Learn about Vesta Cases
In Roman mythology, Vesta was the goddess of hearth, home and family, and her presence was symbolised by the sacred fire that burned at her hearth and temples, inspiring several match companies to name their matches "vestas", the best known around 1900 being the "Swan Vestas" brand.
Vesta cases, also known as match safes were made to safely house a person's supply of matches, required because early matches were prone to combustion, either from the friction of rubbing together or spontaneous ignition.
Vesta cases came into use in the 1830s, but the peak period of their popularity was 1890 to 1920.
Most commonly they are silver, and rectangular in shape, with an end-opening spring-loaded close fitting lid at the top and a ribbed or serrated striking surface on the base.
Collectors seek out novelty shapes that include boots and shoes, bottles, snuff horns, animal heads, hearts, and circles.
However they were also made in gold, and enamel with silver, as well as cheaper materials such as brass and from nuts embellished with silver mounts.
One of the prolific makers of silver vesta cases was the firm Sampson Mordan & Co. more...