Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 11.djvu/433

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MATCHES.

without application to the phosphorus on the box, by drawing them several times with long sweeps over such surfaces as glass, ebony, etc. When they were first introduced into England the use of any other kind in the public buildings was forbidden by a special act of Parliament. Their manufacture has been encouraged in several European countries, and in times past their use has by some governments been enjoined by law. These matches are also called "hygienic," because they can be put into the mouth without danger.

Another kind of safety-match, which has never come into general use, contained the phosphorus at one end and the chlorate of potash at the other. The match is lighted by breaking it in halves and rubbing the two ends together.

In Switzerland, safety-matches are almost the only ones in the market, and in Sweden they are largely manufactured for exportation. A firm in New York imported the latter for many years, but the customs-duty was so high, and the demand so slight, that the business was abandoned. One of the former partners stated that, if the American people would show any desire for the matches, he could furnish them much cheaper than the matches produced in this country, as in Sweden the materials are provided at a very trifling expense. But, as he expressed it, "an American prefers to put his hand into his pocket, take out a match, and strike it on his pantaloons or shoe, to economizing by carrying them around in the box in which he buys them. And you could never get the Irish servants here to use safety-matches unless you had the priest on your side."

Factories for the production of safety-matches were established in New York, Boston, and other places, but they have all failed with the exception of one in Erie, Pennsylvania, which, with the assistance of some of the wax and parlor manufacturers, easily supplies the demand created in this country. Those made by Bryant & May, in England, are also found in the shops here. The great objection to safety matches seems to be due to the fact that they are so difficult to carry about. In France they are regarded with great disfavor by the population. No one cares to be troubled with an angular box which he must hold in his hand till he has lighted his match; and it is impossible to put the phosphorus compound on a small pocket match-safe, as the surface is not sufficiently great, and the phosphorus soon rubs off.

A gentleman who has been employed in the manufacture of safety matches expressed it as his opinion that they are the most dangerous matches made. For in the majority of cases, when a match is struck, some of the phosphorus on the box flies off, and, being highly inflammable, if it meets with any combustible substance, it always gives rise to a danger of fire. If lighted where the phosphorus can fall upon the carpet, the result is the same as though the carpet were exposed to the sparks of a fire. There is also a certain degree of temptation offered to those who manufacture these matches. This consists