Tekniska Museet
100 Innovations - Tekniska museet

An exhibition at the National Museum of Science and Technology in Stockholm, 2012 – 2018

The matchstick

The matchstick

Ingress för att beskriva innovationen

The matchstick

Matchbox labels with pictures of Swedish folk costumes. TM14633. Foto: Ellinor Algin.

The matchstick

burning matchstick is still a common sight in today’s high tech society. Photo: Ellinor Algin

Kort fakta om innovationen

Kort fakta (2) om innovationen

Rubrik för små genier

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The matchstick

In Greek Mythology the Titan Prometheus stole fire from the gods and gave it to mankind. The art of making fire was important but difficult. The matchstick remedied this. It was invented by Robert Boyle in the 1600s. The early matchsticks were dangerous and could self-ignite. Gustaf Erik Pasch and the Lundström brothers developed safety matches in the 1800s. These are still called "Swedish matches".

Matchsticks are usually made of aspen, a kind of wood that burns slowly and evenly. The head of a match consists of potassium chlorate among other things. When you strike it against the striking surface of a matchbox made of red phosphorous the resulting friction produces heat. The heat starts a chemical reaction which makes the matchstick start to burn.

Rubrik för nördar

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