The heat and glow of fires draw people to them. Using matches is one of the most ideal ways to make a fire. The first friction matches were made of pieces of pine, which contains a lot of natural oil, and sulfur. According to the “Encyclopedia Britannica,” France’s Charles Sauria created matches made of phosphorus 1831. However, it was not until 1835 that Jànos Irinyi of Hungary replaced potassium chlorate with lead oxide. Matches sold commercially today, called “safety matches,” are made with red phosphorus.
Things You'll Need
- Safety goggles
- Chemical-safe gloves
- Apron or lab coat
- Laboratory-safe equipment for mixing chemicals
- Potassium chlorate
- 2 tablespoons white craft glue
- Thin dowels, 1/8-inch wide and 2 inches long
- Cookie sheet
- Aluminum foil
- Red phosphorus
Wear the safety equipment: the goggles, gloves, and apron or coat.
Mix the potassium chlorate with a tablespoon of white craft glue, the kind children use for school projects, until you form a thick paste that does not drip.
Dip and roll the tops of the dowels in the paste mixture. Place the coated dowels on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil.
Bake in a 150-degree oven until the paste is hard, approximately two hours. Let the matches completely cool once they are out of the oven.
Mix the red phosphorus with a tablespoon of white craft glue and form a thick, no-drip paste.
Apply a small amount of the red phosphorus paste to the top of the match head, as recommended in “Popular Science.”
Place the re-dipped matchsticks on to an aluminum foil-lined cookie sheet and bake them in a 150-degree oven until the paste is hard, approximately two hours. Allow the matches to cool before igniting them.