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An igniting match
Match heads macrophotography

A match is a consumable tool for lighting a fire in controlled circumstances. They are commonly sold by tobacconists and many other kinds of shops. Matches are usually sold in quantity, packaged in match boxes or matchbooks. A match is typically a wooden stick (typical in the case of match boxes) or stiff paper stick (in the case of matchbooks) coated at one end with a material which will ignite from the heat of friction if struck against a suitable surface.[1] The lighting end of a match is known as the match "head" and, depending on type, either contains phosphorus or phosphorus sesquisulfide as the active ingredient and gelatin as a binder. 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.

Match-type compositions may also be used to produce electric matches, which are fired electrically. These items do not rely on the heat of friction.

Contents

History of the term match

match: 1350–1400; Middle English macche (wick) < Middle French meiche, Old French mesche < Vulgar Latin *mesca (lamp wick), metathetic variant of Latin myxa < Greek mýxa, μυξα, (mucus, nostril, nozzle of a lamp)[2]

Historically, the term match referred to lengths of cord, or later cambric, impregnated with chemicals, and allowed to burn continuously.[1] These were used to light fires and set off guns and cannons. Such matches were characterised by their burning speed, e.g. quick match and slow match; depending on their formulation, they could provide burning rates of between, typically, 1 to 15 seconds per centimetre.

The modern equivalent of this sort of match is the simple fuse, still used in pyrotechnics to obtain a controlled time delay before ignition. The original meaning of the word still persists in some pyrotechnics terms, such as black match (a black powder–impregnated fuse) and Bengal match (a firework producing a relatively long-burning, coloured flame). But, when friction matches were developed, they became the main object meant by the term.

Early matches

Sulfur matches were apparently mentioned by Martial in ancient Rome (sulphurata)[3]

A predecessor of the match, small sticks of pinewood impregnated with sulfur, were invented in China in AD 577 by Northern Qi court ladies desperately out of tinder and looking for a means to start fires for cooking and heating while military forces of Northern Zhou and Chen besieged their city from outside.[4] During the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms (AD 907–960), a book called the Records of the Unworldly and the Strange written by Chinese author Tao Gu in about 950 stated:

If there occurs an emergency at night it may take some time to make a light to light a lamp. But an ingenious man devised the system of impregnating little sticks of pinewood with sulphur and storing them ready for use. At the slightest touch of fire they burst into flame. One gets a little flame like an ear of corn. 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'.[4]

Matches also appeared in Europe by about 1530,[4] yet the first modern, self-igniting match was invented in 1805 by K. Chancel, assistant to Professor Louis Jacques Thénard of Paris. The head of the match consisted of a mixture of potassium chlorate, sulfur, sugar, and rubber. They were ignited by dipping the tip of the match in a small asbestos bottle filled with sulfuric acid. This kind of match was quite expensive and its usage was dangerous, so Chancel's matches never gained much popularity.

Friction matches

Ignition of a match
Lighting a match using a lighter.

The first "friction match" was invented by English chemist John Walker in 1826. Early work had been done by Robert Boyle and his assistant, Godfrey Haukweicz[5] in the 1680s with phosphorus and sulfur, but their efforts had not produced useful results. Walker discovered a mixture of antimony(III) sulfide or stibnite, potassium chlorate, gum, and starch could be ignited by striking against any rough surface. Walker called the matches congreves, but the process was patented by Samuel Jones and the matches were sold as lucifer matches. The early matches had a number of problems - the flame was unsteady and the initial reaction was disconcertingly violent; additionally, the odor produced by the burning match was unpleasant. It is described as a firework odor. Lucifers reportedly could ignite explosively, sometimes throwing sparks at a considerable distance. The term persisted as slang in the 20th century (for example in the First World War song Pack Up Your Troubles) and in the Netherlands today matches are still called lucifers.

In 1830, Frenchman Charles Sauria added white phosphorus to remove the odor. These new matches had to be kept in an airtight box but were popular. Unfortunately, those involved in the manufacture of the new matches were afflicted with phossy jaw and other bone disorders, and there was enough white phosphorus in one pack to kill a person. There was a vociferous campaign to ban these matches once the dangers became known.

