MATCHES, LUCIFER. The manufac ture of these useful little articles consti tutes a most extensive business. In some large factories the wood alone for the annu al consumption approaches in value $5,000. Lucifer matches are sulphur matches, to which a separate inflammable com pound is afterwards added. The primary coating of sulphur cannot well be dis pensed with, for the inflammable com pound burns too rapidly to set fire to the wood. The flame produced by it is first transferred to the sulphur and then to the wood. The original matches were made by mixing phosphorus with muci lage at 104°, till it became a mucilage, to which chlorate of potash was then added. The sulphured wood was dipped in this. Sometimes the phosphorus was replaced by sulphuret of antimony. The noise of their Inflaming was objectionable, and noiseless matches were then made by replacing the detonating action of chlorate of potash, for the slower combustion of nitrate and phosphorus. The general principle concerned in the action of all these matches is, that substances (as phos phorus), having a great affinity for oxy Fen, are mixed with a large amount of it, condensed into a small space (as in nitre or chlorate of potash), so that the slightest cause is sufficient to effect the combination. The peroxides of lead and manganese, which abound in oxygen, are often mixed with the nitre. They act in the same way when they have reached a red heat.
The wood is split by a perforated me tallic plate having a steel face and strengthened by a bell-metal back. A con venient size for these plates is 6 inches X 3, and one inch thick. The wood is compressed laterally into the countersunk openings and forced through the holes, which are slightly countersunk to favor the entrance and separation of the wooden fibres. The materials into which the matches are dipped may be made either with or without sulphur. The latter kind have the following materials enter ing into their composition : Phosphorus 4 parts Nitre 10 parts Fine Glue 6 parts Red Ochre or Red Lead 5 parts Smalt 2 parts Melt the glue with water into a jelly, and put it in a warm place to melt ; melt the phosphorus in this at a heat of 140°, add the nitre, then the lead, and lastly the smalt, till the whole is a paste.
Melt a little white wax in a shallow vessel : char the ends of the wooden match and then dip them in the wax ; shake them dry and then dip them in the paste. When dry they will kindle by friction.
The ordinary matches consist of nitre and chlorate of potash, sulphur, gum, and phosphorus, colored with the puce colored oxide of lead.
The patent allumettes are made of the first described paste, which is applied to the extremity of a thin wax bougm. MATRIX. In Metallurgy, the stony sub. stance in which crystalline minerals and metals are embedded is frequently termed their matrix or gangue. In dye-sinking the matrix is the indented mould from which impressions are taken in relief. Type founders apply the term to the iron moulds in which the letters are cast. MATTER. Substance. Of the inti mate nature of matter the human facul ties cannot take cognizance, nor can data be furnished, by observation or experi ment, on which to found an investiga tion of it. All we know, or ever can know of matter, is its sensible properties. Some of these are the foundation of physical science ; others, of the different subordinate sciences, as, for instance, of chemistry.
Matter is divisible by abrasion, and other means, into small fragments, which, when the division is carried to any con siderable extent, are called particles. It is supposed, however, and many reasons appear to justify the hypothesis, that it is capable of reduction into particles (called atoms) of particular forms, and each class having its own proper magni tude and peculiar properties ; that deter minate numbers of atoms of one kind admit of combination with some deter minate number of another kind, or of several kinds, and of thereby forming compounded atoms, having properties pe culiar to that combination, and different from the known properties of their ele mental atoms. These solutions and com binations result from properties inherent in the atoms themselves ; but whether the simple classes of atoms that are be lieved to exist are themselves really pri mary and elemental is not known, and probably never can be with certainty.