Fire is used to warm us, to cook and it is a major factor in all industries nowadays. But for the cavemen it was a matter of life and death as they used it to not only to cook or warm; But they also used it to preserve food by smoking to be able to keep the food for long times, they used the fire to keep the animals away and to harden the points of the hunting tools and weapons sharp.
Charcoal, traces of burned bones and even some stones that were used as fireplaces were found in different caves that was proved that the cavemen lived. But we can not tell for sure how was fire discovered for the first time, there has been several ideas about how the first fire happened, by lightning, by seeing a strike between two stones or by accidentally striking two stones. The first two ideas may have happened before the third one and probably the cavemen kept the fire on then started striking stones after discovering the benefits of fire.
Match is a form of controlling starting the fire. The first match could be considered the two stones that were hit together to start the fire.
Then there was a rope that was indulged in some chemical formulas that was able to keep the rope in fire for a long time.
Then the Chinese ladies in AD 577 came with idea of matches as small sticks of pinewood impregnated with sulfur, so they can use in cooking and warming houses.
In the year 1681 an Englishman covered a piece of wood by phosphorus which was treated with sulfur, it caught fire very easily that is why the invention was not practical.
In the year 1805 the first self-igniting matches appeared in Europe. K. Chancel, invented a new head for the matches made of a mixture of potassium chlorate, sulfur, sugar, and rubber; This head needed to be dipped in sulfuric solution to be ignited. That invention was very expensive and dangerous, so it could not be considered practical too.
The English chemist John Walker in 1826 invented the first friction match that can catch fire when striking any rough surface. The head of the matches consisted from antimony(III) sulfide or stibnite, potassium chlorate, gum, and starch. Theses matches also had few disadvantages like the bad smell.
The Hungarian János Irinyi in the year 1836 overcame the bad odor by replacing potassium chlorate with lead dioxide in the head of the match, the matches also became noiseless.
Using white phosphorus was endangering the person who used it. So scientists started to think of making matches without it.
In 1844 the Swede Gustaf Erik Pasch (1788-1862) started the safe matches by separating the reactive ingredients between a match head on the end of a paraffin-impregnated splint and a special striking surface, and by replacing the white phosphorus with red phosphorus. The invention was improved by Johan Edvard Lundström (1815-1888). Johan Edvard and his younger brother Carl Frans Lundström (1823-1917) started a large scale match industry in Jönköping around 1847.
This safe matches were expensive than the older one, so people kept using the cheaper matches until the governments started banning the dangerous matches.
The developed matches as we know, in matchboxes that includes the matches and the striking surface in one occurred in the year 1890 by the American Joshua Pusey.