In this you’ll find a match – A Fist shaped Match Safe

FD monogrammed | Tiffany & Company | Hammered silver, copper, brass | ca. 1880
FD monogrammed | Tiffany & Company | Hammered silver, copper, brass | ca. 1880

The Smithsonian have a terrific collection of Match Safes dating from the mid nineteenth century to the 1920’s. Also known as Vesta cases, vesta boxes, or pocket match safes, these containers basically kept your matches safe and dry and came in an amazing variety of designs. Check out the tiny turtle peering over the lid of the monogrammed example above. The lid is hinged on side and opens on the diagonal. Nearly all the pieces I’ve seen so far have the striker on bottom of the box.

What struck me instantly (knock it off…) was how lighter-like they looked, Zippos are about the same shape and size. Zippo however, wasn’t invented until 1932–about 100 years later.

Ankle Boot | Silver | Made in Europe | Late 19th C
Ankle Boot | Silver | Made in Europe | Late 19th C
High Boot | Silver, niello, gilding | Europe
High Boot | Silver, niello, gilding | Europe
Playing Cards | German silver (white metal) | USA
Playing Cards | German silver (white metal) | USA
Oval grinning face with stuck out tongue to strike on.
Oval grinning face with stuck out tongue to strike on.
Cicada | Plated metal | made in Japan
Cicada | Plated metal | made in Japan
A copper colored fist
A copper colored fist
A fist inscribed "In this you'll find a match" | Cast and engraved silver | USA | ca. 1890
A fist inscribed “In this you’ll find a match” | Cast and engraved silver | USA | ca. 1890
Pistol | Plated brass, cut steel, wood | Made in USA | ca.1895
Pistol | Plated brass, cut steel, wood | Made in USA | ca.1895
Punch | Plated brass | Made in England
(Left) Punch | Plated brass | Made in England (Right) Rattlesnake in Silver | Made in Newark, New Jersey, USA
Rattlesnake in Silver | Made in Newark, New Jersey, USA
Rattlesnake in Silver | Made in Newark, New Jersey, USA
Pierrot | Brass | European
Pierrot | Brass | European

Brass Bottle

Black Cat Cigarettes | Plated metal | Made in USA
Black Cat Cigarettes | Plated metal | Made in USA
(TL) "Ironsides Company, Columbus, Ohio, U.S.A." Made by Bastian Bros. Credit Line (TR) "Wm. Van Varwyck" New Haven, Conn. "Before Buying Cigars..." (BR) "Cream of Olives" "Mason's Health Defenders" (BL) "Established 1807. Incorporated 1896. We Must Cover The Earth with Atlas Paints. Geo. D. Wetherill Co. Inc., Philadelphia."
(TL) “Ironsides Company, Columbus, Ohio, U.S.A.” Made by Bastian Bros.Credit Line
(TR) “Wm. Van Varwyck” New Haven, Conn. “Before Buying Cigars…”
(BL) “Established 1807. Incorporated 1896. We Must Cover The Earth with Atlas Paints. Geo. D. Wetherill Co. Inc., Philadelphia.”
(BR) “Cream of Olives” “Mason’s Health Defenders”
(TL)"Punch" magazine made by "L.E." Birmingham 1886 (TR) "Stacy Adams & Co., Makers of Fine Shoes, $5.00 & $6.00" (BL) "Luden's Menthol Cough Drops" on right, and "Give Instant Relief," "Trade Mark," "WHL," "Reading, PA." (BR) "The Great White Enameled Top. Fire King Gas Ranges. Top Hinges Back. Burners Lift Out. Easily Kept Clean. Low in Price." "Manufactured By A. Weiskittel & Son, Baltimore, MD., U.S.A."
(TL)”Punch” magazine made by “L.E.” Birmingham 1886
(TR) “Stacy Adams & Co., Makers of Fine Shoes, $5.00 & $6.00”
(BL) “Luden’s Menthol Cough Drops” on right, and “Give Instant Relief,” “Trade Mark,” “WHL,” “Reading, PA.”
(BR) “The Great White Enameled Top. Fire King Gas Ranges. Top Hinges Back. Burners Lift Out. Easily Kept Clean. Low in Price.” “Manufactured By A. Weiskittel & Son, Baltimore, MD., U.S.A.”
"CHAs BAKER & Cos Stores, Match & Pin Box, Price Two Pence, 271 to 274 High Holborn, 41 & 43 Ludgate Hill, 137 to 140 Tottenham Court Rd St."
“CHAs BAKER & Cos Stores, Match & Pin Box, Price Two Pence, 271 to 274 High Holborn, 41 & 43 Ludgate Hill, 137 to 140 Tottenham Court Rd St.”

Check out hundreds more at The Smithsonian.