In A Matchbox - an historical journeyThe matchbox is an endangered species.

This humble box which brought light to millions is dying out. Many beautiful species are already extinct due to their usual habitat of agas and fireplaces being destroyed by electric cookers and central heating.

The introduction of the plastic cigarette lighter has relegated these beautiful boxes to the bottom shelf in most shops and supermarkets, though if you look carefully some varieties such as the larger wipe clean cooks matchboxes can be found amongst the bin liners and rubber gloves in the larger stores.

Why Should you care?

Matchboxes brought light to the world with a simple wave of the hand. Nothing quite beats the comforting sound of a box of matches been shaken in a power cut, or the cheery flare of light as a match is lit and excited faces appear out of the gloom around a particularly stubborn camp fire.

In A Matchbox - weird and wonderful matchbox imagery

The competition between various matchbox companies in their heyday produced an enormous wealth of design and culture on an oblong of 36mm x 53mm. Matchbox design is of historical significance, recording memorable events and improvements in technology and lifestyle. Unfortunately survival of the fittest means only the plainest, cheapest designs have survived. 

Many labels still exist due to people who care saving them from total extinction proving the world’s love of these little units of design. But we at Marvling believe they are best enjoyed in all their glory, with their trays inside them, their insides full and in their natural environment – on a kitchen shelf, on the mantelpiece or in a man drawer for the shyer varieties.

So join us in our quest to save these bringers of light.

What we at Marvling are doing:

  • Ensuring inventive design of matchbox labels continues to flourish and does not become a thing of the past relegated to a tea-towel
  • In A Matchbox - an old classic matchbox designRe-inventing the matchbox to contain not literal light, but the light of life.
  • Using the matchbox as a protest against excessive and wasteful packaging.
  • Using the matchbox to promote creativity in re-use and recycling.
  • Using the matchbox to promote economy in usage of space – great things come in small packages.

 How we are doing this:

  • We are showcasing matchbox cover designs as collectors cards in our matchboxes.
  • We are seeking companies to create and promote their finest offerings for our boxes in order that everyone can afford and have a bit of luxury in their lives.
  • We are collating ideas on re-homing old matchboxes.
  • We are using only necessary packaging in our boxes.
  • We are filling each box full with love, luxury and laughter.


For more information:

Visit our collector's card page to see some stunning examples of vintage matchbox design.

Visit our gallery to see the first collection of Matchbox cards In A Matchbox.

Visit Matchbox Cover design by Ben Jones for a fascinating insight into the evolution of the matchbox design.