The year of 2005, when our virtual museum of matches starts, is the 130th anniversary of match production in Japan. People have been using matches so naturally, however to the question, "Do you know the history of matches?" most people might not be able to answer yes.
Therefore, in the Column 1, let's think about how production of matches started, because we think most of people have never considered it before, although matches are indispensable in our life.
Possibilities of match invention popped up in 17th century thanks to the discovery of phosphorus, and people, at first, successfully learned how to use phosphorus: having a lower firing point, phosphorus was applied to an igniting tool in Europe in 19th century. Fire is necessary for humans, but simultaneously it is dangerous and fearful: therefore people had to make trials and errors laboriously before phosphorus was successfully used for a fire-starting tool and eventually developed to a convenient tool to use practically.