You wouldn’t know it today, given the monopoly a certain redheaded woman has over the matchbox market, but there was once a time when a pyromaniac looking to start a fire had a veritable art gallery of options open to them.
Matchbox sales hit an all-time high during the 1940s, and the market quickly became crowded. To set themselves apart from the competition, producers experimented with creating new eye-catching labels. To make an extra buck, many boxes doubled as advertisements for hotels, bars and country clubs. But just as many seem to have art on them for no greater reason than that it looked good.
Alas, the times have definitely a-changed. But thanks to the Instagram account Matchbook Diaries, the golden age of matchbox art lives on.