Top 5 Facts: Matches


The first self-igniting match was invented in 1805 by K. Chancel and consisted of a mixture of potassium chlorate, sulphur, sugar and rubber.


Despite Chancel’s invention, the matches never took off as to be lit they needed to be dipped in a small, portable bottle of sulphuric acid.


Chinese author Tao Gu records that an early form of match was referred to in China as both a “light-bringing slave” and later a “fire inch-stick”.


Traditionally, the term ‘match’ referred to a length of cord coated with chemicals that burned slowly and consistently. They were used to set off explosive weapons.


The hobby of collecting different match-related items – including matches, matchboxes, matchbooks and match safes – is referred to as phillumeny.