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site updated: 2015-12-07
page updated: 2015-02-18

Glossary

standard terms are in red bold italic.

terms referred elsewhere in the Glossary are in black bold italic.

 

 

Can you spot any errors, mistakes or omissions?  Can you provide any images for the entries?

Then please

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1-panel matchbox label

See single panel matchbox label.

updated 2004-03-11


2-panel matchbox label

See two-panel matchbox label.

updated 2004-03-11


3-panel matchbox label

See three-panel matchbox label.

updated 2004-03-11


5-panel matchbox label

See ARTB label.

updated 2004-03-11


6 packet

See half-dozen packet.

updated 2004-03-11


10 packet

See ten packet.

updated 2004-03-11


12 packet

See dozen packet.

updated 2004-03-11


72 packet

See half-gross packet.

updated 2004-03-11


100 packet

See hundred packet.

updated 2004-03-11


144 packet

See gross packet.

updated 2004-03-11


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ARTB label

Taken from the acronym All Round The Box to mean a continuous matchbox label that wraps around all four faces of an outerbox, both ends overlapping to hold the outerbox in shape.  ARTB labels consist of five panels.  They are typical of many British matchbox labels but were used in other countries.  After an ARTB label was affixed to the outerbox the striking surface was applied.  For safety matches a compound was "painted" on one or both sides.  For strike-anywhere matches a striking surface was affixed on one or both sides.  Evidence of the striking compound usually remains on used ARTB labels for safety matches.

 

Surely we can find a better term for this.  Five-panel matchbox label perhaps? See also two-panel matchbox label and three-panel matchbox label.  How did match factories refer to these types of labels?  Does anyone know?

updated 2005-04-17


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banderole

A tax seal applied to a matchbox long enough to seals both ends to demonstrate it has not been previously opened and that tax has been paid.  When each end is sealed with separate labels they are termed tax seals.   See also tax seal and tax stamp.

updated 2004-03-11


base matchbox label

A base matchbox label is intended to be placed on a matchbox at a match factory for later relabelling with a sticker in another place.

updated 2005-04-17


block

Mint matchlabels arranged in a pair, a single row or column or several rows or columns cut from a printer's sheet (q.v.), often comprising a set and usually being originally sourced from a match factory. It is recommended that a block remain uncut unless you can arrange to have it accurately cut into separate matchlabels using a guillotine. Badly cut labels, especially with scissors can be made worthless.

N.B. Some dozen  labels have the appearance of a block of two. Sometimes the only difference between such dozen labels and their matchbox label counterparts is the absence of crop marks in the apparent block.

updated 2009-08-24


booklet

Alternative but now rarely used term for matchbook.  Probably still in use because of its inclusion in the name of the British Matchbox Label and Booklet Society whose original members agreed to this title in 1945.

updated 2004-03-11


bookmatch

A match from a matchbookMatchbooks are often incorrectly called bookmatches.

updated 2004-03-11


bookmatch cover

A variant to the preferred term matchbook cover.

updated 2004-03-11


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caddy

A box or carton holding typically 50 matchbooks.

updated 2004-03-11


capsule

A capsule is a a term  used in Swedish factories and by collectors to describe  a bundle of matches wrapped in paper. This type of packaging pr often found on early Swedish . A capsules can be printed directedly with alabelled or

updated 2015-06-23


case

A wooden crate or cardboard box intended to safely contain for transportation more than one gross matchboxes.  Typically used to transport 12 gross packets or 10  hundred packets.

updated 2004-03-11


case label

A label intended to be put on a case.

updated 2004-03-11


club size

See parlor size.

updated 2004-03-11


collectors' labels

Labels  primarily intended for sale to, or exchange with, phillumenists and not intended for use on matchboxes though some may be affixed to matchboxes in an attempt to legitimise them.  They cannot be considered to be matchbox labels.

updated 2004-03-11


colour proof

A test printing of an single colour or way taken prior to a multicoloured item being printed. Items cut from colour proofs are sometimes offered to collectors as genuine items. Any mint examples cut from colour proofs might be collected as a curiosity but they should be considered as waste from the printing process having no value.  However, used examples from colour proofs can be an indicator of prevailing economic constraints or quality standards and their brevity in production can make them sought after. See also printer's proof andprinter's pull.

