History Lessons at an Auction


Bradley & Hubbard, Pat’d Jan 28, 1868 West Meriden CONN, 1800


HISTORY!  This is the part of the Auction process I absolutely LOVE!  I saw this 4 1/2″ x 4″ Cast Iron Matchsafe at the first auction I attended.  This double urn Matchsafe (also known as Vesta Case), was very popular between 1870 – 1930.  This information, of course, was readily available on my iPhone – another much needed tool when attending Auctions….hint! 

Back in the day, “fire sticks” were very dangerous to carry or to store inside of a home.  Due to the real danger of the fire sticks rubbing together and causing premature combustion, cast iron “Matchsafes” were created.  This particular Matchsafe utilized a newly patented method of attaching metal parts together using  a tab and a slot (see photo below).


Bradley & Hubbard, Pat’d Jan 28, 1868

This particular Matchsafe was made to be mounted on a wall, possibly near a stove.  There is some wear on the striker plate.  The circa for this Matchsafe is late 1800’s.  Later Matchsafes were made of tin with lithographed advertisements.  Historical information regarding Bradley & Hubbard Cast Iron Double Urn Matchsafe can be found  in the  Smithsonian Institution Castle Collection.

Please click to purchase this wonderful piece of history.

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