Matchsafe, "Cawston Ostrich Farm, South Pasadena, California", ca. 1900. Gift of Stephen W. Brener and Carol B. Brener. 1978-146-68.

When you need to keep your matches dry...

Matchsafes can be considered a type of travel case. In about 1830, the first friction matches were invented, and matchsafes, usually stashed in a man’s vest pocket or attached to a watch chain, were designed to keep matches dry at a time when they were vital for lighting kitchen stoves as well as cigars, pipes, and cigarettes, as smoking became an increasingly integral part of the social scene during the second half of the nineteenth century. This particular matchsafe features an advertisement for the Cawston Ostrich Farm, which opened in South Pasadena, California, in 1896 and became a world-class tourist attraction. Matchsafes became miniature billboards for a wide variety of manufacturers and other businesses, which contributed to their popularity during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Tags: 
Museum Number: 
1978-146-68