Noiseless matches

The noiseless match was invented in 1836 by the Hungarian János Irinyi, who was a student of chemistry.[6] An unsuccessful experiment by his professor, Meissner, gave Irinyi the idea to replace potassium chlorate with lead dioxide[7] in the head of the phosphorus match.[6] He liquefied phosphorus in warm water and shook it in a glass foil, until it became granulated. He mixed the phosphorus with lead and gum arabic, poured the paste-like mass into a jar, and dipped the pine sticks into the mixture and let them dry. When he tried them that evening, all of them lit evenly. Irinyi thus invented the noiseless match and sold the invention to István Rómer, a match manufacturer. Rómer, a rich Hungarian pharmacist living in Vienna, bought the invention and production rights from Irinyi, the poor student, for 60 forints. The production of matches was now fully underway. István Rómer became richer off Irinyi's invention, and Irinyi himself went on to publish articles and a textbook on chemistry and founded several match factories.[6]

Re-formulation to remove white phosphorus

The early matches, including the noiseless match, were dangerous to both the users and the people who worked in the manufacturing companies that made them. This was due to the use of white phosphorus. One reason why this occurs is the tendency of the element to stick to the skin. Phosphorus burns carry a greater risk of mortality than other forms of burns due to the absorption of phosphorus into the body through the burned area, resulting in liver, heart and kidney damage, and in some cases multiple organ failure

The search for a replacement for white phosphorus led to what was known as the "safety match." However, this term is now confusing as it covers both the modern safety match and the modern strike-anywhere match. These two different types of matches are discussed separately below.

Both of these types of matches were more expensive to make than white phosphorus-based matches, and customers continued to buy white-phosphorus based matches. Laws prohibiting the use of white phosphorus in matches generally had to be passed before these safer types of matches came into widespread usage. Finland banned white-phosphorus based matches in 1872; Denmark in 1874; Sweden in 1879; Switzerland in 1881 and the Netherlands in 1901.

An agreement, the Berne Convention, was reached at Berne, Switzerland, in 1906 to prohibit the use of white phosphorus in matches.[8] This required each country to pass laws prohibiting the use of white phosphorus in matches. Great Britain passed a law in 1908 prohibiting its use in matches after 31 December 1910. The United States did not pass a law, but instead placed a "punitive tax" on white phosphorus-based matches, one so high as to render their manufacture financially impractical, in 1913. India and Japan banned them in 1919; and China in 1925.

The safety match

Household safety matches, including one burned match.

The safety match was invented in 1844 by the Swede Gustaf Erik Pasch (1788-1862) and was improved by Johan Edvard Lundström (1815-1888). Johan Edvard and his younger brother Carl Frans Lundström (1823-1917) started a large scale match industry in Jönköping around 1847, but the improved safety match was not introduced until around 1850-55. In 1858 their company produced around 12 million match boxes.

Their safety is due to the separation of the reactive ingredients between a match head on the end of a paraffin-impregnated splint and a special striking surface, and the replacement of white phosphorus with red phosphorus. The striking surface is composed of typically 25% powdered glass, 50% red phosphorus, 5% neutralizer, 4% carbon black and 16% binder; and the match head is typically composed of 45-55% potassium chlorate, with a little sulfur and starch, a neutralizer (ZnO or CaCO3), 20-40% of siliceous filler, diatomite and glue.[9] Some heads contain antimony(III) sulfide so they burn more vigorously. Safety matches ignite due to the extreme reactivity of phosphorus with the potassium chlorate in the match head. When the match is struck the phosphorus and chlorate mix in a small amount forming something similar to the explosive Armstrong's mixture which ignites due to the friction.

