Hi, all you breathtaking brides-to-be! Sue here with my ever-popular TWIST (The Way I See Things!) You know, about 40 years ago engraved matchbooks were one of the most popular wedding favors around. The tiny fire-makers could be found not only at weddings, but at bar and bat mitzvahs, anniversary parties, cocktail and dinner parties–almost anywhere a special event was taking place.
A Brief History
Matchbooks have been around a long time. The first actual sulfur-tipped match was created in 1827 by an English druggist named John Walker. The original prototype was dangerous because the matches would often explode. Not good. So in 1889 Joshua Pusey, a Philadelphia lawyer, created the first “matchbook.” Not long after, companies realized that matchbooks were the perfect advertising medium, because cigarette smoking was relatively common in those days, and continued to be until the early 1960’s, when the U.S. surgeon general issued the report that smoking was harmful to one’s health and to unborn babies, and eventually we learned that even second-hand smoke was harmful. With smoking now stigmatized as a nasty, unhealthy habit, people quit by the millions, and the demand for printed matchbooks took a nose dive–understandably. But wait! Matches and matchbooks have other important uses–here are five:
- Lighting candles. Think of all the places you use candles, including on the tables at your wedding reception! You might even choose a candle (or several) for wedding favors. With engraved matches on the tables, your guests can light their wedding favors and enjoy them on the spot. Romantic evenings at home call for mood lighting, and mood lighting calls for candles. Candles are essential to long, hot, relaxing, stress-relieving baths. Candles brighten up holidays like Christmas and Halloween, not to mention that they’re an essential part of Chanukah and birthdays. And, last but not least, no one wants be without candles and matches when the power goes out in a storm.
- Lighting fireplaces and campfires. When it comes to romance, a cozy fire in a fireplace is a lovely complement to the candles strategically placed throughout your love nest.
- Slicing onions. You read it right. Sucking on a match stick, head end out, while you are slicing onion will prevent tearing. The match head contains sulfur which neutilizes the irritants released when you cut into the onion.
- Picking teeth. OK. I never said all the uses would thrill and excite you. But if you’ve ever had a piece of food stuck in your teeth during or after a meal, and your tongue just doesn’t have the power to poke the annoying, little sucker from between your molars, a match is your new, best friend. On the downside is the possibility of 200 wedding guests digging around in their mouths after the Chicken Kiev.
- Lighting cigars when you hatch your first chick. Thought I’d end on a delightful image. Think how handy all those matchbooks and matches saved by family and friends will be when little Eggbert or Eggberta comes along and the proud papa passes out cigars!
I’ve got one more reason–a meaningful, symbolic one–to share engraved matchbooks with your wedding guests. Each one says you’ve made the perfect match and that your love is hot, hot, hot!