These old sulphur "spunks" were nothing more than kindling wood or tinder, because they would not ignite by rubbing but were lighted by putting the sulphur end in the flame. According to our modern ideas of convenience they appear very primitive. They were called "spunks" in England and "matches" in America, and varied in length from three to seven inches, were generally packed in bundles from a dozen to two dozen and tied together with bits of straw. Some spunks made as late as 1830 are considered rare enough to be carefully preserved in the York Museum in England (Fig. 32 1/2). The ones illustrated in Fig. 32 are a Long Island product, and were given to the author by the late John Halleran, the most noted antique collector on Long Island. These are carefully preserved among the antiquities in the writer's studio. But they are less than half the length of the ones formerly used on the Western Reserve. With the ancient matches in the studio are also two old pioneer tinder boxes with flints and steels. The tinder boxes are made of tin and contain a lot of baked rags. The inside lid acts as an extinguisher with which to cover up the punk or tinder in the box after you have lighted the candle in the tin lid of the box (Fig. 32).
The matches we use today are evolved from these old sulphur spunks. When the writer was a little fellow up in the Western Reserve on the shores of Lake Erie, he was intensely interested in an old lady making sulphur matches. Over the open fire she melted the sulphur in an iron kettle in which she dipped the ends of some pine slivers. The sulphur on the end of the sticks was then allowed to cool and harden. These matches were about the length of a lead pencil and could only be lighted by thrusting the sulphur into the flame. So, although having been born in the age of Lucifer matches, the writer was yet fortunate enough to see manufactured and to remember the contemporary ancestors of our present-day "safety" match.