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The History of the Matchstick

In ancient times, people used a fire knife and flint to hit each other, and the sparks ignited the fire. This ignition method is more troublesome, especially in cold and humid weather, it is not easy to ignite.


Later, it was convenient to light a match. Wipe the matchbox with the match head, and the match ignited with a "bang".


It is said that the first match in the world came from France. In 1860, French chemist Boyle in his laboratory used a thin wooden stick to apply sulfur particles to its head and rub it on a thick paper coated with phosphorus to catch fire.


In the 18th century, a giant match appeared in Venice, Italy. A mallet that much like a wooden hammer as a match stick. The mallet is covered with a ball of medicated noodles, which is made by mixing potassium chlorate, sugar and gum arabic. Just immerse this magic wand-like match in concentrated sulfuric acid and it will burn. This is because potassium chlorate encounters concentrated sulfuric acid to generate chlorine dioxide. As soon as it comes into contact with sugar, it immediately burns.


At that time, this matchstick style match was expensive, so several families had to buy one together. Later, people reduced the gavel to a small stick, which was much cheaper. It appeared on the markets of Paris and other places, and became a new kind of fire-fighting object, which caused a sensation in Europe at the time.


The novelty is very inconvenient to use and must be accompanied by a bottle of concentrated sulfuric acid. How dangerous it is!


In 1830, the Frenchman, Charlie, replaced white chlorate with white phosphorus and made a match that is as short and flexible as it is today. This is a popular friction match.


Three years later, the world's first match factory appeared in Berga, Sweden. Soon, matches quickly became popular in European countries. This match is coated with sulfur and then covered with a mixture of white phosphorus, gum, and lead fired manganese dioxide. No special matchbox is needed for matching. Just rub it lightly on the wall, on the bricks, or on the soles of the fire, and the match will ignite. This is the use of friction to generate geothermal heat, causing white phosphorus to ignite and burn. Then, under the influence of the lead-fired manganese dioxide oxygen-enriched substance, sulfur was burned to ignite the wood stick.


The ignition point of white phosphorus is very low, and it will burn automatically above 40 ° C. White phosphorus is poisonous. Workers who make matches are often poisoned by inhaling white phosphorus vapor. Friction matches made of white phosphorus are really unsafe, and people have been using it for 20 years. Andersen's fairy tale "The Little Match Girl " described: "She has a match in her hand. No one has bought one from her all day ... she rubbed another match on the wall ..." This kind of match is a white phosphorus ground friction match, which was sold at the time as a unit.


In 1845, another non-toxic phosphorus, red phosphorus, was discovered. White phosphorus is isolated from the air and heated at 250 ° C--300 ° C, and it turns into red phosphorus with the color red purple. Red phosphorus medicine does not start to burn above 260 ° C, but it cannot catch fire by friction alone. When mixed with potassium chlorate, it is more prone to friction and ignition than white phosphorus, causing combustion and explosion. Many people have had unfortunate accidents during the trial.


In 1855, the Swedish Renstem designed and manufactured the world's first box of safety matches. He used a clever and simple method to divide the light into two parts: the match head was dipped with a potassium chlorate box of antimony trisulfide, and red phosphorus was coated on a paper strip and pasted on the outside of the matchbox. When the match head rubs against the side of the matchbox, it reaches the ignition point and catches fire. Mars attracts antimony trisulfide, and potassium chlorate emits oxygen when heated, helping to burn more vigorously. The matchstick is made of alder and poplar. The front break is soaked with rosin in the paraffin box. After the match is rubbed, the flame is not easy to extinguish and it is easy to burn to the matchstick.


This kind of match is neither poisonous nor easy to cause a fire. It is called a "safety match" and it quickly became popular all over the world.


In the Qing Dynasty, foreigners introduced matches into China as a tributary. In the 1840s, after the signing of the "Treaty of Nanking" that bereaved the nation and humiliated the country, foreign businessmen took the opportunity to produce matches in China, and the name "foreign fire" spread.


In fact, as early as the Northern Zhou Dynasty (557-581 AD), there were matches. Matches were also recorded in the Song and Ming dynasties. In the Ming Dynasty, Hangzhou, the pine was cut into pieces, and the tip was coated with sulfur. Its name is "fire candle", and its shape and function are similar to today's matches.


In 1894, China established two safety matches manufacturer in Hubei Province, Juchang and Shengchang, which were co-organized by the officials and businessmen, and began to produce matches.


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