Wooden Matches go on sale


History on 7th April

Wooden Matches go on sale

Stockton on Tees, County Durham The 7th of April 1827 AD

History is littered with those who failed to cash in on their inventions: the paper-clip rights sold for next to nothing; likewise the safety-pin. But perhaps the most striking case (ho-ho) where an inventor didnít think it worthwhile to patent his creation was that of Stockton-on-Tees druggist and amateur chemist John Walker. Imagine what a tiny percentage of every box of matches sold for just a year would have been worth.
Walker had been apprenticed to a surgeon in his home town before training in York and Durham with pharmacists, then ran a chemistís shop on Stocktonís High Street. He was of an enquiring mind, and interested in chemistry of the bang and flash variety, and in 1827 came up with the idea for what he termed a Congreve, referring to the rockets developed less than 20 years previously. These were the first friction matches, made by drying a chemical mixture on a small piece of wood, the mixture igniting when struck against a suitable surface. The first sale of the product was on April 7 1827, and we even know the name of the customer, a local solicitor called Hixon.

More famous dates here

7849 views since 7th April 2010

Brit Quote:
I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter. - Winston Churchill
More Quotes

On this day:
Anne Boleyn Beheaded - 1536, Cromwell Declares England a Commonwealth - 1649, Kew Gardens Opens - 1759, Lawrence of Arabia dies - 1935, Speaker Announces Resignation - 2009
More dates from British history

click here to view all the British counties

County Pages