In the latest in its ongoing series about objects the world once considered indispensable but has somehow managed to live without, Collectors Weekly turns its attention to match holders, which were popular from around 1826, when the friction match was invented, until the 1920s, when matchbooks and lighters rendered them obsolete. For its story, CW turned to one of the definitive works on the subject, Match Holders: First-hand Accounts of Tinderboxes, Matches, Spills, Vesta Cases, Match Strikers, and Permanent Matches, which is filled with photographs taken by New Zealand collector Ian Spellerberg and diary entries written by his late match-holder mentor, John McLean.
Match Holders begins with a chapter on tinderboxes, which were a popular form of portable fire-making prior to the invention of the friction match by an English pharmacist named John Walker. Tinderboxes consisted of three basic ingredients—a piece of steel, often called “fire steel”; a stone flint; and tinder, usually some dried fungi or charred linen. “With practice and patience,” McLean writes, “sparks could indeed be produced by striking the steel against the stone flint. If a spark landed in the dry tinder, care was needed to coax the spark into a smouldering piece of tinder then a flame.” As McLean recounts, the clink, clink, clink of steel coming in contact with stone was once a common early morning sound, as must also have been the curses that bounced off the rafters when cold, numb hands caused a hard chunk of steel to miss its mark. Little wonder, McLean writes, “that some domestic fires were kept permanently alight.”
Superman’s cape, as worn by Christopher Reeve in Superman (1978), sold at auction yesterday for $193,750. From Julien’s Auctions: Includes a copy of Superman #331, which advertises on a banner above the front cover logo “YOU COULD BE A WINNER IN THE SECOND SUPERMAN MOVIE CONTEST!” Within the comic book is a full-page advertisement for […]
Olivia Newton-John recently auctioned off hundreds of personal items from her career to benefit the Cancer Wellness & Research Centre she built in Australia. The big ticket item was her leather jacket from Grease that sold for almost $250,000. Turns out the buyer, a Grease superfan, is a wealthy physician and entrepreneur who returned the […]
The green cardigan that Kurt Cobain wore during Nirvana’s classic MTV Unplugged performance in 1993 (see above) will be on the auction block at the end of the month. The sweater last changed hands following a November 2015 auction, selling for $137,500. This time, the minimum bid is set for $200,000 and it’s expected to […]
Presidents’ Day and VPNs may not be a natural fit at first glance. But think about it for a minute. George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were both American presidents whose legacies are forever tied with liberty and freedom. And what is a VPN service if not absolute web liberty and freedom for all your digital […]
You hear the stories all the time. You know the ones about how a new vehicle instantly loses hundreds, even thousands of dollars in value the second a new owner drives it off the lot. Depreciation is a killer, especially when the item itself works just as well — or maybe even better than all […]
Spring cleaning time is right around the corner, and, if we’re being honest, the whole thing is kind of a drag. But keeping your home clean in any season is necessary for both health and happiness, so why not make it a little less daunting? The correct tools help make any work easier, and that’s […]