Huehueteotl, the eldest god of fire in Mexico, is depicted as an old man with fire atop his head, a vessel for burning incense. Ancient pictographic manuscripts and sculptures display the imagery of the cult of this fire deity.
To honor the importance and symbolism of Huehueteotl, we pay tribute to fire. Specifically to fire initiated by matches.
We share some examples of matches and traditional Mexican matchboxes, Mexican products used in everyday life and important ceremonies.
Perhaps the next time you use one of these Mexican matches, you will think of this god of fire, the rituals performed and his depiction at the apex of the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan, built thousands of years ago.
We will explore manufacturers of matches and matchboxes in Mexico. There are various brands of Mexican matches and also a history of classic Mexican match brands.
We will explore manufacturers of matches and matchboxes in Mexico.
There are various brands of Mexican matches and also a history of classic Mexican match brands.
1. La Central
La Central is a company that manufactures various brands of Mexican matches. a
La Flama is an example of matches made by the La Central factory. La Flama matches are easily differentiated from other brands, by their unusual size. A match of the brand La Flama is about 5 cm to 11 cm long.
La Flama matches are easily differentiated from other brands, by their unusual size.
A match of the brand La Flama is about 5 cm to 11 cm long.
Matches made by La Central are present as an element of Mexican culture.
La Central was the first manufacturer of matches in Mexico. It was founded in 1885 by brothers León and Manuel Mendizábal along with another pair of brothers, Pedro and José Prida. The company was founded in the Port of Veracruz.
The initial name of the company was “Compañía Industrial de Fósforos y Cerillos”. The brand became very popular. Later the company moved to Mexico City under the official name of “La Central, Fabrica de Fósforos, Mendizábal and Company”. While in Veracruz, people called the matches La Central because the factory was near the Central Railway Station of the Port of Veracruz.
In 1902, a printed image of a large locomotive was integrated into the design of the matchbox.
In 1940, the company had a design made for the Luxury Classics brand. The brand started a cultural diffusion and was one of the most successful brands manufactured. The matchbox had a Venus de Milo printed on the box, next to the image of the classic locomotive.
In the 1970’s, the company displayed paintings, mainly of the Mexican artist Jorge Cázares. The collection consisted of about 100 of his works art, including landscapes of Mexico. Works of other artists were also included, such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Picasso, Velázquez, Goya, and Rembrandt. The image of the Parthenon also appeared. Later, the design was modified and adapted to Mexican trends. This included football soccer, the Virgen of Guadalupe, and Mexican myths and icons.
La Independiente S.A is another Mexican brand of matches. The company is committed to sustainability and the environment and uses recycled paper covered with wax to make matches.
The factory was founded in 1932 in the State of Mexico as La Independiente S.A. DE C.V.
3. La Perla
La Perla is another Mexican brand of matches. It is easy to differentiate this brand from all the others, because printed on the matchbox is the image of a mother-of-pearl pearl.
La Perla manufactures 25 million matches a day. It is common to find La Perla matchboxes in the region of the Bajío, in southeast Mexico.
The company was founded in 1938 by Pantaleón Morán and Gil García.
4. La Fe
La Fe is another Mexican factory that produces matches. Its facilities are in Guadalajara.
La Fe has many years of history.
Talisman is another Mexican manufacturer of matches. Talisman matches have a zodiac sign printed on the boxes, each with a different design and color. Included on the back of the matchbox are tips about love, work, and personality, according to the horoscope.
The image of a pre-Hispanic dancer is printed on the match box of this brand. There is also a landscape with the cathedral church of Ciudad Guzmán.
How matches and matchboxes are made in Mexico
The match is made of kraft paper, paraffin, or wood. The type of wood used is a white one that is obtained from poplar. The ringleader of the match is prepared with a mixture of silica, caulin, diatomite and zinc oxide. The matches are left hanging for several hours, creating the drop-shaped head.
The manufacturing process of matches has not changed much over the years.
The matchbox is a small cardboard box that has sides consisting of sandpaper with phosphorus. An average of 50 matches are placed in each matchbox.
Matchbox Collectors Items
Matchboxes of brands manufactured in Mexico are now purchased by matchbox collectors. The older the boxes, the more value they have. Once disposable, they are now collectors’ items.
Today, the most sought-after matchboxes are those of Mexican brands seen as classics.
Images on Mexican matchboxes are regarded as small works of art.