Thursday, November 12, 2020

Something About Ohio Matches

Ohio Blue Tip Matches
It's a fire starter. Blue-tipped fire starter.

I found some notes about The Treasure of Alpheus Winterborn and wondered how long Anthony and Miss Eells had been friends and what sort of “adventures” the two had before Treasure.  I mean, Anthony remembers “the time an entire box of Ohio kitchen matches burst into flame in her hand when she was lighting a fire in one of the library fireplaces at Christmastime [13].” Not only was it a sight to see but an event to overhear, what with Miss Eells “pour[ing] forth a stream of profanity in that well-modulated, ladylike voice of hers.”

Then I wondered about a single match company for the Buckeye state. Actually the Ohio Match Company was one of the four Ohio companies helping move Wadsworth from a coal mining town to an industrial community. Established in 1893 by E. J. Young, the first building was built in 1895, and the first matches produced in 1896. The first matches were the single-dip parlor match, but after 1900 the double-dip match was developed. The company also made safety-strike and book matches. Until the 1960s, the company was the largest employer in Wadsworth, employing 1,600 people, more than 600 of them women. The annual Blue Tip Festival in Wadsworth still starts with the lighting of a 17-ft tall match during the Blue Tip Parade [source:].

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