I came upon this box of matches, it's probably from a little before 1900 and has significance for my family history, and I would like to add it to my "box o' historical items" but I'm concerned about flammability. I know that old negatives can combust spontaneously, is there a similar danger with matches? Can the matches be chemically changed (by dipping the tips in something, for example) that will make them inert?


This is a strange question as it straddles the line between history and chemistry. I've also asked this question on history.stackoverflow.com.

box open box showing match

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    $\begingroup$ Those are safety matches made with red phosphorus, which becomes more stable with time. If they haven't burned spontaneously by now, there is little reason to fear that they will. Just in case, you might want to check with a phillumeny club. $\endgroup$ – Buck Thorn May 30 '20 at 14:26
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    $\begingroup$ I checked, there isn't a phillumeny.stackexchange.com ;-) but I did find the Rathkamp Matchcover Society. Thanks! $\endgroup$ – Betty Crokker May 30 '20 at 14:46
  • $\begingroup$ Cross posting is frowned up... $\endgroup$ – Mithoron May 30 '20 at 15:43

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