A match is a tool used for making fire. Usually, modern are made of small stiff paper or wooden sticks. One side is coated with a material which can be easily ignited by frictional heat generated by only striking the match against the appropriate surface.
Paper matches are partly cut into rows and stapled into some matchbooks, and wooden matches are just packaged in match boxes. The coated end of a match called match “head,” comprises of a bead of binder and active ingredients, usually colored for easier inspection.
Unlike many of our ancestors throughout the entire history, making fire is a snap for us. Ever since the invention of a match in 1827, many people take it for granted and even don’t bother to understand how this magical little stick can conjure up a fire.
There are two major kinds of matches:
1. Safety matches -can be struck only against a specifically prepared surface,
2. Strike-anywhere matches– any appropriately frictional surface can be used.
Some match-like compositions, called electric matches, are ignited electrically, and they don’t rely on heat from friction.
Before the use of matches, fires were occasionally lit using a lens (a burning glass) to focus the sun rays on Tinder, a technique which could only work well on sunny days. Another, more popularly technique was igniting tinder with sparks generated by striking steel and flint, or by abruptly raising air pressure in the fire piston.
In 1669, Alchemist Hennig Brandt discovered the phosphorus’ flammable nature. Others, including Robert Boyle and Ambrose Godfrey (his assistant), advanced these experiments in the 1680s with sulfur and phosphorus, but their efforts didn’t produce inexpensive and practical methods for making fires.
The risks of white phosphorus in the making of matches led to the advancement of the “hygienic” or safety match. The main innovation during its improvement was the use of red phosphorus, not on the head of the matchstick but instead on a specifically designed striking surface.
Arthur Albright came up with the industrial process for the commercial manufacture of red phosphorus after discoveries of Schrotter became well-known. By 1851, his firm was producing the material by heating white phosphorus in an entirely sealed pot at a particular temperature. At The Great Exhibition in London, he unveiled his red phosphorus in 1851.
Matches made from phosphorus sesquisulfide as well as friction matches manufactured with white phosphorus can be struck on any appropriate surface. They continued predominantly popular in the US even when the safety matches had become very well-known in Europe.
Nonetheless, strike-anywhere matches are currently used throughout the world, including several developing nations. These matches are still broadly used today for uses such as outdoor activities, camping, emergency situations, and the stocking home-based survival kits.
Chemical matches were not able to make the leap into large production, due to their cumbersome nature, high expense, and inherent risk. An alternate technique was to generate the ignition through friction formed by rubbing any two coarse surfaces.
In 1816, an early model was produced by François Derosne. His crude match was known as a briquet phosphorique, and it utilized a sulfur-tipped match to scrape within a tube coated with phosphorus. It was both unsafe and inconvenient.
In 1826, the earliest successful friction match was invented by John Walker, a druggist, and chemist from Stockton-On-Tees, County Durham. He established a keen interest in trying to discover a proper means of making fire quickly.
Many chemical mixtures were already recognized that would ignite by an impulsive explosion, but it hadn’t been found capable of transmitting the flame to any slow-burning substance such as wood. Although Walker was arranging for a lighting mixture on one incident, a match that had been dipped in it caught fire by an accidental friction upon the hearth.
At some point, he cherished the practical significance of the discovery and began producing friction matches. They comprised of wooden sticks or splints of cardboard coated with sulphur and tipped with the mixture of a sulphide of antimony, gum, and chlorate of potash, the sulphur helping to transmit the flame to the wood.
Let us dissect some of the interesting facts about these lighting matches.
Interesting Facts About Lighting Matches:
1. In the 1800s match factory staff were susceptible to “phossy jaw”- a painful condition as a result of exposure to white phosphorus. Phossy jaw was severe in about 20 per cent of cases.
2. Austrian chemist known as Anton Von Schrotter discovered the red phosphorous in 1845.
3. The practice of collecting the matchbooks and match-associated things is called “phillumeny.”
4. Scientists approximate there are 100 light strikes in the world in every second! That is over 8 million per day!
5. Approximately 90% of all wildfires in the US are caused by humans.
6. Each year, there are about 100,000 wildfire in the US.
7. Huge wildfires always develop their own weather patterns, creating massive pyrocumulus clouds which produce risky, powerful gusts of wind.
8. Joshua Pusey, and attorney in Philadelphia, did patent the first book matches in 1892.He named them “flexible matches.”
9. The Great Fire of London in 1666 started on 2nd September in Pudding lane and eventually ended on 7th September.13, 000 houses were burnt down.