updated 2009-08-24


colour shift

Registration is the alignment of the printing plates as they apply their respective colour portion of the image being printed. Colour shift occurs when one or more printing plates are out of alignment. Where designs involve printing plates with areas of dots or lines close to dots or lines of differing colours are misaligned then seemingly dramatic colour variations and design variations can be produced. Such variations cannot be considered as a different design.

updated 2009-08-24


contract proof

See press proof

updated 2009-08-24


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dozen label

A packet label intended to be affixed on a dozen packet.

updated 2004-03-11


dozen packet

A packet containing several matchboxes.  The term is derived from a packet containing a dozen (12) matchboxes but is also used to describe packets containing ten (10); a  half-dozen (6); or three (3) matchboxes.

updated 2004-03-11


dozen wrapper

A printed sheet intended to wrap a dozen packet.  Use the term dozen wrapper (rather than just wrapper) to avoid confusion with match wrapper; matchbox wrapper; or gross wrapper.

updated 2004-03-11


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English language matchbox label

A proposed term to describe a matchbox label where all words on it are found in English dictionaries.

updated 2004-03-11


English written (sic)

An term supposed to describe a category of matchbox label with English words only.  Its use is, in itself, a travesty of  English because of its appalling bad grammar.  It would not be considered correct in any of the variants of English found throughout the world unless it is meant to mean labels written by an English person - in this case it would include labels designed by an English person writing in a foreign language and exclude labels incorporating only English words but designed by a non-English person.  A better term would be English language matchbox label.  It should be noted that many English written (sic) labels have titles that cannot be found in English dictionaries and strictly should not be considered as collectable by those seeking this category.

updated 2004-03-11


essay

An essay is an item representing or incorporating or comprising a matchbox label or skillet or outerbox or matchbook cover  or matchbook that has been hand-drawn or cut and pasted or trial printed or mocked-up or prepared in any way for the purpose of being considered for production.

updated 2009-08-24


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factory flat

See flat.

updated 2004-03-11


firemaking appliance

Strictly any device designed to make fire.  However, the term is used in phillumeny to categorise any firemaking appliance that is not a match, matchbox, matchbook, match holder, matchbox holder, matchbook holder or match striker and therefore is used to categorise firemaking appliances outside the scope of phillumeny despite some phillumenists will possess some firemaking appliances for their inherent interest.

updated 2004-03-11


flat

A matchbook cover before bookmatches are attached and formed into a matchbookFlats can have a striking surface and score lines for folds.  If there is no evidence of it being formed into a matchbook nor having bookmatches attached it is considered a flat.  The majority of phillumenists do not keep flats and consequently are considered to have little or no financial value.

updated 2004-03-11


fliptop

A type of matchbox (illustration required) where access to the matches is achieved by pulling back the top that is attached to the box

updated 2004-03-11


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grip

A type of slide covering three sides of a matchbox whilst exposing one of its strikers.

updated 2004-03-11


gross label

A packet label intended to be affixed on a gross packet.

updated 2004-03-11


gross packet

A packet containing several packets of matchboxes.  The term is derived from a packet containing a total of 1 gross (1 gross = 12 dozen = 12 x 12 = 144) matchboxes.  The most common configurations are:  gross packet - twelve dozen packets (12 x 12 = 144); hundred packet - ten ten packets (10 x 10 = 100); half-gross packet - twelve half-dozen packets (12 x 6 = 72).

 

If you know of other configurations please let us know through the Forum using gross packet as the subject.

updated 2004-03-11


gross wrapper

A printed sheet intended to wrap a gross packet.  Use the full term gross wrapper (rather than just wrapper) to avoid confusion with match wrapper; matchbox wrapper; or dozen wrapper.

updated 2004-03-11


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half-dozen label

A type of dozen packet label intended to be fixed to a half-dozen packet.

updated 2004-03-11


half-dozen packet

A type of dozen packet containing half-dozen (6) matchboxes.

updated 2004-03-11


half-dozen wrapper

A type of dozen wrapper intended to wrap a half-dozen packet.

updated 2004-03-11


half-gross label

A type of gross label intended to be fixed to a half-gross packet.

