How long have matches been around? Wen were they invented?

The first usable match was created in 1827 by a former chemist named John Walker. He discovered that if he coated the end of a stick with antimony sulfide, potassium chlorate, gum, and starch (and allowed them to dry) he could start a fire by striking the stick against almost anything. Although he did not patent his invention (which he called "Congreves"), he did make some money selling them, making his first sale on April 7, 1827 to a local solicitor.
Updated on Wednesday, February 01 2012 at 08:20PM EST
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