A coin-operated matchbox dispenser. This item is made of wood with a metal/glass face. Behind the glass are four separate rows of matchboxes ready to be dispensed. The metal surfaces of the face are embossed with a variety of text including "Drop Coin Here," "One Cent" and "Pat. May 17, 1910." All the lettering is raised slightly from the rest of the surface and is highlighted in red paint. The locking mechanism for the face of the machine seems to have been removed. Screws drilled into the wooden top of the dispenser are all that keep the face in position.
This machine is the product of the Samuel Cupples Wooden Ware Company, c. 1910. The company was established in St. Louis during the 1850s under the name Samuel Cupples & Company. After a few partnerships and further name changes, the company finally became Samuel Cupples Wooden Ware Company in 1882 and was the largest woodenware distributor in the United States. The company--and the business it drew--was considered critical in the development of St. Louis.
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Dispenser, Match, 2012, National Hellenic Museum, https://collections.nationalhellenicmuseum.org/Detail/objects/8767. Accessed 04/18/21.