Matches

Oftentimes the small details are the important ones when putting together an outfit (or impression) for living history and reenactment. One of the most useful and often overlooked is the humble match. The match’s utility is self-explanatory but how many times at an event have you seen someone pull out a modern box of matches or worse, a modern disposable lighter (and especially in some garish color such as hot pink or bright green). Nothing destroys an impression quicker that something that’s so obviously modern in an otherwise period setting. Not good.

Well, we have created a way to disguise those modern wooden matches and at the same time have a nice little item that will add to your impression. Through the assistance of various people, both in Germany and the United States, images of original matchbox labels were procured and through the use of a photo-editing program were cleaned up and property sized. The resulting product is suitable for use on the modern small packs of Blue Diamond Matches which are available in grocery stores throughout the United States. Basically, the label has to fit a 1.5″ x 2″ box.

An original box of German matches.

An original box of German matches.

Below is a selection of German matchbox labels of the period. You can save these in JPEG format and work with them in a photo-editing program such as Photoshop or Paint:

zuendholz_1 zuendholz_2 zuendholz_3 (2) zuendholz_4 zuendholz_5

Below are complete sheets of labels that I made. These are in jpeg format so you may have to re-work the sizing in a photo-editing program to get the correct dimensions.

Matches1Matches11If you want a full sheet of labels that I have already sized in pdf formal: Matches 1. Below are some more pictures of the production process:

The start- Blue Diamond Matches and cut labels. A paper cutter proved especially useful.

The start- Blue Diamond Matches and cut labels. A paper cutter proved especially useful.

Here are a few boxes drying. Each box required two labels and I found it easiest to apply the glue with an old paintbrush. I also glued a label onto an empty bottle that I had lying around.

Here are a few boxes drying. Each box required two labels and I found it easiest to apply the glue with an old paintbrush. I also glued a label onto an empty bottle that I had lying around.

The Finished Product

The Finished Product

And here you are, your very own German match boxes for living history. Now, I want to point out that the Blue Diamond matchboxes are not the same as original ones both in terms of construction and dimensions (originals came in a variety of sizes and shapes and some were actually made of balsa wood rather than cardboard) but this will give you a practical alternative that’s cheap and easy and most of all, looks the part.

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