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Safety Matches

In 1847 Schrötter, an Austrian chemist, discovered that red phosphorus gives off no fumes, and is virtually inert; but being mixed with chlorate of potash under slight pressure it explodes with violence. In 1855 Herr Böttger, of Sweden, put the red phosphorus on the box and the phosphorus on the match, so that the match must be rubbed on the box to bring the two together. (See Prometheans, Lucifers.)

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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