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Object Name Matchbox
Date ca. 1895-1905
Description Rectangular cardboard matchbox with sliding container with printed black and white paper label. One side has illustration of a man riding a bicycle, with inscription "SAFETY / CIGAR LIGHTER." The other side is printed "BLAZERS / WIND / PROOF / TRADE MARK / LIGHT ONLY ON THE BOX." One edge is printed "MADE BY / THE DIAMOND MATCH CO.," and a striking surface is on other side. Box contains five matches.
Acquisition Gift of Alice Austen
Ownership and History This matchbox was one of a group of personal items given to the Staten Island Historical Society by photographer Alice Austen (1866-1952).

The illustration on this box of "Wind Proof Blazers" implied that the matches worked so well that a man could light a cigar even while riding a bicycle. Perhaps the company was also trying to subtly counteract the bicycle's impact on smoking; a cigar industry estimate in the 1890s suggested that the number of cigars sold had dropped by as much as one million each day because cyclists were too busy riding to smoke.

The Diamond Match Company was formed in 1881 and quickly grew to be a major U.S. manufacturer.

Earliest Date 1890
Latest Date 1910
Subjects Bicycles & tricycles
Lexicon Sub-category Temperature Control Device
Associated People Austen, E. Alice
Catalog Number 47.010.0004
Support Acknowledgment Online Collections Database record made possible by the Staten Island Historical Society, June 2014.
Legal Status Items represented here are from the collections of the Staten Island Historical Society. Materials reproduced for personal non-commercial use must credit the Staten Island Historical Society. Commercial licensing is available.