Friday, January 15, 2016

Factoid of the day: a simple matchstick

So where does the word "matches" come from?

A discussion of the word and the evolution of the simple match at a discussion of whether they had matches in Middle Earth.

When gunpowder came into use in Europe in the 1500s the English adapted the word match to refer to a small cord or piece of wood soaked in sulphur; they used such matches to light lamps, candles, and cannons.Matchlock firearms were developed in the 1400s, and they used a match for lighting their gunpowder and triggering mechanisms resembling door locks. When the triggering (lock) mechanism was pulled it lowered a burning wick (match) onto a pan of gunpowder, thus igniting it.

but self lighting matches were invented in the 1800's.

and they add this: matches were invented in China.

more HERE
which says they were invented by a woman (maid).

And the first book to describe them was several hundred years later:

The book Records of the Unworldly and the Strange, by Tao Gu, China, circa AD 950, includes one of the earliest descriptions of a match:
If there occurs an emergency at night it may take some time to make a light to light a lamp. But an ingenious man devised the system of impregnating little sticks of pinewood with sulphur and storing them ready for use. At the slightest touch of fire they burst into flame…This marvelous thing was formerly called a “light-bringing slave”, but afterwards when it became an article of commerce its name was changed to ‘fire inch-stick’. 
Some Chinese scholars speculate that the invention was made in 577AD by women of the Northern Qi, (or Sui) who were unable to leave the confines of their city to search for tinder, because it was under siege by the Northern Zhou and Chen.
that link, from the Museum of everyday life, also includes other facts about matches through the years, and explains why in Spanish and Tagalog, we call them "phosphoro": because some early matches were made with white phosphorus.

and for the DIY tpyes: Here is how to make a "strike anywhere Match" from theInstructables website. which, alas, uses matches to make...

and PopSci has an article on how to make a firestarter with Elmer's glue

or just get a firestarter.

One thing I noticed: When I light a match from a box (which are the matches we use here) I hold the match between my thumb and index finger, and push it down the strip, using my thumb.(so the side of the match is the part in contact with the box).

Our cook holds it like a sewing needle, and pushes it down the strip, meaning the tip of the match is in contact with the strip.

Her way works the best...

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