Winter, or at least autumn, looms heavily in the air in the small town in New Zealand I make my home. The colder seasons here are never so severe as in the northern hemisphere, but also lack the fun and distinction of snowy climes.
The development of the device known as a heat pump has changed how people in New Zealand keep warm over the cooler months, but some, including your unworthy correspondent, go for the freestanding woodburner. New Zealand has a lot of trees, many of them not really useful as much other than firewood. That’s how I do it – indeed, that’s how I am doing it right at this very moment!
For a good fire, a match. And for a match, a box of the buggers. And for the boxes. . .
While in Jonkoping in Sweden last year, I visited the local match museum. It may be the only one in the world. Sweden once dominated the match industry globally, and the museum, located in a factory that itself dominated the Swedish industry, is an eye-opener about the history of this useful invention. For many years production of “safety” matches was terribly unsafe – the chemicals involved meant children were used because they would never get old enough to be anything else.
Talk about yuck!
Eventually some of these problems were solved, and Swedish matches, organised and spun into an empire by the remarkable “Match King” Ivar Kreuger, pretty much took over the world. Kreuger fell to earth and either killed himself or was murdered in Paris in the early 1930s.
Meanwhile, someone was keeping an eye on those matchboxes and the museum in Jonkoping has a glittering array. They invite photos.
Though New Zealand also has a lot of trees, and though many of them would also be suitable for match-making, Sweden was in there. . .as this photo of a “Maori chief” shows.
All the way on the other side of the world. . .Samoa too! And some French Polynesian beauty. . .
Africa. . .
Here is a trio of young English speakers, presumably.
Did you say “elephants”? You did, didn’t you?
More. . .
A peacock struts:
A kookaburra might these days take exception to this box:
Herons are happy. . .so elegant!
Women. . .
and children. . .
This next one did give me a pause. . .imagine reaching for a match 60 times and seeing this. . .or even more, if you bought a carton of them. . .takes all kinds I guess.
Here is a provocative sculpture from the museum. It seems to say something about our inability to live within the nature we are a part of. We burn it – and ourselves.
Outside the front door is a wee place to sit. . .not bad.
There you go. While I’ve got you, Jonkoping is pronounced something like Yonshuping. Swedish people have their own way of doing things. Don’t we all?
Jonkoping is also the home of the well-known brand Husqvarna, whose sewing machine empire is now offloaded to a licensee, but was the replacement for a firearms business. Husqvarna still makes stuff in Jonkoping such as chainsaws, weedeaters and motor mowers – including especially robotic mowers. These and more feature in a museum in the conurbation. I’m not going to bore you with it – today. Another time, maybe.
Thanks for taking a look at this one. Enjoy your day.
*No. Blues great Blind Lemon Jefferson had it all over me in so many ways – that he could even ask that question among them.