electric fuses (and electric fuse compositions) are not new, they were discussed as long ago as 1968, by Ellern in his book on pyrotechnics. The edit to match appeared to be a contrived insertion that was unrelated to matches, other than sharing the name match and it distorted the article; which is why I moved the edit to Match (dissambiguation). I agree the article is somewhat wider than matches, as it mentions quick match and slow match, fuses, etc, but I think electric matches could have been better inserted into the match article. I’ve done a re-edit to match that hopefully meets both our concerns.Pyrotec 18:01, 22 October 2006 (UTC)
Wooden was inaccurate, I agree. It should be changed to "friction," I think, because both of those types are dependent on friction. The insertion is hardly contrived. Friction matches and electric matches both serve as sources of ignition and are far from the kinds of disparate meanings that should be relegated to a disambiguation page. The original wording though has a section that you kept reverting and I changed -- "simple and convenient" -- which is a POV value judgement about the nature of matches, rather than objective description -- "device for producing fire" -- which I used. Your change to setting the sentence apart with "note:" comes off as extremely awkward and really isn't in keeping with wikipedia's style. Generally it's preferred to write things as prose, not as notes and bulleted lists. Since the intro specifies typically, mentioning the electric type is just a matter of showing where matches deviate from that norm. Night Gyr (talk/Oy) 18:24, 22 October 2006 (UTC)
Thanks. I'll accept friction in place of wooden. However, I have difficulty accepting device for producing fire as a definition of a match. Gas fires, barbecues, blow lamps and gas-filled lighters meet this definition but they are not matches. Matches are not devices they are more comsummed items or consummable items; so are butane gas lighters, hence friction as a source of initiation needs to go in, but that does not exclude flint lighters. I'm somewhat hesitant to go down this road, but if I envoke the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations, there are (only) four types of matches: Matches, Fusee; Matches, Safety; Matches, Strike Anywhere; and Matches, Wax Vesta. The wikipedia article does not mention wax vestas; and only mentions fusees without defining them. Electric matches are not matches, but historically they did use match composition, and they are known as electric matches. Legally, for classification, they have other proper names: fuse, electric; bridge wire; fuse, ignition. I don't think they have a place in a match article other than as a footnote or comment. The problem is the name and it is longstanding: Ellern referred to it in 1968 and his reference is an Atlas Match data sheet of 1957.Pyrotec 00:55, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

Fire control history[edit]

Fails to mention how people used to light fire (at home, in the streets and in industries), until immediately before they began using matches.

May I suggest you read the article Fire making; the article Matches is already in the Category of Firelighting so this article is only two clicks away. Pyrotec 23:20, 17 December 2006 (UTC)

Breathing in smoke from lighting a match[edit]

Is this safe or is this very dangerous? I mean, in the moment a match is struck against the surface and catches on fire. Is is then dangerous to brathe in that smoke and then exhaling it? --Glisern 22:11, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

The risks from breathing the smoke are related to the concentration of the smoke and the duration of exposure. If it is only one or two matches per hour or per day then there probably is no real risk. However, if someone has a full time job testing matches, then I would suggest that this work be done in a cabinet with fume extraction. Again, at the point of striking the match, the fumes come from the match head. When the head has finished burning, the fumes come from the match stick, which is either waxed card or waxed wood. In comparison, fumes from the match head are possibly more hazardous than the fumes from the match stick. Pyrotec 23:37, 25 January 2007 (UTC)


Matchbooks were first PATENTED in US, but the idea came from Europe, where PACKAGE was not a patentable item at the time! Note: Same true for nowadays - many thinks patented in US are NOT patentable in Europe (for example, software algorithms). Stasdm 19:23, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

I think in safety matches they do not use antimony, they use sulfur instead.

Why does the section on "matchbooks" show a "matchbox"? They are two different things. DavidRavenMoon (talk) 13:41, 4 August 2010 (UTC)


Is there any good reason for the Aerogel pic? - it really says nothing about matches. Remove? ClovisSangrail 19:56, 28 May 2007 (AEST)

I agree Petecarney 22:31, 6 June 2007 (UTC)

I also agree. The image is not referred to in the text and seems to be present only because it contains matches. It has no place here. Xarqi 05:57, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

It is an interesting picture but it belongs with areogel not with matches --Chocrates 05:56, 4 August 2007 (UTC)


I just changed a sentence in the Match#The Energy In Match Heads section from "sixty thousand (60,000) match-heads could send a 6-pound bowling ball flying 3,000 feet into the air" to "... flying 1500 feet" based on this youtube video of the show which states "the six pound ball traveled 1500 feet, uphill." We still need a reference and perhaps better wording as the projectile did not fly free for 1500 feet but started bouncing almost immediately, due to the low angle of elevation of the canon. -- Thinking of England (talk) 10:02, 23 July 2009 (UTC)


I don't understand the point of the GIF video which shows a lighter igniting a match, when you might expect a video of a match igniting itself. After all, if you have a lighter, you don't need a match!

