Silver Combination Vesta Case
Hallmarked from London in 1893 with the makers mark being that of Sampson Mordan & Co.
All in excellent order with no damage not engravings.
With button hook and knife closed it measures 50x16x9mm.
|MAKER or SPONSOR MARK||Sampson Mordan & Co|
Vesta cases, or just “vestas” are small boxes for holding matches. The first commercial friction match appeared in 1826 but it was not until 1832 that William Newton patented the “wax vesta”. This consisted of a wax stem with embedded cotton threads tipped with phosphorus. The matches were named after the Roman goddess of fire, Vesta. It quickly became apparent that some sort of container would be required to hold these matches. Not least, this was to prevent accidental ignition of the matches! Consequently, vesta cases, as they were known in England, were introduced. One equivalent term for these containers in America is “match safe”.
There are three forms of vesta cases, pocket vestas, table vestas and “go to bed” vestas. Pocket vesta cases were the most popular and were often made to be suspended from a fob chain. Table vestas were larger than pocket vestas and left, as the name suggests, on a table in the home. “Got to bed” vestas usually accompanied a candle stick holder.