The red phosphorus had important benefits for match safety. Red phosphorus
could be used instead of the toxic white phosphorus, and, because of its
resistance to air oxidation, it did not have to be incorporated into the
match head. Professor G. E. Pasch of Stockholm had suggested that
if red phosphorus was combined with an abrasive and placed outside the
matchbox, instead of in the match-head, then the match could only be ignited
through friction with the red phosphorus panel (or through contact with flame). This is the basis for the safety match.
Safety matches had not been a commercial success initially as there had not been a reliable source of red phosphorus. However with Albright's successful process red phosphorus was readily available, and a successful safety match was developed by the Lundström brothers in Sweden. Lundström granted a UK patent to Bryant & May in 1855.
Despite the availability of safety matches, the strike-anywhere type were still preferred, and safety match use was only really widespread where strike-anywhere matches were banned (this happened in Denmark, Finland and Switzerland during the 1870's).
Thereafter there was not much change in the composition of matches
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