• photo: Norbert Perness
  • photo: Norbert Perness
  • photo: Norbert Perness

János Irinyi Matches (silent matches), 1836

János Irinyi invented silent and non-explosive safety matches in 1836, while he was still a student at university. He mixed white phosphorus with lead-dioxide and gum arabic, and he dipped the tip of the pine wood match sticks into this soft paste and left them to solidify. In 1844 Gustaf Erik Paschnak replaced white phosphorus, which was the poisonous component of the match’s tip, with red phosphorus, and his procedure was later further improved by his compatriot, John Edvard Lundström. Matches embody the perfect design object thanks to their straightforward simplicity and unaltered form that has spanned centuries.

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