Matchboxes and labels

The first phosphorus matches were never stored in boxes. They were simply wrapped in ordinary paper. The name of the factory was then stamped directly onto the paper. The striking surface was first used with safety matches, and that was when entirely new demands were made of the packaging.

The modern boxes of today were invented as far back as the mid-1800s, and are probably the oldest kind of packaging still in use in the world today.Match labels have always been an important element in the marketing of Swedish matches. Not least abroad, where people want to find out all about local customs and tastes.

One of the most famous labels is the Three Stars, which appeared as early as 1887. This has been called ”the Mona Lisa of labels” and was marketed throughout the entire British Empire. This is probably the most widespread match brand in the world.

It used to be common for various people in power to order matches of their own which had labels used purely for propaganda purposes. These labels often bore magnificent portraits of the people in question, with medals, epaulettes, gold and glitter. More than one person in power was deposed before the order was delivered.

Philumenists all over the world

Match labels have inspired lots of people to start collecting. Enthusiastic label collectors – philumenists – can be found all over the world.

One of the very keenest was King Farouk of Egypt. At one point in the 1950s, he chartered a plane to Copenhagen. He only had one thing to do – he wanted to buy a match label worth SEK 3,000.