This section is from the "Henley's Twentieth Century Formulas Recipes Processes" encyclopedia, by Norman W. Henley and others.
The danger of explosion during the preparation of match composition may be minimized by addition to the paste of the following mixture: Finely powdered cork, 3 parts, by weight; oxide of iron, 15 parts; flour, 23 parts; and water, about 40 parts. In practice, 30 parts of gum arabic are dissolved in water, 40 parts, and to the solution are added powdered potassium chlorate, 57 parts, and when this is well distributed, amorphous phosphorus, 7 parts, and powdered glass, 15 parts, are stirred in. The above mixture is then immediately introduced, and when mixing is complete, the composition can be applied to wooden sticks which need not have been previously dried or paraffined. The head of the match is finally coated with tallow, which prevents atmospheric action and also spontaneous ignition.
Most chemists agree that the greatest improvement of note in the manufacture of matches is that of Landstrom, of Jonkoping, in Sweden. It consists in dividing the ingredient of the match mixture into two separate compositions, one being placed on the ends of the splints, as usual, and the other, which contains the phosphorus, being spread in a thin layer upon the end or lid of the box. The following are the compositions used: (a) For the splints: Chlorate of potassa, 6 parts; sulphuret of antimony, 2 to 3 parts; glue, 1 part, (b) For the friction surface: Amorphous phosphorus, 10 parts; sulphuret of antimony or peroxide of manganese, 8 parts; glue, 3 to 6 parts; spread thinly upon the surface, which has been previously made rough by a coating of glue and sand. By thus dividing the composition the danger of fire arising from ignition of the matches by accidental friction is avoided, as neither the portion on the splint nor that on the box can be ignited by rubbing against an unprepared surface. Again, by using the innocuous red or amorphous phosphorus, the danger of poisoning is entirely prevented.