Now for your dinning pleasure. The long lost art of the matchbook, that humble predecessor to the Bic lighter, the constant companion of every smoker in the 50’s.

Phillumeny, derived from the Greek literally means lover of light. So using it to denote matchbook collecting is pretty sweet. The matchbook is important more to advertising that it was to smokers, you can always use a toaster right. The inventor would have hated that through. He was in his day what they called a Dandy, or a man who wore suits, it’s his suits that led to the invention, but he didn’t state that in his patent application, he played up the safety side, but we all know it was really about that bulky matchbox messing up the line of his suit jacket or trousers.

Advertising saw these new inventions as tiny billboards of course and immediately set to work designing an entirely new vernacular for the diminutive medium. Many immediately hit on the “souvenir” opportunities, setting of a collecting frenzy that isn’t what it used to be but is still strong. How many of you have grandparents with huge fish bowls of matchbooks? Those bowls filled with road trip memories were once in almost every american home till about the mid sixties.

As a popular advertising medium the matchbook will not likely come back, the cheap disposable lighter will never really hold the same allure as the matchbook. But we can at least revel in those long past images of the American road trip, casino culture, and enthusiasm.

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