Strike Anywhere Matches

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MatchSticksMatchSticks - We cover matchsticks. Things like strike anywhere matches, bamboo matchstick blinds, the history of Chinese matches, fly matchstick airplanes, matchstick rockets, bridge designs, matchitecture & more.

Strike anywhere matches are matches which are designed to ignite when struck against a wide variety of surfaces. They can be somewhat dangerous, and in some regions they are restricted items.

Strike Anywhere Matches

There are two main types of matches: safety matches (strike-on-box), which can be struck only against a specially prepared surface; and strike-anywhere matches, for which any solid surface can be used.

As anyone who has experimented with strike-anywhere matches knows, the name is a bit of a misnomer; they work best when struck against rough, dry surfaces, and they will not literally ignite when struck against anything. Because strike anywhere matches are easy to ignite, they can be somewhat dangerous, and in some regions they are restricted items, out of concerns about spontaneous ignition or careless handling.

The best strike anywhere match were Ohio Blue Tip; however Diamond is now the only U.S. manufacturer of strike-anywhere matches.

Strike anywhere match (Click to enlarge)
Strike Anywhere Match

After the invention of safety matches, strike anywhere matches became less common, although there were still plenty of uses for them. In the late 1800s, chemists developed a less volatile version, using a form of phosphorus which was not poisonous or explosive. Today, there are several match companies that make strike anywhere matches along with safety matches, for consumers who prefer the convenience of strike-anywhere matches.

Some strike anywhere matches are specially treated so that they will light when damp or in high winds. These matches are known as storm matches and they can be especially useful. Many camping supply stores sell storm matches, and they are stocked in emergency kits in lifeboats and in other survival kits. Storm matches tend to be more expensive than regular strike-anywhere matches but their versatility can be well worth the cost.

The most relevant links we could find, placed here free

What are Strike Anywhere Matches? - Article by wiseGeek.

What makes these things strike anywhere? - Article on what makes these matches strike anywhere.

The Disappearing Match - by Boris Swidersky. An article about the history and fall of these matches.

About Matches - Article about matches including information on strike anywhere matches.

Making a Perfect Match - Article on how to make a strike anywhere match by Popular Science.

Diamond Matches - Diamond is the largest wooden match manufacturer in the United States and the only US manufacturer of strike-anywhere matches.

Diamond strike anywhere matches (Click to enlarge)
Diamond Brand

Penley Matches - The Penley Corporation is a full line supplier of high quality matches including the Penley brand of strike anywhere matches.

Penley strike anywhere matches (Click to enlarge)
Penley Brand

Matches are edgy. They live on a fine line between harmlessly sitting in a box and blowing up in your face. Among the most dangerous classes of chemicals are those that catch fire simply by shock or friction.

Yet matches are supposed to do exactly that. So modern matches cleverly require two steps before they will light: Chemicals in an igniter (either the tip of a strike-anywhere match or the striking surface of a safety match) must be mixed with fuel in the match head, and the igniter must be raised above a critical temperature by the heat generated through the friction of striking it.

The white tip on strike anywhere matches contains phosphorus, usually sulphide P4S3, which eliminates the need for the phosphorus in the striker. This is why you can strike them on almost any rough surface; rocks, a zipper, your teeth, or even very rough beard stubble.

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