This item at Smith’s Tavern is a self-closing matchbox donated by L.J. Mains, Sr. It was made entirely of metal that may have originally been a whitish color. On the long-hinged lid is partially legible writing “Self Closing” and “For Matches & C” and “Patented Dec 20, 1864” and “D.M & Co New Haven”. The inside of the box is lined, maybe with black paper or felt. The bottom of the box is a ribbed patterned strike plate. The device was invented by William H. Andrews assignor to Burton Mallory of New Haven, CT (patent # 45,554).
This item is a Civil War-era barracks match safe holder. Barracks were generally heated by wood stoves and matchboxes were nailed or screwed into barrack walls. Since it was attached to a wall, the lid could not stay open - gravity, its weight and the small projection on it would make it automatically close.
|Location:||Left Shelf - Bottom|