Scaled-Up Matches Are Hilarious And Moderately Effective

Regular matches are fine for lighting candles and the like, but they’re a bit small and fiddly to use. After seeing some giant prop matches used in a stage play, [Handy Bear] decided to see if they could build some functional extra-large matches at home.

The build starts with a square wooden dowel, cut into lengths to serve as the main body of the matches. Regular tiny matches were then harvested for their flammable matchheads, made of potassium chlorate. Sourcing the material this way is far simpler than attempting a chemical synthesis from raw materials. Once roughly ground, the material was glued on to the end of the wooden rod to finish the match. [Handy Bear] then whipped up a giant matchbox to suit, using the ignition strips from multiple smaller matchboxes in the process.

Impressively, the monster matches work, and work well. They readily ignite when struck, and are able to keep a strong flame burning for some time.  However they’re not quite potent enough to fully ignite the wood, so they don’t burn down like the real thing. We could see these being a great way to light a campfire with less hassle than regular matches, even if they are a bulky solution to the problem.

21 thoughts on “Scaled-Up Matches Are Hilarious And Moderately Effective

  1. Using crumbled match heads instead of mixing “from scratch” was a very good idea. Ordinarily the mix of potassium chlorate and sulfur is disastrously friction- and impact-sensitive. In industry, additional ingredients and a carefully designed mixing procedure reduce the hazard.

    Fun fact [from The Close-Cover-Before-Striking School of Ministry and Chemical Technology ;-) ] —- sulfur in matches is there both to make ignition easier, and (believe it or not) as a ‘perfume’ to cover the more-unpleasant odor of burning hide glue.

    Regarding the history, composition, safety, formulation, toxicity, ignitability etc. of safety matches, strike-anywhere matches, novelty matches etc: For more information than you ever wanted to know, start on page 64 of “Military and Civilian Pyrotechnics”, Herbert Ellern.

    Or consult the aforementioned school. :-D

    1. fun fact: most of the stage props are non flammable. Even special Musical or theater dust is soaked with something that makes it non flammable. Even the security standards are really hight. Past then when i worked there, we was jocking ‘it is because the big money of the city is sitting in the first row’.

      1. The legend goes that it was for small things that you don’t wanna lose (gold pepites was the main example, but also matches could be very important if you wanna light a cigarette or a stick of dynamite – same thing 200 years ago if you wanna have fun).

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