Matches

A match is a consumable tool for lighting a fire in controlled circumstances on demand. Matches are readily available, being sold by tobacconists and many other kinds of shops. Matches are rarely sold singly; they are sold in multiples, packaged in match boxes or matchbooks. A match is typically a wooden stick (usually sold in match boxes) or stiff paper stick (usually sold in matchbooks) coated at one end (the match head) with a material often containing the element phosphorus, which will ignite from the heat of friction if rubbed (struck) against a suitable surface. Gelatin is used as a binder in match heads. There are two main types of matches: safety matches, which can be struck only against a specially prepared surface; and strike-anywhere matches, for which any solid surface can be used. The hobby of collecting match-related items, such as matchcovers and matchbox labels, is called phillumeny.

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