updated 2004-03-11


half-gross packet

A type of gross packet containing 72 matchboxes in six dozen packets or twelve half-dozen packets.

updated 2004-03-11


half-gross wrapper

A type of gross wrapper intended to wrap a half-gross packet.

updated 2004-03-11


hardware

A non-descriptive collective term for matchcases; matchbook holders; matchbox holders and match holders.

updated 2005-04-17


hearth size

See parlor size.

updated 2004-03-11


household size

See parlor size.

updated 2004-03-11


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inner

An abbreviated term for innerbox.

updated 2005-04-22


innerbox

The match industry term for the open top box containing matches that fits inside the outerbox of a matchbox. Some phillumenists call the innerbox the tray.

updated 2005-04-17


insert

A printed card inserted on top of matches in an innerbox  perhaps to reduce their movement in transit and consequent incidence of matches igniting each other or a method to increase sales by making the inserts collectable.  Unique (Can you supply details of other countries issuing inserts?) to Spanish springflaps  during the period 1898 to 1929 where they were issued as sets. Treated by many phillumenists as a matchbox label.

updated 2005-04-17


intended

Used in many of the terms in this Glossary to indicate that an item was intended to be used with matches.  This implies that both used and mint examples can be found.  The majority of matchbox labels in collections are mint, and most were printed with the intention of being used to label matches; though some were printed in excess to supply  phillumenists.  However, some labels were printed solely for phillumenists with none being applied to matchboxes or a very few to try to validate them as matchbox labels.  See also collectors' labels and sticker.

updated 2005-04-17


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labels

See separate entries for ARTB label; base label; case label; collectors' labels; dozen label; English language matchbox label; gross label; half-dozen label; half-gross label; matchbox label; matchlabel; packet label; pillbox label; saloon label; single panel matchbox label; two-panel matchbox label; three-panel matchbox label.

updated 2009-08-24


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match

A splint with a matchhead.

updated 2004-03-11


matchbook

A folded card enclosing a comb of bookmatches fixed to it.  See also matchbook cover.

updated 2004-03-11


matchbook cover

The part of a matchbook that contains bookmatches.  The commonly collected part of a matchbook with bookmatches and staple removed and unfolded flat.

updated 2004-03-11


matchbook holder

The standard term for a device to hold or encase a matchbook whilst allowing its use within the matchbook holder.

updated 2004-03-11


matchbox

A term for any type of box that was intended to contain matches and last long enough for the matches to be used.  The most common type of matchbox consists of an outerbox and innerbox. See also fliptop, pillbox.

updated 2005-04-22


matchbox holder

The standard term for a device to hold or encase a matchbox whilst allowing its usewithin the matchbox holder.

updated 2004-03-11


matchbox inner

See innerbox.

added 2007-06-20


matchbox label

The standard term to describe a label intended to be fixed to a matchbox, usually the outerbox.

updated 17/04/05


matchbox outer

See outerbox.

added 2007-06-20


matchbox top

The part of an outerbox with a single panel matchbox label attached.

updated 2005-04-17


matchbox wrapper

A printed sheet intended to wrap a single matchbox.  (Illustration required).  Use the full term matchbox wrapper (rather than just wrapper) to avoid confusion with match wrapper; dozen wrapper; or gross wrapper.

updated 2004-03-11


matchcase

A match holder for strike-anywhere matches incorporating a permanent striking surface and designed to be carried safely in a pocket.

updated 2004-03-11


matchcover

A name often used for the standard term of matchbook cover.

updated 2004-03-11


matchhead

The dried chemical mixture on the head of a splint.

updated 2004-03-11


match holder

The standard term for a refillable container usually with an integral striker designed to hold matches.

updated 2004-03-11


matchlabel

A label intended for labelling matches.  Hence this term includes: matchbox labels; dozen labels; dozen wrappers; gross labels; gross wrappers; and case labels.

updated 2004-03-11


matchsafe

An American term for matchcase.

updated 2004-03-11


match strikermatch striker

An item which is neither a matchbox, matchbook nor match holder but incorporates a surface designed to allow the striking of matches.  The term is not to be confused with a striker.

