Antique Oversized Shop Display Match Box

Item ID: 2488 | Category: Antique And Vintage

Rare Bryant & May oversized Shop Display Matchbox containing all its original oversized Matches. The box is in surprisingly good condition for its age and measures 31 x 19 x 6.5cms (normal box of matches in the picture shows the scale.) Match-making was a particularly dangerous job in the 1800s. Workers – mainly women – employed by companies such as Bryant & May to make matches commonly experienced a condition known as phossy jaw. This was caused by poisoning from the yellow phosphorous used in the head of the match. Phossy jaw was a terribly disfiguring and sometimes fatal condition. Eventually, a combination of this health danger, poor pay and long hours led to the formation of a trade union for the workers. The Match Girls Strike of 1888, was a landmark industrial action and led to better pay. In 1901, Bryant & May finally stopped using yellow phosphorous in their matches and launched their trademark “BRYMAY” safety matches.

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