The Lundström brothers - Johan Edvard and Carl Frans - had obtained a sample of red phosphorus from Arthur Albright at The Great Exhibition, held at The Crystal Palace in 1851, and made safety matches with it.[10] They misplaced the matches and did not try them until just before the Paris Exhibition of 1855. They were still usable.[10]

The Swedes long held a virtual worldwide monopoly on safety matches, with the industry mainly situated in Jönköping, in 1903 called Jönköpings & Vulcans Tändsticksfabriks AB.[10] In France, they sold the rights to their safety match patent to Coigent Père & Fils of Lyon, but Coigent contested the payment in the French courts, on the basis that the invention was known in Vienna before the Lundström brothers patented it.[10] The British match manufacturer Bryant and May visited Jönköping in 1858 to try to obtain a supply of safety matches, but it was unsuccessful. In 1862 it established its own factory and bought the rights for the British safety match patent from the Lundström brothers.[10]

Safety matches are classified as dangerous goods, "U.N. 1944, Matches, safety," and they are not universally forbidden on aircraft; however, they must be declared as dangerous goods and individual airlines and/or countries may impose tighter restrictions.[11]

The strike-anywhere match

Two French chemists, Savene and Cahen, developed a safety match using phosphorus sesquisulfide. They proved that the substance was not poisonous, that it could be used in a "strike-anywhere" match, and that the match heads were not explosive.[10] They patented a safety match composition in 1898 based on phosphorus sesquisulfide and potassium chlorate.[10] Albright and Wilson developed a safe means of making commercial quantities of phosphorus sesquisulfide in the United Kingdom in 1899 and started selling it to match makers.[10]

In 1901 Albright and Wilson started making phosphorus sesquisulfide at their Niagara Falls plant for the U.S. market, but American manufacturers continued to use white phosphorus based matches.[10] The Niagara Falls plant stopped making it until 1910, when the United States Congress forbade the shipment of white phosphorus matches in interstate commerce.[10] At the same time the largest producer of matches in the USA granted free use, in the USA, of its phosphorus sesquisulfide safety match patents.[10] In 1913 Albright and Wilson also started making red phosphorus at Niagara Falls.[10]

Strike-anywhere matches are classified as dangerous goods, "U.N. 1331, Matches, strike-anywhere;" and their carriage is illegal on both passenger aircraft and cargo-only aircraft.[11]

The energy In match heads

The chemicals in the heads of matches have proven to be quite powerful in large numbers, thirty thousand (30,000) match-heads being sufficient to produce a 10-to-15-foot (3 to 5 m) fire column, compared to a 40-foot (10 m) burst with a million. On the television program MythBusters, special-effects experts Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage proved that a satchel of sixty thousand (60,000) match-heads could send a 6-pound (3 kg) bowling ball flying 1,500 feet (500 m).[12] Hyneman and Savage both took great care to insist as strongly as they could that home viewers not attempt to duplicate their feat, owing to the obvious danger involved.

Types of special-purpose matches

Extra-long matches, used for lighting fireplaces in extra safety.

Storm matches, also known as lifeboat matches or flare matches, have an easy to strike tip like a normal match, but much of the stick is coated with a combustible compound which will keep burning even in a strong wind. They have a wax coating to make them waterproof, making them a component of many survival kits. This particular match was used in the first mass-produced Molotov cocktails.

"Bengal matches" are actually small hand-held fireworks akin to sparklers. They are similar to storm matches in form, but they include compounds of strontium or barium in the compound on the stick to produce a red or green flame respectively.

Matchbooks

A box of safety matches, some of which are greatly prized by phillumenists.

The development of a specialized "matchbook" with both matches and a striking surface did not occur until the 1890s with the American Joshua Pusey, who later sold his patent to the Diamond Match Company. The Diamond Match Company was later bought by Bryant and May.

The hobby of collecting match-related items, such as matchcovers and matchbox labels, is known as phillumeny.