updated 2004-03-11


match wrapper

A printed paper used to wrap a number of matches.  Such labels are very old and rare.  Most match wrappers contained matches that did not need the special striking surface on a matchbox such as sulphur matches.  Some match wrappers enclosed a piece of striking surface with the matches.  Use the full term match wrapper (rather than just wrapper) to avoid confusion with matchbox wrapper; dozen wrapper; or gross wrapper.

updated 2004-03-11


mint

A mint matchlabel is one that has never been put on a matchbox or packet.  A mint skillet is one that has never been formed into an outerbox.  A mint matchlabel or skillet may have come direct from the printers rather than a match factory.  A matchlabel or skillet described as mint implies that used ones do exist.  See also collectors' labels.

 

Mint is not to be confused with mint condition which applies to matchbooks and matchbook covers.

updated 2005-04-17


mint condition

A mint condition matchbook cover or matchbook has to be in pristine condition with the striker unused and unmarked.  See also flat.

 

Mint condition is not to be confused with mint which applies to matchlabels.

updated 2004-03-11


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neighboured

Neighboured describes the condition of a skillet that has been thinned by paring away the cardboard backing.  Neighboured skillets are considered to be rendered damaged and incomplete.  Consequently they have no value to phillumenists.

 

Do you know where this term came from?

updated 2004-03-11


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outer

An abbreviated term for outerbox.

updated 2005-04-22


outerbox

A match factory term for the outer rectangular tube of a matchbox that houses the innerbox. Some phillumenists call the outerbox the sleeve.

updated 2005-04-17


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packet

A package containing more than one matchbox or more than one packet of matchboxes, usually in quantities of 6 matchboxes (half-dozen packet); 10 matchboxes (ten packet); 12 matchboxes (dozen packet); or 12 packets of matchboxes (gross packet).

updated 2004-03-11


packet label

A matchlabel intended to be affixed to a packet.

updated 2004-03-11


packet wrapper

A piece of paper or cellophane or other material intended to package several matchboxes or several packets of matchboxes.  A packet wrapper may have a packet label affixed to it.  Packet wrappers that are printed are collected.  See dozen wrapper and gross wrapper.

updated 2004-03-11


parlor size

A standard term for a matchbox approximately 7 - 13 cm long, 6 - 9 cm wide and 1 - 5 cm deep typically containing 100 to 500 matches popular in USA.  Note American English spelling of parlor.

updated 2004-03-11


phillumenic

Appertaining to phillumeny.

updated 2004-03-11


phillumenist

A person who engages in the hobby of phillumeny.

 

Any modern comprehensive English dictionary will include a definition of phillumenist though few list phillumeny.   Even authorities such as Encarta include a definition of phillumenist. The etymology is from the Greek philo- (love) and Latin lumen (light). The word was coined by Mrs Marjorie S Evans in 1930s.

 

Some phillumenists attempt in vain to reject this appellation on the grounds they are not "light lovers". In this they fail to grasp the construction of this English word.

 

Consider the etymology of a similar English word philately from the French philatélie which is constructed from Greek philo- (love)  and Latin ateleia (exemption of toll). No one uses the term philatelist for a tax evader.  The exemption of toll recognises that the introduction of postage stamps made the sender responsible for the cost of carriage freeing the receiver from a charge (exemption of toll) that had been the practice before postage stamps. A collector of stamps "likes" (philo) carriage paid receipts (ateleia). So why don't stamp collectors just call themselves  stamp collectors? Some do, but philatelists collect other items associated with stamps such as first day covers, booklets, etc.

 

Now consider "matchbox label collectors" who call themselves "matchbox label collectors".  Few if any confine themselves to collecting matchbox labels alone because they will include in their collections other items such as skillets, packet labels (these are match labels, not matchbox labels), complete matchboxes, matchbook covers. It is disingenuous for these "matchbox label collectors" to declare that phillumenist doesn't describe their activity just because they don't fully appreciate the derivation and accepted meaning of the word.

