In 1892 Joshua Pusey patented his idea of paper matches. Match tips were dipped in a solution of sulfur and phosphorus, then stapled to a piece of cardboard. Thus, the matchbook was born. The Diamond Match Company purchased Pusey’s patent and in 1894, Pabst beer ordered 10 million matchbooks bearing ads on their covers.
Soon, matchbooks advertising a variety of goods were offered to customers of tobacco products, or left in ashtrays at coffee shops and motels.
Match cover collectors, known as phillumenists, have been around since the conception of matchbooks. In most matchbook collections, only the covers are collected. Collectors carefully remove the matches and the covers are displayed or stored flat. However, the book is left intact if images are printed on the matches themselves.
The PAST Antiques Marketplace has a diverse selection of vintage matchbooks for sale. Visit us on Route 85 in Montville, Connecticut to see our full line of antiques and vintage collectibles.