Fires due to lit matches

  • The Cocoanut Grove fire of 1942, the deadliest nightclub fire in U.S. history, was started when an artificial palm tree caught fire when a busboy struck a match for illumination while changing a light bulb.
  • The King's Cross fire was a devastating underground fire in London on 18 November 1987 which killed 31 people. It was caused by rubbish and grease beneath wooden escalators being ignited, probably by a discarded match.
  • A 10-year-old boy playing with matches started the Buckweed Fire, of the October 2007 California wildfires. With a series of wildfires blazing across the southern part of the state, Buckweed burned over 38,000 acres (150 km2) of land and 63 structures.[13]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b Concise Oxford
  2. ^ match. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/match (accessed: February 05, 2007).
  3. ^ Martial, Epigrammata, I 41, XII 57
  4. ^ a b c Temple, Robert. (1986). The Genius of China: 3,000 Years of Science, Discovery, and Invention. With a forward by Joseph Needham. New York: Simon and Schuster, Inc. ISBN 0671620282. Page 98.
  5. ^ Carlisle, Rodney (2004). Scientific American Invetions and Discoveries, p.275. John Wiley & Songs, Inc., New Jersey. ISBN 0471244104.
  6. ^ a b c "János Irinyi". Hungarian Patent Office. http://www.mszh.hu/English/feltalalok/irinyi.html. Retrieved 2008-03-18. 
  7. ^ "Development of matches". Encyclopædia Britannica. http://www.britannica.com/eb/topic-294025/Janos-Irinyi. Retrieved 2008-03-18. 
  8. ^ Steve Charnovitz, "The Influence of International Labour Standards on the World Trading Regime. A Historical Overview," International Labour Review, Vol. 126, No. 5, September-October 1987, pp. 565, 571. The treaty was dated September 26, 1906.
  9. ^ Phosphorus
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Threfall
  11. ^ a b IATA(2007). Dangerous Goods Regulations: Effective 1 January - 31 December 2007. Produced in consultation with ICAO. Montreal: International Air Transport Association. ISBN 92-9195-780-1.
  12. ^ http://mythbustersresults.com/episode-118-youtube-special
  13. ^ "Police: Boy playing with matches started 38,000-acre (150 km2) fire". CNN. 2001-10-31. http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/10/31/fire.california/index.html. Retrieved 2007-11-13. 

References

  • Beaver, Patrick, (1985). The Match Makers: The story of Bryant & May. London: Henry Melland Limited. ISBN 0-907929-11-7.
  • Emsley, John, (2000). The Shocking History of Phosphorus: A biography of the Devil's element. Basingstoke: Macmillan Publishing. ISBN 0-333-76638-5.
  • Oxford (1999). Concise Oxford Dictionary. Tenth Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Steele, H. Thomas (1987). Close Cover Before Striking: The Golden Age of Matchbook Art. Abeville Press.
  • Threlfall, Richard E., (1951). The story of 100 years of Phosphorus making: 1851 - 1951. Oldbury: Albright & Wilson Ltd.

External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

Additions, corrections and discussions on this subject by users of the Classic Encyclopedia can be found on the discussion page

MATCH: 1. O. Eng. gemaecca, a cognate form of "make," meaning originally "fit" or "suitable"; a pair, or one of a pair of objects, persons or animals. As particularly applied to a husband and wife, and hence to a marriage, the word is especially used of two persons or things which correspond exactly to each other. The verb "to match" has also the meaning to "pit one against each other," and so is applied in sport to an arranged contest between individuals or sides.

2. O. Fr. mesche; apparently from a latinized form of Gr. µvea, mucus from the nose, applied to the nozzle of a lamp; primarily the wick which conveys oil or molten wax to the flame of a lamp or candle (this use is now obsolete), the word being then applied to various objects having the property of carrying fire. With early firearms a match, consisting of a cord of hemp or similar material treated with nitre and other substances so that it continued to smoulder after it had been ignited, was used for firing the charge, being either held in the gunner's hand or attached to the cock of the musket or arquebus and brought down by the action of the trigger on the powder priming ("matchlock"); and more or less similar preparations, made to burn more or less rapidly as required ("quick-match" and "slow-match"), are employed as fuses in blasting and demolition work in military operations. The word "match" was further used of a splint of wood, tipped with sulphur so that it would readily ignite, but it now most commonly means a slip of wood or other combustible material, having its end covered with a composition which takes fire when rubbed either on any rough surface or on another specially prepared composition.

