Match

Paradox

By Mehdi Hoseinzadeh

Mehdi Hoseinzadeh is a PhD candidate at Polytechnique School of Montreal in Industrial Engineering

Mehdi Hoseinzadeh is a PhD candidate at Polytechnique School of Montreal in Industrial Engineering

John Walker started a pleasant spring day in his kitchen eating his breakfast while reading the day’s journal. Inadvertently as he was especially when it came to reading sports news, he accidentally took a wooden stick coated with sulphur – apparently instead of a pretzel stick, and put it in a mixture of sulphide of antimony, chlorate of potash, and gum – instead of Nutella as it seemed, and that was it. He made it and that was the story behind how he invented MATCH and of course he successfully marketed his invention.

Yet you may ask if the story is real, and if he just did this accidentally and bizarrely of course, invented matches. The answer indeed is no! John walker was an Englishman born in 1781. He became a surgeon’s assistant but found that he was too squeamish to deal with surgical operations and turned to chemistry instead. He became keenly interested in finding a way to transfer a flame onto a slow burning substance, like wood. A day as the same day, he was experimenting with a mixture of sulphide of antimony, chlorate of potash, and gum (the same indeed) and stirred it with a wooden splint coated in sulphur. The splint caught fire upon accidental friction against the hearth, and that is how he accidentally invented friction matches.

But did he really successfully marketed his invention? Again, No! Walker apparently didn't see the massive earning potential in his invention, choosing instead to simply show off his trick for the amusement of small audiences. An enterpreneurial man named Samuel Jones attended one of these demonstrations, and he ended up marketing the first mass-produced matches named “Lucifers”.