John Walker's Friction Lights, 1826-1827.
3 4 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 26cm

John Walker's Friction Lights, 1826-1827.

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


These matches, invented by John Walker, a pharmacist from Stockton-on-Tees, near Newcastle, are made of very thin flat sticks of wood which have had one end dipped into a paste of chlorate of potash, sulphide of antimony, gum arabic and water. When nipped with a folded piece of sandpaper the match would burst into flame. These examples were manufactured at Fairfield Works, Bow, London. From the Bryant and May collection of firemaking at the Science Museum, London.

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