Samuel Jones’ invention of the first self-igniting match made fire on the move infinitely more accessible to many – for the scientific elite it was a leap towards the light enabling the masses to stumble less in the dark.
Previous attempts and formulas were dangerous, using asbestos and sulphuric acid and did not really take off but the Promethean Match, invented by a Londoner called Samuel Jones, was utterly reliable and is the match we use to this day. Subsequent modern improvements made the same match a reliable tool for wilderness travel.
Storm matches, also known as lifeboat matches, are simply an extended version of the same and are often included in survival kits. They can be longer than standard matches and the combustible coating extends down the match giving it a longer burn time. They can also be coated with a waterproof layer making them slightly harder to light.
No matter the weather, it is now possible to light a grill, hurricane lamp, Kelly Kettle or campfire. I use UCO Stormproof Matches, which light quickly, consistently and reliably in driving rain, heavy winds and falling snow — they relight even after being submerged in water which is useful to the sea kayaker having his very last cigarette.
Slippery when wet
Each rubber sealed and waterproof box includes 25 matches that burn for up to 15 seconds each giving a total of over 6 minutes of constant and reliable fire per box. They are not friction matches so, if the striker is wet or soggy, they will not light – they are reliant upon a chemical reaction only attainable with a dry strike of the two surfaces. However, the strike is usable if allowed to dry and extra strikers are included.