Saturday, March 14, 2009

Gripe: you can't strike "Strike Anywhere" matches anywhere.

I take this personally because when I was a kid my dad was Vice-President of Diamond Match. What has happened to these matches? They're absolutely horrible now.

Not only can you not strike these matches "anywhere," you can't successfully ignite them even on their own special proprietary strips. Every box of matches around our house has smeared, ruined strips (I bet there's a trade-name for those strips, but my dad never told me what it was). I've tried various weights of sandpaper and all sorts of other potentially fire-inducing rough surfaces, no luck.

I DO recall my dad lighting matches on the soles of his shoes, back in the day.

I think the wooden match - at least the cynical simulation of a wooden match as now perpetrated upon us by this formerly glorious company - has become one of those non-functional products which people keep buying because there are few alternatives.

I wonder if there are now special, ultra-expensive boutique matches which people buy because ordinary matches don't work any more.


At 7:13 PM, Anonymous Arthur said...

What a coincidence! I was reflecting on this very thing just 2 minutes ago while lighting up a pre-birthday cigar. That abrasive strip on the side of the box seems to wear away with each match strike. I'm guessing that the reason is deliberate and ironic. I'll bet that our litigation-happy culture has equates "strike-anywhere" matches with weapons of mass destruction. Therefore the Diamond people are likely turning out wimpy counterfeits of their original product.

At 7:33 PM, Anonymous Melinama said...

Oh, I get it, like giving kids plastic scissors with blunt tips so they can't hurt themselves, or cut anything.

At 1:12 PM, Blogger Alma said...

What a shame... Who doesn't love the sound and smell of a wooden match at just the moment it is lit?

At 11:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The way to assure that these will light anywhere is to cary a cigarette lighter. Are OHIO matches still made and do they still strike on anything. I took all my Diamond matches and tossed them. I will say the fire sticks are great for starting a fireplace but can't strike them either. In shout, Diamond Match Co. is a strike out.

At 11:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just googled that question and your blog came up. I have those lovely old french ceramic match strikers & ashtray combos inherited from my mother AND a new one that I bought in wrought iron. I CANNOT GET MY 'strike anywhere' matches to work on them or ... wait for it ... ANYWHERE! Please let me know at if there is a product out there that will replace the strike anywhere matches of old.
Thank you,

At 6:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ anonymous-Ohio Blue Tip strike anywhere matches went out of production in 1986 and the Ohio match company went out of business in 1987. Jarden Home Products (owner of the Diamond brand) now own the Ohio Blue Tip brand, and only makes them as a safety match. Strike anywhere matches have been toned down a bit since then, but survival match manufacturer UCO has just released a good strike anywhere match these will light on concrete, bricks, rocks, plastic, metal, wood, paper, glass, ceramics, cardboard and a rough enough canvas.

At 7:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ohio Blue Tip strike anywhere matches stopped being manufactured in 1986 and the Ohio Match Company closed in 1987. Jarden Home Products now owns the Ohio Blue Tip name, and only makes them as a safety match. Strike anywhere matches have been toned down a bit, but UCO has released a good strike anywhere match which will light on concrete, a brick, a rock, metal, plastic, glass, wood, ceramics, rough canvas, paper, cardboard and Velcro.

At 12:00 AM, Blogger Sarah Whitehead said...

Two things:

Thing One: This great tutorial on making your very own Strike Anywhere Matches (though I would recommend using a mortar and pestle instead of a D battery for grinding sulfur):

Thing Two: You can still find old-timy match safes with their own striking area on places like ETSY. I'm about to buy one for to construct and sell a Real old-timy pocket watch thing for dudes.



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