--UnicornTapestry (talk) 14:34, 30 January 2010 (UTC)

Patents source please[edit]

Gustav Erik Paschs patent in 1845( apparently they had privileges and not patents at that time) the only mention of the patent online seems to be this Swedish language site[1] and the Lundström brothers, johan Edvard and Carl Frans, modified Pasch patent in 1855.

Also the Albright Wilson US patent for phosphorus sesquisulfide synthesis. This one should be easy to find as it will be in English. I did google and patent search for them but to no avail, I did read that Albright Wilson was asked to release the royalties to the patent for the good of all mankind by the US president, I suppose that doesn't include me. Boundarylayer (talk) 07:55, 16 February 2010 (UTC)

See Page 263 of Threlfall. That was in 1910, were you around at that time? Pyrotec (talk) 19:55, 17 February 2010 (UTC)
Reference your question on my talkpage: I'm refering to Threlfall's book cited in Notes 9, 10, 12 and 13 listed in full in the References, i.e. "Threlfall, Richard E., (1951). The story of 100 years of Phosphorus making: 1851 - 1951. Oldbury: Albright & Wilson Ltd.". Pyrotec (talk) 19:29, 9 August 2010 (UTC)

The term "lucifer"[edit]

There seems to some disagreement over whether "lucifer" is:

This article isn't clear on the matter. Can anybody set the record straight? -- Smjg (talk) 22:26, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

A match was a splint (often soaked in something to burn better) used to light candles. What we now call a match was known as a lucifer match, because it could ignite itself. Other names were Promethean or Congreve match. There was a Trade name Lucifer but by the First World War it had become a generic term. See Oxford English Dictionary.Chemical Engineer (talk) 21:35, 30 November 2010 (UTC)

Match flame[edit]

It would be good to add temperature range of a match flame witch is I think around 600C —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:22, 26 June 2010 (UTC)

Someone please remove what I think is some 'baby' trolling on the Match Page[edit]

Hi, I think a few sections have the word 'baby' or 'babies' subtley placed in them. Can someone please remove them as appropriate? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:42, 25 October 2010 (UTC)

Safety match image[edit]

The image labelled "safety matches" is from the Commons where it is said to be household matches, not safety matches (except in the obsolete sense of having red phosphorus). Safety matches are often blue or brown to distinguish them from strike-anywhere by the same company, though this is not universal.Chemical Engineer (talk) 17:20, 4 December 2010 (UTC)

match rockets[edit]

Match rockets use aluminium foil warped around a match and needles with an unconfirmed range of 50 feet.


Sulfurata is a form of tinder, not an early form of matches. The primary source was inaccurately translated into English (this is one of the reasons I prefer secondary sources). This encyclopedia on Greek and Roman antiquities accurately describes what sulfurata are: A simple kind of tinder consisting of chips of wood dipped in sulfur.

The Greeks did use something called an igniaria, which produced a spark used to create a fire, but it functions differently from a match.--Ninthabout (talk) 03:15, 17 July 2011 (UTC)

So are you asking for Chinese sulphurata to be removed from the article, or are you suggesting that the history section be improved to include more ancient sources (e.g. Martial 1.41 & 10.3)? You prefer secondary sources, including 19th century ones, I see! Yes, folks, it's 2016 and the internet is full of 19th century learning, Doh! Vince Calegon 07:48, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

File:Matchbox Black Cat from Czestochowa.jpg Nominated for Deletion[edit]

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Removed sentence[edit]

With all due respect to Isaac Asimov, I am removing this sentence "Isaac Asimov in his Book of Facts, however suggested that Walker had left the idea unpatented for the good of mankind." I have not seen the original but this seems to be conflation of Walker's discovery and the much later Taft-Diamond Match patent release. Have also added sources that support the fact that Walker did not patent it, but due to his laid-back attitude. Shyamal (talk) 06:24, 16 November 2011 (UTC)

A suggestion[edit]

I think thereshould be some mention of how fires were started prior to the adoption of matches -- IIRC, flint & steel. Anyone who has tried to start a fire without using matches can appreciate just how much matches improved daily life, so this rates as one of the top 10 inventions having the greatest impact on the most people. -- llywrch (talk) 17:03, 10 February 2014 (UTC)

How about this: Firelighting Kortoso (talk) 22:06, 8 August 2016 (UTC)