The first attempt to make matches in the modern sense may probably be ascribed to Godfrey Haukwitz, who, in 1680, acting under the direction of Robert Boyle, who at that time had just discovered how to prepare phosphorus, employed small pieces of that element, ignited by friction, to light splints of wood dipped in sulphur. This device, however, did not come into extensive use owing to its danger and inconvenience and to the cost of the phosphorus, and till the beginning of the 19th century flint and steel with tinder-box and sulphur-tipped splints of wood - "spunks" or matches - were the common means of obtaining fire for domestic and other purposes. The sparks struck off by the percussion of flint and steel were made to fall among the tinder, which consisted of carbonized fragments of cotton and linen; the entire mass of the tinder was set into a glow, developing sufficient heat to ignite the sulphur with which the matches were tipped, and thereby the splints themselves were set on fire. In 1805 one Chancel, assistant to Professor L. J. Thenard of Paris, introduced an apparatus consisting of a small bottle containing asbestos, saturated with strong sulphuric acid, with splints or matches coated with sulphur, and tipped with a mixture of chlorate of potash and sugar. The matches so prepared, when brought into contact with the sulphuric acid in the bottle, ignited, and thus, by chemical action, fire was produced. In 1823 a decided impetus was given to the artificial production of fire by the introduction of the Dobereiner lamp, so called after its inventor, J. W. Dobereiner of Jena. The first really practical friction matches were made in England in 1827, by John Walker, a druggist of Stockton-on-Tees. These were known as "Congreves" after Sir William Congreve, the inventor of the Congreve rocket, and consisted of wooden splints or sticks of cardboard coated with sulphur and tipped with a mixture of sulphide of antimony, chlorate of potash and gum. With each box which was retailed at a shilling, there was supplied a folded piece of glass paper, the folds of which were to be tightly pressed together, while the match was drawn through between them. The same idea occurred to Sir Isaac Holden independently two and a half years later. The so-called "Prometheans," patented by S. Jones of London in 1830, consisted of a short roll of paper with a small quantity of a mixture of chlorate of potash and sugar at one end, a thin glass globule of strong sulphuric acid being attached at the same point. When the sulphuric acid was liberated by pinching the glass globule, it acted on the mixed chlorate and sugar, producing fire. The phosphorus frictionmatch of the present day was first introduced on a commercial scale in 1833. It appears to have been made almost simultaneously in several distinct centres. The name most prominently connected with the early stages of the invention is that of J. Preschel of Vienna, who in 1833 had a factory in operation for making phosphorus matches, fusees, and amadou slips tipped with igniting composition. At the same time also matches were being made by F. Moldenhauer in Darmstadt; and for a long series of years Austria and the South-German states were the principal centres of the new industry.

But the use of ordinary white or yellow phosphorus as a principal ingredient in the igniting mixture of matches was found to be accompanied with very serious disadvantages. It is a deadly poison, and its free dissemination has led to many accidental deaths, and to numerous cases of wilful murder and suicide. Workers also who are exposed to phosphoric vapours are subject to a peculiarly distressing disease which attacks the jaw, and ultimately produces necrosis of the jaw-bone ("phossy jaw"), though with scrupulous attention to ventilation and cleanliness much of the risk of the disease may be avoided. The most serious objections to the use of phosphorus, however, were overcome by the discovery of the modified form of that body known as red or amorphous phosphorus. That substance was utilized for the manufacture of the well-known "safety matches" by J. E. Lundstrdm, of Jdnkdping, Sweden, in 1852; its employment for this purpose had been patented eight years previously by another Swede, G. E. Pasch, who, however, regarded it as an oxide of phosphorus. Red phosphorus is in itself a perfectly innocuous substance, and no evil effects arise from freely working the compositions of which it forms an ingredient. The fact again that safety matches ignite only in exceptional circumstances on any other than the prepared surfaces which accompany the box - which surfaces and not the matches themselves contain the phosphorus required for ignition - makes them much less liable to cause accidental fires than other kinds.

The processes carried out in a match factory include preparing the splints, dipping them first in molten paraffin wax and then in the igniting composition, and filling the matches into boxes. All these operations are performed by complicated automatic machinery, in the development of which the Diamond Match Company of America has taken a leading part, with the minimum of manual intervention.

