This approach to match making was refined in the following decades, culminating with the 'Promethean Match', patented by Samuel Jones of London in 1828.
His match consisted of a small glass capsule containing a chemical composition of sulfuric acid coloured with indigo and coated on the exterior with potassium chlorate, wrapped up in a roll of paper.
An alternative method was to produce the ignition through friction produced by rubbing two rough surfaces together.
An early example was made by François Derosne in 1816.
At the slightest touch of fire they burst into flame. This marvellous thing was formerly called a "light-bringing slave", but afterwards when it became an article of commerce its name was changed to 'fire inch-stick'.
Another text, Wu Lin Chiu Shih, dated from 1270 AD, lists sulphur matches as something that was sold in the markets of Hangzhou, around the time of Marco Polo's visit. Prior to the use of matches, fires were sometimes lit using a burning glass (a lens) to focus the sun on tinder, a method that could only work on sunny days.
Variants known as "candle matches" were made by Savaresse and Merckel in 1836.
Chemical matches were unable to make the leap into mass production, due to the expense, their cumbersome nature and inherent danger.
There are two main types of matches: safety matches, which can be struck only against a specially prepared surface, and strike-anywhere matches, for which any suitably frictional surface can be used.
Some match-like compositions, known as electric matches, are ignited electrically and do not make use of heat from friction.
Another, more common method was igniting tinder with sparks produced by striking flint and steel, or by sharply increasing air pressure in a fire piston.
Early work had been done by alchemist Hennig Brandt, who discovered the flammable nature of phosphorus in 1669.
Immediate ignition was caused by crushing the capsule with a pair of pliers.