Wholesale Matches Q & A
Are matches still popular?
Yes. Despite countless technological advances since the advent of the humble match nearly two hundred years ago, some traditional things remain universally popular, due to their simplicity of design and efficacy at doing what they were designed to do.
What are matches usually made from?
Matches are most-commonly made from wood; usually a white pine or aspen. The match head contains potassium chlorate, sulphur, and powdered glass, whilst the 'strike' strip on the box usually contains a combination of powdered glass and phosphorus. The main body of the match is coated in a thin layer of paraffin wax.
How exactly do matches work?
When a match is 'struck' the glass-on-glass friction generates heat. This then converts a small amount of the red phosphorus into a white phosphorus vapour. This vapour ignites and the oxidising agent in the match head enables the flame to continue to burn. The oxygen and the sulphur combine to ignite the wood of the match. The flame sticks to the match courtesy of the thin layer of paraffin wax.
What are the different types of matches?
The main two types of matches are safety matches and strike-anywhere matches. The key difference is that the head of a strike-anywhere match contains red phosphorus as well as sulphur and an oxidising agent. As a result, it could ignite on any surface provided that there is sufficient friction to create heat - examples would be a brick wall or a piece of sandpaper.
Why are matches still often preferred to lighters?
You may be surprised to learn that many smokers still prefer to use matches rather than lighters. The main reasons can be broken down into five categories: smell, safety/ease of use, nostalgia, aesthetics, and a general dislike of lighters.
In terms of the smell, there is something that reminds users of sitting by a fire and it also helps rooms to smell better. Lighters, in contrast, can give off a slightly odd scent.
When it comes to safety, matches are preferred because they are easier to ignite and are less likely to burn the users' fingers than a lighter. They give a reliable flame, never run out, and are simple to use whilst also being safe.
The nostalgic element is often related to memories associated with the use of matches in the past. They feel more natural and there is something of a ritualistic element to lighting up. They also have more 'character' than lighters.
Aesthetically speaking, many matchboxes have unique designs that reflect where they are from or who they are made by. Some people even collect them because of this. The more unique ones can also make cool gifts.
The final reason people still opt for matches is simply that they do not like lighters, for many reasons including (but not only): the smell, the fact they can run out suddenly without warning (you always know when you’re getting low on matches after all), the look of them, their environmental impact, and the fact they can burn the user (especially if the wind blows the flame backwards).