Thursday, August 11, 2011

Myth or Fact - Are Strike Anywhere Matches Illegal?

The other day I was working on my survival kit and realized that all of my strike anywhere matches were no good. Over time the match heads absorb humidity and get mushy. Mushy match heads don't light.

 So, I went out to buy some new ones. I have not bought strike anywhere matches in quite a few years. I usually buy high quality cigar safety matches for around the house, but for a survival kit, strike anywhere matches make more sense. I went to three different stores, and many more in subsequent days, and could not find any.

When I was a kid I could light these with my fingernail, now I'm lucky to light them with a brick.

As per my normal routine, when I couldn't find any locally, I looked online. Believe it or not, they are hard to find online. A few sellers on Amazon had them for ridiculously high prices. $10 a box after shipping. I finally found some on Ebay for about $2.50 a box.

A quick search on the internet provided me with hundreds of forums, blog posts, and question / answer sites proclaiming that strike anywhere matches were illegal in the US. They said you should buy as many as you can. One forum had a thread where people were stockpiling cases of them. Cases, not boxes.

Some said they were made illegal by a Patriot Act, others said it was because you can use them to make Meth, still others claimed it was because you could make bombs with them. None of these sites had a link to an actual law or even had a link to any news or encyclopedia article on this. It was all heresay.

The more white, the eaiser to light!

I learned a long time to trust nothing on the net unless it is backed up by a credible source. The idea of these matches being illegal made no sense. Anyone can buy gas, ammo, or even fireworks in most states. Why would strike anywhere matches be more illegal that those things?

So, I emailed the manufacturer of Diamond Strike Anywhere Matches asking if they knew of any of these laws. Here is their response:

Mr. Borkert,

Thank you for contacting Jarden Home Brands.  We are unaware of any state laws prohibiting the use of strike anywhere style matches at this time.

Jarden Home Brands

There you have it! If the manufacturer doesn't know about any laws like this then you can be reasonably sure it is not so. Why are they hard to find in my area? Simple economics. The demand is not high enough for the stores to make a profit stocking them. Most people want safety matches. They are safer after all.

Here is a neat trick. To waterproof regular matches just dip them in candle wax. Make sure the heads are only lightly coated and that they are completely coated. Be sure to practice lighting them. The wax coating makes them a little harder to light.

This is my wifes scented wax dish. Now I'll see if she actualy reads my blog.

Hey! If you haven't already sign up for my contests. Right now we are giving away a Buck Pocket Knife and a 192 Piece First Aid Kit! There are not many entries, so the chances of winning are good!

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