Instantaneous light boxes and phosphorus boxes, early 19th century.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
To the far right is an example of a phosphorus box. Phosphorus boxes were used by inserting and withdrawing a taper from a bottle internally lined with phosphorus, this would then ignite if rubbed on a piece of cork to create heat. More popular than the phosphorus box was the instantaneous light box, introduced to England from France in around 1810. The box contains a match-head coated with chlorate of potash, sugar and gum. When dipped into a bottle of vitriol and quickly removed the match head will burst into flames. Two kinds of box are pictured, one with a lid, one without. The box on the left is made of tin and has a hinged lid with a candle. These examples are from the Bryant and May collection of firemaking at the Science Museum, London.