small stick whose chemically coated tip bursts into flame when struck on a rough surface.
Before theintroduction of the match, fire was made by friction methods using the stick and the groove, the fire drill, or flint, tinder, andsteel, or by employing a magnifying glass.
Attempts in the 18th cent. to cause ignition by the use of chemicals resulted in afriction match devised in 1827 by an Englishman, the apothecary John Walker, and in phosphorus match invented inFrance in 1831 by the French student Charles Sauria.
In the United States a practical phosphorus match was patented in1836.
The safe, cheap modern match was made possible by mechanized large-scale manufacture and by the use ofnontoxic chemicals, notably the sesquisulfide of phosphorus.
In the safety match, invented in Sweden in 1855, an oxidizingagent on the match tip is ignited only when struck on a combustible material affixed to the matchbox.