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Old 02-23-2008, 02:33 PM
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How do you strike a match with your thumb?

I just watched Double Indemnity and in it Fred MacMurray lights his matches by just striking his thumb across the top. How do you do this?

You can see MacMurray do it in this clip about 18 seconds in:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...arch&plindex=2

Last edited by Two and a Half Inches of Fun; 02-23-2008 at 02:35 PM.
Old 02-23-2008, 02:38 PM
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Use your thumbnail. With a wooden kitchen match it's not too difficult.
Old 02-23-2008, 02:39 PM
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Because, difficult as it may be to believe at this time, Fred MacMurray was the Chuck Norris of his generation.
Old 02-23-2008, 02:39 PM
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First, you need to get "Strike Anywhere" matches, Oregon Blue Tips work well. Then you just kind push your thumbnail against the very tip and when there's alot of pressure against it, you let it flick over the top. It's tough a takes some practice, but after a while it get's easier. I used to be able to do it back when I was a Boy Scout and had nothing better to do then light matches. Warning, be careful, if a piece of the head breaks off and goes under your thumbnail it'll hurt like hell as it lights. Never happened to me luckily.
Old 02-23-2008, 02:39 PM
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I'm going to say a strike-anywhere match is necessary for this. In that clip, he might be using his thumbnail, or he's just got some really calloused hands.
Old 02-23-2008, 02:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aerodave
I'm going to say a strike-anywhere match is necessary for this.
I think this might be the problem. The matches I have are called "Strike on the Box Matches."

Can I buy strike-anywhere matches at a Walmart or Target?
Old 02-23-2008, 02:55 PM
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Possibly but I think they're getting harder to find. If you can't find them there, check out a camping/hunting/hiking type store.
Old 02-23-2008, 03:19 PM
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I wanted to ask this question, actually, because I saw Double Indemnity a few weeks ago. I'm glad you did.

If there's a Canadian Tire near you, they certainly sell strike-anywhere matches.
Old 02-23-2008, 04:14 PM
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I was just rereading one of Isaac Asimov's Black Widowers stories that describes a similar one-handed match-lighting technique using an ordinary matchbook:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Isaac Asimov in "No Smoking"
Holding a book of matches in his left hand, he bent one of the matches double with his left thumb so that the head came up against the friction strip. A quick stroke set it aflame.
The story describes the technique as being one that an "accomplished smoker" (before the age of cigarette lighters) would have mastered, as opposed to someone who does not handle matches often.
Old 02-23-2008, 04:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aerodave
In that clip, he might be using his thumbnail, or he's just got some really calloused hands.
Or the effects director prepped his thumb with something to make it easier, like a bit of sandpaper.
Old 02-23-2008, 04:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scarlett67
I was just rereading one of Isaac Asimov's Black Widowers stories that describes a similar one-handed match-lighting technique using an ordinary matchbook:

The story describes the technique as being one that an "accomplished smoker" (before the age of cigarette lighters) would have mastered, as opposed to someone who does not handle matches often.
That trick used to be a lot easier before they redesigned book matches. They moved the friction strip to the back of the book from the front; before that, every boy I knew could do the one-handed match trick. As I recall, the friction strip was moved from the front to prevent accidents where people inadvertantly ignited the entire book of matches, due to their failure to "close book before striking".
Old 02-23-2008, 04:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3acresandatruck
That trick used to be a lot easier before they redesigned book matches. They moved the friction strip to the back of the book from the front; before that, every boy I knew could do the one-handed match trick. As I recall, the friction strip was moved from the front to prevent accidents where people inadvertantly ignited the entire book of matches, due to their failure to "close book before striking".
Wow, you're right! I forgot about that (but I do remember it now).

Scarlett, nonsmoker
Old 02-23-2008, 04:57 PM
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Hang on. Aren't these "strike anywhere" matches of which you speak pretty likely to set your house and/or your balls on fire? I'm not even sure we have them on the Old World side of the pond...
Old 02-23-2008, 05:11 PM
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If you can't find them, check in the grocery store by the charcoal and other grilling stuff. They usually come in big boxes of little match boxes. (Also the only place I've found matches in boxes anytime recently.
Old 02-23-2008, 05:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peak Banana
Hang on. Aren't these "strike anywhere" matches of which you speak pretty likely to set your house and/or your balls on fire? I'm not even sure we have them on the Old World side of the pond...
You you often rub matches against rigid items near your balls and not expect flames to occur?

The only danger in strike anywhere matches, really, is that they might ignite when you drop them. Just don't drop them, and you should be all right.

For a mere $50, you can get 48 boxes of 250 Strike-Anywhere matches here. If you're wondering what you possibly could want 12,000 matches for, you're not being inventive enough.
Old 02-23-2008, 05:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diomedes
YThe only danger in strike anywhere matches, really, is that they might ignite when you drop them.
With practice, you can get them to make a little "bang" and catch fire when thrown just right to the floor. One way to kill time when you're a boy...
Old 02-24-2008, 10:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peak Banana
Hang on. Aren't these "strike anywhere" matches of which you speak pretty likely to set your house and/or your balls on fire? I'm not even sure we have them on the Old World side of the pond...
No. This is the reason safety matches were made.

The History Of Matches from About.com

Quote:
In 1830, the French chemist, Charles Sauria, created a match made with white phosphorous. Sauria's matches had no odor, but they made people sick with a ailment dubbed "phossy jaw". White phosphorous is poisonous.

In 1855, safety matches were patented by Johan Edvard Lundstrom of Sweden. Lundstrom put red phosphorus on the sandpaper outside the box and the other ingredients on the match head, solving the problem of "phossy jaw" and creating a match that could only be safely lit off the prepared, special striking, surface.
The strike anywhere matches sold today, are not the same as the above mentioned ones.

Last edited by Harmonious Discord; 02-24-2008 at 10:29 AM.
Old 02-24-2008, 11:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harmonious Discord
No. This is the reason safety matches were made.

The History Of Matches from About.com



The strike anywhere matches sold today, are not the same as the above mentioned ones.
Not true.
"Strike Anywhere" matches do not need the red Phosphorous strip on the box to light, hence the "anywhere" part of the name.
Old 02-24-2008, 11:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peak Banana
Hang on. Aren't these "strike anywhere" matches of which you speak pretty likely to set your house and/or your balls on fire? I'm not even sure we have them on the Old World side of the pond...
When I was a little kid in the early 50s, our neighbor used to carry stick matches in his shirt pocket to light his pipe with. He was lying on his sofa when his daughter jumped on him and ignited the matches in his pocket. As I recall, he suffered some fairly serious burns before getting the flames snuffed.

Campers usually keep them in an airtight that serves the dual purposes of avoiding becoming a human torch and keeping them dry.
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