Rectangular Vesta matchbox, 1897.
4 0 c m
 
30cm
actual image size: 22cm x 32cm

Rectangular Vesta matchbox, 1897.

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library

Description

The box is made of black ebonite and has hinged flaps for opening. The top is decorated with a Jubilee portrait of Queen Victoria and the reverse is marked with 'R' encircled by a leaf and flower decoration. In the mid 19th century it was found that reacting soft, sticky natural rubber with sulphur (vulcanisation), produced a dark, hard, mouldable material called 'vulcanite' or 'ebonite'. This became an important electrical insulator and was also moulded to make objects such as brooches, pipe stems and this matchbox, and eventually, tyres.
 

Image Ref.

10304627
 

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