Match – Lighter


The match and lighter war



Lighters, when invented in the 1820s, just before matches, were complex and were used to light mainly gas lamps. One of the most famous types in Europe was that of the German chemist Johann Wolfgang Döbereiner (1780-1849), which was released around the time of the Greek Revolution. An entire machine. However, lighters, in the sense we know them today, were only released in the early 20th century.

In times of economic crisis or war, when matchmaking was declining, lighters appeared and dominated. At that time many were nostalgic for the matches. Even the International Economic Commission, which has been overseeing the Greek economy since 1898, recommended in a report to the Greek state (1911) to ensure the revenue from matches because they had begun to decline. The amount that the Greek state received from the matches was not negligible since it reached approximately the amount of 2,000,000 drachmas. That is why the Commission suggested that measures be taken against the free sale of lighters! Much later, in 1935, the Greek state banned the import of lighters in order to strengthen the monopoly of matches.

The writer Zacharias Papantoniou describes how he went from the stage of matches to that of lighters. A friend of his from Smyrna, a musician, had given him a lighter. However, the lighter was putting him in trouble. He had to change stone, buy gasoline from the pharmacy, take care of his acquisition in any case. However, he did not like to be loaded with a tool that required so much care and in the end he declared himself happy with the “homeland’s matches”! However, lighters had entered the daily life of the Greeks and were considered as progress.

The lighter was the greatest enemy of the matches. It facilitated the lives of smokers and other users, but reduced the revenues of the Greek state which had a monopoly on matches.