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The Book of Matchbox Labels, Hardback Book

The Book of Matchbox Labels Hardback


The history of the matchbox label provides a fascinating pictorial guide and reference to social history.

This book takes the reader from the beginnings of the industry - with its associated hazards - through its golden age in the years leading up to the First World War and on to more modern times.

Matches, such a necessity both today and in the past, were also initially a luxury and a curiosity.

Their boxes tended to be uniform, so manufacturers did not want to leave the covers blank, and were therefore left with the question: to communicate or decorate?

This book details how their response to this problem led to the birth of branding, or what we know today as trademarks.

A huge range of illustrations shows just how effective the images they used were.

The matchbox became a source of advertising revenue, and this attempt to beautify mundane objects included the depiction of topical and seasonal subjects, historical events, nature, and personalities of the time; models, film stars and musicians proved particularly popular. Each country, though, had its own trends, and so some subjects covered such as children's games, humour and folklore, gave great insight into national characters and opinions.

The author discusses the importance of imports and exports, and the effects of the increase and decrease in smoking, particularly in the developing markets of Asia, Africa and the Americas.

Even today, the matchbox label remains a barometer of social activity and also a means of communication and a source of information.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 172 pages, 584 illustrations
  • Publisher: New Cavendish Books
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Graphic design
  • ISBN: 9781872727240



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