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Antique Treen Match Box - Berry Patent - Go To Bed

Here is a very unusual antique treen 'Go to Bed' (match box container).

It is stamped with 'Berry'. This is the name of a company better known for its metal match holders, and yet, their earliest productions were turned from hard wood such as lignum vitae.

The first match boxes were designed to hold a bottle of Sulphuric Acid in the centre with Potassium Chlorate coated matches around the edge. These matches would ignite when dipped in the acid.

By the 1830s, friction matches had taken their place, and hence, there was no need for acid. The boxes changed style to have single compartments with an external striker. The bottom of the box would have glass paper recessed into the bottom, or the base would have grooved circular lines to create friction. Very occasionally, there was a third design made by Berry, an example of which is photographed here. On the top of the box are two parallel discs: the lower disc forms part of the lid and the upper disc can be moved up or down on a short threaded spindle to vary the space between the discs. The gap would be opened to allow the match-head to be inserted between the discs and then closed slightly to hold it in position. The match would then be pulled out, creating the friction which would light it

This example dates from around 1830 and is made from lignum vitae.

It measures 9.5cm h x 4.5cm w

Priced at £245.


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