Sunday, November 11, 2007

Matchbox label of the day: Lighthouse

A new topic sees the light in our blog, I have refound my collection of matchboxes and labels in our cellar and have thought for some time to share the nice old pictures. I collected when I was a teenager and the match company in Sweden gave out series of reprints of old matchbox labels. I also have a few from other countries. I don´t bother with advertising labels though.

Things we use everyday can be so anonymous or so decorated. Mostly we don´t see them at all, I had to go check what I had in my cupboard with matches, I had no idea. What do you use, that you don´t "see"?

Added: I just found out that this label was produced for Norway. There is something norwegian going on!

by EH


LS said...

Do you know when this label was made? What year or decade? I would like to know. I like it a lot, especially with that rugges rock and a white shiny lighthouse.

I think Sweden once was the world's largest exporter of matches.

EH said...

I believe it´s made about 1890-1920, probably the first part of this period. I will look into it and answer with more details later.

Sweden was the largest exporter and is still I think. But maybe Swedish match is not swedish anymore....I don´t know.

There will be more info about Swedish matchboxes further on.

O.K. said...

The safety match is an swedish invention from 1844(?), eliminating both the poisonous yellow phosphorous and the risk of your pants to be set on fire. ;)
Swedish match was founded as Svenska Tändsticks-aktiebolaget by the financier and industrialist Ivar Kreuger in 1917(?), then known as "the match king", but his name is nowadays more associated with his spectacular financial crash in the early 1930's, making him to commit suicide. Through his dealings Swedish Match had effective monopoly of matches in large parts of the world, at one time about 75 % of the worlds matches came from them. Swedish Match is still fairly swedish, they have their headquarters here in Stockholm. Today they seem to be dealing mostly in tobacco products though.

O.K. said...

Forgot to answer your question, got stuck in the history of matches....

I think there is a trend now, let's call it the "unclutter" trend, where a lot(?) of people are fed up with the massive (unwanted) information/general input flow they are experiencing, stealing their attention all the time. I think the commercial successs of the iPods indicates this. The iPod does not try outshine it's competitors in features, but in simplicity. This is true for it's visual design too. And it sells like hotcakes, to use an english expression. In this time, do we really want to have more information on our matchboxes than: "Safety Matches - will set things on fire in a safe and predictable manner"? On the other hand, good visual stimulation is nice, unless it becomes too much.

At times the things we don't see are important. But unfortunately they are drown in the tidal wave of other attention-demanding things, I believe. So what you're asking is what we don't see and thus do not know? Hard to answer. I know there is a lot of things that I choose not to acknowledge, like the dust under the bed. Or did I just do that? :)

EH said...

OK, I didn´t really mean your dust under the bed but rather things you use everyday but don´t notice their design. Say for example, you have a colored teacup with a pattern. Do you see the pattern each time you use it? Probably not. We go blind with familiar things. That we go "blind" over things like dust under the bed has more to do with psychological reasons, I think.

But back to the matchboxes. The standard issue of Solstickan is precisely what you are asking for, the symbol of the box, a white boy a blue background and the red sun means what you wrote. You know by experience that you will get fire fire in a safe and predictable manner. So, if they change it, would you still buy it? Or do we go bye habit and buy wellknown things?

O.K. said...

You mean like not noticing your husband had a haircut? ;) Yes, I understood what you meant. I think one's brain has a three-way switch how we process visual input (or any input).Default and center setting is registrating but not reflecting much(I see dust), one extreme is rejection (there is no dust under the bed) and the other focused studying (Wow, so much dust there is under the bed, and what intricate patterns it makes!). Ok, it's not a switch but you get the point.

As an example, how many can draw a magpie and place the white and black marking right with some certainty? I know I can't, and it is not because I've never seen one.

The South American "Fiat Lux" brand of matches is even more clear what it is about; Latin for 'create light' or 'let there be light'. I bet LS has seen them in Brazil, but perhaps her brain-switch was in the wrong position... :)

Of course we pick what we are familiar with, otherwise Procter&Gamble would not market their stuff with the spamspamspamspamspamspam&spam-method. (Pamperspamperspamperspamperspampers...)

EH said...

I believe my brain has a fourth setting on the switch, I see, I think about it long enough to make a mental note, like...

Look! MH boots are coming apart, OK but not now, have to fix it later. I don´t really study it but I still remember, especially when the brain has the same setting next time.

My thinking is that this setting is more prevalent in female mind than in male mind. And I think I have less of the rejection than others I know.

And every time I buy something else than pampers I feel rebellious inside. Bad!!! but spam-method works.

Tandberg said...

Hello, I´m from Denmark and I am collecting matchboxlabels, -boxes and match-related items. I have about 100,000 different in my collection from all over the world.
Please take a look into my collection through my website:

EH said...

Hi there! I will certainly have a look at your collection. Thanks for commenting on our blog!

Flemming Henningsen said...

Hi, I have got a new website for my match colletion. Please feel free to take a look.