No. 15055 Minnesota Pattern Match Safe

May 8, 2023 | Museum Monday Treasures

Today’s Museum Monday treasure from the Museum of American Glass in WV is a rather unassuming match safe in the No. 15055 Minnesota pattern from the United States Glass Company. The pattern was introduced in 1898 and as was the case with most of the States patterns put out by this company, it was an extensive line. The match holder will sometimes be found in toothpick collections, but is actually distinctively different from the toothpick, which has three handles and is considerably shorter, being only 2 ½” high, compared to the match holder at 3 3/8” high.

What is fun about the match holder is that it can become a collection all by itself. We have four of these in MAGWV’s holdings. Why do we need four of them? Because this piece seems to have been one of U.S. Glass Company’s most popular for use as advertising giveaways. The one you are looking at is embossed inside: “JOS. KUHN & SON.” Joseph Kuhn & Son is a men’s clothing store, located in Champaign, Ill., in business since 1865 and still operating today. The other match holders in our collection similarly advertise the Hartman Furniture and Carpet Company, in Chicago, The Cheyenne Drygoods Company, in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and the Chicago Merchandise Company, in Philadelphia. I’ve also seen this piece advertising the Bailey Company, a dry goods store that grew into one of Cleveland’s earliest department stores. They erected a huge seven story structure in 1903 and added a ten story addition in 1910. If they celebrated by handing out match safes to their customers, it becomes easy to understand why these are readily available today. Lansburgh Brothers and Company in Washington, DC, is another large department store that can be found advertised on the Minnesota match holder.

That’s at least six that I know of. Does anyone have additional examples in their collections? Let us know.

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