Phoenix Bird Match Holder, France 1870s

Match holders are another interesting discipline of collecting smoking related items. They were made in various forms and in almost every available material. Match holders made their appearance by the 1850s, ca. 20 years after the first friction match was invented in 1827 by John Walker.

Below is an example of a phoenix bird match holder for tabletop made in France in the 1870s. It is made from a non-magnetic alloy containing mainly zinc and lead. The bird perched on the side of the box has a double pin in his beak and when his head is pushed down he spears a match and retrieves it. The striking surface is located on the back of the phoenix. It is marked (modèle) "déposé" which means that the design was officially registered in France. 

A very good book for collectors on match holders was written by Jean and Franklin Hunting "Collectible Match Holders for Tabletops and Walls. With Price Guide". Well worth the money. It contains 541 photographs with descriptions as well as information on the history of matches and match holders and design patents and their time frames.


Post a Comment