The safety match can burn only after it rubbed on the matchbox, even if the match head is hit with a hammer, it will not catch fire. The earliest matches were not safe because they can be easily on fire.
A safety match with a chemical substance on the head, and that chemical substance reacts with a chemical substance on the matchbox, and then the match catches fire. The heat generated by friction will cause the chemical reaction.However, if the match head fails to contact the striking paper surface while striking, it will not burn, and you need to strike it again until a flame is ignited.
A British pharmacist had first created the match. In 1827, he had made the matches that can burn as soon as they were rubbed, but they were not very reliable.
In 1830, Sorrier in France invented the better match with yellow phosphorus as a match head. This is called a friction match. which has been used until the end of the 19th century.
Friction matches are very reliable and easy to store. But friction match is fatal, which is a big problem. Yellow phosphorus emits toxic smoke when burning. If people contact with it for a long time, they will get the disease called phosphorus-toxic osteonecrosis of the jaw. The patients died from the disease.
Therefore, yellow phosphorus was prohibited from making matches at the end of the last century, and it was replaced by tetraphosphorus trisulfide.
In the mid-1850s, the Swedish manufacturer Lundstrom separated phosphorus from other flammable ingredients to make a safety match. Non-toxic red phosphorus was applied to the friction surface of matchstick boxes, and other substances were hidden in the matchbox.
Now, matches are made with automated machines. The production capacity reaches 2 million pieces per hour, and matches are packed into boxes for later use. The production of standard matches is to first cut the logs into small sticks, each about 2.5 mm thick, then cut the small sticks into match sticks, and soak them in ammonium carbonate. This is to ensure that the sticks do not smoulder.