Long before the coming of the Model T, and long after its passing, generations of Americans used these. Some of us remember when this was the standard, and "safety" matches that had to be struck on the box were an innovation. Have you tried to buy any strike anywhere matches lately? Apparently only Diamond is still around to make them, and they're not sold in any of the stores here. There's even an urban legend that they're illegal (like lacquer thinner supposedly being "banned" in California). You can buy them online, and pay $2 for shipping of the $1.85 product. I resorted to buying a dozen boxes (a twenty year supply?) for free shipping.
These matches should never have been made in the first place. It's impossible to find a good replate-able steel dash for a 1931 Model A because of them. Everyone used the ribbed surface next to the fuel gauge to strike their matches and they messed up the grooves with sulphur corrosion.
That said, I've always bought mine at our local hardware. I'll have to see if they still stock them. They were great for lighting self vulcanizing patches which are also no longer made
Steve, I get the strike on box kind at the dollar store and haven't seen the strike anywhere ones in years. We used to use the zipper on our jeans to strike them.
So do you have one of these match safes by your stove? :-)
They cannot be sold in NYC because a series of suspicious fires in grocery stores were traced to rats gnawing on them and setting them off. Personally I think they should get rid of the rats and keep the matches. I have friends in Wisconsin get them for me now and I have found them in Florida in more rural areas.
Funny you should post this now...I just bought a new box from the local Target store, of all places. I use them to light the cowl lamps at car shows!
By the way, I have an old blue box exactly like yours which I refill with new matches for show.
In my kitchen, waiting to be refilled.
Why do Steve's posts remind me of things in the past?
I remember seeing a kitchen match holder just like the one in his kitchen at my parent's cottage on Plymouth MA. In fact it might still be there!
I'll bet that today's kids can figure out what it was used for!
Wow they still make them? Will they sell them to foreigners?
Has Val ever lived in a rural area? Getting rid of ALL rats would be virtually impossible. We used to put the matches in a jar with a lid on it so the rats wouldn't gnaw on them. A couple of days ago, I was stopped at a signal and I actually saw a rat run across the road. I thought a car ran over it, but it must have gone between the wheels because it was still running when it got across the road! There are about 2 or 3 miles of mountains east of us and canyons to the west and north of us, all uninhabited by humans. We can set traps and catch many rats, but never get them all!
I think banning strike anywhere matches may just have prevented many fires, but rats can still chew on electric wiring and cause a spark.
I remember my late Dad hiking a leg and striking a match on the back of the leg of his denim coveralls.
As kids we used to load them, wood end first, into our BB gun rifles and shoot them at the concrete sidewalks or a brick wall and watch them light up. I suppose I've had a file with my name on it at the FBI since I was 6 or 7 years old.
I put them on street car tracks, a series of them. They would go off like a fire cracker. As a young kid, of course.
Here is my picture as a young kid and a recent one.
We can still get them here in Maine. Still made by Diamond, still "strike anywhere" but the match is now green with the white, phosphorous tip, not red. They are called " Greenlight" and the back of the box suggests that the process of manufacturing is eco friendly. They are aspen wood cut responsibly in Minnesota. Anyway, they are far better than the old red or blue ones. They light everytime. Must be a new formula.
What's a street car?
Here you go Steve
Here you go Steve
The Diamond Match factory is in Cloquet, MN. Relatives sell wood to them for the matches.
When we were kids we would take the heads off matches and put several in the void of a bolt-nut-bolt assembly (two bolts screwed part way into a nut). When thrown on the side walk they would go off with a bang. Fun then, dumb now.
What can you buy for 12 cents?
That's $.00048 each.
Steve, I think you will need to post a playbill for those of us who still don't get it!
Used to strike them on my teeth and contrary to popular belief, the ones that say you have to strike them on the box can also be struck almost anywhere to fire them up - just takes a little practice...
My wife's dad use to strike them on the dash of a 30 Model A. Right under the gas gauge. Sometimes those gas gauges leak!
We used to shoot them out of a modified clothespin. Now that I know they are still available I'll have to get some.
When I was young if you didn't light them under your thumb nail you were just not cool.
We used to cut the head off and insert a straight pin with the head cut off. Then on the other end, we would slit the wood stick and insert a "feather" made of two pieces of paper back to back in the shape of an X and viola, we had a dart. It was fun to throw at the girls back side until the teacher found out who the guilty parties were.
Dale -- I remember those!!
If you did that today they would put you in jail and brand you as a JD.
Another match thing that would get you jailed today --
We use to take a 1/2 inch pipe nipple that was about 3 inches long and drill a small hole in the center of it and pack it full of match heads.
After adding another cap and a homemade fuse we would use one more match and make a BIG BANG.
We were lucky we didn't kill ourselves.
Looking at the Diamond match box with made in the USA on it makes me wonder if we ever if we got any overseas brand matches shipped over here. Growing up all I ever knew was the red diamond boxes and the blue ohio bluetip.
I am not familiar with the Model A gas gage, were they mechanical rather than electric?
The gas gauge is a float inside the cowl mounted tank. There is a window which faces the front seat. As the float bobs up and down, you can see through the window F 3/4 1/2 1/4 E. When it stops bouncing, you better get gas soon! That gauge is screwed into the tank, so if the gasket leaks, some gas will get on the front of the dash. The 30 and 31 A had a rippled panel around the gauge which made a good place to strike matches.
When driving a model A are you supposed to be able to see the gas sloshing around on the glass?
It depends how much gas is in the tank. When it's full, the window is submerged and you see F on the graduated sector. 3/4 of a tank give you visible sloshing. A half tank or less, the float starts bouncing on the bottom of the tank.
We have gone from Steve and Jay telling us about matches to talking about gas gages in a Model A!
I'm beginning to wonder what would happen if we combined both subjects and checked the gas in a Model A with a match!
It would be a movie with Stallone, Johnson, and Willis.
Remember this one;
Lit a match,
to check the tank,
now they call him
Or is it;
Lit a match,
to check the tank,
now they call him
Myanmar Shave, just doesn't have the same ring, HUH?
You can buy Strike Anywhere matches in National Park campground stores.... I have two cases of them.
however, they are no where near as dangerous as original Civil War matches. If you carried them in your pocket, the wool from your pants would light them off.