But in 1826, a scientist from England discovered a technique that produced matches. He made several of the matches to amuse friends but somehow missed their practical value. A man named Samuel Jones saw this demonstration and realized the commercial worth and went into a booming match business. Jones called his matches “Lucifers.”
Early matches had a number of problems. The flame was unsteady, and the initial reaction was quite violent. Also, the odor produced by the burning match was unpleasant. Lucifers reportedly could ignite explosively, sometimes throwing sparks a considerable distance. The other problem with early matches was the use of white phosphorus, which would stick to the skin. It was toxic and, therefore, banned from use in many countries.
Whether invented in the 1300's, which I believe, or in the 1800's, it's amazing to me that the product has still survived. The fact is that although the U.S. is filled with lighters, a majority of consumers around the world don't have them so matches are still highly popular.