This is an unusual lignum vitae 'instantaneous match box', dating from around 1810 and still containing what looks like the original matches.This box has a central circular ring compartment which would have housed a bottle of sulphuric acid. The matches were stored in a compartment surrounding the bottle. The lid contains a projecting inner ring which would clamp tightly to the bottle of acid. The matches would be topped with chlorate of potash, which when inserted in the acid would be ignited.This type of match came before friction matches. A very similar example is illustrated in Pinto, plate 114. 

An Unusual Antique Treen Instantaneous Match Box

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