The chief element in the igniting mixture of ordinary or "strike anywhere" matches used to be common yellow phosphorus, combined with one or more other bodies which readily part with oxygen under the influence of heat. Chief among these latter substances is chlorate of potash, others being red lead, nitrate of lead, bichromate of potash and peroxide of manganese. But at the beginning of the 10th century many countries took steps to stop the use of yellow phosphorus owing to the danger to health attending its manipulation. In Sweden, matches made with it have been prohibited for home consumption, but not for export, since 1901. In 1905 and 1906 two conferences, attended by representatives of most of the governments of Europe, were held at Berne to consider the question of prohibiting yellow phosphorus, but no general agreement was reached owing to the objections entertained by Sweden, Norway, Spain and Portugal, and also Japan. Germany, France, Italy, Denmark, Holland, Switzerland and Luxemburg, however, agreed to a convention whereby yellow phosphorus was prohibited as from 1912, and to this Great Britain expressed her adherence after the passing of the White Matches Prohibition Act 1908, which forbade the manufacture and importation of such matches from the 1st of January 191o; though to avoid hardship to retailers and others holding large stocks it permitted their sale for a year longer. Phosphorous sulphide (sesquisulphide of phosphorus) is one of the substances widely employed as a substitute for yellow phosphorus in matches which will strike anywhere without the need of a specially prepared surface.

Safety matches contain no phosphorus in the heads; according to one formula that has been published the mixture with which they are tipped consists of chlorate of potash, 32 parts; bichromate of potash, 12; red lead, 32; sulphide of antimony, 24; while the ingredients of a suitable rubbing surface are eight parts of amorphous phosphorus to nine of sulphide of antimony. There is no doubt, however, that there is considerable diversity in the composition of the mixtures actually employed.

"Vestas" are matches in which short pieces of thin "wax taper" are used in place of wooden splints. Fusees or vesuvians consist of large oval heads fixed on a round splint. These heads consist of a porous mixture of charcoal, saltpetre, cascarilla or other scented bark, glass and gum, tipped with common igniting composition. When lighted they form a glowing mass, without flame.

It is calculated that in the principal European countries from six to ten matches are used for each inhabitant daily, and the world's annual output must reach a total which requires twelve or thirteen figures for its expression. In the United States the manufacture is under the control of the Diamond Match Company, formed in 1881; which company also has an important share in the industry in Great Britain, where it has established large works. Similarly the manufacture of safety matches in Sweden is largely controlled by one big combination. In France matches are a government monopoly, and are both dear in price and inferior in quality, as compared with other countries where the industry is left to private enterprise. The French government formerly leased the manufacture to a company (Societe generale des allumettes chimiques), but since 1890 it has been undertaken directly by the state.

Additions, corrections and discussions on this subject by users of the Classic Encyclopedia can be found on the discussion page

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Simple English

For other uses, see Match (disambiguation)

]]

]] A match is a tool for lighting a fire under controlled circumstances. Matches are sold in quantity, either in a box, or in matchbooks. Most often, the match itself is a small piece of wood, or hardened paper. At one end, the match is coated with a material that will ignite from friction. The lighting end of a match is known as the match "head". It either contains phosphorus or phosphorus sesquisulfide as the active ingredient and gelatin as a binder. 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.

There are also electric matches, which use electricity and not friction to produce a fire.

Early matches

Matches that used sulfur were mentioned by Martial in ancient Rome. He called them sulphurata.[1]

Around the year 1530, Matches appeared in Europe. The first modern, self-igniting match was invented in 1805 by K. Chancel, assistant to Professor Louis Jacques Thénard of Paris, though. The head of the match was made of a mixture of potassium chlorate, sulfur, sugar, and rubber. They were ignited by dipping the tip of the match in a small asbestos bottle filled with sulfuric acid. This kind of match was quite expensive and its usage was dangerous, so Chancel's matches never gained much popularity.

Special-purpose matches

Storm matches, also known as lifeboat matches or flare matches, have an easy to strike tip like a normal match, but much of the stick is coated with a combustible compound which will keep burning even in a strong wind. They have a wax coating to make them waterproof. They are a component of many survival kits. This particular match was used in the first mass-produced Molotov cocktails.

"Bengal matches" are actually small hand-held fireworks akin to sparklers. They are similar to storm matches in form, but they include compounds of strontium or barium in the compound on the stick to produce a red or green flame respectively.

References

  1. Martial, Epigrammata, I 41, XII 57







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