What are matches made of?

The splint: 

  • Swedish aspen
  • Paraffin wax
  • 100% renewable raw materials

The head: 

  • Water
  • Gelatin
  • Potassium chlorate
  • Red phosphorus
  • Red iron oxide

The matchbox

  • 100% recycled fiber
  • Red phosphorus
How should matches be stored?

Matches should be kept cool and dry.

Do matches still contain sulfur?

No, all of our matches are 100% sulfur-free. Swedish Match presented a unique and environmentally sound sulfur-free match as far back as 1992.

Do people still use matches?

Using matches is still the most common way to light a fire. Swedes use nearly 60,000 matchboxes every day. Sales peak during the Christmas and BBQ seasons.

What is a safety match, and why is it called a safety match – what makes it safe?

A safety match will only ignite when struck against a specially prepared, chemically active, rough strip on the side of the box. Unlike earlier phosphorus matches, safety matches are non-toxic – hence their name. Before safety matches were invented (by G. E. Pasch in 1844), matches were made with highly toxic yellow phosphorus.

What are the most important striking qualities for safety matches?

The most important qualities are that they are easy to strike, do not give off sparks or any other burning particles, do not break, do not continue to glow after the flame dies out and do not contain toxic heavy metals.

Can matches self-ignite?

Matches cannot self-ignite in normal conditions. Matches should be kept dry, and away from ignition sources and hazardous materials. Matches will not self-ignite in heat unless the temperature exceeds 180 ºC.

Where can I submit a complaint about the quality of matches?

Please send the match, the inner and outer box, and any remaining matches for analysis to:

Swedish Match Industries AB
Att: Kvalitetsavdelningen
Box 84, SE-522 22 Tidaholm, Sweden.

What substance is used to impregnate the wood in the match?

The match is impregnated with monoammonium phosphate and dipped in paraffin wax.

How many matches can be made from a single tree?

That depends on the size of the tree. One Swedish aspen can make about 1 million matches.

How many matches does a match machine produce every day?

A modern match machine can produce about 2.5 million matches every hour. The first automatic match machine was designed by C. Lagerman in 1892. It produced 200,000 matches per hour.

What is the Solstickan Foundation?

For every Solstickan product sold, some of the proceeds are donated to the Solstickan Foundation.

The Solstickan Foundation was formed in 1936. The artist, Einar Nerman, was commissioned to design the matchbox label and he created the now-famous Solstickspojken (the Solstickan Boy). It is said he received SEK 200 for his design, which is now possibly one of the most reproduced works of art in the world.

The idea behind Solstickan was that a half öre per box would be used to support children and the elderly. Since millions of matchboxes were sold, all of the ‘half öre’ eventually became a large amount of money. Solstickan’s success was largely due the initially strong support it received from the retail sector and the press.

The Foundation’s mission is to support children and the elderly by providing project funding and research scholarships, and by awarding the Solstickepris (the Solstickan Prize) every year.

The Honorary Chair of the Solstickan Foundation is Princess Christina, Mrs Magnuson.


How can I apply for project funding or a research scholarship from the Solstickan Foundation?

For more information about how to apply for project funding or research scholarships from the Solstickan Foundation, please go to

Where can I buy firestarters?

Firestarters are available in well-stocked supermarkets.