 

As well as many English dictionaries recognising the word phillumenist, we must acknowledge that phillumenist has entered many other languages in forms English speakers will readily recognise such as: philuméniste, fillumenista, Filumenist, филуменист. See the Rosetta Table for other examples. Phillumenist is a truly international term. Phillumenists should be proud to call themselves Phillumenists.  No other one word better describes their hobby.

updated 2005-11-25


phillumeny

A hobby that includes the collecting of: matchbox labels, skillets, matchboxes, and their packaging; matchbook covers, matchbooks, and their packaging; and match holders, matchbox holders and matchbook holders.   The collecting of firemaking appliances is not considered to be part of phillumeny despite some phillumenists also collecting them.

For the etymology of phillumeny see phillumenist.

updated 2005-11-24


pillbox

A cylindrical matchbox in the fashion of boxes used for pills common in the 19th and early 20th century.  See also pillbox label and saloon label.

updated 2004-03-11


pillbox label

A circular label affixed to the top of a pillbox.

updated 2004-03-11


press proof

A press proof is a printer's proof printed using the same plates, same inks, but possibly a similar rather than the same type of press as the proposed print run. A contract proof is a printer's proof printed using the same plates, same inks and same machine as the proposed print run.

updated 2009-08-24


printer's proof

A printer's proof in phillumeny is usually a press proof (q.v.) or contract proof. A printer's proof can not be produced at the beginning of a print run but only some time before a print run.  The printer's proof will always have the function of being the clients approval of the content of the print. The printer's proof may also be used as a standard for the print run to match. Each printer's proot will be signed or stamped or otherwised marked by the client to indicate their approval.  There are usually two printer's proofs, one for the printer and one for the client. There may be additional copies for archiving and head office functions but it would be most unlikely to produce more than perhaps six printer's proofs for any print run with a tendency to have fewer. So every printer's proof is a rare item, but it does not necessarily make them collectable. If a printer's proof is unmarked for approval it is not a printer's proof.

N.B. Many modern uncut sheets of labels are often described as printer's proofs when they are in fact just print samles taken from the print run Today many modern so called printer's proofs the initial prints that are produced at the start of a print run whilst the printer makes adjustments to achieve acceptable prints. They can be produced with one, more or all colours, too much or too little ink and can be on different paper. Items cut from printer's pulls are sometimes offered to collectors as genuine items. Any mint examples cut from printer's pulls might be collected as a curiosity but they should be considered as waste from the printing process having no value.  However, used examples from printer's pulls can be an indicator of prevailing economic constraints or quality standards and their brevity in production can make them sought after. See also colour proof.

updated 2009-08-24


printer's pulls

Printer's pulls are the initial prints that are produced at the start of a print run whilst the printer makes adjustments to achieve acceptable prints. They can be produced with one, more or all colours, too much or too little ink and can be on different paper. Items cut from printer's pulls are sometimes offered to collectors as genuine items. Any mint examples cut from printer's pulls might be collected as a curiosity but they should be considered as waste from the printing process having no value.  However, used examples from printer's pulls can be an indicator of prevailing economic constraints or quality standards and their brevity in production can make them sought after. See also colour proof.

updated 2009-08-24


printer's sheet

A sheet of labels as produced by the printer before it is converted (cut) in to separate blocks (q.v.) or matchlabels.

It is recommended that a printer's sheet remain uncut unless you can arrange to have it accurately cut into separate matchlabels using a guillotine. Badly cut labels, especially with scissors can be made worthless.

It is possible that whole printer's sheets can be more valuable than the sum of the individual labels in the sheet.

updated 2009-08-24


pullmatch

A type of matchbook cover where the match ignites when it is pulled from the matchbook.

updated 2004-03-11


pyrogène

The French term for a porcelain match or matchbox holder  with a  striking surface. Pyrogène were to be commonly found on tables in hotels, bars, restaurants and cafès on the continent during La Belle Époque circa 1870-1941

updated 2015-02-18


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saloon label

A label pasted on the side of a pillbox, usually in two pieces: one for the removable top part and one for the bottom part containing the matches. Sometimes the top of a pillbox needs to be turned in register to the bottom to create the overall design.  See pillbox label for a circular label on the top of a cylindrical box.

