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  • "The Civil War Collector's Encyclopedia"

Cast-iron Barracks Match Safe from Nashville

$170.00 $125.00
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Product Description

This is another great item which was part of the large Civil War collection I acquired – it is an excavated cast-iron “Barracks Match Box”. It measures approximately 5 ¾” x 3 ½” x 2 ¾”. A little difficult to read, but in raised lettering is “SELF-CLOSING / FOR MATCHES. & C. / PATENTED. DEC. 20. 1864. / M.W. & CO.” This company was in New Haven, Connecticut. The match box was recovered many years ago from a Union campsite in Nashville, Tennessee. In 1862, Nashville became the first Southern state capital to be captured by the Union Army; that occupation would not end until after the Civil War's conclusion in 1865.

There is an example of this unique piece in “The Civil War Collector’s Encyclopedia”, by Francis Lord (see pictures). His description is “Barracks were generally heated by wood stoves and the match boxes shown here were nailed or screwed to the barracks’ wall”.

I have seen similar match safes in the past and even sold a couple over the past 25+ years, but this is the first excavated example I have come across. Originally they were painted black but hardly any paint is still visible. Remarkably, this piece still functions and overall is only surface rust. It could be cleaned but I kind of like the way it looks just as it was dug.

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