Retrograde. Bamboozlement! More Bamboozlement!

Matchbox Art from India and more

familiar household names

Matt Lee collected matchboxes during his time in Bangalore. You can check out his matchbox collection here
In all there are 159 matchboxes. [Found via: BoingBoing]

In Yelahanka, Bangalore, Matt also took photographs of wall posted Kannada Film Posters.

He calls it, and quite aptly, Macho men and flirtatious women. You can check his collection of Kannada Film Posters here

Here are my two cents:

One very popular Indian matchbox name missing in that collection: Homelites. Extra Long. Extra Strong. Karborised. Manufactured by Western India Match Company (WIMCO) - perhaps the oldest name in the industry. WIMCO was founded in 1923 by Swedish Match (founded 1917).

A public service ad from 1980s
Does you child play with matches? Stop it. Some of the worst fire accidents have been caused by innocent children playing with matches.

The end of diya silai.
Matchbox revolution started in India in early 1980s and a Bollywood film from 1980 bears testimony to this statement. The film was Dhan Daulat starring Rishi Kapoor and Rajendra Kumar. The simple plot goes like this: A slumdog played by Rishi Kapoor is in love with a girl played by Neetu Singh, but the girl's father hates the poor bastard. So the boy decides to make lot of money and how - by making matches. The whole basti pools in money to set up the match factory and since it was a community affair, they name it Apna Matches (Maachis). Their market competitor happens to be 'Ricpo' a brand owned by a millionaire business man played by Rajendra Kumar. True to his capitalist instincts the rich business tries all sort of dirty tricks to get back at his usurper. Also, slowly money starts corrupting the young boy. But, by the end of the film we realize Rajendra Kumar is Rishi Kapoor's missing father and everything ends well.


By the end of 1990s, India got wax match sticks - and these are quite preferred by junkies.

Related post: Saddam Hussein fireworks


  1. Interesting, I remember the ship and home brands

  2. yes, for the image here i selected only those matchboxes from Matt's collection which are popular on India...except for the 'Kashmir chillys' one, i put that in just for the love of kashmir.

    A comment at BoingBoing led me to the interesting story of Ivar_Kreuger the "Swedish Match King" or "the world's greatest swindler" and the grand daddy of "Enron-style financial engineering".
    According to wiki:
    At one time he controlled two thirds of the worldwide match production.
    From 1925-1930, years when many countries in Europe were suffering after the First World War, Kreuger's companies gave loans to governments to speed up reconstruction, with the basic intention of preventing a new war breaking out. As a security, the governments would grant his empire the match monopoly in their country. By 1931 an estimated 200 companies were controlled by Kreuger. However, the Stock Market Crash of 1929 turned out to be a major factor in exposing his accounting that ultimately proved fatal to both Kreuger and his empire. Asinvestigations started into his finances, Kreuger dies in mysterious circumstances and it let to what was known as "the Kreuger Crash" that hit the investors and companies worldwide, but particularly those in USA and Sweden. In 1933 and 1934, the U.S. Congress passed several security reform legislations that were meant to prevent a repeat of the Kreuger Crash. These bills were largely successful in their mission and the American financial industry did not witness a fraud of the same magnitude until the Enron scandal and the recent Madoff scandal.

  3. Ya right. All the match boxes listed are the best one.The most i like is MAAZA match box from tamilnadu.It has a good quality.Try MAAZA match box..

  4. My mamma used to collect these...we used to have loads of them!


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