 

Why were they called saloon labels?  Let us know if you know?

updated 2004-03-11


single panel matchbox label

A conventional term to describe a label intended to be fixed to one side of an outerbox of a matchbox.

updated 2005-04-17


six packet

See half-dozen packet.

updated 2004-03-11


skillet

Phillumenists use skillet to describe a pre-printed, pre-cut, pre-scored, piece of cardboard  intended to be formed into an outerbox of a matchbox. However, the match industry uses skillet in a more general sense to mean any pre-cut piece of veneer or card that is a part of a matchbox.  Therefore skillet can mean a pre-cut piece of flat card or wooden veneer that is folded into the outerbox of a matchbox whether or not it has been printed or whether or not it will have a label affixed.  Skillet can also mean the single flat cut piece of card or pieces (rim and bottom) of veneer or card that an innerbox is made from.

 

It is not possible to unfold a skillet, for as soon as a skillet has been folded it can never revert to being a skillet. Therefore there can be no such thing as a flattened skillet.

 

An etymology of skillet can be found on our FAQ page.

updated 2008-02-02


sleeve

Some phillumenists refer to the outerbox of a matchbox as the sleeve.

updated 2005-04-17


slide

Usually metal and designed as an external sleeve over the outerbox of a conventional matchbox  whilst allowing normal operation of the innerbox and partially obscured strikers.  Used to prolong the life of a fragile wooden matchbox or change its appearance.  See also grip.

updated 2005-04-17


splint

A stick that has a matchhead applied.

updated 2004-03-11


springflap

A type of matchbox where, when the innerbox is pulled from the outerbox with one open end, and a flap energised by an elastic band flips out such that the innerbox can be returned by flipping back the flap.

 

What should we call this type of matchbox when there is no elastic band fitted?  A flap box?

updated 2005-04-17


stand

Usually ornamental and designed for use on tables and shelves, it is shaped to allow an outerbox of a matchbox to fit on it vertically with the innerbox partially pushed up.  The stand is usually heavy enough to take a match and strike it on the matchbox single handed.

updated 2005-04-17


sticker

A label designed to be put on a matchbox after it has left a match factory.  See also base matchbox label.

updated 2004-03-11


striker

The part or portion of a matchbox, matchbook or match holder that provides a friction surface for matches to be struck against and ignited.  But see also match striker.

updated 2004-03-11


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tax seal

Either extensions to a matchbox label or separate additional labels that act as seals on each end of a matchbox to demonstrate it has not been previously opened and that tax has been paid.  When a single tax seal is long enough to seal both ends of a matchbox it is termed a banderoleMint and complete used tax seals are rarely seen.  See also banderole and tax stamp.

updated 2004-03-11


tax stamp

Either a part of a matchbox label design or a separate revenue stamp affixed to a matchbox to indicate a tax has been paid.  Mint tax stamps are rarely seen.  See also banderole and tax seal.

updated 2004-03-11


ten packet

A type of dozen packet containing ten matchboxes.

updated 2004-03-11


three-panel matchbox label

A continuous matchbox label intended to be placed on the top, one side and the bottom faces of an outerbox leaving the remaining side for the striker.  Another type of three-panel matchbox label was intended to be placed on the top and both sides of an outerbox. (Does anyone know where the strike was placed with these labels?  Can you provide an illustration?).  See also two-panel matchbox label and ARTB label.

updated 2005-04-17


tray

Some phillumenists refer to the innerbox of a matchbox as the tray.

updated 2005-04-17


two-panel matchbox label

A continuous matchbox label intended to be placed on the top and one side of the outerbox leaving the remaining side for the striker.  See also three-panel matchbox label and ARTB label.

updated 2005-04-17


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uncut sheet

A imprecise term that can either mean printer's sheet (q.v.) or block (q.v.).

updated 2009-08-24


used

A matchlabel that has been used on, and removed from, a matchbox or packet or case.

updated 2004-03-11


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vesta

A type of match where the splint is made from cotton and wax common in Italy and Spain as well as other countries. Swan Vestas used to be this type until 19??.

updated 2004-03-11


vesta case

A matchcase for containing and striking vestas.

updated 2004-03-11


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wrapper

To avoid confusion, wrapper should not be used alone but used appropriately in one of the following terms: match wrapper; matchbox wrapper; dozen wrapper; or gross wrapper.

updated 2004-03-11


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